This article analyses the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation. Beginning with the largest, they are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar Lumens, Litecoin, Cardano, IOTA and Tether. The total value of the top 10 cryptocurrencies (as of 1st August 2018) is $227.96bn. This is an increase of $4.34bn compared to the previous month (3rd July). However, this is still a dramatic fall of $53bn since June where the total value stood at the $281bn mark.
How many cryptocurrencies are there?
There are approximately 2,041 cryptocurrencies being traded with a total market capitalisation of $253bn. So, the Top 10 cryptocurrencies represent 90% of the total value. There were 1,894 cryptocurrencies in July so there has been a net increase of 147 currencies. In value terms the total has dropped from $275bn in July to $253bn in August. Since the Top 10 gained $4.34bn the reduction comes from outside the Top 10 cryptocurrencies.
The top cryptocurrencies list is showing relative positions rather than changes in market capitalisation. So, when we say “Bitcoin $x billion – no change” we are saying the Bitcoin relative ranking in the number one spot is unchanged, irrespective of changes to its market capitalisation.
Top 10 cryptocurrencies and their market capitalisation
- Bitcoin (BTC) $130.13bn – no change
- Ethereum (ETH) $42.44bn – no change
- Ripple (XRP) $17.54bn – no change
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $13.08bn – no change
- EOS (EOS) $6.58bn – no change
- Stellar Lumens (XLM) $5.14bn – up from 8
- Litecoin (LTC) $5.14bn – down from 6
- Cardano (ADA) $3.63bn – down from 7
- IOTA (MIOTA) $2.56bn – no change
- Tether (USDT) $2.40bn – no change
Top 10 cryptocurrencies commentary
The Top 10 features the same cryptocurrencies as last month. This month, Stellar Lumens, Litecoin and Cardano changed places with each other. Litecoin dropped from the number six spot to number seven; Stellar Lumens rose from the number eight spot to number six and Cardano dropped one place to number eight. Last month’s new entry into the Top 10 cryptocurrencies list – Tether – managed to hold its position with TRON maintaining its position at number 11, just outside the Top 10.
Whilst there are none this month it should be remembered that new entries are not necessarily new currencies. There is frequent movement in the top 10 as values fluctuate, so expect older currencies to drop out and re-enter the list regularly.
Top 10 cryptocurrencies further reading
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As a starting point here are a few facts about the Top 10 cryptocurrencies and some latest news for each one…
In August 2008, the domain name bitcoin.org was registered. On 31st October 2008, a paper was published called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. This was authored by Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin. To date, no one knows who this person, or people, are.
The paper outlined a method of using a peer-to-peer network for electronic transactions without “relying on trust”. On 3rd January 2009, the Bitcoin network came into existence. Nakamoto mined block number “0” (or the “genesis block”) which had a reward of 50 Bitcoins.
Ethereum was launched by Vitalik Buterin on 30th July 2015. He was a researcher and programmer working on Bitcoin Magazine and he initially wrote a white paper in 2013 describing Ethereum. Buterin had proposed that Bitcoin needed a scripting language. He decided to develop a new platform with a more general scripting language when he couldn’t get buy-in to his proposal.
The development was funded by an online crowdsale between July and August 2014. The system went live with 11.9 million coins already mined for the crowd sale (about 13% of the total supply in circulation). Following the collapse of The DAO project in 2016, Ethereum was split into two blockchains. The new version became Ethereum and the original blockchain continues as Ethereum Classic.
Ripple is a real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) developed by the Ripple company. It is also referred to as the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) or Ripple protocol. It can trace its roots to 2004 when a web developer called Ryan Fugger had the idea to create a monetary system that was decentralised and could effectively allow individuals to create their own money.
RipplePay.com was launched in 2005 to provide a secure payment system for members of an online community via a global network. Jed McCaleb began developing a digital currency system in 2011 in which transactions were verified by consensus among members of the network, rather than by the mining process used by Bitcoin which relies on blockchain ledgers. This new version of the Ripple system was designed to eliminate Bitcoin’s centralised exchanges, use less electricity than Bitcoin, and perform transactions much more quickly.
Ripple was launched in 2012 to facilitate secure, instant global transactions supporting tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency or any unit of value.
Bitcoin Cash was born out of the idea of making Bitcoin more practical for small day-to-day payments. In May 2017, Bitcoin payments took about four days unless a fee was paid which was proportionately too large for small transactions.
On 20th July 2017, a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP 91) was locked in to activate at block height 477120. BIP 91 was designed to reject blocks created by miners not supporting Segregated Witness (generally referred to as SegWit). SegWit is the name used for a change in the transaction format which had also been implemented on other cryptocurrencies. The purpose was to minimise potential fraud and to mitigate a blockchain size limitation problem that reduces Bitcoin transaction speed. This is achieved by splitting the transaction into two segments, removing the unlocking signature (“witness” data).
A change to the code was implemented and Bitcoin Cash was born on 1st August 2017. Bitcoin Cash inherited the transaction history of Bitcoin on that date, but all later transactions were separate.
Bitcoin Cash news:
The EOSIO platform was developed by private company block.one and released as open source software on 2nd June 2018. One billion tokens are being distributed on the Ethereum blockchain by block.one. EOS is based on a white paper published in 2017 and the CEO of block.one (Brendan Blumer) announced it will be supported with over $1 billion.
Stellar was founded in 2014 by Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim. At launch it was based on the Ripple protocol but the network eventually forked. Stellar is an open source protocol for exchanging money where servers use the internet to connect to and communicate with other Stellar servers, forming a global value exchange network.
Stellar Lumens news:
Litecoin was released in October 2011 by Charlie Lee, a former Google employee. It was a fork of Bitcoin with the main difference being a smaller block generation time, increased maximum number of coins and a different script-based algorithm.
Cardano claims to have tried to change the way cryptocurrencies are designed and developed, balancing the best of the functionality of several cryptocurrencies into one coin. The project began in 2015, the work of a global team of scientists and academics.
At the core is a new method Proof of Stake (PoS) invented by Cardano. They opted against the high energy consuming Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm used by, for example, Bitcoin. Their website also discusses at length the philosophical aspects around the introduction and use of new cryptocurrencies. ADA was released in September 2017.
The IOTA Foundation was incorporated in Germany as a non-profit corporation. The Foundation is “dedicated to building sustainable ecosystems around IOTA to accelerate its development and commercial adoption as an open source technology”.
In November 2017, the Foundation had a US$100 million fund to promote IOTA use. The funds are distributed as IOTA tokens to companies building technology with IOTA. It is an open source distributed ledger cryptocurrency focused on providing secure communications/payments between systems on the Internet of Things (IOT). Instead of blockchain it uses directed acyclic graph (DAG) technology.
Tether was issued on the Bitcoin blockchain. In their own words “Tether converts cash into digital currency, to anchor or ‘tether’ the value of the coin to the price of national currencies”. So, the value is meant to mirror that of the US dollar and each unit of Tether is backed by $1 held in reserve.
One of the main uses of Tether is to facilitate trading between cryptocurrencies with a rate fixed to the US$ allowing traders to take advantage of trading opportunities.
Market capitalisation values from investing.com website 1st August 2018, 19:28
Further commentary & notes:
Top 10 cryptocurrencies July update
TRON dropped out of the top 10 into the number 11 spot. It was replaced by Tether.
The market capitalisation of the Top 10 cryptocurrencies fell by $57 billion in a month (July 2018 analysis compared to the June 2018 analysis).
There were 1,894 cryptocurrencies with a total market capitalisation of US$275 bn.