How many cryptocurrencies are there?

A cryptocurrency can be described as a digital currency that takes the form of coins or tokens, and is available on a distributed and decentralised ledger. Although there are a few cryptocurrencies that have entered the physical world through projects like credit cards, the vast majority exist exclusively in the digital space and remain intangible.

Cryptocurrencies serve as real money in a digital form that is not governed or managed by any central authority. The beauty of this is that users are able to transact with digital currencies without having governments, banks, or any middlemen involved.

It is thought that there are more than 10,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation, which include both coins and tokens. In terms of coins, this would include Bitcoin as the most popular followed by altcoins, which are all other non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies.

Start of cryptocurrency

In 2009, Bitcoin software was made available to the public and mining of the coin began. In 2010, Bitcoin was valued for the first time and started growing in popularity as the idea of encrypted and decentralised currencies began to catch on. Due to this, many altcoins started to emerge in an effort to improve on the original Bitcoin. As mentioned earlier, there are now more than 10,000 in circulation with new ones popping up frequently.

Top Crypto Coins in Circulation

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency in circulation and the one most closely associated with the cryptocurrency system. It is the go-to for traders and investors, and currently has more than 18.5 million Bitcoin tokens in circulation. The capped limit for Bitcoin is 21 million, so once that number has been mined, no new Bitcoins will be created ever.

Bitcoin Cash

Litecoin

Ethereum

Ethereum is the second most popular cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin. Ethereum differs from Bitcoin in the sense that its focus is more on decentralised applications rather than being a digital currency. Ethereum tried to improve on Bitcoin through the use of smart contracts and offering much faster transaction speeds of up to 5 times.

Ripple

How the industry has grown

The journey hasn’t been smooth sailing, however, as there have been periodic slumps in the crypto market. 2019 and 2020 seem to have marked a period of recovery for cryptocurrencies, as the pandemic proved to spark more interest amongst investors.

Things are certainly looking bright in present-day as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin have already hit record highs in 2021. While there are concerns over the risky nature of the crypto market and security breaches, investors appear to be more confident as an increasing number of global companies, like Tesla and PayPal, are opting to invest in crypto.

Final Thoughts

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