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The Top 28 Cryptocurrencies to Know in 2023


Cryptocurrencies - The Top 28 Cryptocurrencies to Know in 2023

Source: Shutterstock

Two years ago, I published an article titled “The Top 25 Cryptocurrencies to Know in 2021.”

It was fortuitous timing. The “everything bubble” was in full swing, and inflation was still a distant memory of the 1980s. Within a year, the list of my 5-starred cryptocurrencies had returned 420%. One of them — Dogecoin (DOGE-USD) — would jump 1,790%!

But the good times obviously couldn’t last. Rising prices and excess liquidity meant markets would eventually look like the late-1980s… and not in a good way. The Federal Reserve began to tighten policy in April 2022, and by December, cryptocurrencies had notched a 64% loss.

That makes 2023 a strange year for crypto. On the one hand, heightened interest rates should continue pressuring cryptocurrency prices; Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is a historically pro-cyclical asset that rises and falls with the market. An expected slowdown by Q3 or Q4 should depress values of cryptos.

Other the other hand, crises at regional banks this year have highlighted the weaknesses of official financial institutions. According to Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto trading platform Nexo, his firm has “seen a flight to Bitcoin” this year as fearful investors were reminded of “structural deficiencies of the U.S. banking system.”

Bitcoin itself is already up 70% this year.

The Top 28 Cryptos to Know in 2023

These conflicting signals make cryptocurrencies a potentially volatile bet for 2023. Bulls will argue that cryptos offer an alternative to a broken financial system in the U.S., and that wagers on Bitcoin should pay off handsomely. They also see crypto as a way to dislodge profit-maximizing incumbents like Visa (NYSE:V) and payment processing firm Fiserv (NYSE:FISV).

Many are also hoping to get wealthy from their investments.

Meanwhile, crypto skeptics will rightly note that cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value. To these discerning investors, digital currencies are a massive game of transferring wealth from one party to another… much like gold or other non-earning commodities. (Even crypto staking is more of a wealth transfer than a source of new money).

That makes the performance of cryptocurrencies in 2023 anyone’s guess. Wall Street analysts have consistently missed price targets by enormous margins, and I’m not in the business of making that same mistake.

Nevertheless, my 2021 study of cryptocurrencies shows that fundamental analysis can help long-term investors find promising cryptocurrencies while avoiding the duds. My 5-star rated cryptos have outperformed the 1-star ones by an enormous 6.6-to-1 margin. In this article, I unveil my updated list for 2023.

Ethereum (ETH-USD)

Another stylized version of the Ethereum logo
Source: Shutterstock

A successful shift to a Proof of Stake (PoS) protocol keeps the world’s largest altcoin ahead.

Approximate Market Cap: $220 billion

Year Established: 2015

Return Since 2021: 61%

Score: ★★★★★

Ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain, continues to delight fans. In Sept. 2022, the popular cryptocurrency completed its switch from an older Proof of Work (PoW) protocol to an energy-efficient Proof of Stake (PoS) one in a near-seamless shift. The “new” Ethereum now consumes less than 0.004% of the energy as before, and transactions are around two-thirds cheaper. That puts it on the same technological footing as third-generation coins like Cardano, while keeping its first-mover advantage in NFTs alive. Ethereum is also the source of tokens like Shiba Inu.

That said, Ethereum often feels like a tool searching for practical use. Few real-world transactions outside of NFTs are done on the Ethereum network, and its smart contracts remain too complicated for most people. Super Bowl squares among office coworkers have yet to migrate from whiteboards to smart contracts.

Yet, Ethereum and its foundational members have shown that quality matters. Ethereum remains the largest altcoin in the world thanks to its strong development team, and it continues to earn a five-star ranking on my list.

Bitcoin (BTC-USD)

A concept image showing Bitcoin (BTC) in a bubble.
Source: Shutterstock

The world’s largest cryptocurrency shows that popularity matters.

Approximate Market Cap: $550 billion

Year Established: 2009

Return Since 2021: -19%

Score: ★★★★★

Technologists have long worried about the energy intensity of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that consumes around as much electricity as the country of Australia. Its relatively inefficient Proof of Work protocol means that all work beyond a certain point is “wasted,” solving ever-more complex problems while generating no additional benefit.

Yet, Bitcoin remains living proof that its popularity matters. Almost half of the world’s cryptocurrency remains denominated in BTC, and each “crypto winter” tends to see a spike in its relative dominance. BTC also remains the favored currency of crypto traders, who often use it as a bridge between smaller coins that lack cross volumes.

Bitcoin is also sensitive to macroeconomic movements, making it a relatively cheap source of leverage for bullish traders. BTC prices rose 70% in Q1 2023, more than tripling the return of the Nasdaq-100, an index of riskier tech stocks. And unlike leveraged ETFs, there’s little day-to-day cost in maintaining a BTC position.

In 2021, I wrote:

“For those looking to invest in cryptocurrency, Bitcoin remains the most liquid option. It’s an essential coin to hold, and one I give top marks for in 2021.”

Two years on, the same still holds true. Bitcoin remains a top crypto for 2023.

Binance Coin (BNB-USD)

Binance (BNB-USD) logo displayed on a pile of altcoins. BNB price predictions.
Source: Robert Paternoster / Shutterstock.com

Binance has turned its native coin into an essential medium of crypto exchange.

Approximate Market Cap: $50 billion

Year Established: 2017

Return Since 2021: 675%

Score: ★★★★

The success of the Binance Exchange has vaulted its native token into the spotlight. BNB’s fully diluted market capitalization now sits at $50 billion. The BNB crypto also became the de facto reserve currency for anyone using the Binance Exchange, giving it a similar upside as other reserve currencies like Bitcoin.

Essentially, BNB helps reduce transaction costs on the Binance network. For instance, traders can quickly move between Dogecoin and Polygon by converting into BNB first. That avoids the fees of any cross-chain bridge. It’s also the most convenient way for traders to buy Binance tokens such as Baby Doge Coin (BABYDOGE-USD) and Ankr (ANKR-USD).

BNB only receives a four-star rating because of the outsized influence of its parent company. Binance owns around 13% of all outstanding BNB coins, and the success of BNB is contingent on Binance (the exchange) doing well. BNB has little use beyond its home base.

The U.S. government is also targeting the firm with heightened scrutiny. In March 2023, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sued Binance for operating an “illegal” exchange and a “sham” compliance program. This adds to the SEC’s allegations that Binance’s American arm is essentially an “unregistered securities exchange.”

Yet, BNB continues to power ahead. The coin ranks among the top-10 in the world by market capitalization and remains a popular coin for traders seeking a cheaper way to do business.

Cardano (ADA-USD)

The Cardano token with other gold and silver tokens in the background.
Source: Shutterstock

The third-generation cryptocurrency is stalling out, but remains one of the most technologically promising.

Approximate Market Cap: $15 billion

Year Established: 2017

Return Since 2021: 10%

Score: ★★★★

Cardano continues to earn high marks for its relative technological advancement. The coin was one of the first to launch an energy-efficient PoS protocol and remains far ahead of legacy coins like Bitcoin in speed and low transaction costs.

However, ADA appears to be reaching the limits of its development. Its most recent Vasil upgrade in September 2022 focused on how transaction data is handled — an upgrade that offers little new functionality compared to previous upgrades. By comparison, its 2020 Shelley upgrade added Proof of Stake, while its 2021 Mary upgrade added NFTs.

Cardano’s next “epoch,” code-named “Basho” showcases similarly diminishing returns.

That’s a worrying sign for Cardano and its cryptocurrency. Unless its foundation can develop a “killer app” for this solid cryptocurrency, it could remain stuck as a promising coin with no real-world use.

Dogecoin (DOGE-USD)

Dogecoin Cryptocurrency
Source: Orpheus FX / Shutterstock.com

The world’s most popular meme coin has become a victim of its own success.

Approximate Market Cap: $13 billion

Year Established: 2013

Return since 2021: 910%

Score: ★★★★

In Jan. 2021, I gave Dogecoin a surprise 5-star rating.

“In an asset class where popularity trounces usability any day of the week, Dogecoin could quickly return 1,000%… Just make sure you take your profits.”

The coin would rise almost that amount over the following months, turning early investors into overnight millionaires.

Since then, much of the fun has been taken out of the game. Constant pumping by celebrities put off many of Dogecoin’s early enthusiasts; few now talk about donating to the Jamaican bobsleigh team or building wells in Kenya. In their place, profit-seeking investors have taken over, turning DOGE primarily into a money-making endeavor.

Dogecoin’s large market capitalization also makes high returns less likely. Another 910% return would make the coin worth roughly twice as much as Bitcoin.

Nevertheless, Dogecoin remains a 4-star crypto to watch in 2023. Third acts… fourth acts… even fifth acts exist in the world of meme investing. And although Dogecoin might lack the technological advancement of its more recent peers, investors shouldn’t underestimate the power of four-legged stardom in the crypto game.

Hedera (HBAR-USD)

Concept tokens for Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR) on a black keyboard.
Source: Shutterstock

A niche cryptocurrency for corporate use.

Approximate Market Cap: $2 billion

Year Established: 2018

Return since 2021: 10%

Score: ★★★★

In 2016, Carnegie Mellon computer scientist Leemon Baird co-founded Swirlds, a company to commercialize his distributed ledger technology, hashgraph. The patented technology uses an asynchronous consensus algorithm, making it far more scalable than blockchains, which run on a single, enormous ledger.

Dr. Baird’s Hashgraph would quickly raise money. By 2018, the Hedera mainnet was live.

Hedera saw quick success by working with companies like Boeing (NYSE:BA) and International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) and styling itself as an enterprise-oriented cryptocurrency. If a company required a blockchain application, it could turn to Hedera, rather than build its own from scratch. In Q2 2020, Hedera briefly surpassed Ethereum in the daily number of transactions processed.

Hedera’s focus on enterprise solutions, however, cuts both ways. Since 2021, the price of its cryptocurrency HBAR has fallen 85% as corporate interest in crypto has waned. In March 2023, Hedera also confirmed that it had suffered a hack on its mainnet, sending HBAR’s total value locked (TVL) down almost 30%.

Still, Hedera’s scalable technology holds promise for the future. HBAR will be one of the first cryptocurrencies to benefit if corporations turn to crypto again.

Monero (XMR-USD)

XMR logo
Source: Wit Olszewski / Shutterstock.com

A privacy-focused crypto that remains popular among the crowd you would expect.

Approximate Market Cap: $3 billion

Year Established: 2014

Return since 2021: 0%

Score: ★★★★

Monero is a privacy-focused cryptocurrency that helps users obscure their trades. Each transaction is grouped with decoy outputs, so even the value of a transaction becomes unknown to outsiders.

That’s kept Monero popular among darknet users and hackers. A study by CNBC found that Monero was used in almost half of all crypto-ransomware attacks in the first half of 2018. It also remains the most common crypto for malware mining as of 2022.

Prices of XMR have thus remained surprisingly stable. The coin only lost 40% of its value in 2022. And self-reported transactions allegedly rose last year, despite a crypto winter. Monero’s privacy allows criminals to “disappear” with their ill-gotten gains.

Of course, Monero continues to have legitimate uses too. Many libertarian crypto investors dislike being tracked by government entities and will use Monero as a statement. But as know your customer (KYC) rules become widespread, investors can expect XMR to remain popular among those who need to hide their tracks.

Solana (SOL-USD)

Macro shot of a physical coin from the cryptocurrency Solana (SOL-USD)
Source: Rcc_Btn / Shutterstock.com

The Ethereum competitor has made headway in NFTs.

Approximate Market Cap: $9 billion

Year Established: 2020

Return since 2021: 600%

Score: ★★★★

In November 2022, Solana’s price dropped by 40% after crypto exchange FTX went bankrupt. The defunct exchange and its sister company, Alameda Research, had parked much of its liquidity in SOL coins.

It’s a pattern that Solana holders will know well. Since peaking in late-2021, prices of Solana have steadily declined from $260 to $23. Solana’s total value locked (TVL), a signal of investor interest, has dropped by an even wider margin from $10 billion to under $300 million.

Yet, many investors remain bullish about Solana for good reasons. The cryptocurrency is the second-most traded NFT blockchain; its Magic Eden NFT marketplace occasionally outranks OpenSea’s Ethereum NFTs by volume traded. And Solana’s development team has shown a surprising understanding of marketing. In 2022, the company announced plans to launch a crypto-mining smartphone. Its “Saga” debut is now slated for spring 2023. A constant stream of developer events keeps the community churning out new products.

The Ethereum competitor might have a long road ahead. But it remains a promising alternative in the world of NFTs.


A concept token for XRP with stacks of tokens in the background. XRP price predictions.
Source: Shutterstock

A drawn-out SEC fight adds uncertainty to a promising project.

Approximate Market Cap: $25 billion

Year Established: 2012

Return since 2021: 31%

Score: ★★★★

Imagine a perfect cryptocurrency for banks. It would seamlessly transfer vast sums of wealth between financial institutions in a traceable, trustworthy way. It would also remain controlled by responsible entities, preferably with nodes run by the banks themselves.

XRP was an early version of this utopian vision. The cryptocurrency had a distinct first-mover advantage with contracting banks. And its $0.0002 cost per transaction made it an attractive alternative to the SWIFT messaging network.

However, XRP parent Ripple Labs made two critical errors. First, Ripple registered itself as a private for-profit rather than a non-profit organization. And second, it believed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) wouldn’t care.

It was wrong on both counts.

Since 2018, Ripple has been caught in a never-ending lawsuit with the SEC. Regulators claim that Ripple’s coin offerings amounted to a securities offering, which meant the firm broke securities laws by selling XRP without registering the tokens first. Meanwhile, Ripple maintains that XRP should be considered a digital currency instead.

These legal issues will not persist forever. The case now rests with a judge in the Southern District of New York, who is expected to issue a verdict soon. If the judge rules against Ripple and XRP, the token will get pushed further down; it’s been a historic laggard for its legal woes. But if the case is dismissed, XRP could quickly return to its prominent role as the future alternative to SWIFT.

Algorand (ALGO-USD)

A logo for Algorand (ALGO) on a patterned background
Source: Shutterstock

A technologically advanced cryptocurrency seeking a use.

Approximate Market Cap: $1.5 billion

Year Established: 2017

Return Since 2021: 30%

Score: ★★★

Imagine being the smartest kid in class. Then at graduation, you watch the well-connected kids walk off with the best jobs while you throw a resume into what feels like a black hole.

That’s essentially Algorand, the most intelligent cryptocurrency still struggling to find a use. The protocol was developed in 2017 by MIT professor Silvio Micali as an ambitious project to solve the “blockchain trilemma,” which stated that cryptos couldn’t have 1) decentralization, 2) scalability and 3) security all at once.

Algorand managed to solve all three issues. The protocol has a block time of under 4 seconds and has faced very few security issues. (Its most recent hack was the fault of a third party, not the main protocol itself).

But adoption of this advanced cryptocurrency continues to be slow. TVL remains under 10% of its total market capitalization. And liquidity within its ecosystem reportedly remains low.

Regardless, Algorand remains a promising crypto to watch for its speed and security. Smart kids can succeed in the right job. And if the Algorand Foundation can find a useful role in crypto transactions, perhaps ALGO too will succeed like the better-connected kids.

Avalanche (AVAX-USD)

Avalanche (AVAX-USD) crypto coins on a black background
Source: Skorzewiak / Shutterstock

A relatively unknown cryptocurrency ranks consistently in the top-15 by size.

Approximate Market Cap: $6 billion

Year Established: 2020

Cost Per Transaction: Nominal

Return Since 2021: 280%

Score: ★★★

Investors can be forgiven for not knowing Avalanche, a cryptocurrency founded in 2020. The technologically advanced crypto has long stood in the shadow of better-known rivals like Ethereum and Algorand.

Still, Avalanche remains a cryptocurrency to know. It has a relatively rich DeFi ecosystem, and its three-blockchain architecture allows it to deliver the best of all worlds.

  • X-Chain. The exchange chain creates and transacts crypto assets, using fees denominated in AVAX to cover transaction costs.
  • C-Chain. The contract chain stores smart contracts and is compatible with Ethereum’s system.
  • P-Chain. The platform chain allows developers to create layer-1 or layer-2 blockchains (subnets) and is used for staking.

The lead developer of the Avalanche blockchain also has significant financial backers. In February 2019, Ava Labs raised $6 million from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain. And in 2022, the company allegedly raised another $350 million at a $5.25 billion valuation. Though such foundations have seen mixed success, most cryptos benefit from having dedicated developers and evangelists to spur adoption. Avalanche consistently remains in the top 15 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

Binance USD (BUSD-USD), Dai (DAI-USD), Tether (USDT-USD) and USD Coin (USDC-USD)

A concept image for Stablecoin displayed on a blue and green ticker tape. USDD is a stablecoin.
Source: Shutterstock

The four largest stablecoins underpinning the crypto ecosystem.

Approximate Market Cap: Various

Year Established: Various

Return Since 2021: 0% (or ~9% if staked)

Score: ★★★

Most investors have long treated stablecoins with a degree of suspicion. Crypto organizations are often opaque about finances, and there was a widespread belief that not every dollar-based stablecoin had a 1-for-1 backing of dollar reserves. A minor bank run could quickly turn into insolvency.

These fears were vindicated in September 2022, when TerraUSD collapsed after a run on Terra Luna. The Terra stablecoin fell from $1 to only several cents in less than a week. Other stablecoins have seen similar scares, although most dips tend to recover within hours.

Nevertheless, stablecoins continue to play a critical role in crypto trading. They provide a low-cost way for traders to move between dollars and crypto without cashing out. TetherUSD (USDT) routinely has trading volumes twice that of Bitcoin. And they remain valuable tools for investors seeking consistent staking rewards. The same Tether crypto now earns an average of 4.5% yearly returns.

Cryptocurrencies may one day develop beyond needing a tether to the U.S. dollar. But until then, investors will need to know these four largest stablecoins.

Filecoin (FIL-USD)

Filecoin (FIL) logo on a copper-colored coin that sits on top of a circuit board
Source: knipsdesign/shutterstock.com

A unique take on Web3 computing.

Approximate Market Cap: $2.5 billion

Year Established: 2017

Return Since 2021: -73%

Score: ★★★

Filecoin is a decentralized data storage system that resembles a crypto version of Cloudflare’s (NYSE:NET) InterPlanetary File System. Users are paid in FIL crypto to store other people’s data, which helps distribute loads across multiple servers and geographies. It also makes data retrieval faster — a necessity for streaming services and Web 3.0 applications.

These elements, unfortunately, sparked a FIL bubble in early 2021. Prices would rise to over $170 before crashing back into single digits. Investors who held on after the peak would have lost almost everything.

Nevertheless, the concepts behind Filecoin remain valid. Data storage is an enormous business cost, and companies like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) have struggled to operate data distribution networks profitably. The streaming service now relies on Amazon Web Services to host its data.

That makes FIL a crypto to watch. The cryptocurrency charges almost nothing to store data, provided you also operate a node. And if the Filecoin Foundation can help the system reach scale, FIL will naturally find its place in the Web3 ecosystem


The website for OKEx is shown on a smartphone.
Source: Piotr Swat / Shutterstock.com

Business is booming for the OKEx crypto exchange. Its native token is also succeeding.

Approximate Market Cap: $3.2 billion

Year Established: 2017

Return Since 2021: 750%

Score: ★★★

In early 2022, OKEx was a relatively unknown crypto exchange. The startup had recently relocated from Beijing to Malta over a Chinese government crackdown on crypto and ranked only 17th by liquidity.

Today, OKEx is the fifth-largest exchange by that same liquidity metric. Low fees and a refined trading platform helped fuel the rise.

That’s generated enormous returns for OKB, the native cryptocurrency of the OKEx exchange. Prices have risen from $1.60 in 2019 to nearly $50 today. Since 2021, the coin has risen 750% in value.

OKEx will likely continue its string of successes, at least in the near term. Cryptocurrency exchanges benefit from scale, since liquidity-seeking investors naturally provide even more liquidity. It’s a virtuous cycle that allows incumbent exchanges to reduce fees and drive out competition.

Still, investors will want to tread carefully. Some crypto analysts have long questioned OKEx’s data, particularly about the crypto volumes traded. (By that metric, OKEx ranks second only behind Binance). And the centralization of crypto exchanges means a bad actor can wipe out its entire native cryptocurrency. FTX and Terra Luna investors both learned this fact in 2022. Though the future looks bright for OKB, enormous long-tailed risks remain.

Shiba Inu (SHIB-USD)

Stack of Shiba Inu (SHIB-USD) coins isolated on white background.
Source: Alfa Grandpa / Shutterstock.com

Dogecoin, but less fun.

Approximate Market Cap: $7 billion

Year Established: 2020

Return Since 2021: 650,000%

Score: ★★★

An anonymous team created Shiba Inu as a joke currency in 2020. By gifting half of all Shiba Inu coins to Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, the token made a rug-pull by its founders impossible. In May 2021, Mr. Buterin wrote a lengthy online response detailing plans to donate some of the tokens to charity while burning the rest.

The brush with crypto celebrity would launch Shiba Inu into the stratosphere. Within several months, the ERC-20 token had surpassed Dogecoin as the top meme cryptocurrency by market capitalization. It has since returned 650,000%.

Of course, the token had several underlying weaknesses that eventually caused a pullback. Firstly, the ERC-20 token runs on the Ethereum network and has no independent blockchain. That limits Shiba’s usefulness as a cryptocurrency. Secondly, its community was never as engaged as Dogecoin’s from a meme standpoint. Memes feel noticeably more forced. And finally, the Shiba Inu team has struggled to launch projects on time. Investors are still waiting for the Shibarium network launch and multiple “secret projects” to get unveiled.

Nevertheless, memes like Shiba Inu occasionally have some staying power. It’s a high-risk cryptocurrency that could rise 10X or go straight to zero.

Uniswap (UNI-USD)

A concept image for the Uniswap (UNI) token.
Source: Shutterstock

The world’s largest automated market maker (AMM) is seeing increased competition from centralized exchanges.

Approximate Market Cap: $3.4 billion

Year Established: 2018

Return Since 2021: -15%

Score: ★★★

Uniswap was launched in 2018 as a decentralized exchange for ERC-20 tokens. The protocol interestingly used liquidity pools rather than market makers. That meant individuals and algorithms could provide liquidity in exchange for a percentage of the trading fees generated.

The ease of adding liquidity proved a success. By 2020, Uniswap had become the largest decentralized exchange in the crypto world. By early 2021, its governance token, UNI, had increased 10X to over $40. Uniswap remains the largest DAO today.

But competition from centralized players has begun to eat into Uniswap’s competitive advantage. Outfits like Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) now earn a quarter of their revenues outside transaction revenues. And exchanges like Binance can use token fees to offset low trading costs. UNI’s price has come back into the $6 range, where it’s remained since mid-2022.

That said, UNI remains a crucial player in DeFi. And if more centralized exchanges begin to buckle, investors will likely see a resurgence of interest in decentralized exchanges like Uniswap.

ApeCoin (APE-USD)

A smartphone with the Apecoin logo on top of money.
Source: mundissima / Shutterstock.com

Dogecoin reminds us to never dismiss crypto fads.

Approximate Market Cap: $1.6 billion

Year Established: 2022

Return Since Inception: 50%

Score: ★★

The rise of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) was probably one of the strangest crypto stories of the 2020s. Speculators began paying millions for illustrations that any web user could screenshot and claim for themselves. BAYC’s developer, Yuga Labs, has not helped the situation. Its Otherside metaverse has yet to launch. And its “endless runner” game Dookey Dash failed to generate a lasting impression.

Still, one of BAYC’s sister products, ApeCoin, has managed to stick around. $APE remains a top 50 cryptocurrency by market cap, with a valuation of around $1.6 billion — more than twice the value of all 10,000 BAYC NFTs combined. And staking rewards remain elevated. According to the crypto tracking site Staking Rewards, investors can achieve between 44% to 50% annualized returns for holding onto this meme coin.

ApeCoin also makes the list of cryptocurrencies to know for its meme roots. Dogecoin saw an incredible reversal of fortunes during its 2021 rise. And ApeCoin could see a similar resurgence if the stars one day realign.

Ethereum Classic (ETC-USD)

A concept shot of the Ethereum Classic (ETC) coin
Source: Shutterstock

Ethereum’s original protocol remains popular among fans.

Approximate Market Cap: $2.8 billion

Year Established: 2015 (hard forked in 2016)

Return Since 2021: 150%

Score: ★★

In 2016, Ethereum performed a contentious hard fork to reverse the effects of a major hack. Exploiters had found a loophole to drain $50 million from the first-ever DAO, and Ethereum’s founders wanted to undo the damage.

Many fans disagreed. To them, the Ethereum blockchain should have remained immutable. Other thefts had also happened before — why change the blockchain for one particular theft?

And so, Ethereum Classic was born.

The classic version has since gained many fans. Prices have also done relatively well; the cryptocurrency has risen around 25X since its hard fork and remains in the top 25 coins by market cap.

Ethereum Classic only scores 2 stars for its lack of a development team. The regular Ethereum has moved onto an efficient Proof of Stake protocol, leaving ETC behind. And as Bitcoin’s many forks have shown, investors tend to stick with the proven branch of any cryptocurrency. So even though ETC remains the “original” Ethereum, investors should likely look elsewhere for long-term returns.

Internet Computer (ICP-USD)

A concept photo for the Internet Computer (ICP) crypto.
Source: Shutterstock

A well-funded project fails to meet expectations.

Approximate Market Cap: $2.8 billion

Year Established: 2021

Return Since Inception: -98.5%

Score: ★★

Internet Computer remains a cryptocurrency to know for its sheer size. The $2.8 billion cryptocurrency is among the largest coins by market capitalization, and its foundation DFINITY is funded by a16z and Polychain Capital.

DFINITY was founded in 2015 with the lofty goal of creating the “internet computer,” a blockchain-based decentralized network to run the next generation of the internet. This “Cloud 3.0” was meant to replace traditional IT servers with a global network of nodes. Web3 apps could theoretically run entirely on-chain.

These dreams proved too tricky for implementation, even for a well-funded foundation. Today, data storage on ICP costs 44 cents /GB/month, a 47% premium to an equivalent Amazon Web Services product, and over 120X more than long-term storage solutions. ICP’s system also lacks the advanced data processing that rival cloud services provide.

The result is a cryptocurrency that has lost 98.5% of its value since launch. And though DFINITY might succeed in building a blockchain computer, investors will want to wait for more tangible progress before jumping in.


A concept image of a glowing blue piggy bank with money flowing into it with "DAO" written on it. A network of glowing points of light can be seen in the background.
Source: lp-studio / Shutterstock.com

Crypto’s largest staking network provides some stable returns… with some risks involved.

Approximate Market Cap: $2.8 billion

Year Established: 2021

Return Since Inception: 26%

Score: ★★

Lido is a staking solution for Ethereum that allows users to loan their cryptocurrency for interest income. Users can stake any amount of Ethereum, Solana or Polygon for returns that range from 4.3% to 6.5%. They will also receive “stETH” tokens that can be used elsewhere, allowing them to earn a second layer of rewards. Most notably, investors can withdraw their deposits anytime by converting their stETH tokens back into Ethereum at a 1:1 ratio. Rival staking solutions usually require investors to lock their value for a certain period.

The flexibility has turned Lido into the second-largest DAO behind Uniswap. Prices of its cryptocurrency LDO have also remained more rangebound than investors might expect. LDO is roughly 26% higher today than at its February 2021 launch.

There are some risks in staking on Lido DAO. Firstly, all DAOs have governance concerns. Consensus can be hard to reach, and hacked accounts can cause voting mayhem. Second, users are exposed to liquidity risk through stETH’s pricing mechanism. If too many investors try withdrawing their funds simultaneously, the 1:1 stETH-to-ETH peg will break and cause the system to collapse. In this sense, it’s as risky as an unregulated bank. And finally, investors buying LDO itself are only acquiring a governance token, not the currencies on Lido DAO that generate interest rewards.

Nevertheless, Lido DAO remains a promising organization. Its low star rating reflects the enormous underlying financial risks of liquid staking.

Stellar (XLM-USD)

An image of a Stellar Lumens (XLM) coin
Source: Shutterstock

The XRP upstart has struggled to capitalize on its rival’s SEC issues

Approximate Market Cap: $2.6 billion

Year Established: 2014

Return Since 2021: -65%

Score: ★★

Stellar Lumens is the native cryptocurrency of Stellar, a payment network focusing on cross-border transactions.

If that sounds like Ripple’s XRP, it’s no coincidence. Stellar was founded in 2014 by Jed McCaleb after he was pushed out of Ripple by his fellow founders. McCaleb would quickly start a rival firm that targeted many of the same financial institutions that XRP courted.

Stellar began with a great deal of promise. Prices of XLM spiked during the 2018 crypto boom, and the cryptocurrency remained popular even after the fallout. Stellar was handed another win when the SEC launched investigations into its rival in 2020. For a brief moment, it seemed as if XLM could replace its original rival.

But Stellar’s team has so far failed to capitalize on Ripple’s legal troubles. Adoption among banks and other financial institutions has been slow, and XLM continues to trade around 90% below its all-time highs. It has also become a potential target for SEC regulation, creating uncertainty that its customers would rather avoid.

Stellar remains a cryptocurrency to watch for its potential to beat XRP. But until the Stellar Development Foundation can turn its advantages into real-world gains, investors will likely see XLM trade at a significant discount to its main rival.

Toncoin (TON-USD)

Blue violet vector background. Bitcoin and blockchain. Electronic cryptocurrency and modern technology. Online banking, and financial communications. World wide web. Cryptos
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Telegram’s former attempt at building a native token remains a major crypto.

Approximate Market Cap: $3 billion

Year Established: 2021

Return Since Inception: 330%

Score: ★★

Toncoin was developed by brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov to become messaging app Telegram’s native coin. The SEC, however, viewed these tokens as an unregistered digital token offering and the cryptocurrency was spun off into an independent entity after Telegram lost its appeal in 2020.

Today, Toncoin is an independent, community-driven blockchain known for processing thousands of transactions per second. Its “sharding” feature is much like what Ethereum and Polkadot employ.

Toncoin also remains closely wedded to the Telegram messaging app, giving it a boost to adoption. Users can pay for Telegram’s premium services in TON, and send USDT through TON’s Telegram wallet. The increasing popularity of the Telegram app will likely improve TON’s outlook.

Despite its size, however, Toncoin remains a risky bet for that same reliance on Telegram. The TON crypto is not listed on major exchanges like Binance, so a failure of Telegram to grow will also affect its pseudo-native coin.


The Tron (TRX-USD) token on a red background.
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A meme coin with a controversial leader.

Approximate Market Cap: $6 billion

Year Established: 2017

Return Since 2021: 120%

Score: ★★

Tron was founded in 2017 by Justin Sun, a controversial entrepreneur who has since acquired BitTorrent and crypto exchange Poloniex. The “hype man of the century” has been the subject of many negative articles, which accuse him of everything from insider trading to market manipulation. In March, the SEC charged Justin Sun and his companies with fraud and other securities law violations. The Tron cryptocurrency itself has been accused of plagiarizing code.

That hasn’t dented the popularity of Tron. Mr. Sun’s cryptocurrency remains one of the largest by market cap in the world, with its $6 billion size putting it ahead of Monero. TRON has also risen 120% since 2021, compared to a 0% return in Bitcoin. It’s proof that celebrity can matter more than usability in the popularity-driven world of crypto.

Investors will want to remain cautious of Tron. But it remains a cryptocurrency to know, thanks to its outspoken founder.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH-USD)

A concept coin for Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
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The major Bitcoin fork hasn’t found its footing yet.

Approximate Market Cap: $2.5 billion

Year Established: 2017

Return Since 2021: -74%

Score: ★

In my original 2021 article, I warned investors that one of Bitcoin’s earliest and most prominent forks would probably fail to find its footing.

Two years later, Bitcoin Cash has done precisely that. The cryptocurrency’s market capitalization has dropped from $8 billion to roughly $2.5 billion, wiping out the equivalent value of two JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU).

It’s a rare moment in which I wish I was wrong. From a technical standpoint, Bitcoin Cash is an improvement over its larger rival. Block sizes are 32 times larger, allowing over 100 transactions per second. It’s a much-needed improvement that helps cut transaction costs to a fraction of what Bitcoin charges.

Nevertheless, this improvement proved too little, too late. Bitcoin Cash struggles to see real-world adoption beyond its original fan base. And unless anything fundamental changes, BCH remains a one-star crypto as it did in my original analysis.

Jasmy Token (JASMY-USD)

Crypto coins on a phone screen showing stats for various cryptocurrencies.. Penny Cryptos
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The Japanese cryptocurrency remains popular on social media. Some call it a rug pull.

Approximate Market Cap: $300 million

Year Established: 2021

Return Since Inception: -99.5%

Score: ★

It’s hard to know what keeps Jasmy Token popular among social media investors. “Japan’s Bitcoin” consistently ranks among the top-mentioned cryptocurrencies and consistently achieves eight-figure trading values.

Perhaps it’s the founding team’s pedigree at Sony (NYSE:SONY). Or the crypto’s promise to champion the “democratization of data by combining blockchain and IoT [internet of things] technology to provide an infrastructure that allows anyone to use data safely and securely.”

The buzzwords, however, lose their potency once investors look under the hood. The ERC-20 token has not released any details about its Personal Data Locker (PDL) system, which it touted in early 2022. And no information about how it plans to help users sell their IOT data to third parties has emerged.

That makes Jasmy sound more like a hustle than a viable project. When official crypto mouthpieces begin touting technological elements to “increase market value” of a cryptocurrency, investors should tread with care. Jasmy remains a crypto to know, but not in the way you might think.

On the date of publication, Tom Yeung did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Tom Yeung is a market analyst and portfolio manager of the Omnia Portfolio, the highest-tier subscription at InvestorPlace. He is the former editor of Tom Yeung’s Profit & Protection, a free e-letter about investing to profit in good times and protecting gains during the bad.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2023/04/the-top-28-cryptocurrencies-to-know-in-2023/.

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