Why Are the Top 5 Cryptocurrencies the Biggest Coins in the World?
The top five cryptocurrencies in the world collectively represent hundreds of billions of dollars of value. What makes these cryptocurrencies special? Why are they worth more than the thousands of other cryptocurrencies that exist today?
In this article, we’re highlighting what makes the top five cryptocurrencies the best in the world, including the features that make them unique and their potential for future growth.
Bitcoin was the world’s first blockchain-based cryptocurrency. It continues to be the world’s largest and best-known cryptocurrency to this day. Bitcoin may not be the fastest cryptocurrency nor the most technologically-advanced, but it has something no other cryptocurrency will ever have: first mover advantage.
Bitcoin’s first mover advantage means that the word “bitcoin” is synonymous with cryptocurrency. It means everyone from first graders to retirees has heard the word “bitcoin” – even if they can’t explain how it works.
Bitcoin continues to be seen as the safe haven cryptocurrency. Bitcoin’s market dominance took a sudden drop in late 2017 and early 2018 as users flocked to altcoins. Over the past few months, however, bitcoin has remained relatively stable while altcoin prices have plummeted.
Today, bitcoin’s market dominance sits at around 55%, which means 55% of the entire market cap of cryptocurrencies comes exclusively from bitcoin. Yes, BTC continues to be a big deal for reasons beyond its technology.
Ethereum continues to hold the number two position on the list of the largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, although it has lost that number two position to XRP several times over the last year. Nevertheless, Ethereum’s Ether (ETH) digital token continues to reign supreme.
Ethereum expanded on the idea of blockchain by launching a decentralized app platform fueled by innovative features like smart contracts. Ethereum envisioned a future where blockchains could be used for more than just cryptocurrencies: they could be used to host and run decentralized apps. It’s a supercomputer distributed worldwide.
Ethereum launched ETH through an initial coin offering (ICO) back in 2014. Initially selling for just a few pennies, ETH grew to a value of over $1400 at its peak before plummeting to the $200 range where it sits today.
Moving forward, Ethereum continues to have some of the strongest development in the industry. Ethereum’s upcoming Casper upgrade will introduce elements of Proof of Stake to the Ethereum ecosystem. Meanwhile, Ethereum continues to host plenty of ICOs and decentralized apps, even as more competition as emerged from similar DApp platforms.
XRP is the native cryptocurrency of Ripple’s payment platforms. Ripple’s flagship protocol, XCurrent, does not actually use the XRP digital currency. However, Ripple’s rapidly-growing xRapid does use XRP.
Ripple’s two flagship payment protocols make it easier and cheaper for financial institutions and corporations to transfer money worldwide. Today’s global money transfer systems are based on decades-old technology. Ripple wants to change that. Today, Ripple has partnered with a number of major banks worldwide. Three banks are already using XRP and xRapid for commercial transactions, and the future looks bright.
XRP has surged with growth over the last few weeks. In one week in September, XRP doubled in price, briefly taking over the number two spot from Ethereum. Today, XRP has settled back into the number three position, although it’s a close competitor to Ether in terms of market cap.
Despite the fact that XRP is the third largest cryptocurrency in the world, there’s some controversy over whether it even deserves to be mentioned alongside other cryptocurrencies on this list. Ripple insists that XRP is a decentralized cryptocurrency with no connection to Ripple (the company). However, XRP remains criticized for its high level of centralization, including he fact that Ripple (the company) routinely sells off chunks of its enormous XRP holdings to generate revenue. Today, Ripple holds more than half of all XRP in existence, and the two entities remain closely intertwined.
Despite the criticism, XRP remains one of the world’s largest and most successful cryptocurrencies. 11 of the world’s top 100 banks are already using Ripple or XRP in some form. The future looks even brighter.
4) Bitcoin Cash
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) launched via hard fork on August 1, 2017 after bitcoin’s developers split into two communities. One part of the community wanted bigger blocksizes and better scalability. The other part of the community wanted bitcoin to continue with no scaling solution, long transaction times, and high transaction fees. The first group formed Bitcoin Cash (BCH) while the second group continued under the BTC symbol.
Today, Bitcoin Cash remains actively developed, and BCH is the world’s fourth largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Unlike BTC, which is moving forward exclusively as a store of value and not as a payment protocol, BCH wants to create something that can both store value and be used as a daily payment mechanism.
If you ask some people, they’ll tell you that Bitcoin Cash is the true version of bitcoin. They’ll point to the bitcoin whitepaper, where Satoshi states that bitcoin is meant to be used as a peer-to-peer form of electronic cash. They claim that BTC has no scalability solution, and that the 7 transactions per second limit on the bitcoin network prevents it from ever becoming a global currency.
If you ask other people, they’ll deride Bitcoin Cash as “BCash” and claim that it’s run by scam artists who are trying to hijack the bitcoin name.
In any case, Bitcoin Cash remains the more usable of the two bitcoins to this day. There are a number of BCH wallets that make it fast, easy, and cheap to transfer BCH to merchants. BCH also has 32 times the transactional capacity of BTC (32MB blocksize compared to 1MB), and the network can scale even further in the future.
Nevertheless, BCH has less than 10% of the market cap of BTC, and BCH’s value remains significantly lower than BTC. Still, Bitcoin Cash has a well-deserved place in the top five cryptocurrencies by market cap, and BCH supporters still see a “flippening” of value between BCH and BTC in the future, where BCH surpasses BTC in price.
EOS is the newest entrant on this list. the EOS ICO was the world’s largest ICO to date, raising $4 billion. Created by Block.one, EOS launched its mainnet in June 2018 after the successful ICO. The goal of EOS is simple: to create a decentralized app platform that is superior to Ethereum.
So far, EOS hasn’t achieved that goal. The network has been dealing with various controversies since launching the mainnet earlier this year, including problems with the Block Producer (BP) voting system and the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism. Nevertheless, EOS supporters believe these are small growing pains on the path to becoming the world’s best and largest cryptocurrency.
EOS was created by Dan Larimer, best known for previously creating two of the most popular blockchain networks in the world – Steem and Bitshares.
Some of the key future goals of EOS include free transactions, extremely fast block times, and a revolutionary blockchain governance model that avoids the high energy consumption of PoW and the low security of PoS.
If successful, EOS could easily keep growing to become one of the world’s best and largest blockchain networks. However, EOS will need to overcome its growing pains if it wants to be successful.
The world’s top five largest cryptocurrencies by market cap represent a nice cross section of the crypto community. We have the king, BTC, which is designed to be used as a store of value and remains relatively stable among other cryptocurrencies. We have ETH, the digital currency that fuels the decentralized Ethereum supercomputer and facilitates the development of decentralized apps. Then, we have XRP, which wants to revolutionize global banking. We also have Bitcoin Cash, which wants to be both a store of value and a medium of transfer. And finally, we have EOS, which aims to integrate elements of all of the above. All five are digital tokens, but they’re moving forward with different objectives.
Today, these cryptocurrencies represent the biggest coins in the industry – but crypto markets are moving constantly, and it’s easy to see other coins slipping in and out of the top five over the coming months.