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Jul 26, 2023

Types of Cryptocurrency: Top 10 Cryptocurrencies

By Team Stash
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Over the last decade or so, the cryptocurrency market has exploded. If you’re crypto-curious, there’s a lot of information to wade through. In 2009 Bitcoin was the sole player, but today there are more than 26,000 types of cryptocurrency available. Not to mention the 1,700 to 3,000 cryptocurrencies that have failed and disappeared from the market completely. Envisioned as digital money not controlled by a government or central bank, cryptocurrency is built to support decentralized peer-to-peer transactions, processes, and systems. These currencies are created using blockchain technology, and they can be used as a source of purchasing power or as an investment opportunity. 

Most types of cryptocurrency can be purchased on a cryptocurrency exchange and used for financial services on the public blockchain, known as decentralized finance, or DeFi. These services can include making purchases and transactions, as well as things a traditional bank would usually support, like earning interest, purchasing insurance, borrowing, lending, and more. Some types of cryptocurrency also have additional use cases beyond financial transactions.

Though cryptocurrency doesn’t have a physical form like fiat currency, users must still maintain a safe place to store their digital assets. Crypto wallets allow you to interact with the blockchain so you can see your balance and initiate and receive transactions, which are then stored on the ledger. If you’re ready to investigate just some of the crypto options available, this guide takes you through altcoin, tokens, and the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap in 2023.

Types of cryptocurrencies

In the early days, Bitcoin was nearly synonymous with cryptocurrency because it was, for several years, the only coin available, and it established early dominance in the market. However, as blockchain technology evolved and crypto enthusiasts sought out broader uses for crypto, the types of cryptocurrency available multiplied. Today, many crypto coins, tokens, stablecoins, and altcoins exist on blockchains beyond Bitcoin.

Crypto coins vs. crypto tokens

Crypto coins are individual units of cryptocurrency that require a specific underlying blockchain. Crypto tokens are digital assets built on another cryptocurrency’s blockchain. Generally, it’s easier to create a token than it is to create a coin. Because tokens can be built on any programmable blockchain, they’re essentially piggybacking on an already developed and validated complex network. 

Tokens often have broader use cases than coins. In addition to financial transactions, they might be used for a broader array of financial services, as well as other types of transactions, like smart contracts. Non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs, are also gaining popularity as a way to buy and sell digital artwork.


Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies designed to be less volatile than other cryptos, as their value is pegged 1:1 to underlying collateral like a fiat currency, commodity, or another financial instrument. They’re intended to maintain a predictable, fixed value over time. Although they are minted on the blockchain and users can buy, sell, and trade them on an exchange like other cryptocurrencies, stablecoins are generally governed by a centralized system. 

  • Fiat-backed stablecoins (centralized): Pegged 1:1 to a national fiat currency, like the U.S. dollar, to ensure their value. Every single U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin in circulation has $1 in reserve either in cash or cash equivalents. These reserves are maintained by regularly audited independent custodians.
  • Commodity-backed stablecoins (centralized): Tied to physical assets like gold or other precious metals, oil, and real estate. The value is more likely to fluctuate based on the market value of the linked commodities. 
  • Crypto-backed stablecoins (decentralized): Collateralized by other crypto assets. They are typically less stable than fiat-backed stablecoins, as the underlying cryptocurrency may fluctuate in value, and those values can sometimes be volatile. 


The term altcoins, or alternative coins, simply refers to any type of coin-based cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin. Tokens and stablecoins are categorized as altcoins. Altcoin creators often tout their cryptocurrencies as having qualities Bitcoin does not have, such as greater transaction speed and increased security. Bitcoin was originally designed to transfer wealth and record those transactions, so it is somewhat limited when compared with altcoins like Ethereum, which support applications and smart contracts.

Top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap in 2023

Market capitalization, or market cap, is a metric used to measure the relative size of a cryptocurrency, i.e. the total value of all the coins that have been mined. Market cap is calculated by multiplying the number of coins in circulation by the current market price of a single coin. The top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap in 2023 include TRON at around $7 billion and Bitcoin at over $568 billion.

CryptocurrencyTotal market value
Bitcoin$568 billion
Ethereum$225 billion
Tether$83 billion
XRP$37 billion
BNB$37 billion
USDC (US Dollar Coin)$26 billion
Dogecoin$11 billion
Cardano$10 billion
Solana$10 billion
TRON$7 billion

*as of July 2023


  • Market cap: $568 billion
  • Year created: 2009
  • Type: Coin

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, with specifications and proof of concept published more than a decade ago. It continues to dominate about 50% of the crypto market. Bitcoin issuance will halt completely once 21 million bitcoins are in existence. The number of bitcoins created each year is automatically halved to maintain a steady and predictable rate.


  • Market cap: $225 billion
  • Year created: 2015
  • Type: Coin

The second most popular type of cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, Ethereum bills itself as “the world’s programmable blockchain.” In addition to powering ether, the currency of the Ethereum blockchain, it allows people to use other digital assets like Bitcoins and altcoins on the network, as well as store data and run decentralized applications.


  • Market cap: $83 billion
  • Year created: 2014
  • Type: Stablecoin

Tether is the first blockchain-enabled platform to facilitate the use of traditional currencies. A token-based system built on multiple leading blockchains, Tether tokens are referred to as stablecoins because they are pegged 1-to-1 to a fiat currency, which can offer price stability. Tether is pegged to currencies including U.S. dollars, euros, and offshore Chinese yuan; it can also be pegged to gold.


  • Market cap: $37 billion
  • Year created: 2017
  • Type: Coin

Initially based on the Ethereum network, BNB (Binance Coin) is now native to its own Binance blockchain. Binance has initiated a quarterly auto-burn program that removes about 50% of BNB tokens from circulation as a deflationary measure.


  • Market cap: $37 billion
  • Year created: 2012
  • Type: Token

XRP is the digital asset native to the XRP Ledger blockchain. Designed specifically for payments, XRP can be traded on more than 100 markets and exchanges worldwide. XRP is intended to serve as a kind of bridge between hard-to-match fiat currencies, enabling easier international transactions.

USD Coin

  • Market cap: $26 billion
  • Year created: 2018
  • Type: Stablecoin

USD Coin (USDC) is a type of cryptocurrency that is pegged to the value of the US dollar. The system allows traditional fiat currency to be tokenized for use online and across blockchains.  It is considered a stablecoin because its value is designed to remain relatively stable and consistent, mirroring the price of the US dollar. This means USD coins can be changed back into traditional U.S. dollars at a 1-to-1 rate.


  • Market cap: $11 billion
  • Year created: 2013
  • Type: Coin

Based on the “doge” meme, Dogecoin features an internet-famous Shiba Inu in its logo. The cryptocurrency was forked from Litecoin with the intention of creating a fun, lighthearted currency with appeal beyond the hardcore Bitcoin crowd. Popularized by Elon Musk, Dogecoin is primarily used as a tipping system on Reddit and Twitter to reward quality content.


  • Market cap: $10 billion
  • Year created: 2017
  • Type: Token

Individual units of Cardano cryptocurrency are known as ADA. Cardano tokens can power multiple financial services beyond their use as currency. The total supply is capped at 45 billion tokens, and about 35 billion of those are currently in circulation. 


  • Market cap: $10 billion
  • Year created: 2020
  • Type: Coin

Solana is the name of both the blockchain platform and its native cryptocurrency. Launched in April 2020, Solana promises users faster operation and lower transaction fees than Ethereum. It operates on a “proof of stake” blockchain that consumes less power than a “proof of work” blockchain like Bitcoin, and is therefore considered more environmentally friendly.


  • Market cap: $7 billion
  • Year created: 2017
  • Type: Coin

Founded in 2017, TRON is a digital cryptocurrency and decentralized platform designed to revolutionize the entertainment and content-sharing industry. It aims to provide content creators with a direct channel to distribute their work to audiences, eliminating the need for intermediaries like app stores and social media platforms. TRON’s native cryptocurrency, TRX, facilitates transactions and serves as the backbone of the platform’s ecosystem, powering content creation, content sharing, and other interactions within the network.

Are you a crypto-curious investor?

With so many types of cryptocurrency, investors have lots of options to explore. Be aware that cryptocurrency can be a risky investment: It can be volatile, it’s largely unregulated, and there are many unknowns about how it will continue developing. 

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Cryptocurrency FAQ

Why are there so many types of cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency can be launched by anyone who has an internet connection and can either build a blockchain or use one that serves as a platform for the creation of such assets. The popularity of cryptocurrency and the relative ease of creating one has inspired many new varieties that meet different needs.

Crypto assets go beyond coins and tokens, and new ones are surfacing daily. New cryptocurrencies may include advanced functionalities their predecessors do not. For example, Ethereum and Solana, among others, support smart contracts, or programs stored on the blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met. Smart contracts use “if/when…then” rules to automate the execution of agreements quickly, predictably, and without an intermediary.

What cryptocurrency is most widely accepted?

Bitcoin is holding steady as the most widely accepted cryptocurrency, but Ethereum and other types of cryptocurrency are gaining ground. Around 36% of small-to-medium-sized businesses in the United States are accepting bitcoin payments, as are some corporate giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks.


Written by

Team Stash


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