Top Ten Cryptocurrencies Explained

Entrepreneurs take note; cryptocurrency has been described as the next technological revolution. Don’t know your Dogecoin from your Shib? If so, this article is for you! We break down the top ten cryptocurrencies by Market Capitalisation (circulating supply multiplied by price) or the total value of supply. Market Cap can vary minute by minute so some coins may drift in and out of the top ten. Here goes…

1. Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin is the granddaddy of cryptocurrencies. Launched in 2009 by a mysterious individual named Satoshi Nakamoto. The purpose was to create a decentralised digital currency. Bitcoins are created by a process called ‘mining’, miners use their computing processing power to solve algorithms that in turn help validate the Blockchain. The Blockchain put simply is a digital ledger or list of all transactions that have taken place. The blockchain is important because there is no centralised ownership, so it cannot be easily modified or manipulated. It’s no coincidence that Bitcoin was launched following the 2008 financial crisis. Bitcoin’s code is open-source, so anyone can use it to create their own blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Total Supply: 21 Million

Bitcoin Whitepaper

2. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum was launched in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin. Once again the purpose was to create a decentralised, open-source blockchain but this time with added functionality. Ethereum allows users to run decentralised applications on it (Dapps). Decentralised finance applications are possible (Defi) that aim to provide financial service without the need of banks, brokerages or other middlemen.

Ethereum like Bitcoin is created by the mining process, however, plans are afoot to move to a ‘proof of stake model’ It has been argued that mining (proof of work) is bad for the environment since vast amounts of energy are required to power computer processors. With proof of stake, users are rewarded for the crypto they hold rather than the power of their computer processor.

Unlike Bitcoin, users can create their own tokens or digital assets on top of Ethereum (ERC-20 tokens). It’s also possible to create NFT’s (Non-Fungible Tokens). The advantages are numerous but in short, Ethereum makes it relatively easy for users to create their own digital assets and cryptocurrencies on top of the main blockchain. Many have described Ethereum as the Internet of cryptocurrency.

Total supply: 112 Million

Ethereum Whitepaper

3. Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance Coin is the cryptocurrency asset of exchange Binance which is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Binance was founded by Changpeng Zhao originally in China, the coin was launched in 2017. Despite being one of the largest exchanges Binance has faced regulatory pressure having to leave China and then an investigation by US and UK regulators. Binance Coin is an ERC-20 token built on Ethereum. The token can be used to pay for fees on the Binance exchange.

Total supply: 200 Million

Binance Whitepaper

4. Solana (SOL)

Solana was created in 2017 by Anatoly Yakovenko as a solution to the throughput problems associated with Bitcoin and Ethereum. Solana claims to be able to process over 2500 transactions per second. Solana is a decentralised blockchain, that much like Ethereum allows users to create applications on top. Solana claims to solve scalability issues such as the increasing fees (gas fees) applied to user transactions on Ethereum. Much like Ethereum, Solana offers a growing eco-system of Defi, Dapps and NFTs. Users can also create their own digital tokens (SPL Token) much like the Ethereum ERC-20 system.

Total Supply: 500 Million

Solana Whitepaper

5. Tether (USDT)

Tether was launched by CEO Reeve Collins in 2014 after a rename from “RealCoin”. Tether is known as a “stable coin”. The idea is that Tether should follow the value of the US Dollar and that 1 Tether should be equal to 1 USD. There has been significant controversy as to whether Tethers are backed by actual US dollars. Tether is launched on Bitcoin (Omni and Liquid Protocol), Ethereum, EOS, Tron, Algorand, SLP and OMG blockchains. The idea is that users can easily use fiat currencies in blockchains without the associated volatility of digital currencies.

Total Supply: There is no supply limit to Tether as long as each Tether is backed by the US Dollar.

Tether Whitepaper

6. Cardano (ADA)

Cardano was founded in 2015 by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson. Cardano is a decentralised blockchain with its own digital currency, ADA. Unlike Ethereum and Bitcoin Cardano works on the ‘proof of stake’ consensus meaning that validation is much more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Much like Ethereum and Solana, users can create their own native digital tokens, NFT’s and applications using smart contracts. The Cardano blockchain is divided into two separate layers; the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) and the Cardano Computing Layer (CCL). The Settlement Layer allows for all the transactions and the Computer Layer is where all the applications will be run. With this in mind, Cardano claim 1 million transactions per second will be possible.

Total Supply: 45 Billion

Cardano Whitepaper

7. XRP (XRP)

XRP is the native cryptocurrency of payment network Ripple. Ripple is built on an open-source protocol and claims to allow, “secure, instantly and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks”. Founded by Jed McCaleb in 2014, Ripple offers decentralised financial solutions for real-world applications. The back-story of Ripple has been controversial, in 2020 Ripple Labs were sued by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) for selling the XRP token, which the SEC asserted were unregistered securities. As a result, Coinbase one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges del-listed XRP in Jan 2021. The lawsuit continues.

Total Supply: 100 Billion

XRP Whitepaper

8. Polkadot (DOT)

Polkadot offers a decentralised network that allows an interconnected internet of blockchains. The idea is to, “connect private and consortium chains, public and permissionless networks, oracles, and future technologies that are yet to be created”. Launched in 2020, the protocol was created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood and like Cardano utilises the proof of stake consensus. Polkadot introduces the concept of ‘Parachains’, Parachains are custom blockchains that are integrated within the Polkadot network.

Total Supply: 1 Billion

Polkadot Whitepaper

9. Dogecoin(DOGE)

Dogecoin is a decentralised digital currency that allows users to easily send money online. The cryptocurrency was originally created as a ‘joke’ by software engineers Billy Markus, Jackson Palmer in 2013. Dogecoin utilises the image of the Shiba Inu dog from the “Doge” meme that became popular in 2013. Dogecoin states that it is a “fun and friendly cryptocurrency”. The coin is often mentioned by entrepreneur Elon Musk, boosting its popularity in recent times. Like Bitcoin, Dogecoin utilises the proof of work consensus. Dogecoin is built on a ‘fork’ of Bitcoin called Litecoin. Unlike Litecoin and other cryptocurrencies, there are no maximum supply limits, every minute 10,000 Dogecoins are added to the supply.

Total Supply: Unlimited

Dogecoin Whitepaper – None

10. USD Coin (USDC)

USD Coin is a “stable coin” and much like Tether is pinned to the US Dollar. USD Coin was founded by a consortium called “Centre” of which Coinbase and Circle are members. Launched in 2018, the Circle co-founders are Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville. The main advantage of USD Coin is one of stability, Circle claims that each USD coin is backed by one US Dollar or other “approved investments”. USD tokens are based on the Ethereum ERC-20 system. USD coin claims to be “cheaper and more secure than existing payment systems”.

Total Supply: No maximum supply

USD Coin Whitepaper

Other Mentions:

11. Shiba Inu (SHIB)

At the time of writing, Shiba Inu slipped out of the top ten but warrants a mention. Shiba Inu is a decentralised ‘meme’ token much like Dogecoin. Unlike Dogecoin, Shiba Inu has developed an ecosystem. Created in 2020 by an anonymous person called, “Ryoshi” the coin is an Ethereum ERC-20 token. As such Shiba Inu is proof of work and transitioning to proof of stake. Shiba Inu has a huge supply of 1 Quadrillion coins. 50% were sent to Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and 50% were locked in Uniswap, (a decentralised exchange for ERC-20 tokens). Vitalik subsequently sent 60% to India to combat Covid-19 and burnt the remainder to a dead wallet. Shibu Inu has developed its own decentralised exchange (DEX) Shibaswap. Users can exchange tokens and deposit tokens in ‘liquidity pools’ to earn interest.

Total Supply: 1 Quadrillion (100,000,000,000,000)

Shiba Inu Whitepaper

12. PopUpWorld token (PUW)

The PopUpWorld token (PUW) is the digital token of Pop Up World. Pop Up World is a platform and digital eco-system of apps and services that aim to assist start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses scale their projects. Launched in 2020 by entrepreneur Graham Jules the PopUpWorld token is based on the Cardano blockchain. The token is used as a reward for activity on the platform and in the future will be used to fund member projects.

Total Supply: 77.7 Billion

PopUpWorld Whitepaper

Remember, cryptocurrencies can be highly volatile and are largely unregulated. You invest in any of these at your own risk. We created this article as information only and make no recommendations with regard to investment potential.

If you enjoyed this article please remember to like and subscribe for regular entrepreneur news on Pop Up World. Feel free to visit us on


2 thoughts on “Top Ten Cryptocurrencies Explained

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: