Here are six of the top cryptocurrencies for 2023.
After a horrendous showing in 2022, when even the best cryptocurrencies saw their values plunge dramatically, crypto is back on its feet again to start 2023. The market value of the controversial asset class surged about 32% in January alone, soaring from about $795 billion to about $1.05 trillion in just a month’s time. The verdict is still out on whether the market remains in a so-called crypto winter, but momentum is currently in crypto’s favor as the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate-hiking cycle appears to be easing up. For any investors with a relatively high risk tolerance looking to take the plunge, 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. Here Bitcoin (BTC), the first cryptocurrency and still the most valuable with a market cap north of $450 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. Moreover, the creation of new Bitcoin occurs at a known and decelerating pace that is halved every four years or so.
The only other truly blue-chip crypto, Ether (ETH), is up next. Ether is the native token on the Ethereum blockchain, so it is often colloquially referred to as Ethereum. Ether’s roughly $200 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 decentralized finance, or 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 2022. 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, Ethereum and then everything else, the cryptocurrencies that follow should all be considered speculative altcoins, merely by virtue of their much smaller sizes 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 nearly quadrupled from its initial value of about $5.30.
To give some sense of just how small the crypto space still is, Polygon has a market cap of about $10 billion. This would make Polygon’s MATIC token — which is used to govern and secure the network — in the neighborhood of a mid-cap stock on Wall Street. In crypto, however, it makes MATIC a top-10 player. With backing from industry heavyweights Coinbase Global Inc. (ticker: COIN) and Binance, Polygon has institutional backing and is a bet on the longevity and success of Ethereum. Polygon’s purpose is to grow the scalability of the Ethereum network and eventually allow for a potentially limitless number of decentralized applications, or dApps, to run on the technology. MATIC has more than tripled in price since its June 2022 lows.
Founded in 2017 by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson, Cardano is a popular blockchain and one of the largest blockchains to successfully run the more energy-efficient PoS protocol. Cardano aims to foster a developer-friendly ecosystem for dApps. Unlike Ethereum, Cardano has a hard cap on the number of coins that can ever exist, topping out at 45 billion. Thankfully for investors, about 34.6 billion, or 77%, of that supply is already in circulation, meaning the amount of overall dilution remaining is both known and relatively limited. One of the best cryptocurrencies to buy now, Cardano shed 81% in 2022, but it trades roughly even with its price just two years ago. Excluding stablecoins, Cardano is the fifth-most-valuable cryptocurrency around, with a valuation of about $14 billion.
The last pick among the best cryptocurrencies to buy now is Cosmos’ ATOM token, which also happens to be the least valuable by market cap on this list, at a size of roughly $4 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’ 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 has more than doubled from its June 2022 lows.
6 of the best cryptocurrencies to buy now:
— Bitcoin (BTC)
— Ether (ETH)
— Avalanche (AVAX)
— Polygon (MATIC)
— Cardano (ADA)
— Cosmos (ATOM)
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What’s the Best Cryptocurrency to Invest in Now? 6 Contenders originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 02/03/23: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.