1. Polkadot (DOT) - $7.3 Billion

Polkadot is a blockchain networking protocol that enables cross-chain transfers of any data or assets, not just tokens. It aims to provide interconnectivity between any blockchain, public or private, allowing them all to work together. In 2023, Polkadot continued growing its ecosystem of networks.

2. Tether (USDT) - $8 Billion

Tether remains one of the most widely used stablecoins, whose value is pegged to the U.S. dollar. It provides a bridge between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies for exchanges and traders. Regulatory concerns continue to loom over Tether's backing and transparency.

3. Litecoin (LTC) - $8.6 Billion

As one of the earliest altcoins, Litecoin remains popular for its faster transaction speeds compared to Bitcoin. In 2023, it was added to more mainstream payment platforms, growing its utility and network effects. Development also continues on privacy-enhancing features.

4. Solana (SOL) - $14 Billion

Solana jumped into the top 10 in 2022 with its fast, low-cost blockchain. Its ecosystem grew substantially this year as developers flocked to its platform. Questions remain around its centralization tradeoffs and ability to scale sustainably.

5. Ethereum (ETH) - $220 Billion

Ethereum remains the dominant programmable blockchain due to its large developer community and track record of dApps. The long-awaited Merge to proof-of-stake was successfully completed in 2022, paving the road for further scaling upgrades. Transaction costs remain high during periods of high usage.

6. Binance USD (BUSD) - $19 Billion

BUSD took the place of Tether as the largest stablecoin by market cap in 2023, aided by its backing and Binance's large exchange. Stablecoins in general grew in usage for transferring values between crypto assets and as a store of value.

7. Cardano (ADA) - $20 Billion

Cardano spent 2023 scaling its smart contract platform after the Alonzo upgrade in 2021. However, its ecosystem growth has yet to match the hype of its proof-of-stake technology. Transactions remain more costly than competitors.

8. XRP (XRP) - $35 Billion

XRP moved up as its legal battle with the SEC wound down. It aims to enable faster international settlements between financial institutions. However, questions around its centralization and true utility seen by banks have lingered.

9. Stellar (XLM) - $4.44 billion

Stellar (XLM), has emerged as one of the more promising platforms for facilitating exchanges between different digital assets. The basic unit of the Stellar currency is called a lumen. Unlike many fiat currencies experiencing runaway inflation over the past year, Stellar's lumens appreciate at a modest and predictable 1% annual rate. This inflation-resistant structure protects XLM holders while still incentivizing ecosystem participation over time.

10. Bitcoin (BTC) - $410 Billion

As the progenitor of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin remains king by a long shot. 2023 was a year of testing previous all-time highs, with so far muted volatility compared to prior cycles. Mainstream adoption continued accelerating.

Crypto Era

Trading and investment volumes may break new records if history repeats. And breakthroughs in interoperability and real-world blockchain use-cases could see new digital assets surge in prominence. 2024 promises to deliver its share of surprises as this innovative industry flies further into unchartered territory.

📮FAQ

Some Frequently Asked Questions.

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Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography to secure its transactions. Some examples include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc. Cryptocurrency uses decentralized control instead of being controlled by central authorities like governments.

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Cryptocurrencies work using blockchain technology, which is a decentralized ledger that records all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. The transactions are recorded in blocks that are linked using cryptography, ensuring security and transparency. Miners verify transactions and are rewarded with new coins.

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To buy cryptocurrency, you need to first set up an account on a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase, Gemini, etc. You can then deposit funds using a bank transfer or debit card. Once the funds clear, you can purchase cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum using your fiat currency. You can then store them in a digital wallet.

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Most major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are legal in many countries and jurisdictions. However, some have placed certain regulations around its use, trading, mining and taxation. You need to check your local laws regarding the legality of cryptocurrencies before buying or trading them in your area.

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There are a few options to invest in cryptocurrency - directly buying coins on an exchange, investing in cryptocurrency funds/ETFs on brokerages, investing in cryptocurrency startups/companies, trading cryptocurrency contracts on derivatives exchanges, mining for new coins using computer hardware etc. Diversifying across different assets is recommended.

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There is no clear consensus as the potential and volatility of cryptocurrencies are still uncertain. While some have generated huge returns, others have lost most of their value. Only invest what you can comfortably afford to lose given risks. Diversification across multiple assets is prudent. Long term potential depends on mainstream adoption rates going forward.

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