Any time you speak about cryptocurrency, for most people, Bitcoin comes into mind. Some of them even end up using Bitcoin and cryptocurrency interchangeably to mean the same thing. However, when pressured a little, others will mention a few other digital currencies like Ethereum, Dogecoin and maybe a few more.
Most people learn about cryptocurrencies from mainstream media; hence are predisposed to only know of the tokens in the limelight. Social media also works such that only the most mentioned crypto tokens are likely to appear on the user timeline. Only after becoming more interested in the crypto market does one realise these are a mere fraction of the available cryptocurrencies.
Here is all you need to know about how many cryptocurrencies there are in 2021.
How many cryptocurrencies are there?
The crypto market has a low barrier to entry. Anyone with an idea on coding and has a plan can create their own cryptocurrency. Moreover, you don’t even need to have your own platform when starting. Various platforms like Ethereum provide the platform where you can develop your crypto project and execute it.
The cryptos are also made to solve the various existing challenges. Whatever challenge you think about, you can find a blockchain that provides a solution. For example, Bitcoin provides an alternative to the government-backed and controlled fiat currencies, Ethereum supports the development of decentralised applications and smart contracts. Other projects look to secure transactions, eliminate intermediaries in transactions, even for use in illegal transactions.
Given the ease of creation and multiple solutions needed, there are thousands of cryptos in 2021. According to Coinmarketcap, there are 11,020 cryptocurrencies at the time of writing. This comes with a market cap of AUD1.876 Trillion. Of this total, Bitcoin accounts for 45.68%, while the rest of the coins make up the other market cap.
Is it possible to know the exact number of cryptocurrencies?
By asking how many cryptocurrencies exist, you have to wonder about the accuracy of the findings. Given the ease of entry into the crypto market, you can never be so sure of the exact number of cryptocurrencies in circulation.
To get the available cryptos, most people depend on the various crypto exchanges and listings. However, not all the existing cryptos are part of these listings. Thousands of crypto projects exist without any significant exposure. However, that would not mean they are any less important or don’t make part of the crypto market.
Also, not all the cryptocurrencies listed on the various listings are not as valuable. Hundreds of these cryptos are projects whose developers have reached a dead end and have abandoned them. However, they still appear as any other active project.
The crypto market is also quite volatile. Other than the individual crypto price movements, the whole market is prone to changes. What is currently an idea in someone’s mind can become the next significant token in a few months. In addition, the various cryptos change depending on news coverage, demand and platform developments. For example, while Dogecoin currently has a market cap of around AUD35 Billion, it was around AUD82 million in January.
With such massive changes, you can never know the exact number of cryptocurrencies that are there.
What are the different types of cryptocurrencies?
Not all the crypto projects available operate the same, neither do they have similar network development strategies. So, how many different cryptocurrencies are there?
Cryptos can be grouped into three major types. These are;
Bitcoin is the leader of the crypto market. Launched by Satoshi Nakamoto to provide an alternative to the traditional finances, it has achieved all its goals. Bitcoin’s success is the driving force behind the crypto market push.
The coin has snowballed due to acceptance with multiple merchants to offer both online and physical services. Bitcoin also operates as a store of value and can be traded like any other traditional stock.
The crypto market value also depends on the Bitcoin changes. The Bitcoin price changes have a ripple effect on the market. For example, the current crypto market cap is down in recent months following the Bitcoin challenges like banning mining in China. While some coins might be independent of the Bitcoin price movement in the future, it will take some time to achieve that.
An altcoin is any other crypto that is not Bitcoin. They are an alternative to Bitcoin as they look to solve the various Bitcoin issues. For example, Bitcoin has struggled with slow transaction speeds for scalability. The altcoins look for a way to solve the speed concern while operating every other aspect like Bitcoin. Some of the popular altcoins are Litecoin, Monero, Dogecoin and Ripple.
Still, not all altcoins operate on the premises of Bitcoin. Some have their own operating systems, like a different protocol. For example, while Bitcoin relies on Proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm consensus protocol for transaction verification, other altcoins like Cardano use a Proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus. The PoS is the more acceptable option due to its environmental friendliness.
However, no altcoin is bound to operate on a single protocol. For example, after earlier operating on the Pow, Ethereum moved to the PoS in April 2021. The new protocol comes with more transition speed, better security and more scalability.
Tokens are the last major category of the different types of cryptocurrencies. These are crypto projects that do not have their own blockchain platforms. Instead, they are built on already existing blockchain.
The tokens operate within a major crypto platform and can operate like any other cryptocurrency developed from scratch. The mainnet provides a standard template for every project on its platform. After which the project is distributed by Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and Security Token Offerings (STO)
The number of tokens has been increasing in recent times due to the ease of creation and several applications. They are used to raise funds through the ICO and for leverage in various industries like finance, insurance, real estate and legal services.
Ethereum is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies that provides a platform for the development of tokens. The other options are Polkadot, Cosmos, EOS, and Cardano.
Some of the renowned crypto tokens are the decentralised finances and the non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
How many cryptocurrencies have failed?
In understanding how many cryptocurrencies there are in 2021, you have to look into the ones that have failed. With thousands of cryptos launched every year, not all of them reach their targets. Some fail to attract users, and others fail to fully develop into the platform envisioned at the start.
Since the launch of the first crypto in 2009, more than 2000 cryptocurrencies have failed. According to Coinopsy, a site for tracking dead coins, the coins die due to various reasons like fraud and scams, loss of traction and personal problems by the developers.
Some of the features of a dead coin include; no trace of website, less than three exchanges listing, no updates and neglect of the network, scamming and low volume. While these coins can still form part of the cryptocurrencies that are there in 2021, you should avoid trading them. They come with several risks and the likelihood of losing money.
How many cryptocurrencies are there 2021 FAQs
What are the minor and major cryptocurrencies?
The major and minor cryptocurrencies vary based on the market cap. The major cryptocurrencies come with a higher market cap than the minor tokens. At the moment, each of the top 9 cryptocurrencies has a market cap of more than AUD 1 billion. Furthermore, 100 of the cryptos have a market cap of over AUD500 million.
At the same time, thousands of cryptos have a market cap of less than AUD10 million.
Given the crypto market volatility, you are never too sure of the minor and major cryptocurrencies. The only sure major ones are the top 2; Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Which crypto projects are viable?
Every crypto comes with a whitepaper that details everything to know about it. However, it might take you years to go through all the whitepapers. Therefore the best way to establish the most viable crypto is by looking at the 24-hour trading volume.
The given price is not an ideal metric as any crypto can inflate its value. However, no one can doctor the trading volume. Also, look into the community engagement, the developer profile and expected network upgrades to find a viable crypto project.
Where can you buy all the available cryptocurrencies?
Now that you know how many cryptocurrencies there are in 2021, you might wonder how to buy them all. Well, no single cryptocurrency exchange has all the available cryptocurrencies. While some smaller projects can only be bought on Decentralised exchanges (DEX’s) like Uniswap and Pancake Swap, most of the highly desired and upcoming cryptocurrencies such as Solana and Polygon can purchased on reputable platforms like CoinSpot and Binance.
However, that does not mean you cannot buy all the cryptos. You can take a look at our list of crypto exchanges to learn more about the various options.