Top 7 Cryptocurrencies By Market Cap This Week
The crypto market is far more volatile than traditional stocks. Photo KnowInsiders

It's pretty easy to find out what the top cryptocurrency is at any given time: essentially, it's Bitcoin. However, the market moves so quickly that it's a lot harder to keep up with what's happening below it.

And it's important that you do know, because investing in cryptocurrency can be a risky business. The crypto market is far more volatile than traditional stocks, with some coins growing in value swiftly, then dropping just as rapidly. Bitcoin, for instance, rose from $45,000 in March to a high of $63,000 in mid-April — then plunged to $35,000 in May.

One approach is to look at market capitalization — essentially the total dollar value of a company's shares of stock. And in that regard, it's hard to see beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum, which have sizable leads over their respective competition.

You can also look at the price of an individual cryptocurrency share, or coin, which is useful for knowing how well (or otherwise) a crypto is performing, but it doesn't always tell the full story. So we're sticking with market cap for this guide to the top cryptocurrency performers right now.

Here are all the top cryptocurrencies (by market cap as of this week):

1.Bitcoin Cash - Market cap: $10.9 billion

2.Ethereum - $250 billion

3.Tether - $59 billion

4.Cardano - $42.1 billion

5.Binance Coin - $40.8 billion

6.Dogecoin - $42.2 billion

7.XRP/Ripple - $37.4 billion

1.Bitcoin (BTC)

Photo VTV
Photo VTV

Bitcoin value: $35,447

The Bitcoin story: Bitcoin has been around since 2008 and is the blue chip cryptocurrency. It has, by far, the largest market cap, the highest coin value, and the largest network of users.

Bitcoin was created by an unknown person or group who goes by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. It was supposed to be the cash of the future, and although you can use it today to purchase many goods and services, you wouldn’t use it to buy a cup of coffee because the cost of the transaction would be too high.

Think of Bitcoin instead like the gold of the future: not really useful for daily transactions, but you want to have some for its stored value. It’s also like gold in that it has a limited supply, which is one of the things that makes Bitcoin so attractive to investors: a total of 21 million Bitcoins will ever be released, which makes Bitcoin inflation-proof.

Bitcoin performance history: Like all cryptos, Bitcoin started out worth virtually nothing. In 2017 it took off from under $1,000 to over $20,000, but within a year was down around $4,000. In late 2020 it began skyrocketing again, this time from around $10,000 to a high of more than $60,000, before dropping steeply last week, mostly due to various Elon Musk tweets. Further falls this week culminated in a major drop on Wednesday (May 19); it's currently worth around $38,000.

How to buy Bitcoin: Bitcoin can be purchased on crypto exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken; at Bitcoin ATMs; on PayPal; and on Robinhood. Don’t be put off by the high price of a coin: you can invest as little as $25 in Bitcoin on Coinbase.

Bitcoin fell by 8.9% to $34,156 at 1000 GMT on Sunday, losing $3,344.54 from its previous close.

Bitcoin, the world's biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, is down 47.4% from this year's peak of $64,895.22 on April 14.

Ether , the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, dropped 11.5% to $2,031.96 on Sunday, down $264.35 from its previous close.

2. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum market cap: $250 billion

Ether value: $2,518

The Ethereum story: If there is another contender for the top cryptocurrency title, it's Ethereum. But it doesn’t compete with Bitcoin. It’s important to note that many so-called cryptocurrencies aren’t straight-up currencies like Bitcoin. Some, like Ethereum, are instead unique technologies that also have a coin component. In Ethereum’s case, its currency is called Ether, and it can be used in applications run on the Ethereum platform.

Ethereum is the leader in what’s known as these “smart contract” platforms. While Bitcoin was created for one use case — as a currency — Ethereum was founded by Vitalik Buterin in 2015 with bigger and broader ambitions. The blockchain it runs on is programmable, meaning it can run programs, or apps, in a decentralized way, i.e., on millions of computers at once. This opens up many possible use cases, from technology and finance to gaming and collectibles, making Ethereum an attractive investment.

Ethereum is a great contender for the title of best cryptocurrency. It does not, however, compete with Bitcoin. It operates on a programmable blockchain, which means it can operate programs or applications on a decentralized basis, i.e. on millions of computers in one go. This opens up a plethora of potential applications, ranging from technology and finance to gaming and collectibles, making Ethereum an appealing investment.

3. Tether (USDT)

Tether market cap: $59 billion

Tether value: $1

The Tether story: Tether is unique among the options in our top cryptocurrency list: it's the leader in the category of cryptocurrency known as “stable coins.” Why stable? Because they are pegged to a traditional currency, in this case the US dollar.

For investors, these tokens offer the joint benefits of open blockchain technology and traditional currency. Tether was launched in 2015 and operates on the Ethereum platform. USD Coin is another stable coin, and many crypto folks think it’s a safer bet than Tether, citing a greater transparency.

Tether performance history: One Tether token = one USD. Always has, always will.

4. Cardano (ADA

Cardano market cap: $42.1 billion

Cardano value: $1.31

Photo Coin Market Cap
Photo Coin Market Cap

The Cardano story: Cardano, founded in 2017, is another Ethereum-like contender for the top cryptocurrency crown: a blockchain platform that supports applications, systems, and real-life business use cases. It’s a promising technology but, like all the others, has a lot of catching up to do with Ethereum in terms of its network size.

What makes Cardano unique is that it is the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach. The development team consists of a large global collective of expert engineers and researchers, and the platform was built through peer-reviewed research.

Cardano performance history: Cardano was cruising along at about $0.10 from its founding in 2017 until early 2021, when it jumped to well over a dollar and was recently trading at around $2. Cardano had weathered the recent crypto market problems better than most, due to being one of the more environmentally friendly cryptocurrency options, but has suffered a big fall on Wednesday (May 19) and is now back to around $1.31.

China has banned financial institutions and payment companies from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions, and warned investors against speculative crypto trading.

It was China’s latest attempt to clamp down on what was a burgeoning digital trading market. Under the ban, such institutions, including banks and online payments channels, must not offer clients any service involving cryptocurrency, such as registration, trading, clearing and settlement, three industry bodies said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

“Recently, crypto currency prices have skyrocketed and plummeted, and speculative trading of cryptocurrency has rebounded, seriously infringing on the safety of people’s property and disrupting the normal economic and financial order,” they said in the statement

5. BinanceCoin (BNB)

Binance Coin market cap: $40.8 billion

Binance Coin value: $262

The Binance Coin story: Binance Coin was launched in 2017 by the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, the world’s largest crytpo exchange by volume. During its initial coin offering (ICO), it sold 100 million coins to the public at $0.15 per coin. Binance Coin can be used to pay transaction fees on the Binance exchange, to trade for other cryptocurrencies, and to pay for some goods and services. Every quarter, Binance uses 20% of its profits to buy back and destroy Binance Coins. This will continue until Binance buys back and destroys 50% of the total supply, making its coin scarcer and therefore more valuable.

Binance Coin performance history: Since launching in 2017, Binance Coin has made a long, slow climb to about $60 a coin, before shooting upwards in February 2021 and reaching more than $600 at one point. As with virtually all of the top cryptocurrencies, it suffered a major fall on Wednesday (May 19) and is currently trading in the $262 range.

Binance is one of the few cryptocurrencies that has surpassed its 2017 mark. There was a bull market during that year, and the prices of all cryptocurrencies increased along with it, hitting a peak before peaking and declining in value. Unlike the other cryptocurrencies, Binance Coin has maintained a slow but steady upward trajectory since 2017. Thus, Binance Coin has emerged to be one of the more reliable investment options with fewer risks due to its success.

6. Dogecoin (DOGE)

Dogecoin market cap: $42.2 billion

Dogecoin value: $0.32

Photo VTV
Photo VTV

The Dogecoin story: Dogecoin bills itself as “the fun and friendly internet currency.” Launched in 2013 by software developers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer as a satire of Bitcoin and the exploding popularity of crypto, it’s basically a Bitcoin clone with a cute dog meme for a mascot.

Dogecoin has no real use (though some people use it to give small tips on social media), but it’s developed a growing fanbase that’s boosted the price of a Dogecoin from less than a penny a few months ago to about $0.40 today, making it one of the top cryptocurrency performers by market cap if nothing else. Dogecoin also started what is now known as the “memecoin” space. If you’re looking for the next big memecoin, it could be SafeMoon, which launched in March 2021 and already has over a million users. SafeMoon encourages investors to buy and hold by imposing a 10% fee on anyone who sells their tokens.

Dogecoin performance history: In early 2021, Dogecoin crossed the $0.05 threshold for the first time, then went to the moon in April, recently trading at an all-time high of $0.70. It dropped to below $0.45 following Elon Musk's appearance on Saturday Night Live, then rallied slightly, then plunged again, then jumped back. It's been quite the ride. It currently stands at around $0.35, but who knows where it will be tomorrow.

**READ MORE: Facts about Elon Musk Sending Dodgecoin-Funded Satellite to the Moon

7. XRP/Ripple (XRP)

XRP/Ripple market cap: $37.4 billion

XRP value: $0.81

The XRP/Ripple story: XRP’s claim to fame is that it's the fastest digital asset, enabling near real-time global payments anywhere in the world. As such, some payment providers use XRP to expand their reach, lower foreign exchange costs, and settle payments more quickly.

XRP was launched in 2012 by a trio of developers, who then created a private company called OpenCoin, now called Ripple Labs, and gifted it 80 billion XRP. This is what makes XRP unique — it is, essentially, a for-profit platform, unlike almost every other crypto project in the world.

Buyer beware: in late 2020, the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against Ripple and its two cofounders, claiming they raised over $1.3 billion through an unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering (aka XRP). The lawsuit is still unsettled.

XRP performance history: Aside from a blip of a spike in December 2017-January 2018, XRP didn’t crack the $0.60 threshold until 2020. However it's grown throughout April and May and as of today (May 23) it was trading at $0.81.

Latest cryptocurrency news (updated May 23)

-Most of the top cryptocurrencies (as measured by market cap) continued to fall over the weekend following a tumultuous week.

-IAC chairman and veteran investor Barry Diller told CNBC that he doesn't trust cryptocurrencies and he believes that these digital assets are "a con."

-The U.S. Treasury Department said it is moving to crack down on crypto markets and transactions. Any transfer worth $10,000 or more will need to be reported to the IRS.

-Many of the top cryptocurrencies are still recovering after a shocking crash on Wednesday that saw almost $1 trillion wiped off the market at one stage.

Latest Prediction for Prices of Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Latest Prediction for Prices of Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

The Bitcoin price is in a relief rally after it declined sharply. The BTC is trading at $39,840, which is 33.6% above its lowest level. ...

Top 10 Most Popular CryptoCurrencies in the World Top 10 Most Popular CryptoCurrencies in the World

Blockchain has entered into individual usage areas, and one of them is cryptocurrencies (digital currencies, digital money, electronic money or electronic currency). Stay tuned ...

5 Most Profitable Cryptocurrencies to Invest in Now 5 Most Profitable Cryptocurrencies to Invest in Now

So far, 2021 is predicted to be a good year for the cryptocurrency market. Since Blockchain evolved to be one of the most feasible technology, ...