Top 10 cryptocurrencies of December 2022

There are thousands of cryptocurrencies, from Bitcoin to Ethereum to Dogecoin and Tether – such a wide range of options can be a source of great confusion for those taking their first steps in this world. To help you find your way, here are the top 10 cryptocurrencies based on market capitalization, which is the total value of all virtual currencies currently in circulation, expressed in dollars.

1. Bitcoin (BTC)

Capitalization: $ 371 billion

Created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin (BTC) was the first cryptocurrency in the world. Like most other cryptocurrencies, BTC runs on a blockchain, which is a register for recording transactions distributed over a network of thousands of computers. To keep Bitcoin safe from scammers, the process of adding to shared ledgers needs to be verified by solving a cryptographic puzzle, called proof-of-work.

Bitcoin’s price has skyrocketed, hand in hand with its popularity. In early 2016, one could be bought for around $ 400. At its highest in 2021, one Bitcoin was worth a whopping 67,000. At the end of June this year, the price had dropped to around $ 20,000, still a 4,900% growth, but also a clear example of the volatility in cryptocurrency prices, a problem common to the entire sector and not exclusive to Bitcoin. As of October 3, 2022, the price of one Bitcoin is around $ 19,400.

2. Ethereum (ETH)

Market capitalization: $ 162 billion

Ethereum, which is both a cryptocurrency and a blockchain platform, has several potential applications – such as so-called smart contracts that are executed automatically when certain conditions are met, and NFTs (“non-fungible tokens”) – which make it a favorite of computer developers around the world.

Ethereum also grew spectacularly and then plummeted this year. From April 2016 to early October 2022, the price of Ethereum jumped from around $ 11 to $ 1,317, an increase of around 11,873%, after hitting an all-time high of over $ 4,700 in 2021.

3. Tether (USDT)

Capitalization: $ 68 billion

Unlike other forms of cryptocurrency, Tether is a stablecoin, which means it is backed by a fiat currency, in this case the US dollar, and hypothetically holds a dollar value. In theory, this means that the value of Tether should be more linear than that of other cryptocurrencies, and therefore it is often chosen by investors who are wary of the extreme volatility of other virtual currencies.

4. U.S. Dollar Coin (USDC)

Capitalization: $ 47 billion

Like Tether, USD Coin (USDC) is also a stablecoin, which means that it is backed by the US dollar and points to a ratio of 1 USD to 1 USDC. USDC relies on Ethereum, and can be used to transact globally.

5. Binance Coin (BNB)

Capitalization: $ 46 billion

Binance Coin is a cryptocurrency that can be used to trade and pay commissions on Binance, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.

Launched in 2017, Binance Coin has expanded into much more than just a means of facilitating operations on Binance. It can now be used for trading, payment processing or even travel booking. It can also be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum or Bitcoin.

It can now be used for trading, payment processing, or even travel booking. It can also be traded or exchanged for other forms of cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum or Bitcoin.

In 2017, a BNB was worth just $ 0.10. At the beginning of October 2022, its price jumped to around $ 287, a gain of 286,900%.

6. XRP (XRP)

Capitalization: $ 22 billion

Created by some of the founders of Ripple, a payment and fund transfer management system, XRP can be used on that network to facilitate the exchange of different types of currencies, including fiat currencies and major cryptocurrencies.

At the beginning of 2017, the price of XRP was 6 thousandths of a dollar. As of October 2022, its price hit 45 cents, which is an increase of 6,233%.

7. Binance USD (BUSD)

Capitalization: $ 21 billion

Binance USD (BUSD) is a stablecoin launched in 2019 by Binance and Paxos, a regulated financial institution specializing in blockchain, with the aim of creating a cryptocurrency anchored to the US dollar. To maintain this value, Paxos holds an amount of US dollars equal to BUSD’s total supply. Like other stablecoins, BUSD offers cryptocurrency traders and users the ability to transact with other crypto stocks while minimizing the risk of volatility.

8. Cardano (ADA)

Market capitalization: $ 14.5 billion

Cardano is a blockchain platform known for welcoming the validation process known as “proof-of-stake” right from the start. This method accelerates transaction times and decreases energy consumption and environmental impact, removing the competitive aspect based on cryptography to verify transactions instead used by platforms such as Bitcoin. Cardano also works like Ethereum to allow the use of smart contracts and decentralized applications, both of which work thanks to ADA, its native currency.

The ADA token enjoyed relatively modest growth when compared to that of other major cryptocurrencies. In 2017, its price was 2 cents. At the beginning of October it rose to 42 cents: an increase of 2,000%.

9. Sunshine (SUN)

Market capitalization: $ 11.7 billion

Developed to support the use of decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized applications (Dapp) and smart contracts, Solana works thanks to a peculiar mechanism that, by combining proof-of-stake and proof-of-history, helps to process transactions quickly and securely. The platform is powered by SOL, Solana’s native token.

When this cryptocurrency was launched in 2020, the starting price of SOL was around 7 cents. At the beginning of October 2022, its price is around $ 32, with a gain for investors of 4,500%.

10. Dogecoin (DOGE)

Capitalization: $ 8 billion

Dogecoin was launched as a joke in 2013, but has quickly become one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world thanks to a particularly assiduous community and creative memes. Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, there is no limit to the number of Dogecoin tokens that can be created, which is why it is susceptible to devaluation as the reserve grows.

In 2017, the price of a DOGE was just $ 0.0002. At the beginning of October 2022, the price rose to around 6 cents, a growth of 30,000%. Dogecoin hit its all-time high in 2021, when it hit 70 cents.

* Market caps and prices from Coinmarketcap, updated as of October 3, 2022.

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are a form of currency that exists only in the digital world. They can be used to pay for online purchases without having to go through an intermediary, such as a bank, or they can be used as an investment.

How is cryptocurrency trading different from stock trading?

Nothing prevents you from investing in cryptocurrencies, but it is good to keep in mind that they are very different from traditional investments, such as stocks. When you buy a stock, you are buying an ownership stake in a company, which means that you typically have the right, for example, to vote on which direction the company should take. If the company goes bankrupt, there is an opportunity to be repaid, after all creditors have been paid in the course of the bankruptcy procedure.

Buying cryptocurrencies does not guarantee you ownership of anything other than the token itself: roughly, it is like exchanging one currency for another. If the cryptocurrency loses value, you are not entitled to refunds.

There are other important differences to keep in mind:

  • Trading Hours : Shares are only traded during certain hours, usually from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday on the Milan stock exchange. The cryptocurrency markets never close, and therefore it is possible to trade them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Regulation : Equities are regulated financial products, which means that a regulator verifies their credentials, and the accounts of the companies that issue them are in the public domain. On the contrary, cryptocurrencies are not regulated investment vehicles, and therefore it is possible not to be aware of the internal dynamics of the one we buy.
  • Volatility : Both stocks and cryptocurrencies carry risks – the money you invest can always lose value. However, the shares are directly related to the issuing companies and generally acquire and lose value based on the performance of those companies. The prices of cryptocurrencies are more speculative: no one is sure of their value yet. This makes them much more volatile and susceptible to even celebrity tweets.

Do you pay taxes on cryptocurrencies?

If you buy and sell coins, it is important to pay attention to the tax regulations regarding cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are treated like stocks, not just cash. This means that if you make a profit from selling cryptocurrencies, you will have to pay capital gains tax.

Are there any ETFs denominated in cryptocurrencies?

Given the thousands of cryptocurrencies that exist (and the high volatility that characterizes most of them), it is understandable to want to diversify your approach and invest in cryptocurrencies in order to minimize risk.

Several companies have proposed cryptocurrency ETFs; these are investment funds (“exchange-traded funds” or funds traded on the stock exchange) that allow you to invest in cryptocurrencies without actually owning any. However, for regulatory reasons, there are no crypto ETFs available in Italy at the moment for savers. There are ETFs that invest in the blockchain technology used by cryptocurrencies, which however is not the same as investing in cryptocurrencies proper.       

How do you buy cryptocurrencies?

You can buy cryptocurrencies on exchanges, or cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Coinbase, Kraken or Gemini. Some brokers also allow you to buy cryptocurrencies.