It’s pretty easy to find out what the top cryptocurrency is at any given time: essentially, it’s Bitcoin. However, the market moves so quickly that it’s a lot harder to keep up with what’s happening.
That’s because while we all know about Bitcoin and how rich we’d be today if we’d invested in it 10 years ago, there are hundreds, if not thousands, or other cryptocurrencies. Many are alternative — supposedly improved — versions of Bitcoin, but others, like Ethereum, Cardano and Chainlink, are much more than just a currency. And then there’s Dogecoin, which started off as a joke but is now one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies of all, as well as “memecoins” such as Shiba Inu coin.
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Whether you’re thinking of investing or are just intrigued by this new financial world, it’s well worth finding out what the top cryptocurrency performers are. And unlike 10 years ago, we now know that it is a legit asset, as big banks, funds, and millions of individuals include crypto in their investment portfolios.
Latest cryptocurrency news (updated May 17)
- A couple of Elon Musk tweets have once again had a major impact on the crypto market. First, Musk replied to another poster who suggested Tesla had sold its Bitcoin holdings with the single word “Indeed,” and — coincidentally or not — Bitcoin fell to a new three-month low of $42,000. He later clarified that Tesla had not sold its Bitcoin, at which point the coin climbed back to $45,000.
- The crypto market is still recovering after a rollercoaster week, sparked in part at least by Musk’s tweet that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment due to concerns over its environmental impact.
- Bitcoin has dropped from $58,000 to $45,000 as of this writing, down about 22% for the week.
- The Binance exchange is reportedly under investigation by U.S. agencies. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. DoJ and IRS are probing it in relation to multiple offenses.
- An Elon Musk tweet stating that he was “Working with Doge devs to improve system transaction efficiency. Potentially promising” sent Dogecoin soaring. It is now at $0.50, up about 4% in the last week having previously suffered a big drop last Saturday (May 8).
What is the top cryptocurrency by value?
So, which is the top cryptocurrency right now? One approach is to look at market capitalization — essentially the total dollar value of a company’s shares of stock. And in that regard, it’s hard to see beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum, which have sizable leads over their respective competition.
You can also look at the price of an individual cryptocurrency share, or coin, which is useful for knowing how well (or otherwise) a crypto is performing, but it doesn’t always tell the full story. So we’re sticking with market cap for this guide to the top cryptocurrency performers right now.
That said, many of the other crypto projects listed below are super interesting and certainly worth looking further into. And with new cryptocurrencies such as SafeMoon and Chia springing up seemingly every day, we’ll be updating this top cryptocurrency list regularly.
Editors’ Note: This roundup does not constitute investment advice and you should be aware that buying cryptocurrency, like any investment, involves risk. In fact, cryptocurrency is in some ways more of a risk than other investments, due to the huge rises and falls in the value of even the top cryptocurrencies. We’d recommend never spending more than you can afford to lose.
With that caveat in mind, here are all the top cryptocurrencies (by market cap as of May 17) and the stories behind them.