What is cryptocurrency market capitalization and which cryptocurrencies have the highest market caps? Over 5% of Millennials have invested in cryptocurrency. And, between billionaire investors and plenty of media coverage, cryptocurrency has become a worldwide investment and spending vehicle. We aren’t talking about millions here. The combined wealth of all cryptos is currently in the high billions ($284 billion as of the writing of this post). Some experts even believe it’s going to jump into the trillions. But, we’re not there yet.
But, with over 2,300 cryptocurrencies to choose from, which currencies are leading the charge? Market capitalization (or market cap) is an easy way to tell the overall value of a particular coin in the market.
What is Cryptocurrency Market Capitalization?
The cryptocurrency market capitalization is the price of each coin times the total circulating supply. So, if you had a coin worth $600 and there were 700 of them in circulation, your market cap would be:
600 * 700 = 420,000
That would mean that the total value of your cryptocurrency was $420,000 — which includes the total value of every single coin that’s in the wild. Due to the nature of cryptocurrency market capitalization, it is the easiest (and often best) way to measure the overall value of a coin.
Top 5 Cryptocurrencies
If there was cryptocurrency royalty, Bitcoin would be king. It was the first cryptocurrency on the market. And, its name is still synonymous with crypto and blockchain technology. As of the writing of this article, Bitcoin’s cryptocurrency market capitalization is $184.7 billion. In total, Bitcoin holds 65% of the entire cryptocurrency market capitalization. And things aren’t changing anytime soon.
With over 17,000 coins in circulation, there are roughly 3,500 more coins available before Bitcoin stops circulating new currency. Combine this with its name, prestige, and reputation, and Bitcoin is intrinsically linked to the success of cryptocurrency as a whole.
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum has been around a while. It was the first Initial Coin Offering (ICO), and it’s withheld its reputation as a reliable Bitcoin competitor. Since its inception, Ethereum has split into two separate entities — Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). While ETC hasn’t lived up to the hype of its father currency, ETH is still going strong.
The total cryptocurrency market capitalization of Ethereum is $23.1 billion as of writing this post. And, with over 100,000 units in circulation and no end-date in sight, Ethereum has withstood the ups-and-downs of the cryptocurrency market.
Number 3 on the list may come as a surprise. Ripple (or XRP) isn’t the most expensive token. In fact, a single Ripple only costs around $0.30 (compared to Bitcoin’s $10,000 per coin price and Ethereum’s $216 price). But, Ripple has a staggering amount of coins circulating. These 42 trillion coins have led Ripple to reach third place within cryptocurrency market capitalization of over $13 billion.
This early Bitcoin fork continues to gain value, and it’s remained a top contender in the cryptocurrency market for over 8 years. The current Litecoin cryptocurrency market capitalization sits at just under $6 billion. But, like all of the coins on this list, these values could change dramatically between the date that this article is written and the date you read this article. Cryptocurrency typically has higher volatility than stock or traditional fiat currencies, so it’s important to check market caps for accuracy.
5. Bitcoin Cash
Bitcoin’s younger sibling — Bitcoin Cash — comes in at number 5 on the list. Bitcoin Cash was created to address a primary issue of Bitcoin. Namely, that only around 1% of Bitcoin transactions are merchant-based. Bitcoin Cash is all about spending. And, ironically, this has led investors to flock to the new(ish) coin. With a cryptocurrency market capitalization of $5.5 billion, Bitcoin Cash has staggering spending power and plenty of recognition as a top contender in the crypto space.
Honorable Mention: Facebook Libra
As of the date of this post, Facebook’s Libra has yet to launch. But, since it’s the largest cryptocurrency development since Bitcoin, we expect to see significance at its launch (whether that’s positive or negative.) Currently, more Americans are aware of Libra than any other currency outside of Bitcoin, and it hasn’t entered the market.
Bitcoin is leading the charge when it comes to the total value (or market capitalization) of cryptocurrencies. This has been the case for many years, and Bitcoin will likely continue to lead the charge. XRP, BCC, ETH, and Litecoin all made their way onto the list with impressive market caps well over $5 billion. In total, these five cryptocurrencies command over 80% of the entire cryptocurrency market capitalization.
While Bitcoin likely won’t be toppled anytime soon, Facebook’s new Libra coin could disrupt the market and endanger altcoins who can’t match the value of Facebook’s solution. Only time will tell.
Getting Started with Cryptocurrency