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Shares outstanding reflects all stocks that are currently held by shareholders. It even includes restricted shares held by corporate staff and share blocks held by institutional investors. Price, on the other hand, is affected by internal factors such as profit, expected profit, and plans for growth. How investors perceive these factors influences supply and demand and determines the price of a stock. To find the market cap of a cryptocurrency, multiply circulating supply by current price.

Circulating supply is similar to shares outstanding but only includes tokens that are available in the market. It excludes coins that are reserved or locked. The price of a cryptocurrency is usually calculated as an average of the spot price at which the instrument trades on leading exchanges.

Cryptocurrency pricing in the context of index funds happens in a slightly more sophisticated way and is adjusted to include variation in trading pair prices. Although market cap is used to value both companies and cryptocurrencies, there are differences in the way it is applied. For instance, shares outstanding takes into account all issued shares, including those held by corporate officers and big investors.

Circulating supply ignores reserved or locked coins. As a result, crypto market cap only includes assets that are available for trading. If crypto market cap followed the same logic as stock market cap, it would be based on total supply.

A far more accurate calculation is achieved by using circulating supply. For more on the cons of using total supply, see the next question below. Another difference is pricing mechanics. While most stocks have fixed issuance mechanisms, in the case of cryptocurrencies, many protocols are designed to expand continuously, thus inflating token supply over time. To compensate, one must analyze market cap in a broader context. The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was launched in This goes to show how young the cryptocurrency market is compared to the stock market, which has had centuries to mature.

We often make the mistake of copying stock market metrics and trying to shoehorn them into the world of cryptocurrencies. So is the case with market capitalization. Market cap is applied to both stocks and cryptocurrencies, but there are differences in how the metric works in each case. In the world of stocks, market cap can reveal much about a company including corporate policies for example, the issuance or repurchase of shares , management style, and operational scale.

It is often used for its simplicity and relative effectiveness at assessing the quality of a stock. When it comes to cryptocurrencies, however, market cap is not a useful basis for making an investment decision. In fact, many researchers describe crypto market cap as a deceiving indicator that is used only because it is simple.

Despite all that, market cap continues to be used as a leading indicator of cryptoasset quality — even by experienced investors. This is a mistake. Stocks and tokens have very different characteristics. Stocks represent ownership of a company that creates economic and social value. Depending on the type of stock, ownership can provide a shareholder with the right to receive dividends, vote, and participate in procedures aimed at raising liquidity.

Tokens represent participation in a network that may or may not generate value. Tokens do not guarantee claims on profits or participation in sales or ICOs. The truth is, while digital tokens are an exciting asset class, they are fundamentally different than stocks, and using the same indicator to analyze them can result in false or unrepresentative conclusions.

Another problem with crypto market cap is token inflation. With stocks, the total supply is fixed and can rarely be changed. The only way to change it is via a stock split. The increase in circulating supply that takes place over time leads to a higher market cap. It could just mean that there are more tokens in circulation.

It may simply indicate that there are fewer tokens in circulation. Crypto market cap was initially copied from the stock market. Although one of the factors, price, is present in both cases, there was a need to find a crypto metric that replicated the role of shares outstanding. The option that most resembled shares outstanding was total supply — all coins or tokens that currently exist and are either in circulation or locked.

But this opened a loophole. Token owners could artificially inflate their market cap by pre-mining coins and locking them away. In response, total supply was swapped for circulating supply — all coins or tokens that are available for trading, excluding those that are reserved or locked. Circulating supply was intended to measure liquid supply.

This raised new complications, namely how to define which part of supply could be considered liquid. Take lost coins, for example. Circulating supply is incapable of judging which coins are lost forever. In the case of Bitcoin BTC , it is estimated that up to 4 million coins have been lost. Perhaps the most notable pitfall of the crypto market cap calculation is found in the mechanics of the cryptocurrency market.

This is why we often use a metric known as redemption impact score which measures the likelihood of a large order affecting the price of a cryptoasset. A high redemption impact score indicates a less stable price while a low score indicates that an asset can maintain a relatively stable price through dynamic market activity.

In reality, the majority of cryptocurrencies have high redemption impact scores. Another drawback of crypto market cap is that it is prone to manipulation. This demonstrates how easily market cap can be manipulated when a coin has meager trading volume. The same occurs when a whale, or large investor holding a significant percentage of a cryptocurrency, decides to dump it all at once. Another way to illustrate how inefficient and even deceiving market cap can be is to imagine that you are launching a cryptocurrency project.

Yet another downside to crypto market cap is its inability to measure the value of a project. Crypto market cap merely reveals the price that investors are willing to pay. It does not express value. Consider overnight price gains. Most of the time, the answer is no. One last thing to bear in mind is that market cap is a reflection of the last price at which a cryptoasset traded.

All previous trades were executed at different prices, and there is no guarantee that the last price will be the price at which the next trade executes. In fact, given the volatility of cryptocurrencies, price is unlikely to remain the same for very long. This normalizes emission schedules between assets to provide a more even comparison. However, FDMC has its flaws. The main one is its inability to deal with protocols designed to inflate supply in perpetuity.

This means that no matter how distant the point in time, results may still be skewed. Another pitfall of FDMC is its assumption that prices will remain constant regardless of changes in supply. Realized cap is another market cap alternative. It improves on circulating supply by excluding coins that have been lost or never activated.

UTXO helps avoid the problem of double-spending, or the spending of nonexistent coins. The only downside to realized cap is that it struggles to differentiate coins that are lost entirely from coins that are HODLed for the long haul. This leads us to one of the most popular alternatives to market cap, market-value-to-realized-value MVRV , which seeks to determine how over- or undervalued a particular asset is by analyzing where it is in its market cycle.

MVRV is calculated by dividing market cap by realized cap. The addition of market cycle analysis enhances market cap and makes it more dynamic. You can learn more about market cap alternatives in the following essay. However, it is worth noting that crypto market cap, or any of its alternatives, represent a single way to evaluate the quality of a cryptoasset. There are other indicators that provide statistical data about the performance of cryptoassets and characteristics that might be detrimental to their long-term health.

To fully understand them, we must first look at the stock market. Cryptocurrency analysts have attempted to adapt this framework into metrics such as network-value-to-Metcalfe NVM and network-value-to-transactions NVT.

The law is usually applied to online networks, but it is also considered useful in the world of cryptocurrencies. According to the law, the more people who use a network, the more utility each person derives. This also leads to a higher network value. Cryptocurrency analysts use NVM to determine how over- or undervalued an asset may be.

The next ratio, NVT, focuses on transaction volume. In place of earnings, NVT substitutes network transactions and divides market cap by daily transaction volume. Low NVT indicates an undervalued network. Buy support helps explain how liquid a particular asset is and how many buy orders should be expected. Hopefully, this demonstrates that crypto market cap is an incomplete metric and that investors who rely on it exclusively do so at their peril.

Although market cap is the most popular indicator of cryptoasset value, it is inefficient at estimating asset quality and struggles to provide actionable data. For these reasons, crypto market cap should always be backed by additional market metrics. There are two ways to raise the market cap of a crypto project. We have already examined the drawbacks of market cap. To summarize, it presents investors with a price rather than a value.

This means that if you want to raise the price of a cryptocurrency, focus on increasing the value of the network. The first step is to attract as many active users as possible. The bigger the network, the more stable and attractive it is. Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum ETH , listed several characteristics that increase the value of a network:. But how does a network reach a point where it attracts new users on a regular basis? Before a network attracts users continuously and naturally, it must meet certain prerequisites.

For a coin to be valuable, it must have a strong use case. A protocol must solve a real-world problem. It could tackle a market pain point or provide value to investors in the form of utility rights or as a medium of exchange on a platform. When a coin has a proven use case, there is an incentive for investors to buy, hold, or spend it. Consider Ethereum. The more developers there are, the bigger the demand for ETH, and the higher its price goes.

The result: a higher network value and a higher market cap. The aim of each cryptocurrency is mass adoption. That said, having real-world applications remains a difficult task for most crypto projects. It is a long and complicated journey, but it is the right path to follow. In some cases, scarcity can result in increased value. The more rare an asset, the more expensive it becomes.

This is certainly the case with Bitcoin BTC. Its fixed supply means that its protocol cannot continuously issue new tokens, and many experts believe that the closer we get to the moment when all coins are mined, the higher the price will rise. This principle is valid mostly for coins with real-world use cases. A large number of coins are designed with continuously expanding protocols. Scarcity is a useful tool for project owners who wish to control the market cap of their tokens, but it should be used appropriately.

Another way to boost market cap is to get listed on as many reputable crypto exchanges as possible. However, getting listed on exchanges cannot be the final goal. Projects that are listed on leading exchanges are usually considered more reputable and find it easier to attract investors.

This then leads to higher liquidity, which, combined with a higher market cap, can turn a cryptoasset into a preferred investment opportunity. For more information on how to get listed on an exchange and remain successful afterward, check our Cryptocurrency Exchanges FAQ. Projects that hit roadmap milestones on time have a higher perceived value. Backing from well-known companies means more transparency and a more natural path for projects to establish themselves on the market.

Projects that have a stable or increasing base of followers are more attractive to investors: the higher the number of active contributors, the more progressive a network will become. Think of it like the snowball effect — the more people there are on a network, the more will be interested in joining.

Node count reveals how many active wallets exist on a network. The higher the number, the stronger the network is. However, a high node count or a large community is not enough. Projects must also listen to their users, who can spot points of friction or recommend features that work well on other networks. The truth is, the market — or user behavior — can tell a project everything it needs to know.

There is nothing more harmful to a cryptocurrency than a bad reputation. There have also been several cases of projects using whitepapers copied from other projects without changing anything but the organization and token name. Although some investors will fall for a bogus whitepaper, it is usually a recipe for disaster. Investors also tend to avoid tokens that have a history of security breaches or protocol issues. In fact, if a project shows that it overcame a security issue and bounced back stronger, it will reflect positively on the long-term vision of the project and the quality of the team behind it.

In recent years, the marketing of cryptoasset projects has become increasingly important. Competition forces projects to continuously improve their marketing communications and adopt different channels to discover new audience members. However, in most cases, projects should spend at least some money on marketing and PR.

To determine the maximum cryptocurrency market cap, we need max values for price and circulating supply. Generally speaking, the price of a cryptocurrency is determined by supply and demand. Unfortunately, demand is almost impossible to predict. Depending on outside factors, such as a ban on cryptocurrencies, it may even drop below its current price.

Estimating the maximum circulating supply of all cryptocurrencies can also be difficult. While some protocols declare a fixed supply, others are designed to continuously issue new tokens. Due to these unpredictable dynamics and the fact that new cryptocurrencies are developed daily, it becomes quite hard to predict how much cryptocurrency will be in circulation at any point in the future.

That said, to determine the maximum cryptocurrency market cap, one would have to find the maximum circulating supply of all available cryptocurrencies then multiply that by the prices of those currencies when their respective circulating supplies are at their maximums. For this to occur, the world financial system would have to undergo a paradigmatic shift.

Banks and high-net-worth individuals would have to drop current investments and stores of value in favor of cryptocurrencies. For now, this seems unlikely. More on that here. This means that explosive growth will be required for the market cap of cryptocurrencies to rival the market cap of checking accounts or stocks.

Ranking cryptocurrencies solely by market cap ignores crucial statistical information and fails to inform investors about popularity, liquidity, and other important factors. Investors who base their decisions exclusively on market cap often end up disappointed. Investors would be better off analyzing the time needed for a cryptoasset to trade its market cap equivalent. The rule of thumb is that if a cryptocurrency generates trading volume that is equal to or higher than its market cap, it is healthy and stable.

Investors can get in and out of positions quickly and lock in trades at preferred prices. Monthly trading volume for some of the more popular cryptocurrencies is similar to their respective market caps. This indicates stability and balanced interest from market participants. But if we look at Bytecoin BCN , we find a major gap between transparent trading volume and market cap.

How might a coin with low trading volume get a high market cap? A disadvantage of investing in low-volume cryptoassets is their inability to support big trades. A single trade could move a low-volume cryptocurrency significantly. This makes such assets unattractive to large investors who would struggle to execute major trades without experiencing slippage. Depending on whether you want information about the entire cryptocurrency market or an individual asset, there are several ways to track market cap history on Nomics.

It is located in the top left corner and includes data that goes back up to a year. To get market cap history for a specific cryptocurrency, go to the page for that asset. For more on our embeddable cryptocurrency pricing widget, see this announcement. In a previous answer, we covered the drawbacks of relying on market cap when making cryptocurrency investment decisions. We demonstrated just how easy it is to manipulate market cap.

In recent years, the cryptocurrency space has made strides towards legitimacy, but systemic abuse remains. One of the most common ways the ecosystem is manipulated is via artificial inflation of project market caps. Crypto market cap is calculated by multiplying the price of a coin by its circulating supply. This means that by influencing circulating supply, a token owner can affect the market capitalization of his or her project.

The easiest way to do that is by building frequent token emissions into the protocol. Other project owners adopt the strategy of releasing a massive initial issue. So was the case with U. Over the past few years, several studies have concluded that some token owners send fake volume to exchanges to make their projects appear more attractive to investors. Higher volume indicates greater interest in a project and more liquidity, which means that investors can enter and exit positions at their preferred prices.

Sometimes the perpetrator is an investor interested in artificially boosting the price of a coin. In a pump-and-dump scheme, a market participant sends a high volume of buy orders to create the impression that there is interest in a project.

This generates real interest, and the price jumps. At that point, the initial buyers sell — or dump. After all, there are some natural buyers. Rather than sell all at once, they sell steadily. All of this results in an artificial price increase that simultaneously drives up market cap.

This type of price manipulation is usually applied to low market cap and low-volume cryptoassets, although, depending on the scale, it can work in more developed markets as well. To learn more about pump-and-dump schemes and their application to the cryptocurrency world, see this comprehensive study.

Many projects pay review sites for positive reviews and recommendations. An unsuspecting audience can be easily manipulated. To trick others into buying their coin, a community might try fake news stories, fake partnerships, or even forged endorsements from prominent public figures.

For example, a group created a fake Twitter account that resembled one belonging to John McAfee, an entrepreneur and a well-known figure in the cryptocurrency world. The fake account posted positive tweets about an altcoin, Genesis Vision GVT , and supported those statements in a chat room. Some project owners use bots and fake accounts to generate buzz on social media.

Buzz attracts investors. More investors mean a higher price and a higher market cap. Analysts have developed metrics to evaluate whether a project is being unreasonably hyped on social media. One of the most popular indicators is the hype-to-activity ratio. It measures the number of tweets about a cryptoasset per million dollars of trading volume.

The ratio uses day averages for both tweets and trading volume. In most cases, overhyped projects are indeed using bots or fake profiles. Investors may join forces on Telegram to hype a project and increase its price.

That said, most investors are able to see these hype-driven pumps for what they are. Numerous reports have come out Bitwise , Crypto Integrity , The Block , Sylvain Ribes , and others which confirm that a bubble was created by token owners and exacerbated by exchanges and exchange data aggregators.

The truth is that artificially inflating trading volume is profitable and easy. High trading volume is a sign of liquidity, which allows traders to enter and exit positions quickly. High volume signals that a market is healthy and worth investing in.

For the same reasons, higher trading volume enables an exchange to charge higher listing fees. It also generates traffic from aggregators and helps exchanges attract IEOs. From there, the contagion spreads to exchanges and market data aggregators. All one has to do is adjust the number. There are other ways as well. Coindesk has found that there are companies offering to fake volume for a fee.

These outfits program bots to buy and sell a token continuously until trading volume is sufficiently inflated to earn a ranking on CoinMarketCap and other exchange aggregator sites. Most of the time, wash trading is engaged in by exchanges, but it can be done by token owners as well. Some exchanges encourage their customers to wash trade for them. These exchanges compensate wash traders with tokens or discounted fees. For a project owner, an exchange might also offer to cut the listing fee.

Other exchanges keep it simple and count each trade twice. Most exchange aggregators post data directly from token projects or crypto exchanges. Oftentimes, this data contains fake volume. At Nomics, we take a different approach. These highly-rated exchanges are considered to be transparent because they have provided Nomics with high-granularity trade data, including full histories for each trading pair.

In other words, with transparent volume, you get a much more realistic representation that excludes wash trading and other forms of toxic volume. For each cryptoasset listed on our homepage, Transparent Volume is located between Volume and Circulating Supply. This goes to show the level of manipulation that exists in the cryptocurrency market. The total cryptocurrency market cap is the sum of the market caps of all actively traded cryptocurrencies. To find the total cryptocurrency market cap, visit Nomics.

If the numbers are blue, it means that the overall crypto market cap has remained steady. Green indicates that global market cap has increased. This is a common question and an understandable one given that there are more than 2, actively traded cryptocurrencies and more than 1, that have already been buried in the crypto graveyard. The variety of investment opportunities can result in analysis paralysis. You should choose projects with history, a clear goal, transparent volume, an active community, and ongoing development.

These characteristics indicate a healthy project with potential. These currencies are often regarded as more secure than new projects. They have track records and enough trading volume to be considered liquid. If you choose to invest in a leading coin, follow the news for regulatory developments, policies that may ease or prevent mainstream adoption, and industry shifts.

If you have the skills, you can also include technical analysis. Whether your goal is to HODL for years or to speculate on short-term price fluctuations, established cryptoassets can be an excellent choice. Then there are investors who dream of discovering the next Bitcoin or Ethereum. Many projects that make big promises are not really designed to succeed in the real world.

There are five main categories:. Also known as app tokens, utility tokens have an application and value on their issuing platforms. Bear in mind that the total supply of utility tokens is usually fixed. Security tokens can also provide holders with the right to receive dividends. When, while lovely valley teems with vapour around meand meridian sun strikes the upper impenetrabl When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper s Read More.

Watch Video. Cryptocurrency Calculator There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum form, by injected humour randomised words which look. Getting Start Today. Margin Trading There are many variations of available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour. Currency converter There are many variations of available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour.

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The Register. University of Maryland, Department of Mathematics. Here's how he describes it". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on March 28, Journal of Peer Production. Archived from the original on Retrieved 5 December Business Insider.

Retrieved 19 May Wall Street Journal. Categories : Bitcoin People associated with cryptocurrency Cryptocurrency articles People associated with Bitcoin. Hidden categories: CS1 errors: missing periodical Articles with short description Short description is different from Wikidata Articles with hCards Articles containing Chinese-language text All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from February Articles with imported Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.

Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file. Download as PDF Printable version. Add links. Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington in computer science, with a minor in mathematics. Wikiquote has quotations related to: Wei Dai. The term "wallet" is a bit misleading, as bitcoin's decentralized nature means that it is never stored "in" a wallet, but rather decentrally on a blockchain.

Bitcoin is one of the first digital currencies to use peer-to-peer technology to facilitate instant payments. The independent individuals and companies who own the governing computing power and participate in the bitcoin network—bitcoin "miners"—are in charge of processing the transactions on the blockchain and are motivated by rewards the release of new bitcoin and transaction fees paid in bitcoin.

These miners can be thought of as the decentralized authority enforcing the credibility of the bitcoin network. New bitcoin is released to the miners at a fixed, but periodically declining rate. There are only 21 million bitcoin that can be mined in total. As of January 30, , there are approximately 18,, bitcoin in existence and 2,, bitcoin left to be mined.

In this way, bitcoin other cryptocurrencies operate differently from fiat currency; in centralized banking systems, currency is released at a rate matching the growth in goods; this system is intended to maintain price stability. A decentralized system, like bitcoin, sets the release rate ahead of time and according to an algorithm. Generally, mining requires the solving of computationally difficult puzzles in order to discover a new block , which is added to the blockchain.

Bitcoin mining adds and verifies transaction records across the network. For adding blocks to the blockchain, miners are rewarded with a few bitcoins; the reward is halved every , blocks. The block reward was 50 new bitcoins in On May 11th, , the third halving occurred, bringing the reward for each block discovery down to 6. A variety of hardware can be used to mine bitcoin. However, some yield higher rewards than others.

These elaborate mining processors are known as "mining rigs. One bitcoin is divisible to eight decimal places millionths of one bitcoin , and this smallest unit is referred to as a Satoshi. The domain name bitcoin.

Today, at least, this domain is "WhoisGuard Protected," meaning the identity of the person who registered it is not public information. This now-famous whitepaper published on bitcoin. The first Bitcoin block is mined, Block 0. No one knows who invented bitcoin, or at least not conclusively. In the years since that time, many individuals have either claimed to be or have been suggested as the real-life people behind the pseudonym, but as of January , the true identity or identities behind Satoshi remains obscured.

Although it is tempting to believe the media's spin that Satoshi Nakamoto is a solitary, quixotic genius who created Bitcoin out of thin air, such innovations do not typically happen in a vacuum. All major scientific discoveries, no matter how original-seeming, were built on previously existing research. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the individuals behind the other projects named above have been speculated to have also had a part in creating bitcoin.

There are a few possible motivations for bitcoin's inventor deciding to keep their identity secret. Another reason could be the potential for bitcoin to cause a major disruption in the current banking and monetary systems. If bitcoin were to gain mass adoption, the system could surpass nations' sovereign fiat currencies. This threat to existing currency could motivate governments to want to take legal action against bitcoin's creator. The other reason is safety. One may conclude that only Satoshi and perhaps a few other people were mining through and that they possess a majority of that stash of bitcoin.

Someone in possession of that much bitcoin could become a target of criminals, especially since bitcoins are less like stocks and more like cash, where the private keys needed to authorize spending could be printed out and literally kept under a mattress. Bitcoins can be accepted as a means of payment for products sold or services provided. An online business can easily accept bitcoins by adding this payment option to its other online payment options: credit cards, PayPal, etc. Those who are self-employed can get paid for a job related to bitcoin.

There are a number of ways to achieve this, such as creating any internet service and adding your bitcoin wallet address to the site as a form of payment. There are also several websites and job boards that are dedicated to digital currencies:. There are many bitcoin supporters who believe that digital currency is the future.

Many individuals who endorse bitcoin believe that it facilitates a much faster, low-fee payment system for transactions across the globe. Indeed, one of the primary reasons for the growth of digital currencies like bitcoin is that they can act as an alternative to national fiat money and traditional commodities like gold. In March , the IRS stated that all virtual currencies, including bitcoins, would be taxed as property rather than currency. Gains or losses from bitcoins held as capital will be realized as capital gains or losses, while bitcoins held as inventory will incur ordinary gains or losses.

The sale of bitcoins that you mined or purchased from another party, or the use of bitcoins to pay for goods or services, are examples of transactions that can be taxed. Like any other asset, the principle of buying low and selling high applies to bitcoins. The most popular way of amassing the currency is through buying on a bitcoin exchange, but there are many other ways to earn and own bitcoins.

Although Bitcoin was not designed as a normal equity investment no shares have been issued , some speculative investors were drawn to the digital currency after it appreciated rapidly in May and again in November Thus, many people purchase bitcoin for its investment value rather than its ability to act as a medium of exchange. However, the lack of guaranteed value and its digital nature means the purchase and use of bitcoins carries several inherent risks.

The concept of a virtual currency is still novel and, compared to traditional investments, bitcoin doesn't have much of a long-term track record or history of credibility to back it. With their increasing popularity, bitcoins are becoming less experimental every day; still, after only a decade, all digital currencies still remain in a development phase. Investing money into bitcoin in any of its many guises is not for the risk-averse. Bitcoins are a rival to government currency and may be used for black market transactions, money laundering, illegal activities, or tax evasion.

As a result, governments may seek to regulate, restrict, or ban the use and sale of bitcoins and some already have. Others are coming up with various rules. For example, in , the New York State Department of Financial Services finalized regulations that would require companies dealing with the buy, sell, transfer, or storage of bitcoins to record the identity of customers, have a compliance officer, and maintain capital reserves.

The lack of uniform regulations about bitcoins and other virtual currency raises questions over their longevity, liquidity, and universality. Most individuals who own and use bitcoin have not acquired their tokens through mining operations. Rather, they buy and sell bitcoin and other digital currencies on any of a number of popular online markets, known as bitcoin exchanges.

Bitcoin exchanges are entirely digital and, as with any virtual system, are at risk from hackers, malware, and operational glitches. If a thief gains access to a bitcoin owner's computer hard drive and steals their private encryption key, they could transfer the stolen bitcoin to another account.

Users can prevent this only if bitcoins are stored on a computer that is not connected to the internet, or else by choosing to use a paper wallet —printing out the bitcoin private keys and addresses, and not keeping them on a computer at all. Hackers can also target bitcoin exchanges, gaining access to thousands of accounts and digital wallets where bitcoins are stored. One especially notorious hacking incident took place in , when Mt.

Gox, a bitcoin exchange in Japan, was forced to close down after millions of dollars worth of bitcoins were stolen. This is particularly problematic given that all Bitcoin transactions are permanent and irreversible. It's like dealing with cash: Any transaction carried out with bitcoins can only be reversed if the person who has received them refunds them. There is no third party or a payment processor, as in the case of a debit or credit card—hence, no source of protection or appeal if there is a problem.

Some investments are insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. Generally speaking, bitcoin exchanges and bitcoin accounts are not insured by any type of federal or government program. In , prime dealer and trading platform SFOX announced it would be able to provide bitcoin investors with FDIC insurance, but only for the portion of transactions involving cash. While bitcoin uses private key encryption to verify owners and register transactions, fraudsters and scammers may attempt to sell false bitcoins.

For instance, in July , the SEC brought legal action against an operator of a bitcoin-related Ponzi scheme. Like with any investment, bitcoin values can fluctuate. Indeed, the value of the currency has seen wild swings in price over its short existence.

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Cryptocurrency analysts have attempted to adapt this framework into metrics such as network-value-to-Metcalfe NVM and network-value-to-transactions NVT. The law is usually applied to online networks, but it is also considered useful in the world of cryptocurrencies. According to the law, the more people who use a network, the more utility each person derives. This also leads to a higher network value.

Cryptocurrency analysts use NVM to determine how over- or undervalued an asset may be. The next ratio, NVT, focuses on transaction volume. In place of earnings, NVT substitutes network transactions and divides market cap by daily transaction volume. Low NVT indicates an undervalued network. Buy support helps explain how liquid a particular asset is and how many buy orders should be expected.

Hopefully, this demonstrates that crypto market cap is an incomplete metric and that investors who rely on it exclusively do so at their peril. Although market cap is the most popular indicator of cryptoasset value, it is inefficient at estimating asset quality and struggles to provide actionable data. For these reasons, crypto market cap should always be backed by additional market metrics. There are two ways to raise the market cap of a crypto project. We have already examined the drawbacks of market cap.

To summarize, it presents investors with a price rather than a value. This means that if you want to raise the price of a cryptocurrency, focus on increasing the value of the network. The first step is to attract as many active users as possible. The bigger the network, the more stable and attractive it is. Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum ETH , listed several characteristics that increase the value of a network:.

But how does a network reach a point where it attracts new users on a regular basis? Before a network attracts users continuously and naturally, it must meet certain prerequisites. For a coin to be valuable, it must have a strong use case. A protocol must solve a real-world problem. It could tackle a market pain point or provide value to investors in the form of utility rights or as a medium of exchange on a platform.

When a coin has a proven use case, there is an incentive for investors to buy, hold, or spend it. Consider Ethereum. The more developers there are, the bigger the demand for ETH, and the higher its price goes. The result: a higher network value and a higher market cap. The aim of each cryptocurrency is mass adoption. That said, having real-world applications remains a difficult task for most crypto projects. It is a long and complicated journey, but it is the right path to follow.

In some cases, scarcity can result in increased value. The more rare an asset, the more expensive it becomes. This is certainly the case with Bitcoin BTC. Its fixed supply means that its protocol cannot continuously issue new tokens, and many experts believe that the closer we get to the moment when all coins are mined, the higher the price will rise.

This principle is valid mostly for coins with real-world use cases. A large number of coins are designed with continuously expanding protocols. Scarcity is a useful tool for project owners who wish to control the market cap of their tokens, but it should be used appropriately. Another way to boost market cap is to get listed on as many reputable crypto exchanges as possible. However, getting listed on exchanges cannot be the final goal. Projects that are listed on leading exchanges are usually considered more reputable and find it easier to attract investors.

This then leads to higher liquidity, which, combined with a higher market cap, can turn a cryptoasset into a preferred investment opportunity. For more information on how to get listed on an exchange and remain successful afterward, check our Cryptocurrency Exchanges FAQ.

Projects that hit roadmap milestones on time have a higher perceived value. Backing from well-known companies means more transparency and a more natural path for projects to establish themselves on the market. Projects that have a stable or increasing base of followers are more attractive to investors: the higher the number of active contributors, the more progressive a network will become.

Think of it like the snowball effect — the more people there are on a network, the more will be interested in joining. Node count reveals how many active wallets exist on a network. The higher the number, the stronger the network is. However, a high node count or a large community is not enough. Projects must also listen to their users, who can spot points of friction or recommend features that work well on other networks.

The truth is, the market — or user behavior — can tell a project everything it needs to know. There is nothing more harmful to a cryptocurrency than a bad reputation. There have also been several cases of projects using whitepapers copied from other projects without changing anything but the organization and token name. Although some investors will fall for a bogus whitepaper, it is usually a recipe for disaster. Investors also tend to avoid tokens that have a history of security breaches or protocol issues.

In fact, if a project shows that it overcame a security issue and bounced back stronger, it will reflect positively on the long-term vision of the project and the quality of the team behind it. In recent years, the marketing of cryptoasset projects has become increasingly important.

Competition forces projects to continuously improve their marketing communications and adopt different channels to discover new audience members. However, in most cases, projects should spend at least some money on marketing and PR. To determine the maximum cryptocurrency market cap, we need max values for price and circulating supply. Generally speaking, the price of a cryptocurrency is determined by supply and demand.

Unfortunately, demand is almost impossible to predict. Depending on outside factors, such as a ban on cryptocurrencies, it may even drop below its current price. Estimating the maximum circulating supply of all cryptocurrencies can also be difficult. While some protocols declare a fixed supply, others are designed to continuously issue new tokens. Due to these unpredictable dynamics and the fact that new cryptocurrencies are developed daily, it becomes quite hard to predict how much cryptocurrency will be in circulation at any point in the future.

That said, to determine the maximum cryptocurrency market cap, one would have to find the maximum circulating supply of all available cryptocurrencies then multiply that by the prices of those currencies when their respective circulating supplies are at their maximums. For this to occur, the world financial system would have to undergo a paradigmatic shift.

Banks and high-net-worth individuals would have to drop current investments and stores of value in favor of cryptocurrencies. For now, this seems unlikely. More on that here. This means that explosive growth will be required for the market cap of cryptocurrencies to rival the market cap of checking accounts or stocks. Ranking cryptocurrencies solely by market cap ignores crucial statistical information and fails to inform investors about popularity, liquidity, and other important factors.

Investors who base their decisions exclusively on market cap often end up disappointed. Investors would be better off analyzing the time needed for a cryptoasset to trade its market cap equivalent. The rule of thumb is that if a cryptocurrency generates trading volume that is equal to or higher than its market cap, it is healthy and stable.

Investors can get in and out of positions quickly and lock in trades at preferred prices. Monthly trading volume for some of the more popular cryptocurrencies is similar to their respective market caps. This indicates stability and balanced interest from market participants. But if we look at Bytecoin BCN , we find a major gap between transparent trading volume and market cap.

How might a coin with low trading volume get a high market cap? A disadvantage of investing in low-volume cryptoassets is their inability to support big trades. A single trade could move a low-volume cryptocurrency significantly. This makes such assets unattractive to large investors who would struggle to execute major trades without experiencing slippage. Depending on whether you want information about the entire cryptocurrency market or an individual asset, there are several ways to track market cap history on Nomics.

It is located in the top left corner and includes data that goes back up to a year. To get market cap history for a specific cryptocurrency, go to the page for that asset. For more on our embeddable cryptocurrency pricing widget, see this announcement.

In a previous answer, we covered the drawbacks of relying on market cap when making cryptocurrency investment decisions. We demonstrated just how easy it is to manipulate market cap. In recent years, the cryptocurrency space has made strides towards legitimacy, but systemic abuse remains. One of the most common ways the ecosystem is manipulated is via artificial inflation of project market caps.

Crypto market cap is calculated by multiplying the price of a coin by its circulating supply. This means that by influencing circulating supply, a token owner can affect the market capitalization of his or her project. The easiest way to do that is by building frequent token emissions into the protocol. Other project owners adopt the strategy of releasing a massive initial issue.

So was the case with U. Over the past few years, several studies have concluded that some token owners send fake volume to exchanges to make their projects appear more attractive to investors. Higher volume indicates greater interest in a project and more liquidity, which means that investors can enter and exit positions at their preferred prices. Sometimes the perpetrator is an investor interested in artificially boosting the price of a coin.

In a pump-and-dump scheme, a market participant sends a high volume of buy orders to create the impression that there is interest in a project. This generates real interest, and the price jumps. At that point, the initial buyers sell — or dump. After all, there are some natural buyers. Rather than sell all at once, they sell steadily.

All of this results in an artificial price increase that simultaneously drives up market cap. This type of price manipulation is usually applied to low market cap and low-volume cryptoassets, although, depending on the scale, it can work in more developed markets as well. To learn more about pump-and-dump schemes and their application to the cryptocurrency world, see this comprehensive study.

Many projects pay review sites for positive reviews and recommendations. An unsuspecting audience can be easily manipulated. To trick others into buying their coin, a community might try fake news stories, fake partnerships, or even forged endorsements from prominent public figures. For example, a group created a fake Twitter account that resembled one belonging to John McAfee, an entrepreneur and a well-known figure in the cryptocurrency world.

The fake account posted positive tweets about an altcoin, Genesis Vision GVT , and supported those statements in a chat room. Some project owners use bots and fake accounts to generate buzz on social media. Buzz attracts investors. More investors mean a higher price and a higher market cap. Analysts have developed metrics to evaluate whether a project is being unreasonably hyped on social media. One of the most popular indicators is the hype-to-activity ratio.

It measures the number of tweets about a cryptoasset per million dollars of trading volume. The ratio uses day averages for both tweets and trading volume. In most cases, overhyped projects are indeed using bots or fake profiles. Investors may join forces on Telegram to hype a project and increase its price. That said, most investors are able to see these hype-driven pumps for what they are. Numerous reports have come out Bitwise , Crypto Integrity , The Block , Sylvain Ribes , and others which confirm that a bubble was created by token owners and exacerbated by exchanges and exchange data aggregators.

The truth is that artificially inflating trading volume is profitable and easy. High trading volume is a sign of liquidity, which allows traders to enter and exit positions quickly. High volume signals that a market is healthy and worth investing in. For the same reasons, higher trading volume enables an exchange to charge higher listing fees.

It also generates traffic from aggregators and helps exchanges attract IEOs. From there, the contagion spreads to exchanges and market data aggregators. All one has to do is adjust the number. There are other ways as well. Coindesk has found that there are companies offering to fake volume for a fee. These outfits program bots to buy and sell a token continuously until trading volume is sufficiently inflated to earn a ranking on CoinMarketCap and other exchange aggregator sites.

Most of the time, wash trading is engaged in by exchanges, but it can be done by token owners as well. Some exchanges encourage their customers to wash trade for them. These exchanges compensate wash traders with tokens or discounted fees. For a project owner, an exchange might also offer to cut the listing fee.

Other exchanges keep it simple and count each trade twice. Most exchange aggregators post data directly from token projects or crypto exchanges. Oftentimes, this data contains fake volume. At Nomics, we take a different approach. These highly-rated exchanges are considered to be transparent because they have provided Nomics with high-granularity trade data, including full histories for each trading pair.

In other words, with transparent volume, you get a much more realistic representation that excludes wash trading and other forms of toxic volume. For each cryptoasset listed on our homepage, Transparent Volume is located between Volume and Circulating Supply. This goes to show the level of manipulation that exists in the cryptocurrency market.

The total cryptocurrency market cap is the sum of the market caps of all actively traded cryptocurrencies. To find the total cryptocurrency market cap, visit Nomics. If the numbers are blue, it means that the overall crypto market cap has remained steady. Green indicates that global market cap has increased. This is a common question and an understandable one given that there are more than 2, actively traded cryptocurrencies and more than 1, that have already been buried in the crypto graveyard.

The variety of investment opportunities can result in analysis paralysis. You should choose projects with history, a clear goal, transparent volume, an active community, and ongoing development. These characteristics indicate a healthy project with potential. These currencies are often regarded as more secure than new projects. They have track records and enough trading volume to be considered liquid. If you choose to invest in a leading coin, follow the news for regulatory developments, policies that may ease or prevent mainstream adoption, and industry shifts.

If you have the skills, you can also include technical analysis. Whether your goal is to HODL for years or to speculate on short-term price fluctuations, established cryptoassets can be an excellent choice. Then there are investors who dream of discovering the next Bitcoin or Ethereum. Many projects that make big promises are not really designed to succeed in the real world. There are five main categories:. Also known as app tokens, utility tokens have an application and value on their issuing platforms.

Bear in mind that the total supply of utility tokens is usually fixed. Security tokens can also provide holders with the right to receive dividends. For more on security tokens, check out our three-part audio documentary, Tokenize the World. Asset tokens are digital representations of physical assets like gold and silver.

The price of an asset token is tied to the price of an underlying physical asset. Currencies are the most common cryptoasset type. As their name suggests, they serve as a form of payment. Bitcoin BTC is the most prominent example. Reward tokens have no value on the open market. Most reward tokens can only be spent on their issuing platform. To increase your odds of choosing sound cryptoasset projects, consider each opportunity in terms of the following characteristics:.

In most cases, ICOs are ideas that need money to be realized. An ICO is rarely a functioning product. This is not to say that investing in an ICO is foolhardy. What this means is that you should judge an ICO on its fundamentals rather than its track record in the real world. Think about the philosophy on which the project is built as well as its stated goals. Bitcoin was launched as an alternative to traditional money.

Ethereum was designed to be a world computer for decentralized applications. The most important factor when selecting a cryptoasset project is the philosophy and stated goals of its founder s or team. The goal should be ambitious but realistic. The cryptocurrency space is filled with projects that promise to transform the world for the better, but most attempts to reorganize the global financial system or abolish poverty or hunger will fail.

It is vital to distinguish hype from an idea with a real-world use case. Look for projects that seek to add functionality, accelerate processes, or otherwise address a specific pain point. Cryptoasset projects with clearly defined goals are the most likely to generate long-term value. Launching a token requires a blockchain. Most offerings launch on Ethereum ETH. Other projects like Cardano ADA create a new blockchain from scratch. Starting from square one may yield terrific long-term results, but the process is slow, costly, and difficult to execute.

Unfortunately, there are projects in the Cryptosphere that are designed to scam would-be investors out of their money. If you shy away from established coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum and favor projects that fly under the radar, always be sure to read the whitepaper. Serious projects write detailed whitepapers. Tokens with vague whitepapers or whitepapers that have been copied and pasted from other projects should be avoided. A good whitepaper answers all of your questions.

A good whitepaper also covers the legal framework that exists between the development team and investors. Additionally, it should answer questions related to token distribution such as when and how holders receive tokens and the amount of funding required for each phase of the distribution process.

If that question goes unanswered, stay away. There must be a reason for issuing a token. If funds are not secured by smart contract or an escrow account, then your money will be at risk. Does the team include experienced software developers? Does the CEO have a track record? If the advisory team seems too good to be true, it may be.

Shady projects have falsely listed A-list advisors. If you see that a prominent figure has signed on to advise, research whether that person is really associated with the project. Any information regarding the team and advisors should be front and center in a whitepaper. If you are considering investing in an established coin, check whether it has stayed true to its whitepaper and roadmap.

This bodes well for price appreciation. To avoid fake trading volume, use metrics like Transparent Volume. Cryptoassets that constantly experience wild price fluctuations may be targets of pump-and-dump schemes or other manipulative trading practices. Look for cryptoasset projects with supportive, active communities.

Most projects have public Telegram or Slack channels where you can communicate with community or team members. When interacting with members of a crypto community, be sure to take everything with a grain of salt. Keep in mind that some projects, even those with large communities, rely on paid PR to boost investor interest.

Take hype for what it is, and always do your own research. Pay attention to the competition. In a crowded market, the slightest edge in time to market or user experience can make a huge difference. When evaluating an ICO, consider where a project is in its development. Some tokens launch with little more than a whitepaper and a prayer. Others have beta versions on the market and are actively collecting user feedback. In rare cases, there is a working product. A working product means that development is at an advanced stage, which signals that the ideas behind the project have been tested, if not in the wild then under circumstances that closely mimic the real world.

If there is a competitor project, consider where they are in their development. Another thing to look for is whether a project is backed by venture capital. If VCs support a project, it signals that it has a sound business philosophy, good leadership, and a real-world application.

Venture capital can also bring credibility to a project, which attracts other investors and drives up the price. If they do, it may indicate that a competitor is less risky, possibly because it has a stronger business plan or a more experienced CEO or dev team. We listed five categories: utility tokens, security tokens, asset tokens, currencies, and reward tokens.

Nomics - as in economics. It has long been used in combination with other words to form terms that describe the laws or rules of a discipline e. Reaganomics, ergonomics, genomics. For a token to be listed on our site, it must be traded on a crypto exchange that is integrated with our platform.

We receive market data about cryptoassets from the exchanges where they are traded. Terms Privacy. Assets Exchanges Currency Converter More Select a Quote Currency. Bitcoin Dominance. Show Highlights. Free CSV. Market Cap MCap. Discover the best wallets, credit lines, podcasts and more based on algorithmically-driven rankings.

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