In this article, you will be introduced to the top ten digital assets as ranked by their market cap, according to CoinMarketCap.com on 10/29/2019, along with a discussion of the crypto-asset market in 2019.
The world’s first digital currency, bitcoin (BTC), continues to claim the number one spot in terms of market capitalization, value, and user adoption. The cryptocurrency has traditionally been considered among the most stable, despite its relatively volatility in comparison to traditional assets.
In 2019, bitcoin witnessed relatively minute fluctuations in its price, starting the year at $3,821. On July 10, the digital asset witnessed its year-high, trading at $12,378. In Q3/2019, the price has witnessed a downward trend and is currently trading around the $9,500 mark.
Additionally, 2019 brought with it ballooning interest from the traditional financial market with regards to cryptocurrencies, especially to bitcoin. Traditional investors have shown their interest in trading the cryptocurrency within the realms of the regulated financial space. As such, some parties have taken to introduce bitcoin-based derivatives. For instance, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) announced plans to launch bitcoin options in 2020 after having launched BTC futures in 2017.
Since its launch in 2015, Ethereum has consistently placed among the top three digital asset projects. The smart contract platform has had a good 2019, being credited as one of the most impactful blockchain-based platforms.
Ethereum has played a major role in establishing an industry-wide standard for smart contracts through its ERC-20 standard. Additionally, the platform also supports the creation of non-fungible tokens through its ERC-721 contract standard. It currently holds the distinction of being the most popular blockchain-based platform by developer and user statistics.
Ethereum’s native digital asset, ether (ETH), began the year trading at the $135 mark. The asset saw a relatively stable year in terms of price volatility, achieving its year-high on June 26 at $332. ETH is currently trading around the $160 mark.
The Ethereum platform is gearing towards a highly anticipated software update. The upgrade, referred to as Ethereum 2.0, is expected to come in Q4/2019 and is supposed to address many of the challenges facing the blockchain, such as throughput, scalability, and security concerns.
Controversial cryptoasset, XRP, started the year with a value of $0.35 and is currently trading around the $0.29 mark. The digital asset witnessed its highest value in the year on June 25, 2019 where it was trading for $0.46.
A cursory glance at the Ripple community subreddit reveals concerns raised by members of the community regarding the price activity of the digital asset. Additionally, worries over allegations on price manipulation of the XRP cryptocurrency by Ripple, the private company behind its creation, continue to gain steam this year.
The controversy surrounding Ripple, XRP, and various authorities have been the theme of the year. Ripple Labs is facing a class-action lawsuit from a group of investors who believe they were illegally defrauded in their acquisition of XRP as a security. Yet, those investors who do remain in support of the asset are angry that Ripple keeps “dumping” coins on them, claims which Ripple has revealed to be true through its quarterly reports.
Despite the public scandals, Ripple seems to be pushing ahead with its goals, having purchased Algrim, a digital trade company based in Iceland, to further streamline its Xrapid offering and possibly rebranding it to On-Demand-Liquidity. Responding to concerns that Ripple may be able to affect the XRP price disproportionately, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse deflected. In the ‘Off The Chain’ Podcast, while speaking to Anthony Pompliano on October 9, Garlinghouse stated that Ripple was incentivized to act in good faith because it is “the most interested party in the success and health of the Ripple ecosystem. We own a lot of XRP.”
Similar to Ripple, Tether (USDT) has had a fairly dramatic year. A slew of allegations has shadowed the company behind Tether, Tether Limited, with regards to its management of the cryptocurrency. Tether was the world’s first-ever stablecoin. Its price – by design – is set to remain around the same $1.00 mark to best facilitate trade and reduce volatility fears associated with cryptocurrencies.
While its price remains fairly stagnant, other metrics point to growth. For instance, the cryptocurrency surpassed bitcoin to become the most highly traded volume asset both daily and monthly since April 2019. In Q3 2019, Bloomberg reported that Tether was likely the most popular cryptocurrency by this metric.
Both Tether Limited and Bitfinex, a related company, continue to denounce allegations that their stablecoin is somehow linked to the price of bitcoin. However, these accusations are now catching a second wind with a new report made public at the beginning of Q3/2019.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash has managed to stay among the top cryptocurrencies despite its controversial beginnings. Originally started as a hard fork following intense discontent within the bitcoin community over scalability issues, bitcoin cash (BCH) seemed like it would likely face the path of other bitcoin hardforks.
However, two years later, the altcoin continues to be traded by a dedicated group of supporters. It is currently trading for $264 while its highest point in the year was on Jun 26 with the $526 price. BCH started out the year trading at the $189 mark.
Unfortunately, scandal continues to mar the digital asset and its community. The decentralization of the bitcoin cash blockchain has always been called into question. Concerns reached a crescendo in 2019 as bitcoin cash’s hash rate continued to be low. It was also found that miners are able to acquire large portions of the hashrate for an extended period. It remains to be seen whether fears of a 51 percent attack are founded and will materialise.
The altcoin designed to be the digital silver to bitcoin’s gold, Litecoin (LTC), is another digital currency that started out as a hard fork off the Bitcoin blockchain. Intended to be ‘bitcoin light’ (hence its name), Litecoin started out the year trading at $30 mark and is currently trading around the $61 mark. Its price peaked at the $142 mark in early June.
However, Litecoin is exhibiting some troubling symptoms of a project which might not stand the test of time. Its blockchain has showcased a continual decrease in hash rate. This trend was not reversed by the Litecoin Halving event in August, which typically increases a network’s hashrate. Additionally, developer metrics are at an all-time low, pointing to dwindling interest levels in support of the project that has been a top ten cryptoasset since its launch in 2011.
Binance Coin (BNB)
Binance Coin (BNB) is the native digital asset belonging to Binance, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency trading platform by trading volume. Following its launch by Chinese exchange Binance, BNB has been popular with investors.
The altcoin is currently trading at the $18 mark while it started the year close to $2. BNBs yearly high was witnessed on June 22, where it traded for $38.
BNB is popular because Binance has consistently pushed new products that utilize the digital asset in its offerings. Many believe that this utility will ensure the asset continues to grow in value. In light of this year’s launch of Binance’s blockchain, BNB is well-positioned to remain a competitive digital asset in 2019 and beyond.
The relatively new smart contract platform EOS has been in the middle of a storm of controversy over its governance and its token structure.
The company behind it, Block.One was under investigation by the SEC and was ordered to pay a fine for illegally selling securities within the US. On top of its legal issues, EOS’ consensus mechanism DPoS is mentioned by critics among those who promote centralization within a blockchain network.
Additionally, as China continues to name EOS as its top digital asset, there are fears that the project is now under Chinese control. These rumors were further fanned when Brock Pierce, an early member of the Block.One team, hinted at a “Chinese oligarchy” controlling the show when he spoke at the Tulip Conference in June 2019.
EOS is currently trading at $3.35 and reached its 2019 high of over $8.00 in May.
Bitcoin SV (BSV)
Bitcoin SV (BSV) came into being after public disagreements within the bitcoin cash community over system upgrade reached a crescendo. Hard forking in late 2018, bitcoin SV proponents claimed that its blockchain features meant it was the ‘real bitcoin.’ Hence, the name Bitcoin Satoshi Vision.
2019 saw the digital asset increase in value as it started out trading at the $93 mark and is currently trading at $138. However, it appears the altcoin is having trouble living up to its dreams as its blockchain is showing signs of a slowly dwindling hash rate. This does not bode well for the project and its price activity.
Justin Sun-led decentralized application platform Tron also earns a spot in the top ten digital assets of 2019. The blockchains native platform TRX, and the platform itself continue to woo investors and developers alike.
Sun and the Tron Foundation have been leveraging partnerships and strategic investments to steer the project to success.
TRX began the year trading at $0.07. Its highest value within the year was $0.09 in May, and it is currently trading around the $0.01 mark
The constituents of the top ten largest digital assets by market capitalization change on an ongoing basis. It will be interesting to see what the top ten look like this time next year.
The information in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered financial or investment advice. Investing in ICOs, IEO’s, cryptocurrencies, or tokens is highly speculative, and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.