While “only” around 1,400 cryptocurrencies were on the market with a market cap¹ of approximately $610 billion by the end of 2017, the number of cryptocurrencies jumped to 1592 with a total market cap value of $383,857,417,216 by the 17th of May 2018. Now, this might sound like surprisingly high numbers, but this might not be that shocking overall. Take into account that not all of the cryptocurrencies are high in value and that basically everyone can create their own cryptocurrency if, they now how to do so.
To create a rough idea of the cryptocurrencies, that one should have heard of, we will consider the best performing cryptocurrencies from 2018 and 2017, since this is the year cryptocurrency trading kicked off. Disclaimer: We are roughly analysing the past and current situation and are neither making any predictions, nor are intending to give any investing advises!
So, you might think that the infamous bitcoin was, regarding the market cap, the leading cryptocurrency of 2017. Wrong! Based on the gains of the ten most worthy cryptocurrencies made in 2017, the figure below shows that, despite its value increase of over 1,000% in 2017, bitcoin was only on the eighth place. Instead, Ripple won, with an incredible gain in value of 36,000%. However, this does not mean that bitcoin is declining - although Ripple has reached a value of $US91 billion, bitcoin's market cap is still at around $US231 billion, even though it gained less.
But how are these cryptocurrency ranked above doing in 2018? According to the top ranked cryptocurrencies per market cap from the historical snapshots from market cap.com, the following cryptocurrencies have dominated the market throughout the first five month of 2018:
(Notice: the list below does not represent the gains/development of the different cryptocurrencies, but rather their value. This is certainly a difference, as you have noticed through the example of ripple from above. Just because ripple made the highest gains in 2017, it is not the most valuable cryptocurrency).
¹Market cap= Generally market capitalisation (short: cap.) helps determining a company’s value based on multiplying the total of the company’s outstanding shares by the market price per share at the time of the calculation.
In terms of cryptocurrencies, the market capitalisation arises from multiplying the circulating supply of a cryptocurrency by the coin’s price. Since this determines a cryptocurrency’s approximate net worth, it is a significant factor for investors to take into account, as it gives them an outlook on their return on the investment (ROI) and shows them how well a cryptocurrency is doing.
² To have a further look at the historical snapshots visit: https://coinmarketcap.com/historical/