Let’s go back to 2012, when few people knew what Bitcoin and blockchain meant. Today, crypto has evolved into an industry that is rapidly maturing, with crypto-settled synthetic instruments now being traded on traditional exchanges. It’s hard to imagine that even though just 10 years ago, there was only Bitcoin, the market now includes 2253 assets, according to CoinMarketCap. What are these assets, is there any way to classify them, and how will the market evolve in the coming years? Let’s take a closer look at the landscape of digital assets.
Where can you find a list of all cryptocurrencies?
There are several informational resources that provide data on all cryptocurrencies and their tickers, trading volumes, and current prices. The most popular is CoinMarketCap. There, you can access information about all currencies and their statistics, trading markets, and volumes. Another website you can use to track the performance of different cryptocurrencies is CryptoCompare.
List of top cryptocurrencies
The list of top cryptocurrencies includes the assets with the largest capitalization and trading volumes. The list includes the crypto world’s main stars — Bitcoin, Ethereum (which enabled the emergence of many more ERC-20 tokens), Ripple, and other top assets.
- Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin is widely known as “digital gold” and dominates the cryptocurrency market. Established in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is the most adopted cryptocurrency in the traditional world. For example, there are some places where you can use BTC to buy coffee — isn’t that astonishing?
- Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum, or Ether, was developed by Vitalik Buterin and went live in 2015. The project pioneered the concept of smart contracts and decentralized applications. The network gave life to many tokens, including Binance Coin, OmiseGO, Golem, Augur, and others.
- Ripple (XRP)
Ripple was designed to provide fast and cheap transactions to banks and money-service businesses. Even though its protocol was created back in 2004, the real history of Ripple started in 2013. Interestingly, the cost of an XRP transaction equals only $0.00001.
- Tether (USDT)
Tether, or USDT, is a stablecoin, a digital dollar that was designed to provide traders with a traditional asset on the cryptocurrency market. This is a very controversial cryptocurrency, as its emissions hardly seem controlled and there is no proof that Tether is really backed by USD. Nonetheless, the asset is widely used to fix profits and losses and hedge risks.
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
BCH is a fork of Bitcoin, an alternate version that split from Bitcoin in 2017. Later, Bitcoin Cash went through another fork, creating Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV. The fork was a result of some Bitcoin developers insisting on an increase in the block size.
- Litecoin (LTC)
Litecoin dates back to 2011. From a technical point of view, LTC is pretty similar to BTC, as it was originally a fork of the Bitcoin Core. But in comparison to its parent, Litecoin processes a block every 2.5 minutes, beating Bitcoin’s 10 minutes, which enables faster transactions.
EOS was designed as an Ethereum competitor in building decentralized applications. This blockchain network also plans to remove transaction fees and run transfers at lightning speed. The platform was launched in 2017 and received an enormous amount of funding ($170 million) from the community.
- Binance Coin (BNB)
Binance is a global cryptocurrency exchange with some of the largest trading volumes. They launched their own currency, BNB, to provide discounts for fees on the exchange. Its ICO took place in 2017, the hot period for all blockchain-based projects.
Cryptocurrencies are various and many
You may be wondering how many types of cryptocurrencies there are. Basically, all digital assets can be divided into a few groups:
- utility tokens
- security tokens
Let’s have a closer look at how they are different and what purposes they are designed for. Distinction is of utmost importance for cryptocurrency investors because the type determines what exactly they are investing in and even who can invest in the first place.
Coins vs Tokens
The biggest distinction in cryptocurrency is between coins and tokens, which can easily be differentiated. Coins have their own blockchain and are designed as a currency, which means transaction speed and cost are the cornerstones of these assets. Typical coins include Bitcoin and its forks, Litecoin and Monero.
Tokens have broader functionality. They do not have their own blockchain and are used to access services, products, or privileges. Most tokens are emitted on the Ethereum blockchain and are ERC-20 tokens. That means their protocol exists on top of the Ethereum blockchain. 0x, Maker, Golem, and Augur are examples of tokens.
Tokens can further be divided into a few different groups depending on their usage. Usually there are two groups – security and utility tokens – but there are many more groups if you want to go deeper: equity tokens, reward tokens, asset-backed tokens, etc. Tokens fall under different SEC regulations depending on what they represent.
Utility tokens give holders access to a certain product or service. If you can buy a token on a cryptocurrency exchange without being an accredited investor, it’s a utility. Security tokens represent partial ownership of a tradeable, real-world asset external to the blockchain, and because security tokens are regulated by the SEC like traditional securities, one must be an accredited investor to participate in security token offerings (STOs).
Stablecoins are also tokens, as they operate on another coin’s blockchain. Tether, for example, operates on Ethereum. A stablecoin’s value is pegged to some other asset: gold, the US dollar, etc.
Understanding the different types of coins is crucial for investors, especially those who take part in ICOs and STOs. To learn more about other legal issues associated with crypto investing, read the article “Is Bitcoin Legal in the US?”
The list of top mineable cryptocurrencies in 2019
Cryptocurrency mining is the process by which new digital cryptocurrency coins are created, involving a miner successfully verifying a cryptocurrency transaction and adding it to a public ledger within the cryptocurrency network.
Mining cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is becoming harder every day, as the number of block rewards continues to decline. In the future, small-scale miners will be at a disadvantage, as the costs of mining will be high. Large-scale miners will benefit from the economies of scale. Mining difficulty and the reduction in block rewards will increase the prices of mineable cryptocurrencies.
CoinLore offers a list of the top 100 mineable coins, and its top 10 are:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Bitcoin SV
- Ethereum Classic
The MoneyMongers team recently published a study that includes a list of cryptocurrencies that will be mined “up to the nines” this year. The list includes:
- Ethereum Classic
- Bitcoin Gold
- Bitcoin Diamond
- Aion (AION)
So, as you can see, the cryptocurrency landscape is diverse, and investors have to understand the assets they invest in pretty well. The altcoin boom of 2017 is bygone, and it seems that in the future, the market will sort out the existing assets. Furthermore, we’re due for new assets to hit the market and compete against Bitcoin, Libra, and GRAM, among other top players.