Overview of Major Cryptocurrencies With the Highest Trading Volume

Overview of Major Cryptocurrencies With the Highest Trading Volume

The cryptocurrency market has exploded in recent years, with thousands of digital assets now circulating. While the total market cap of crypto exceeded $3 trillion in 2021, a relatively small number of major cryptocurrencies capture the lion's share of trading volume. This article will provide an overview of the top cryptocurrencies ranked by 24-hour trading volume, as of August 28th, 2023.

Bitcoin (BTC)

As the first and most well-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin commands the largest slice of the trading volume pie. Launched in 2009 by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin pioneered the use of blockchain technology to enable peer-to-peer digital payments without the need for banks or other third parties.

With a market cap exceeding $500 billion, Bitcoin accounts for over 40% of the total crypto market cap. Daily trading volumes routinely surpass $20 billion. Key features of Bitcoin include a fixed supply of 21 million BTC, decentralization, and censorship-resistance. As the crypto market's reserve currency, Bitcoin is the most mature and stable cryptocurrency.

Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is a decentralized blockchain platform launched in 2015 that pioneered the use of smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). ETH is the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network and has firmly established itself as the second largest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin.  

With a market cap over $200 billion, Ethereum handles around $10 billion in daily trading volume. Beyond digital payments, Ethereum provides a network to power a wide range of crypto assets and financial services. Ethereum is transitioning to a proof-of-stake consensus model in 2022 that aims to be more scalable, secure, and sustainable.

Tether (USDT)

Tether is a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar, meaning each USDT token aims to maintain a 1:1 ratio with the dollar. Launched in 2014, Tether aims to combine the price stability of fiat currencies with the operational capabilities of cryptocurrencies like fast transactions and minimal fees.

With a market cap over $70 billion, Tether accounts for over $50 billion in daily trading volume as it is widely used by traders and exchanges worldwide. Tether provides a hedge against crypto market volatility, while also enabling faster trades between different crypto assets. However, Tether has faced questions over its dollar reserves and regulatory status.

USD Coin (USDC)

USD Coin is another prominent U.S. dollar stablecoin launched in 2018. Like Tether, each USDC token is pegged to one U.S. dollar. With a market cap over $50 billion, USD Coin handles over $3 billion in daily trading volume. USD Coin is managed jointly by the CENTRE Consortium and Coinbase.

Compared to Tether, USD Coin has focused more on regulatory compliance and transparency around its dollar reserves. As a regulated stablecoin, USD Coin has gained significant adoption among risk-averse investors and institutions seeking crypto exposure.

BinanceUSD (BUSD)

BinanceUSD is a regulated U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin created by Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Launched in 2019, BUSD aims to combine the stability of the dollar with Binance’s crypto exchange and DeFi ecosystem.

BUSD has a market cap over $20 billion and handles around $3 billion in daily trading volume. BUSD is issued by Paxos and monthly attestations verify BUSD is fully backed by U.S. dollar reserves. As an exchange-backed stablecoin, BUSD provides liquidity for crypto trades and hedging on Binance.

Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC)

Wrapped Bitcoin is an ERC-20 token that represents Bitcoin (BTC) on the Ethereum blockchain. Each WBTC is backed 1:1 with Bitcoin. With a market cap over $5 billion, Wrapped Bitcoin sees around $2 billion in daily trading volume.

WBTC extends the functionality of Bitcoin to Ethereum DeFi apps. For example, WBTC can be used for yield farming or collateral for loans. WBTC also helps bring more Bitcoin liquidity to decentralized exchanges on Ethereum.

Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency created in 2011 as a faster and more lightweight alternative to Bitcoin. Dubbed "digital silver" to Bitcoin's "digital gold", Litecoin handles around $2 billion in daily trading volume. Key technical differences include a faster block time (2.5 minutes vs 10 minutes for Bitcoin) and use of the Scrypt mining algorithm.

With a market cap over $4 billion, Litecoin aims to provide fast and affordable digital payments. Litecoin pioneered technologies like Lightning Network to bolster its transaction throughput. While correlated to Bitcoin's price trends, Litecoin provides an alternative payments option.

Chainlink is a decentralized oracle network that provides real-world data to blockchain networks. Launched in 2017, Chainlink integrates off-chain data like weather or financial information into smart contracts. LINK is the native cryptocurrency of the Chainlink network.

With a market cap over $3 billion, LINK handles around $1 billion in daily trading volume. Adoption by developers and institutions has increased demand for LINK tokens to pay node operators who supply data to Chainlink's oracle network.

Crypto.com Coin (CRO)

Crypto.com Coin is the native token of Crypto.com, a cryptocurrency exchange and financial services platform. Launched in 2018 alongside its Crypto.com Exchange, Crypto.com has focused on consumer adoption with its crypto debit card and staking rewards.  

CRO has a market cap around $3 billion and daily trading volume over $100 million. The utility and appeal of Crypto.com’s offerings continue to drive demand for CRO, which offers perks and discounts on its platform.

Takeaways

This overview covers the major cryptocurrencies that account for the lion's share of daily trading volumes. However, there are thousands of other crypto assets trading in the market, and it continues to increase each day. Overall, Bitcoin retains its dominance, while Ethereum leads 'altcoins.' Stablecoins like Tether play a unique role in facilitating trading and hedging with their fiat pegging.

As the crypto market matures, the landscape evolves. While Bitcoin and Ethereum retain their status as the blue chips of crypto, new innovations like decentralized finance (DeFi) and Web3 are driving interest and adoption of emerging cryptocurrencies with utility in those spheres.

Cryptocurrency trading volumes provide one perspective on market activity and sentiment. But evaluating factors like community engagement, developer activity, real-world usage and regulation paints a fuller picture of a crypto asset’s underlying fundamentals and trajectory. As the crypto space evolves, no doubt new technologies and tokens will emerge to displace some of the most traded cryptocurrencies today.