Market Capitalization and Daily Trading Volume – A cryptocurrency’s market capitalization is the total worth of all coins currently in circulation, and at the time of writing, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization is nearly $139 billion. High market capitalization can indicate a high value per coin. It is important to note that the daily trading volume of currencies is more important than market capitalization.
A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is created and managed through the use of advanced encryption techniques known as cryptography. Cryptocurrency made the leap from being an academic concept to (virtual) reality with the creation of Bitcoin in 2009. While Bitcoin attracted a growing following in subsequent years, it captured significant investor and media attention in April 2013 when it peaked at a record $266 per bitcoin after surging 10-fold in the preceding two months. Bitcoin sported a market value of over $2 billion at its peak, but a 50% plunge shortly thereafter sparked a raging debate about the future of cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular. So, will these alternative currencies eventually supplant conventional currencies and become as ubiquitous as dollars and euros someday? Or are cryptocurrencies a passing fad that will flame out before long? The answer lies with Bitcoin.
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Competing cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is by no means the only blockchain-based cryptocurrency out there. Another popular option is Ethereum, and there are plenty of others. Bitcoin leads in cryptocurrency market share today, probably because it was the first currency of its kind. But there's no guarantee that it will enjoy a market-leading position forever.
This is when I first saw the light, and realized that investing in altcoins that I didn’t really believe in, and that didn’t really have any truly compelling reasons they would ever overtake bitcoin or deserve any level of market share, was an incredibly foolish move. It was certainly true that these altcoins did often gain on bitcoin and appreciated far more rapidly in many cases while the bubble held strong, but the moment it began to collapse, the altcoins were the first to go, and often fell all the way to zero.
Please note that virtual currency is a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a store of value, but it does not have legal tender status. Virtual currencies are sometimes exchanged for U.S. dollars or other currencies around the world, but they are not currently backed nor supported by any government or central bank. Their value is completely derived by market forces of supply and demand, and they are more volatile than traditional fiat currencies. Profits and losses related to this volatility are amplified in margined futures contracts.