The Different Types of Cryptocurrencies

Although there are technically over 2000 cryptocurrencies, only a handful are relevant. Of those, even less have a market cap above $1 million.

Below is a list of important cryptocurrencies and additional resources you can use to learn more about all the different cryptocurrency types.

TIP: If you are looking for a best of list, check out our List of the Top Cryptocurrencies That Aren’t Bitcoin.

NOTES: We created this site in 2015, here three years later (in 2018) the market has evolved and changed a considerable amount. Thus, presenting a list of cryptocurrencies went from being a reasonable thing to do to an impossible task for a site that doesn’t make listing cryptocurrencies its main focus. For a list of most of the current cryptocurrencies, you can check out CoinMarketCap.com. Our brief list below will focus only on some top coins that have made it through the years or that are still relevant today and will note some up-and-coming coins.

List of Top Cryptocurrencies 2015 – 2018

To start this page off, let’s first take a look at the top 10 or so cryptocurrencies of 2015 – 2018 to get a sense of which ones have stuck around and which ones could be important in the years to come.

This list was created by us (cryptocurrencyfacts.com) and is based on familiarity, market cap (total coins that will ever be produced times current value), the ease with which a coin can be traded for fiat currency like the US dollar, and the coins potential to survive trends.

In other words, these are the coins that we think make the most valid investments (in general, not at a given moment) and are worth exploring for new coin users (not simply the coins with the highest market cap, value, or most relevance alone). With that said, any “best of” list is bound to have a bias, and this is true for this list as well. Feel free to make up your mind.

In our opinion, the most relevant cryptocurrencies here in 2018 are:

  • Bitcoin: Bitcoin is an easy pick. It was the first major usable cryptocurrency; it has the highest market cap; its coins trade at the highest cost of all cryptocurrencies (about USD 225 as of June 2015, but as high as $5,000 during early September 2017). Despite the big increase in price, Bitcoin seems to be the best choice for anyone entering the cryptocurrency space. It is the most familiar and invested-in coin. Primarily Bitcoin is the reason anyone is talking about cryptocurrency in the first place. You might not want to start a CPU-based Bitcoin mining company in 2017 or start buying coins for $5,000 each (which is fine since you can buy fractions of a coin) but it’s still going to take 1st place on our list.
  • Litecoin: Litecoin is probably the second most important digital coin [true in 2015, it is still relevant today]. It had the third-highest market cap as of June 2015, but today it sits closer to 7. Despite the decline, CPU mining is still sort of possible, people know what a Litecoin is, it uses essentially the same technology of Bitcoin, and it costs about 1/50th – 1/100th of what Bitcoin does (depending on the day). A Litecoin is a lot like a Bitcoin before the whole ‘Silk Road‘ controversy, or as some people would say “a Litecoin is like a Bitcoin except with a value closer to what a reasonable person would expect a digital coin to have in a rational market.”
  • Ethereum: Is probably the third most important coin [here in 2018, I’d argue that it is the second most important after Bitcoin]. Ethereum doesn’t have the longevity at the top like Litecoin, but it has some unique features and a market cap that make it a real contender. Most ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) use Ethereum. It has a less intimidating cost that Bitcoin and has the second highest market cap. On that note, Ethereum classic is also notable. Ethereum is a spin-off (aka “hard fork”) from what isn’t today called Ethereum classic (like how our next up coin, Bitcoin cash, is a spin-off of Bitcoin.) NOTE: Ethereum is a fork of another relevant coin called Ethereum Classic.
  • Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Forks: Bitcoin Cash is a spin-off of bitcoin, meant to have faster transactions, voted on and implemented by the Bitcoin community. Bitcoin Cash was probably the most successful Bitcoin fork in history, but there are always new forks popping up. Maybe Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, Bitcoin SV, or another will catch on.. although history says this is a rare occurrence. Keep your eye on the forks, but don’t expect them to be guaranteed the staying power of Bitcoin. Bitcoin forks are interesting altcoins, but it’s unlikely either will ever truly challenge Bitcoin for the top spot. The concept here is that Bitcoin is so relevant that it is important to keep an eye on its forks, especially the one that has really weathered the storm so far, Bitcoin Cash.
  • Ripple (XRP): Ripple (properly known as XRP) tends to have a steady price due to its large supply. It has had staying power over time. Its a popular and speedy alternative to Bitcoin that often is less volatile than other coins toward the top of the list.
  • IOTA: IOTA is a popular coin with a large supply (meaning there are many MIOTAs out there). It has one of the highest market caps today due to the tech behind it being embraced by some big-name companies like Cisco Systems Inc, Volkswagen AG, and Samsung Group. Any coin in the top 10 by market cap is worth watching. IOTA is no exception.
  • Darkcoin (Dash): Darkcoin, known as Dash as of March 25, 2015 (dash=digital cash), but previously known as XCoin, has unique functionality. XCoin was developed by Evan Duffield who wanted to improve on Bitcoin but didn’t have the pull to do so. Thus, he developed his own coin. It takes less power to mine Dash than most coins. Using less energy to mine is important because mining coins is one of the most wasteful processes you can imagine. The wasteful mining process is key to security and stability of all coins that use a “proof-of-work” system. It prevents people from mining too fast. However, environmentally, it’s a nightmare. In 2015 we had said, “People know what a Darkcoin is. Hopefully, this familiarity rolls over to Dash” (today few remember XCoin and Darkcoin, and Dash is a well-known crypto). Back in 2015, Dash was one of the higher valued coins. Today that is still true, and Dash has performed almost as well competitors like Ethereum.
  • Tether and other stable coins: Tether is meant to reflect the price of the US dollar. There are some criticisms to consider. But if you want a stable coin for temporary use, Tether tends to be a good choice. It isn’t an investment; it is a place to park your value in crypto when you are in-between coins. With that in mind, one should dismiss TUSD, PAX, USDC, or DAI.

Below are coins that are no longer on our list of suggestions. They looked great in 2015, but they didn’t stand up over time. Consider we noted Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dash in 2015, and we noted the coins below. If you invested in them at the time, you did very well. That said, being off the list doesn’t make these coins a bad bet; it just means they aren’t as attractive as they once were:

  • Namecoin: In 2015 Namecoin looked promising, here in 2017 there is a little less hype. Still, Namecoin is notable. Namecoin is almost the same as Bitcoin. It was the first “fork” of the Bitcoin software. It’s based on Bitcoin and has the same unit cap, but has a few tweaks in its data storage. Namecoin was originally just going to be an upgrade to Bitcoin, but people were nervous that it would pose issues. So Namecoin is similar to Bitcoin, but like all the currencies that are not-Bitcoin, it is worth a fraction of Bitcoin. Its solid background and reasonable price point make it a relatively good coin to invest in. Of all the coins noted so far, Namecoin has performed the most poorly so far. It is still priced very low in USD.
  • Nxt: Not only does this nifty coin sport a name similar to Steve Job’s other company; it uses a cool and different algorithm for producing coins. This algorithm – an implementation of a proof-of-stake scheme rather than proof-of-work – may be less burdensome on the environment and has long-term potential. It may be worth a tad less than the other coins we recommend; it is worth about a penny on the dollar on a good day. However, less cost per coin means you have less to lose if the coin value deflates. Nxt is like Namecoin. It had a super cool code but didn’t though perform at the same level as other cryptos (until late 2017 where it saw a notable price hike). It is still priced very low in USD.
  • Peercoin: Like Nxt, Peercoin (abbreviated PPC) uses a proof-of-stake system; in fact, it was the first proof-of-stake coin. It’s worth about $0.40 on the USD and has a market cap of almost ten million. This coin has everything going for it and might be a smart bet as far as cryptocurrency goes. As an bonus to the confidence and quality of the coin, Peercoin was developed by Sunny King. Sunny King is, or might be, the person who created Bitcoin or another coin, or maybe Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent. It’s hard to tell as the culture of cryptocurrency puts importance on peer-to-peer, code, and coin over developers. Still, he is important, and like-it-or-not little things like this could be the deciding factor in whether a coin sinks or swims in the new market. Peercoin has a story like Nxt and Namecoin where they are long-running coins.
  • Dogecoin: Dogecoin (like the “Doge” internet meme about a dog and misspelling) had the 7th highest Market cap as of June 2015. In 2017 it was still a contender although it was more of one early in 2017. Individual coins aren’t worth as much as other coins on the list, but it’s value and popularity have remained relatively steady despite notable highs and lows. Dogecoin uses the same essential technology as Bitcoin with a few important technical distinctions. Like the failed Coinye West, Dogecoin was just in it for the lolz (i.e., it was created as a joke), but unlike Coinye, Dogecoin became inexplicably popular. Why do we suggest a joke coin? Because it’s a popular coin and today the only funny part about it is the name (and it’s mascot and backstory). It’s a lot like Litecoin — a fairly priced coin with some degree consumer confidence. Dogecoin has, one might argue, turned their comedic origins into an excuse to make their coin “fun and friendly,” which was a smart long-term move. It’s also one of the only major cryptocurrencies with a .com Top-Level Domain name and is one of the few that attempts to reach an audience outside of techies and cryptography nerds. As of September 2017, Dogecoin had taken a beating in value. One could argue that its roots as a joke coin weren’t as great a long-term strategy as it had once seemed (although one could argue the volatility it has seen is just business as usual in the cryptocurrency space.)

Other honorable mentions: Cardano (ADA), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zero-ex or 0x (ZRX), Tron (TRX), Zcash, EOS, NEO, NEM, Basic Attention Token (BAT), Monero (XMR), and a few others all have decent values, familiarity, and respectable market caps. Some even have better exchange rates currently then our top picks for coins, and who knows, any of these could be a top coin in the future. So, make sure not to dismiss the other forerunners (or even some odd altcoins with interesting code or large user bases are worth keeping an eye on). We could easily see one a given existing altcoin or even a new coin spring up to the top of the list at any moment (for example Verge accomplished this during an altcoin boom in 2017 – 2018). The cryptocurrency market is young and volatile, so anything could happen over time. The past is a good indicator of the future in crypto, but things change and the future is truly any coin’s game.

TIP: The top coins by market cap are usually the best bets. Most of the top coins today were toward the top of the list back in 2015. There are a few coins high on the list today that you should be wary of, for example, Bitconnect. There are a few new ones, like the Bitcoin forks, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold, that are new to the list. Meanwhile, there are a few that didn’t stand up to the test of time, like Peercoin. As a rule of thumb, historically speaking, the higher the coin is on the list, the more solid it is an investment over time.

Note: In most cases, you’ll have a hard time trading anything other than Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum for actual fiat (fiat being the centrally issued money of nations). You can trade most coins at online cryptocurrency exchanges, and you can use some coins to buy certain things online, but converting an altcoin into fiat currency means converting to a major coin first (BTC or ETH generally). A coin having a theoretical value in USD doesn’t mean that anyone is going to give you USD or pay that rate for your coins. This is more like selling penny stocks or trading one baseball card for another than actually having money on hand. So, keep that and the volatility of the markets and coins in mind when investing.

Advice from 2015: As a rule of thumb, don’t acquire any volatile assets you can’t afford to lose. This is a valuable guideline for investments in general. It’s important to look at the history of the value of Bitcoin. In late 2013 and early 2014, Bitcoin gained considerable Media attention, and the price of all coins inflated wildly and unreasonably. Since then most coins have leveled out at about double their pre-2014 value, but there is still plenty of room for the price to go down. History has shown us that there is plenty of room to go up as well. $1,000 Bitcoins? It happened once; it could happen again.
Advice from 2018: All the above advice still applies. All we have to do is change the numbers. There is plenty of room to go up but, today there is also even more room to go down. Crypto is still risky, but crypto is also still an exciting prospect for those willing to take the risk.

For those who want to dig deeper into the never-ending list of coins that are being created to capitalize on trends and sometimes improve the world of cryptocurrency, you can look at two of the most comprehensive lists on the internet at coinmarketcap.com and cryptocoincharts.info.

Get $10 in free Bitcoin when you sign up at Coinbase and buy or sell $100 in Cryptocurrency

"List of Cryptocurrencies" contains information about the following Cryptocurrencies:

Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) + Bitcoin SV (BSV), Cardano (ADA), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Monero (XMR), NEO, Ripple (XRP), Stable Coins, Stellar Lumens (XLM), Tron (TRX), Zero-ex / 0x (ZRX)

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Silviu Ionut Husaru on

What about onecoin , will go this to be like litecoin or etherum?

Thomas DeMichele on

Onecoin is said to be a Ponzi scheme. In this respect, it nothing like litecoin or ether. In fact, its not even a cryptocurrency (as far as I can tell).

Some things you walk away from, some things you run away from.

If we believe that onecoin is a Ponzi scheme (each has to make their own choice here), then logically we want to run away from onecoin.

I strongly suggest only seriously entertaining the top say 100 coins by market cap. I personally rarely consider an investment in any coin that isn’t roughly in the top 10 – 20 (there are some rare exceptions, such as with ICOs, but I’m never putting the bulk of my investable funds in anything without proven staying power and community in almost every case).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OneCoin

Rita on

How about “the billion coin (TBC)”???

Thomas DeMichele on

The first thing I though when you said that was, “that sounds like a scam.” Then the next thing I did was a google search and immediately I saw articles that said things like “in my opinion the Billion coin is a scam.” That is two red flags off the bat.

If a coin names itself something very similar to BTC (Bitcoin), it is really not a great sign. A good coin can stand on its own two feet.

Here is a tip to live and die by, only trade coins that are in the top 100 or so on coinmarketcap.com. If something promises you great returns if only you sign up for their thing and lock your money up, stay away.

If you want to make great gains, it is as easy as picking the right coin in the top 100 and keeping a little Bitcoin on hand. Are you going to get rich over night? Probably not. The reality is, the people who actually make profits at this are 1. the ones who learn to read charts, keep an eye on the news, watch out for pump and dumps, and try to time buys and sells to buy low and sell high of decent coins, with decent volume, and decent market caps (I do this, its hit or miss, but at least I can always place a stop loss and go back to BTC a little up or down), 2. market manipulators (don’t be like them; I am firmly against this and think it hurts cryptocurrency… I would place those who offer scam coins in this category), 3. People who average into coins they think will do well over time, hold, and take incremental profits (I do this, it is my bread and butter, 9 times out of 10 it works better for me than trading; that might say more about me than anything, but I think it also says something about what strategy will work best for the most people).

There is great joy in trying to buy into an average position on the top coins (but not Bitconnect https://cryptocurrencyfacts.com/2017/11/05/is-bitconnect-a-scam/) and then incrementally taking profits. There is nothing but sorrow ahead for those who go chasing unreal (and let’s stress that term in every sense) gains from things like “the Billion Coin.”

I don’t want to make a snap judgement call that it this thing must be a scam, I only want to point out that all my experience tells me to stay away from things like this.

Let’s not add extra risk to crypto by buying into anything that isn’t immediately tradable for BTC or fiat as a rule of thumb.

Shawn Casey on

Very well put together and very informative for the novice enthusiast!
Thank you

Shawn Casey on

What would your take be on a new company like NetCents, i know they are not in your top 100 but I think that they have an interesting platform and I would value your opinion!

Thank You

Thomas DeMichele on

If I like an ICO, read the white paper, research the founders, google it for hours, and come away with a good vibe, I will put a small amount of Ether (or whatever currency) on it and see where it goes as a long term play. 90% of the time it just ties up money that would have been better spent holding the coin. Further, you can often buy the token cheaper on the open market using a platform like EtherDelta. Further, you can often wait until it is listed on a major exchange and then buy it.

There aren’t many ways you can go right with an ICO considering every factor. However, it can and does happen. Hence the research and small buy-in.

Would I buy NetCents? Hard to justify when I can buy Bitcoin now. Not against ICOs though. See more of my thoughts here: https://cryptocurrencyfacts.com/tip-consider-buying-the-token-after-the-ico/

Thomas DeMichele on

Thanks for the kind words.

Richard on

Please what about DAX COIN, its now popular in Nigeria, but i think its SCAM.

Thomas DeMichele on

I get this feeling that people prey on certain regions of the earth where demand for a return on investment is high.

If a coin isn’t in the top 50 – 100 on CoinMarketCap.com, it is not a safe and sound investment for someone who wants to see a return as a rule of thumb. Once in a while I invest in coins in the 100 – 200 by market cap range, but this is after research and is very case specific. Further down the list we go, the less demand essentially. We want to be in coins that have enough demand to sell them later (hopefully at a profit)!

No matter what country you live in, you want to be looking for a coin that is going to come with minimal risk (in terms of crypto) and a good chance of providing a return. You need volume (as to sell you need a buyer, and to buy at a good price you need a seller) and you’ll want a strong community, active github, interesting tech, and use cases.

Meanwhile, although the price per coin really doesn’t matter much (as you can buy fractions of a coin) you probably want to aim for coins with lower costs per coin. There is truth in the idea that it is easier to 10x a .01 cent coin than it is a $10,000 coin.

Put that all together and you start looking at the top 100 coins, that cost less than $10, that haven’t popped in a while. Right now the alt market is hot, so you won’t find a lot that haven’t popped. However if you build average positions in coins like ADA, XLM, Ripple, IOTA, EOS, ICON, ADOR, etc (aiming to buy over the course of 12 months in small increments, especially when the price drops) then you’ll be setting yourself up with a diverse array of coins with staying power that have the potential to do 30% – 1,000% (on a very lucky and good day).

NOTE: Above I’m ignoring an important factor, supply. While supply is important for a valuation, the factor is secondary to the simple truth that it is, even with that considered, easier to 10x a coin with a lower price per coin.

That sort of strategy has historically worked, I always stay away from gimmicky coins that haven’t been proven to be solid investments over time.

If I can’t find DAX Coin in a Google search or on CoinMarketCap, that is a deal breaker. I can’t, so unless I’m missing something very important, consider staying away from it.

https://cryptocurrencyfacts.com/exchanges/coinmarketcap-com/

anonymous on

all but bitcoin is F’n trash

robert alexander mccullough on

Listing the scam coin Onecoin would be a good cautionary tale. https://news.bitcoin.com/onecoin-operators-trouble-three-countries/

Thomas DeMichele on

Unfortunately there are scam coins out there. I don’t suggest participating in any coin that requires that you lend another coin.

Pure cryptos where the coin is the asset (and the platform is at best a bonus) are generally what I would suggest. If it isn’t traded on major exchanges, and it isn’t a new coin or ICO, then be cautious.

Tiano on

How does this Litecoin works and how do l sign in and get started?

Pollo on

Pleas a opinion , how about the Dogecoin and Bytecoin i am begginer. THNX

Thomas DeMichele on

So the best thing to do is to go to CoinMarketCap.com (use this link to learn more https://cryptocurrencyfacts.com/exchanges/coinmarketcap-com/).

Then go down the list and check out the top 20 or so coins. Find coins in the top 20 that appeal to you, and then invest in those first.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Stellar, Monero, etc. You are looking for coins that have a history, have volume, and have a solid market cap. This are coins that will likely still have these features for as long as cryptocurrency remains a thing.

Once you start going down the list you find coins that might do well, and might even do very well, but are more risky by many measures.

Dogecoin and Bytecoin are fine picks by some measures, but they are both in the top 20 – 50 coins by market cap (as opposed to the top 20). If I was just starting out I would start at the top of the list.

That is just general advice.

More so, if you are “just starting out” then Bitcoin and Ethereum are probably the two most sensible picks. They are the most commonly traded for other coins and the top 2 by market cap.

Pollo on

Thanks you very much , i will consider you’r opinion .

Thomas DeMichele on

No problem, happy to answer any questions. The decision is ultimately up to the investor, but never hurts to ask.

Joseph on

Thomas, some good thoughts on the crypto space. Coincidentally, I share many of your views…top 20, sometimes top 50, with a focus on protocols with huge upside vs just applications, coins/projects with history and adoption with a strong community. Curious which privacy coins you prefer, I like Monero a lot, and haven’t ventured into others, but i think 2018-19 will be a big year for them. Any thoughts on others for consideration? I kinda like ZCash, not sure of Privex, Verge, NAVCoin, any others you know of or like… Thanks, JAS

Thomas DeMichele on

Fully agree there. Top coins plus look at what they offer, how active the devs are, and what the price and volume have been like over time.

Top picks for privacy coins are monero and zcash for me. Nothing against the others, those two just fit the other set of criteria listed above.

Lon Dev on

What about Bitcoin Pro – BTCP? some say it’s price will reach 1000$ this year..

Thomas DeMichele on

BTCP is the ticker for Bitcoin private. I’m not going to speculate on prices, but I will say that your information seems not great. If a Bitcoin fork is going to do well it’ll probably be one of the more popular ones. Maybe Bitcoin Gold or Bitcoin private. $1k Bitcoin Pro seems random, I can’t even confirm that Bitcoin Pro is a thing. Do you have any links?

When I find information like this online I tend to think the opposite. That is, a statement like that would make me think “stay away from anything called Bitcoin Pro.”

Those are just my initial thoughts, happy to consider a source if you have one.

Hira7 on

Good evening sir…
Please suggest me whether i should invest in GULF GOLD COIN…. Am hailing from a poor family… I collected some after selling my precious possessions…. Please help me…
Thnku

Thomas DeMichele on

We don’t give investment advice here.

But I will answer your question generally.

Generally speaking, rich or poor one should focus the top coins by market cap and avoid any coins that haven’t preformed well over the course of years. Any get rich quick sort of gambit and any coin promising returns is something that should be avoided, meanwhile one should approach coins with caution and practice conservative approaches like dollar cost averaging over time to build average positions.

So incrimental investing in bitcoin over a year, sure that is a reasonable strategy. Going for a coin not at the top of the list by market cap that isn’t traded on major exchanges… well that is how people end up in trouble with schemes like bitconnect.

Some coins have and will go to zero. You must be very careful and do research. I would avoid any coin that isn’t top ten on coinmarket cap if you have to ask.

Tolulope Godrinde on

Is billion coin legit?

Thomas DeMichele on

There are many coins out there, I’m not the final word on the legitimacy of a coin… but I always raise an eyebrow when someone mentions a coin that I’ve never heard of (I research and write about crypto for a living) and then has to ask “is it legit.”

My gut says, “it’s a trap; run.”

Here is an article that did more research than a gut check: https://99bitcoins.com/the-billion-coin-tbc-review-scam/.

Jeff Matyas on

For it to have a substantial effect cryptocurrencies must have stable base. If large companies begin taking them as payment then they will be legitimized. Must have technology to make them a real form of money, without that they are risky. Investment purchase right currencies (big risk) then BIG RETURN, if you choose wisely.

Thomas DeMichele on

In general most people won’t see a big return for a myriad of reasons (many having to due with human emotion and skill levels vs. the volatility in the crypto space). However, if you pick solid coins and invest or trade using a solid strategy, you do have a solid chance to see decent returns over time historically speaking (in other words, had you invested or traded wisely in the past, you would have had opportunities to see returns thus far).

Diana on

Where is futuro in this list

Thomas DeMichele on

Probably the main reason I didn’t include that random shhcoin is because it is a random shhcoin. 🙂

Angela on

What about XY company?

Thomas DeMichele on

Do you mean XYO? https://xyo.network/

I have no strong opinion on it, Coinbase Custody is supporting it… they have clearly put some effort into making a name for themselves. Hope they do well, if they keep up the good work maybe they will make the list. But the list above is about coins that have already proved their worth, not up and coming ones trying to break into the space..

So in sum. It isn’t good or bad that it didn’t make the list, it is a consequence of its age. It is 100% valid to research a new coin and decide you want to invest, but it is always more of a moonshot than when we are talking about a time tested coin in my opinion. 🙂