July 22, 2024
Crypto

Top 10 Altcoins In 2024 – Forbes Advisor UK


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Forbes Advisor has provided this content for educational reasons only and not to help you decide whether or not to invest in cryptocurrency. Should you decide to invest in cryptocurrency or in any other investment, you should always obtain appropriate financial advice and only invest what you can afford to lose.

Since its introduction in 2008, Bitcoin has inspired an explosion of other cryptocurrencies. These ‘alternative’ cryptocurrency coins – altcoins –  now number more than 5,000.

If you want to invest in cryptocurrency, one option is to diversify by holding a selection of coins beyond Bitcoin, taking into account the functionalities they offer.

Below are the 10 altcoins with the highest market capitalisation at the time of writing that are approved by the financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Ether (ETH)

Ether is the cryptocurrency native to Ethereum, the global software platform that runs applications including smart contracts, games and financial transactions through blockchain technology, as well as minting and storing non-fungible tokens or NFTs.

It was launched in 2015 and has accrued a market capitalisation of over £210 billion, as of January 2024. Each Ether token is worth around £1,895, well below the all-time high of £4,022.12 it registered in November 2021.

Tether (USDT)

Launched in 2017, Tether is one of around 200 stablecoins. 

A stablecoin is tied to fiat currency, in this case, the US dollar. For every Tether coin issued, its creators keep $1 in reserve, and for every dollar cashed out, one Tether coin is destroyed.

In theory, Tether retains a value of around $1 (or £0.81 in sterling terms) at all times. This stability could make Tether a good option for transferring value between exchanges, since Tether holdings are perceived as more likely to retain a stable value than other, more volatile, coins.

However, stablecoins are not infallible. In early May 2022 another stablecoin, Terra USD crashed –  dropping from $1 to a low of just $0.30 a coin. In response, investors cashed out millions of dollars they had put into other stablecoins, including Tether. 

In the following weeks, Tether’s market capitalisation dropped from $83 billion (£65.6 billion) to $73 billion (£57.70). Today, its market cap stands at around £72 billion.

Solana (SOL)

Much like Ethereum, the Solana blockchain platform was built with the goal of hosting decentralised applications. Both the platform and its cryptocurrency launched in 2020.

One key advantage of Solana is the platform’s low transaction fees, which work out considerably cheaper than its competitors. The platform can process as many as 65,000 transactions a second, largely due to verifying them through a new ‘proof-of-history’ process.

This processing method adds a ‘time-stamp’ to each block, creating a permanent record of what transactions happened in what order.

As of January 2024, Solana is worth £58.62. Solana’s market capitalisation is £39 billion.

Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance Coin (BNB) launched in 2017, and runs on the Ethereum blockchain. 

During its initial coin offering (ICO), Binance issued 200 million BNB coins, but the platform periodically buys back and destroys –  ‘burns’ – some of these coins, increasing the value of those left in circulation.

The coin was valued at £250 as of January 2024. 

XRP (XRP)

XRP is a cryptocurrency best-known for its use on the global money transfer network, Ripple.

The cryptocurrency was first launched in 2012 on its own ledger. Unlike bitcoin, XRP transactions are not verified through proof-of-work or proof-of-stake. Instead, transfers are processed by network participants known as validators.

Making a transaction through Ripple incurs a small fee – a tiny fraction of one XRP token, which is destroyed.

The coin’s creator, Ripple Labs, recently won a court case brought against it by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US equivalent of the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. The case alleged that by selling XRP tokens for fundraising purposes, Ripple Labs had sold an unregistered security.

Securities are financial instruments that represent ownership – such as shares in a company – but have no utility. In the US, they must legally be registered with the SEC.

In mid-July, a judge ruled that XRP should not be classed as a security, and Ripple Labs had not broken the law. The token’s value shot up 75% in the hours that followed the decision.

In January 2024, XRP had a market cap of £27 billion. Each coin is worth around £0.50.

The number of XRP tokens that can ever be in circulation is capped at 100 billion.

USD Coin (USDC)

USD Coin (USDC) is a stablecoin pegged to the value of one US dollar.

For each USDC in circulation, one dollar is held in reserve. Whenever a coin is exchanged for fiat currency, it’s destroyed – ensuring the number of coins issued and dollars held in reserve remains the same. USDC was first issued in 2018, by peer-to-peer payment platform, Circle.

As of January 2024, USDC’s value remains at $1 (about £0.78). Its market cap is £19 billion.

Cardano (ADA)

Cardano was created by Ethereum’s co-founder, Charles Hoskinson, in 2017. It’s the native cryptocurrency of the Cardano blockchain platform, and uses proof-of-stake, rather than proof-of-work, to verify and process transactions.

Proof-of-stake blockchains require considerably less energy than their proof-of-work counterparts, since this process uses an algorithm to select just one device in the decentralised network to verify each block of transactions, rather than having every device compete every time.

As of January 2024, one Cardano is worth £0.50. Its all-time high was £2.45, which it reached in September 2021. Its market cap stands at £17 billion.

Avalanche (AVAX)

Avalanche (AVAX) is a relatively new cryptocurrency. Despite only having sprung up in 2020, it has gained tremendous popularity as an alternative for Ethereum developers. Avalanche has become one of the larger cryptocurrencies, with a market cap around £12 billion.

AVAX currently trades at £33.77.

Dogecoin (DOGE)

What began as a tongue-in-cheek meme currency quickly became a crypto asset.

Dogecoin was created in late 2013, using blockchain technology derived from Litecoin, and accompanied by a Shiba Inu dog logo. The coin is known for its humorous origins and unlimited supply, which has made it an attractive entry point to crypto for new investors.

Dogecoin saw its value rocket to an all-time high of £0.58 in 2022, partly in response to Elon Musk’s tweet about buying Tesla merchandise with Dogecoin.

As of December 2023, Dogecoin’s value has fallen to about £0.07. Its market cap is £10 billion.



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