Top 10 Alternative Cryptocurrencies in 2024

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Top 10 Alternative Cryptocurrencies in 2024

The concept of altcoins has evolved significantly since the early days of cryptocurrency, when alternatives to Bitcoin (BTC) were few and far between. Initially, any digital asset other than Bitcoin was categorized as an altcoin.

However, the landscape of crypto assets has expanded dramatically since then, encompassing a diverse array of coins and tokens with multifaceted use cases beyond mere currency substitutes. As a result, many of these assets are not necessarily positioned as direct competitors to Bitcoin.

Nevertheless, for simplicity’s sake, the fundamental definition of an altcoin remains any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin.

Here, we delve into the top 10 altcoins by market capitalization, excluding stablecoins. This exclusion is because stablecoins are engineered to maintain a fixed value and are typically not considered speculative investments.

1. Ethereum (ETH)
Market Cap: $389.2 Billion

Out of the total market capitalization of over $2.5 trillion across more than 26,000 crypto assets available today, Ethereum holds over $389 billion, making it the largest altcoin in the market.

Unlike Bitcoin, which is often seen as a “decentralized currency,” Ethereum functions as a distributed computing network. Users utilize its blockchain to operate decentralized applications (dApps) and execute smart contracts.

According to Walker Holmes, Vice President of the metaverse platform MetaTope, “BTC serves as a store of value, while ETH serves as a decentralized platform for developers to shape the future of blockchain technology through innovation.”

Critics have pointed out Ethereum’s high transaction fees. However, given the myriad of applications and altcoins running on its blockchain, Ethereum’s presence in the market appears enduring.

2. BNB (BNB)
Market Cap: $82.5 Billion

BNB functions as a utility token utilized for paying trading fees and obtaining discounted trades on the Binance exchange. Beyond Binance, it can also be used for payment processing, including booking travel arrangements.

While some critics argue that BNB lacks the same level of decentralization as other altcoins, its value has significantly contributed to investor enthusiasm for the exchange since BNB gained traction in 2021.

3. Solana (SOL)
Market Cap: $79.3 Billion

Designed to bolster decentralized finance, applications, and smart contracts, Solana operates on a distinctive hybrid proof-of-stake and proof-of-history mechanism, ensuring rapid and secure transaction processing.

Considered one of the swiftest blockchains available, Solana has encountered scrutiny for its perceived centralization, characterized by a limited number of validating nodes compared to Ethereum, as noted by Whitney Setiawan, a research analyst at the digital assets exchange Bitrue.

Holmes emphasizes Solana’s remarkable scalability and minimal fees, yet acknowledges instances of service disruptions and downtime.

4. XRP (XRP)
Market cap: $32.0 billion

XRP can be used to facilitate exchanges of different currency types with digital technology and payment processing company Ripple Labs. Founded in 2012, Ripple Labs is practically a dinosaur in the fast-paced world of cryptocurrency. However, while many other coins have come and gone over the past decade, Ripple Labs and its currency, XRP, have maintained their celebrated status throughout the cryptosphere.

XRP’s XRP Ledger offered the first-ever decentralized exchange, or DEX, with a protocol allowing for custom tokenization. This open-source technology is also known for being greener than other competing cryptocurrencies, which may help contribute to its overall popularity.

5. Dogecoin (DOGE)
Market cap: $26.3 billion

Dogecoin, originating as a humorous meme coin in 2013, has undergone a remarkable transformation into a notable cryptocurrency, propelled by its dedicated community and imaginative memes. However, despite garnering support from significant figures, Dogecoin remains inherently riskier compared to bitcoin, as emphasized by Richard Gardner, CEO of financial software provider Modulus Global.

Garry Krugljakow, founder of 0VIX Protocol, a decentralized app facilitating crypto lending and borrowing, underscores that altcoins like DOGE are susceptible to drastic fluctuations in response to market volatility, given their lack of established real-world applications.

6. Cardano (ADA)
Market cap: $20.7 billion

Cardano embraced the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism early on, enhancing transaction efficiency by eliminating the competitive and energy-intensive problem-solving aspect found in platforms like Bitcoin.

“Cardano has been a pioneer in the industry, spearheading the development of proof-of-stake consensus mechanisms,” remarks Holmes. “ADA represents a blockchain solution committed to offering low fees and heightened security compared to many alternatives.”

However, Daniel Logvin, CEO of LedgerByte, a blockchain network provider and consultancy, suggests that the altcoin may have overpromised and underdelivered on its commitments.

7. Avalanche (AVAX)
Market cap: $17.7 billion

Crafted as a layer-one blockchain catering to decentralized applications (dApps) and other networks, Avalanche has emerged as a prominent contender among altcoins, rivaling Ethereum. Particularly, the AVAX network aims to challenge Ethereum’s dominance as the preferred blockchain for smart contracts. Its strategy involves achieving higher transaction throughput without compromising scalability.

Similar to Ethereum, Avalanche endeavors to address Vitalik Buterin’s renowned blockchain trilemma, which emphasizes security, scalability, and decentralization. The trilemma posits that developers must sacrifice at least one of these three elements to optimize the other two. Avalanche tackles this challenge by leveraging three interoperable blockchains within its development framework.

8. Toncoin (TON)
Market cap: $17.2 billion

Launched by Telegram, the encrypted messaging platform, in 2018, Toncoin operates as a Layer-1 blockchain. Initially named “Telegram Open Network,” it has been rebranded as “The Open Network.”

Originally designed to facilitate in-app transactions within the Telegram messaging application, TON has evolved into a community-led blockchain. Its proof-of-stake network ensures rapid processing and validation times.

9. Shiba Inu (SHIB)
Market cap: $15.5 billion

Shiba Inu, an Ethereum-based meme coin, emerged in 2020 under the development of “Ryoshi,” an anonymous creator who aimed to explore the feasibility of an organization functioning without centralized leadership. With notable figures in the crypto space, including Elon Musk and Vitalik Buterin, endorsing it swiftly, Shiba Inu seems to validate Ryoshi’s vision.

In October 2021, Shiba Inu briefly surpassed Dogecoin to become the world’s most valuable meme coin by market capitalization. Furthermore, certain niche merchants have begun to adopt the coin for transactions, driven by its popularity among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. However, efforts by the Shiba Inu community to persuade McDonald’s to accept SHIB as payment through social media did not succeed.

10. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Market cap: $12.4 billion

This decentralized, permission less global payment system endeavors to establish itself as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Bitcoin Cash serves as an alternative to the pioneering Bitcoin payment network, the oldest cryptocurrency globally.

Introduced through a hard fork in the Bitcoin blockchain, Bitcoin Cash made its debut in 2017, emerging eight years after the inception of the original Bitcoin blockchain.

*Market caps and pricing sourced from, current as of April 2, 2024.