Here are six of the top cryptocurrencies to watch.
Mulling the best cryptocurrencies to buy now may seem laughable these days, as 2022 has been a near-constant stream of selling and bad news in the world of crypto, blockchain and decentralized finance, or DeFi. November brought more of the same, when leading cryptocurrency exchange FTX imploded as it became clear the firm was an overleveraged and irresponsible custodian of customer deposits. Through the end of November, the total cryptocurrency market value has plunged 60.6% in 2022. What folks tend to forget is that such swings are hardly unprecedented: The market lost more than 60% between June 2019 and March 2020, about 70% in four months in 2018, and about 80% between late 2013 and early 2015. Cryptocurrencies, as they always have been, remain incredibly volatile and risky. With that said, for risk-tolerant investors, here are six of the best cryptocurrencies to buy now.
The so-called blue-chip cryptos — the digital currencies whose brand, usage and loyalty are so well established that cryptocurrency itself would have to disappear for them to fully collapse — have arguably never been more important. Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency and still the most valuable with a market cap north of $320 billion, takes the cake. For investors who merely want some exposure to this asset class, Bitcoin is the most battle-tested and is a must-own, considered as a sort of digital gold and valued as a currency that cannot be manipulated by any print-happy central government. Only 21 million BTC will ever exist, with 92% of them already in existence and the creation of new Bitcoin occurring at a known and decelerating pace.
The only other blue-chip crypto, Ether, is up next. Ether is the native token on the Ethereum blockchain, and so it is often colloquially referred to as Ethereum. Ether’s more than $150 billion market cap is dwarfed by Bitcoin’s, but it’s more than three times the size of the next-largest token, excluding stablecoins. The Ethereum blockchain is one of the most-used chains in the world, supporting a rich landscape of non-fungible tokens, games, smart contracts and DeFi lending abilities. In contrast to Bitcoin, the Ethereum network now uses a proof-of-stake, or PoS, protocol following the Ethereum “Merge” in September. This is a net positive, especially for environmentally focused investors, as PoS is far more energy efficient than Bitcoin’s proof-of-work protocol.
Since it’s Bitcoin and Ethereum and then everything else, the cryptocurrencies that follow should all be considered speculative altcoins, merely by virtue of their small market caps and less-established natures. That said, there’s an interesting aspect to each remaining pick, and Avalanche’s blockchain, which sports AVAX as its native token, is no different. Avalanche’s “subnets” technology is the differentiator, as the chain aims to become the Amazon Web Services of crypto, with its subnets feature essentially allowing the deployment of many separate blockchains on top of its network. Developer Ava Labs sees a future of many thousands of different blockchains as an inevitability. Since debuting in September 2020, the AVAX token has more than doubled from its initial value of about $5.30.
Binance Coin (BNB)
Although it’s true that no other crypto rivals the size of BTC or ETH, BNB — the native token of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange — is the closest. With a market cap of about $46 billion, not only is BNB the third-largest crypto, it’s more than twice the valuation of the next non-stablecoin. While the sudden implosion of the FTX exchange in November was another blow to crypto’s reputation in general, it was arguably a boost for the Binance ecosystem, which was FTX’s largest rival. Binance is now easily the most dominant crypto exchange in the world. As of Dec. 5, trailing 24-hour volume on Binance was $11.6 billion, dwarfing its closest mainstream competitor, Coinbase Global Inc. (ticker: COIN), with volume of $1.5 billion. Unlike many other top cryptocurrencies, BNB both has a hard cap on its supply and aims to reduce supply over time by “burning” a portion of its BNB-denominated transaction fees — thereby increasing scarcity.
To give some sense of just how small the crypto space still is, Polygon has a market cap of about $8 billion. This would make Polygon’s MATIC token — which is used to govern and secure the network — an utterly unremarkable mid-cap stock on Wall Street. In crypto, however, it makes MATIC a top-10 player. With backing from Coinbase and Binance, Polygon is a bet on the longevity and success of Ethereum, serving to grow the scalability of that platform and eventually allow for a potentially limitless number of decentralized applications to run on the technology. Even after the broad crypto downturn in November, the coin has more than doubled off its June lows.
The last pick among the best cryptocurrencies to buy now is Cosmos’ ATOM token, which also happens to double as the least valuable by market cap, at a size of roughly $3 billion. ATOM is the native token of the Cosmos Hub blockchain and a governance token. As a governance token, ATOM owners also get a say in how the project should proceed. As far as Cosmos’s purpose, it’s intended to be an environmentally friendly platform whose technology makes inter-blockchain communication friendlier, faster and cheaper while simplifying the ability of engineers to code decentralized applications. Like Polygon, the underlying goal of the project is to improve the overall ecosystem and make blockchain a more widespread, easily accessible part of everyday life. ATOM is up about 75% from its June lows.
6 of the best cryptocurrencies to buy now:
— Bitcoin (BTC)
— Ether (ETH)
— Avalanche (AVAX)
— Binance Coin (BNB)
— Polygon (MATIC)
— Cosmos (ATOM)
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What’s the Best Cryptocurrency to Invest in Now? 6 Contenders originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 12/06/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.