Please keep in mind that cryptoassets are a highly volatile unregulated investment product with no UK or EU investor protection. You could lose all the money you put into them. Capital gains tax may apply to profits from cryptocurrency sales.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation as of April 2022.
Market capitalisation (or market cap) is a metric used to measure the size and popularity of a cryptocurrency based on its current price and the volume of the cryptocurrency in circulation. The higher the market cap, the more popular the cryptocurrency is.
To get the market cap at any given point in time, simply multiply the current price of a cryptocurrency of your choice by the total number of that cryptocurrency in circulation.
Please remember that cryptoassets are a highly volatile unregulated investment product with no UK or EU investor protection. You could lose all the money you put into them.
Compare the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap below:
Bitcoin is a form of digital money that you can buy, sell or securely send to anyone anywhere in the world without the interference of banks, payment platforms or central governments.
Launched in 2008, Bitcoin is by far the world’s biggest and most popular cryptocurrency, with a market capitalisation of around £633 billion (at the time of writing).
There will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins in the world, making it a scarce cryptocurrency. Around 3 million Bitcoins are still available to be mined, and this will happen slowly over the next hundred years. The last blocks will theoretically be mined in the year 2140.
Bitcoin was created in 2009 by a person or organisation called Satoshi Nakamoto, who explained their theory of digital peer-to-peer transactions without the interference of the government in a white paper entitled "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System".
A blockchain is a specific type of database containing a list of transactions that anyone can view and verify. You can think of it like your bank statement or a bank ledger where you can see a history of transactions carried out over a particular period. In the case of Bitcoin, the Bitcoin blockchain is a record of every time someone buys or sells Bitcoin. Read more about blockchain here.
Bitcoin uses cryptographic technology, making it more secure than standard debit or credit card transactions. However, there are some risks involved with Bitcoin transactions. For example, Bitcoin wallets are not necessarily anonymous, and they rely on passwords that can never be recovered once lost.
The current price of Bitcoin can be found here.
In early 2010, one Bitcoin was valued at a fraction of a penny. By October 2013, it had grown to over £100 (that’s over 1,000,000% growth in just three years), and by December 2017, the price skyrocketed to a whopping £15,000 (an increase of about 15,000% in four years). At the time of writing in April 2022, the price of Bitcoin was £33,000 (120% growth from 2017).
Ethereum is a technology that lets you send cryptocurrency to anyone for a small fee. It also powers applications that everyone can use and no one can take down. According to the official Ethereum website, Ethereum is for more than just payments. It is a marketplace of financial services, games and apps that cannot steal your data or censor you.
The Ethereum cryptocurrency is called Ether (ETH), but most people call it Ethereum.
Ethereum was launched in 2015 and is the second-biggest cryptocurrency in the world by market capitalisation after Bitcoin. Ethereum builds on Bitcoin’s innovation with significant differences making it an even more exciting blockchain network and cryptocurrency.
In 2013, Vitalik Buterin (a 19-year-old computer programmer and Bitcoin Magazine co-founder) published a white paper proposing a highly flexible blockchain that could support virtually any kind of transaction. The Ethereum blockchain would allow for automated and immutable cause-effect statements for developing next-generation smart contracts and decentralised apps (dApps). Buterin’s focus was unifying how dApps run.
Ethereum is a decentralised blockchain network powered by Ether. Ethereum, unlike Bitcoin, was not created to be digital money. Instead, the founders set out to build a global, open source, decentralised computing platform that takes the security and openness of blockchains and extends those attributes to a vast range of applications. The Ethereum blockchain allows for automated and immutable cause-effect statements, allowing for the development of next-generation smart contracts and decentralised apps (dApps).
Similar to Bitcoin, Ethereum is secured by proven cryptography. This protects your wallet, your ETH and your transactions. However, there are some risks involved with Ethereum transactions. For example, Ethereum wallets are not necessarily anonymous, and if you choose to use an Ethereum domain name (e.g. yourname.eth) to make your wallet address more readable, anyone with any internet connection can see all your transactions. Additionally, Ethereum wallets rely on passwords that can never be recovered once lost.
The current price of Ethereum can be found here.
In 2015, the price of one Ethereum was less than one British pound. Three years later, in 2018, the price had grown to about £950 (over 9,000,000% growth in just three years). By November 2021, the price of one Ethereum reached an all-time high of roughly £3,500 (an increase of about 270% in four years). At the time of writing in April 2022, the price of Ethereum had dropped to £2,500 (a 29% decline from the 2021 high).
Tether or USDT is a stablecoin pegged on a one-to-one basis to the US dollar. This means that you should always be able to exchange 1 USDT for US$1 (at least, in theory).
Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies pegged on a one-to-one basis to a “stable” reserve asset like the US dollar, euro, yuan or gold. They are designed to reduce the volatility associated with cryptocurrencies. In theory, one stablecoin should almost always equal the value of the reserve asset it is pegged to (i.e. 1 USDT = 1 USD). This way, one can spend, hold or gift stablecoins without worrying about the price volatility associated with unpegged cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum. This is especially beneficial for people in developing countries where the national currencies are unstable. Stablecoins also serve as a safe haven for crypto traders in times of extreme volatility.
Tether was launched in 2014 and is the third-biggest cryptocurrency in the world by market capitalisation after Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Tether’s creators claim that every Tether token is 100% backed by reserves, including traditional currency and cash equivalents, and may include other assets and receivables from loans made by Tether to third parties.
Tether is not only available in US dollars. It is also available in euros (EUR₮), offshore Chinese yuan (CNH₮), and gold (XAU₮).
Tether USDT was founded in July 2014 by crypto enthusiasts and entrepreneurs Brock Pierce, Craig Sellars, and Reeve Collins, and it was originally known as “Realcoin”.
Tether does not have its own blockchain, instead, Tether tokens are built on several leading blockchains, including Ethereum, Solana, Omni, Bitcoin Cash’s Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP), EOS, Liquid Network, Tron and Algorand.
Similar to Bitcoin or Ethereum, Tether is secured by proven cryptography. However, there are some risks involved in buying and holding Tether, such as losing all your money if you lose access to your wallet or being a victim of a scam or fraud. Another point to note about Tether is that, unlike Bitcoin or Ethereum, which have a strong sense of community and purpose, Tether comes across as a money market fund run by a single independent company.
It runs on several blockchains.
The current price of Tether can be found here.
In early March 2015, the price of 1 USDT was about US$0.61. It then jumped to US$1 a few days later. Since then, it has largely stayed at about US$1, with few instances of it dropping slightly below or rising a little above the US dollar.
BNB, which stands for “Build and Build”, is the native cryptocurrency of the BNB Chain (formerly Binance Smart Chain and Binance Chain). It was first minted in July 2017 on Ethereum but later migrated to Binance Chain.
BNB is a utility token that allows holders to pay discounted fees for trading on Binance’s exchange. BNB can be used for travel expenses and is spendable on products and services using the Binance Visa card. Holders can also donate BNB to charity via the Binance Charity Foundation (BCF) project.
The coin has a limited supply of 200 million, and Binance conducts a quarterly coin burning event as a deflationary measure to reduce the total supply of BNB in circulation. The burning events will occur until the total supply is reduced to 100 million.
BNB or Binance Coin was created by Binance, a crypto exchange and blockchain platform initially domiciled in China but now headquartered in the Cayman Islands.
BNB Chain is a native blockchain created by Binance. It is a programmable ecosystem like Ethereum that can run smart contracts and serve as a platform for other applications and cryptocurrencies. BNB Chain is a merger of two previous blockchains created by Binance - Binance Chain and Binance Smart Chain (BSC).
As with most of the major cryptocurrencies, BNB uses cryptographic technology, which makes it more secure than standard debit or credit card transactions. However, there are some risks involved with BNB transactions. For example, BNB wallets are not necessarily anonymous, and they rely on passwords that can never be recovered once lost. It is also important to highlight that the UK’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has banned Binance in the UK.
BNB holders pay discounted fees for trading on Binance’s exchange, which is one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world.
The current price of BNB can be found here.
In 2017, one BNB was valued at a fraction of a pound. By October 2018, it had grown to about £13 (that’s about 13,000%). The price began spiking in January 2021, and by November 2021, it had reached an all-time high of £485 (an increase of about 3,600% in four years). At the time of writing in April 2022, the price of one BNB was £320 (a 34% decline from the 2021 high).
UK customers can buy BNB on eToro.
USD Coin or USDC is a stablecoin pegged on a one-to-one basis to the US dollar. This means that you should always be able to exchange 1 USDC for US$1 (at least, in theory).
Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies pegged on a one-to-one basis to a “stable” reserve asset like the US dollar, euro, yuan or gold. They are designed to reduce the volatility associated with cryptocurrencies. In theory, one stablecoin should almost always equal the value of the reserve asset it is pegged to (i.e. 1 USDC = 1 USD). This way, one can spend, hold or gift stablecoins without worrying about the price volatility associated with unpegged cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum. This is especially beneficial for people in developing countries where the national currencies are unstable. Stablecoins also serve as a safe haven for crypto traders in times of extreme volatility.
Launched in September 2018, USDC is a stablecoin backed by cash and dollar-denominated assets of at least equal, fair value to the USDC in circulation in segregated accounts with US regulated financial institutions. According to Coinbase, one of the founders of the USD Coin, such accounts are verified publicly by an independent accounting firm.
USD Coin was created by the Centre consortium, a partnership between peer-to-peer payment services company, Circle, and cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase.
USD Coin is powered by the Ethereum blockchain.
Like Bitcoin or Ethereum, the USD Coin is secured by proven cryptography. However, there are some risks involved in buying and holding USDC, such as losing all your money if you lose access to your wallet or being a victim of a scam or fraud. That said, the founders of USDC continuously reiterate and give the assurance that 1 USDC can always be redeemed for US$1 provided you have a US dollar bank account. Exchange rates will always apply to customers without a US dollar bank account.
Although Tether is a much more popular stablecoin, the USD Coin is generally considered the safest alternative amongst the USD-pegged stablecoins due to higher transparency, increased interoperability and improved legal framework.
The current price of USD Coin can be found here.
Over the years, the price of USDC has ranged from US$0.97 to US$1.04.
You can buy USDC from crypto exchanges such as Coinbase.
XRP is the native cryptocurrency of Ripple, a blockchain payment system created in 2012 by Ripple Labs Inc. It facilitates cross border transactions at a speed and throughput that is orders of magnitude faster than Bitcoin or Ethereum. For context, transaction speeds can be as fast as 60 minutes with Bitcoin, 10 minutes with Litecoin, 2 minutes with Ethereum and 0.07 minutes with XRP.
XRP proposes a cheaper and more efficient alternative to SWIFT to process international transactions.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication or SWIFT is a global messaging network that banks and other financial institutions use to quickly, accurately, and securely send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions. SWIFT currently has more than 11,000 member institutions globally.
XRP proposes to do SWIFT’s job cheaper, more efficiently and in an eco-friendly manner. The XRP Ledger settles XRP transactions instantly without the energy costs associated with proof of work (or mining), as is the case with Bitcoin, Ethereum and many other cryptocurrency blockchains.
XRP currently has over 300 financial institutions on RippleNet and consistently handles 1,500 transactions per second, 24 hours a day, and can scale to handle the same throughput as Visa. It also just won a lawsuit against the US’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Ripple Labs Inc. was founded in 2012 by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb and is based in San Francisco, California, US.
The XRP blockchain, called the XRP ledger, is an open-source, permissionless and decentralised blockchain technology that can settle transactions in 3 - 5 seconds.
Unlike other blockchains that use proof of work or proof of stake verification mechanisms to settle transactions on the blockchain, the XRP ledger uses a protocol called Consensus, which is a more centralised and efficient solution to reduce transaction processing times and costs. The ledger reaches consensus on all outstanding transactions every 3 - 5 seconds, much faster than SWIFT, Bitcoin or Ethereum.
The XRP ledger is maintained by independent participants of a global “XRP Community,” of which Ripple is an active member.
All cryptocurrencies carry a certain amount of risk, and XRP is no different. Although XRP uses cryptographic technology, which makes it more secure than standard debit or credit card transactions, there are still some risks involved. For example, you could lose all your money if you lose access to your wallet or are a victim of a scam or fraud. Additionally, XRP is difficult to purchase, so it might also be difficult to exchange or convert it to cash.
The current price of XRP can be found here.
In August 2013, the price of one XRP was £0.002. By April 2018, it had reached an all-time high of £2.50 (representing a 125,000% increase in just five years). At the time of writing in April 2022, the price of XRP had dropped to £0.55 (a 78% decline from the 2018 high).
Solana is a blockchain that employs novel approaches to achieve high transaction speeds without sacrificing decentralisation. Solana’s native cryptocurrency is SOL, and it can be used to pay transaction fees and for staking. It also gives holders the right to vote in future upgrades.
While initial work on the project began in 2017, Solana was officially launched in March 2020 by the Solana Foundation, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Solana is very similar to Ethereum. The key difference is that while Ethereum employs proof of stake to validate transactions on the blockchain, Solana employs both proof of stake and proof of history.
Proof of history was first created by the founders of Solana and serves as a timestamp mechanism to speed up the validation of transactions on the Solana blockchain. Proof of history helps reduce transaction processing times, making the Solana blockchain faster and more cost-effective than its predecessors, Bitcoin and Ethereum. For context, Solana can process around 50,000 transactions per second - compared to 15 or less for Ethereum (Ethereum is currently being upgraded to ETH2 to address speed and cost issues).
Software engineers can also build and run crypto, DeFi and web3 applications on Solana, just like Ethereum. The transaction processing speed and cost efficiency make Solana more appealing to engineers looking to build products that scale.
Solana was created by Anatoly Yakovenko, Greg Fitzgerald and Stephen Akridge, all former employees of Qualcomm.
Solana is a decentralised blockchain network powered by SOL. It uses a combination of proof-of-stake and proof-of-history consensus mechanisms to validate transactions before they are added to the blockchain.
Like Ethereum, Solana can interact with smart contracts to power a wide range of applications and projects in the crypto ecosystem, including dApps, DeFi, Web3, NFT marketplaces, games, decentralised lotteries and much more.
As with most cryptocurrencies, Solana uses cryptographic technology, making it more secure than standard debit or credit card transactions. However, there are some risks involved with SOL transactions. For example, SOL wallets are not necessarily anonymous, and they rely on passwords that can never be recovered once lost.
The current price of Solana can be found here.
In April 2020, the price of SOL was just £0.62. In August 2021, the price suddenly spiked from around £25 at the beginning of the month to around £54 three weeks in, drawing mainstream attention to the altcoin. By November 2021, SOL had reached an all-time high of £192 (a 256% increase from the August figure). As of the time of writing in April 2022, the price of SOL had dropped to £77 (a 60% decline from the 2021 high).
Cardano is one of the biggest cryptocurrencies by market cap, with a market cap of £24 billion at the time of writing. It is very similar to Ethereum 2.0 in that it uses a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm to validate transactions before they are added to the blockchain instead of proof of work, as is the case with the Bitcoin blockchain and Ethereum 1.0.
Cardano claims it is built on a more sustainable and scalable blockchain technology called Ouroboros, which provides and improves the security guarantees of proof of work at a fraction of the energy cost.
Cardano, like Ethereum, can be used for running smart contracts, which allows for the development of a wide range of decentralised finance apps, new crypto tokens, games, and more.
The native cryptocurrency of the Cardano platform is ADA (named after Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century mathematician who is recognised as the world’s first computer programmer). Any user located anywhere in the world can use ADA as a secure exchange of value without requiring a third party to mediate the exchange. Every transaction is permanently, securely, and transparently recorded on the Cardano blockchain.
There is a maximum supply of 45 billion ADA, and at the time of writing, 33.7 billion were already in circulation.
Cardano was launched in September 2017 by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson.
The Cardano blockchain is designed to be a highly scalable and environmentally sustainable blockchain platform. It uses a new and innovative proof-of-stake consensus mechanism called Ouroboros, which is intended to be more energy-efficient compared to the energy-intensive proof-of-work mechanism currently used by Bitcoin and Ethereum. (Ethereum is also moving to a proof-of-stake mechanism via the ETH2 upgrade).
The Cardano blockchain is divided into two layers: the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) and the Cardano Computing Layer (CCL). The CSL contains the ledger of accounts and balances (and is where the transactions are validated by the Ouroboros consensus mechanism). The CCL layer is where all the computations for apps running on the blockchain are executed - via the operations of smart contracts.
Splitting the blockchain into two layers helps the Cardano network process as many as a million transactions a second.
According to the Cardano Foundation, “Ouroboros exists to define the parameters of the new world: a protocol more secure, scalable, and energy-efficient than anything that has come before.” However, you should be aware of the general risks associated with cryptocurrencies, such as losing all your money if you lose access to your wallet or are a victim of a scam or fraud.
The Cardano blockchain is designed to be faster and more energy-efficient than the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains.
The current price of Cardano ADA can be found here.
In early 2017, one ADA was valued at just about one penny. By January 2018, it had grown to 80p (representing a 7,900% growth in just one year). In September 2021, the price reached an all-time high of £2.15 (an increase of about 169% in three years) ahead of the launch of a new feature that allowed users to deploy smart contracts on Cardano. At the time of writing in April 2022, the price of ADA had dropped to £0.73 (a 66% decline from the 2021 high).
Terra is a blockchain payment platform for stablecoins. The Terra blockchain consists of two main tokens, Terra and Luna.
The Terra token is a family of stablecoins, each pegged to a world currency. For example, the base Terra stablecoin, TerraSDR (SDT), is pegged to the price of the IMF’s special drawing rights. Other stablecoin denominations include TerraUSD or UST (pegged to the US dollar) and TerraKRW or KRT (pegged to the Korean won). On the Terra blockchain, a new stablecoin pegged to a different world currency can be minted anytime through a democratic vote.
Luna is Terra blockchain’s native staking token, and its role is to absorb the price volatility of Terra. Users mint new Terra by burning Luna: When the price of any of the Terra stablecoins rises above its pegged currency’s value, holders are incentivised to burn their Luna to create more of that Terra stablecoin. Similarly, when its price drops compared to its pegged currency, holders are encouraged to burn their Terra stablecoins to mint more Luna.
For every transaction of stablecoins, whether in KRT, UST or MNT, or any of Terra’s world currencies, a small transaction fee is paid out to Luna stakeholders. Today, the total transaction fees collected on the Luna network exceed all other blockchains aside from Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The more Terra is used, the more Luna is worth.
Terra was founded in January 2018 by Daniel Shin and Do Kwon. The idea behind the Terra project was to drive the rapid adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency through a focus on price stability and usability.
The Terra blockchain is a decentralised and open-source public blockchain protocol for algorithmic stablecoins. Using a combination of open market arbitrage incentives and decentralised Oracle voting, the Terra protocol creates stablecoins that consistently track the price of any fiat currency. Users can spend, save, trade, or exchange Terra stablecoins instantly, all on the Terra blockchain. Luna provides its holders with staking rewards and governance power. The Terra ecosystem is a network of decentralised applications, creating a stable demand for Terra and increasing the price of Luna.
Similar to Bitcoin or Ethereum, Terra is secured by proven cryptography. This protects your wallet, your tokens and your transactions. However, there are some risks involved with Terra transactions. For example, Terra wallets are not necessarily anonymous, and they rely on passwords that can never be recovered once lost. Additionally, UST briefly lost its peg following the Wormhole hack in February 2022, leading to a temporary price crash for LUNA.
The Terra blockchain is unique because it is able to host a multitude of algorithmic stablecoins on its network. A new stablecoin pegged to a different world currency can be minted anytime through a democratic vote.
The current price of Terra LUNA can be found here.
In 2018, the price of one Luna was just about one British pound. Three years later, in 2021, the price had grown to about £15 (that’s about a 1,400% growth in just three years). At the time of writing in April 2022, the price of Luna has reached an all-time high of £89 (a 493% increase from 2022).
Avalanche is a high-performance, scalable and customisable blockchain platform. It targets three broad use cases:
AVAX is the native token of the Avalanche platform and is used to pay for fees, secure the network through staking and provide a basic unit of account between the multiple subnetworks created on the Avalanche platform.
Avalanche was founded by Emin Gun Sirer in 2020. The original whitepaper was co-authored by Kevin Sekniqi, Daniel Laine, Stephen Buttolph, and Emin Gun Sirer.
Avalanche is a blockchain of blockchains that enables anyone to create tailor-made application-specific blockchains and benefit from the revolutionary Avalanche consensus. The Avalanche blockchain uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism and has faster transaction processing times than other blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin. The Avalanche blockchain reportedly can process 4,500 transactions per second compared to Ethereum, which can process just 15 transactions per second.
Similar to Bitcoin or Ethereum, Avalanche is secured by proven cryptography. This protects your wallet, your tokens and your transactions. However, there are some risks involved with Avalanche transactions. For example, Avalanche wallets are not necessarily anonymous, and they rely on passwords that can never be recovered once lost.
The Avalanche blockchain reportedly can process 4,500 transactions per second compared to Ethereum, which can process just 15 transactions per second.
The current price of Avalanche AVAX can be found here.
In September 2020, the price of one AVAX was about £3.50. By November 2021, it reached an all-time high of £100 (that’s about 2,757% growth in just 14 months). At the time of writing in April 2022, the price of AVAX had dropped to £58 (a 42% decline from the 2021 high).
Every month, we'll send you The Plug - a curation of the best personal finance content in the UK. We share real-life stories, how-to guides, top personal finance news, popular community questions, and tips to help you stay on top of your money.