These are seven of the best cryptos on the market.
Few knew that in 2009, when the Bitcoin protocol was created in response to the economic calamities inflicted by the financial crisis, the world now had a novel asset class, not just a new digital currency. A dozen years later, there are thousands of cryptocurrencies, with varying specialties and differing degrees of utility, adoption and promise. In such a broad market, which now accounts for at least $1.3 trillion, how can investors decipher which are the best cryptocurrencies to invest in? Here’s a look at seven of the best cryptocurrencies to buy in 2021 and the bull case for each. Just as in the stock market, investors should wager only with money they’re willing to lose, as even the most blue-chip cryptos can be wildly volatile.
Theories on Bitcoin‘s utility differ, but there’s no denying that it’s been the dominant player in its field since its creation. Bitcoin’s growing adoption is its saving grace; both retail and institutional investors are primed to dip their toes into cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin first. Plus, some of today’s smartest business minds are increasingly gravitating toward the “digital gold.” Twitter Inc. (ticker: TWTR) and Square Inc. (SQ) CEO Jack Dorsey has said he doesn’t think there’s anything more important in his lifetime to work on, seeing it as a way for poor countries to guard against currency depreciation and for faster, cheaper funds transfers across borders. And although Bitcoin’s price lost more than half within two months of hitting all-time highs of about $65,000, Tesla Inc.’s (TSLA) decision to put Bitcoin on its balance sheet earlier this year could serve to usher in more corporate treasury inflows over time.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
As the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin was a canary in the coal mine for other digital currencies that would follow. One aspect of the currency that many users and developers became frustrated with was the small size of the “blocks” of data on the Bitcoin blockchain, which is capped at 1 megabyte. That limit began slowing transaction times and increasing fees, an issue Bitcoin Cash sought to alleviate when it split off, or “forked,” from its parent in 2017, adopting a block size of 8 MBs. Sure, BCH isn’t as stable or widely used as its namesake, but it has a greater potential to scale and is the 12th-most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. Although it’s fallen steeply from its 2021 highs of about $1,600 in April, even current prices around $500 are well above the $342 level where it began the year.
The Scottie Pippen of cryptocurrency, Ethereum has been capably playing second fiddle to Bitcoin for years now. With a market capitalization of about $276 billion, Ethereum’s share of the overall crypto market, is about 18% — a far cry from the 47% commanded by Bitcoin but more than four times the next-closest token.The native currency on the platform is technically called ether but is colloquially referred to as Ethereum. The leading platform for decentralized finance, or DeFi, Ethereum allows users to create smart contracts that automatically execute when certain conditions are met. The potential to cut out third parties such as banks, brokerages and clearinghouses makes Ethereum an exciting, money-saving platform. The rising tide of DeFi should continue resulting in higher usage of this platform, which can be used to issue new cryptocurrencies or create and exchange nonfungible tokens, known as NFTs, among other things.
Like Ethereum, Cardano is a decentralized blockchain platform that uses a native cryptocurrency, in this case Ada, to enable secure peer-to-peer transactions. It was founded in 2015 by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson, who left what is now the leading platform for decentralized finance to found Cardano, which is designed to use a fraction of the energy demanded by Bitcoin and Ethereum. One way Cardano does this is by using a “proof-of-stake” protocol that doesn’t incentivize high energy usage and is an increasingly popular way for blockchains to validate transactions for security reasons. Cardano, which at $43 billion is the fifth-most valuable cryptocurrency, is transitioning toward enabling smart contracts that should be fully operational by fall 2021.
Named for the popular “Doge” internet meme of a Shiba Inu dog, Dogecoin was created as a lighthearted take on the blockchain craze. The cryptocurrency has surged about 4,000% this year, making it the eighth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Its price peaked in early May at more than 70 cents, though it has since pulled back. Dogecoin’s price remains well below a dollar because of its larger circulation and unlimited capacity to mine more. While Bitcoin is capped at 21 million coins, there are 130 billion Dogecoins in circulation already, with new blocks available to mine each year. Although wildly speculative, Dogecoin has a much faster mining rate, or hash rate, than Bitcoin, giving it some quantifiable advantage over the premier cryptocurrency.
Binance Coin (BNB)
One of Binance Coin’s chief advantages is that, like Bitcoin, it has a strict limit on the number of tokens in circulation. The limit is 200 million, and it’s a big reason BNB has soared to become to become the fourth-most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. The native currency of the popular Binance exchange, the coin is up more than 700% in 2021 alone. It has a different model than many of the other cryptocurrencies in the market, destroying, or “burning,” much of its currency on a quarterly basis, using one-fifth of its profits to do so. With a market capitalization of more than $50 billion, Binance Coin is no longer the instrument of pure speculation that it once was, and as long as the wildly popular Binance platform continues to grow, the BNB crypto has a bullish outlook.
Unlike stocks, cryptocurrencies have debatable and subjective measures of “fundamentals.” Because of that, there are other credentials that are important to consider with crypto, with one of those being who began the project in the first place. Enter Gavin Wood, whose credibility as a co-founder of Ethereum helped drive DOT to one of the top 10 most valuable cryptocurrencies. One advantage of DOT is that it can be used as a bridge between networks, meaning applications can be built on Polkadot that work on both the Ethereum and Bitcoin networks, for instance. As one of the cryptocurrencies built after the pioneers in the industry, its features make it both more scalable and faster than its predecessors.
Seven contenders for the best crypto to buy for 2021:
— Bitcoin (BTC)
— Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
— Ethereum (ETH)
— Cardano (ADA)
— Dogecoin (DOGE)
— Binance Coin (BNB)
— Polkadot (DOT)
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Update 07/26/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.