How Many Cryptocurrencies are There In 2021?

by Josh Howarth - October 25, 2021

The idea of anonymous cryptographic electronic money had long since been postulated, but it wasn’t until 2009 when decentralized cryptocurrency Bitcoin was first created. Namecoin, Litecoin, and Peercoin followed in the proceeding years and cryptocurrency began to gain momentum.

By the end of 2013, there were over 50 different cryptocurrencies. And by the end of 2014, this figure had increased by approximately 10x to over 500.

Today, there are reportedly almost 13,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation.

But how did the financial landscape reach this point? And where is it heading?

This statistical roundup will reveal key facts and figures on the state of decentralized finance.

Here’s a summary of what you’ll find below:

Cryptocurrency Statistics (Top Picks)

  • There are 12,870 total cryptocurrencies
  • The total market cap of all cryptocurrencies is $2.37 trillion
  • The trading volume of all cryptocurrencies per 24 hours is currently $100 billion
  • Bitcoin has the highest current market cap at over $1 trillion - more than double its closest rival Etherum
  • Three of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are directly linked to USD value - Tether, USD Coin, and Binance USD
  • Approximately 8% of the US population trades cryptocurrency
  • As a continent, Asia has over 4x more cryptocurrency users than any other continent
  • 95% of crypto holders/crypto-curious people are aware of Bitcoin

Sources: CoinMarketCap, investing.com, Triple-a

How Many Cryptocurrencies Are There in 2021?

As of October 2021, there are approximately 12,870 cryptocurrencies in existence.

However, not all cryptocurrencies are active or valuable. Discounting many “dead” cryptos leaves only around 6,991 total legit cryptocurrencies.

There are upwards of 300 million cryptocurrency users across the globe. And approximately 18,000 businesses now accept a form of crypto as payment.

Sources: CoinMarketCap, investing.com

Growth of Cryptocurrency Over Time

In less than a decade, cryptocurrency has exploded onto the scene and has grown at an ever-increasing rate. The following section will highlight some of its dramatic growth with snapshots of the decentralized finance landscape at various points in time.

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Before we get into that, here is a quick overview of the total number of legit cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap from 2013 to today:

Month, Year Number of Cryptocurrencies
April 2013 7
January 2014 67
January 2015 501
January 2016 572
January 2017 636
January 2018 1,359
January 2019 2,086
January 2020 2,403
January 2021 4,154
October 2021 6,632

2013

In April 2013, there were just seven cryptocurrencies reported by Coin Market Cap. Bitcoin led the way in terms of market capitalization with almost 20x the value of any other cryptocurrency.

Here is a breakdown of the state of play almost a decade ago:

Rank Currency Abbr. Price (2 d.p.)* Market Cap
1 Bitcoin BTC $134.21 $1.49 billion
2 Litecoin LTC $4.35 $74.64 million
3 Peercoin PPC $0.39 $7.25 million
4 Namecoin NMC $1.11 $6.00 million
5 Terracoin TRC $0.65 $1.50 million
6 Devcoin DVC $0.0003* $1.42 million
7 Novacoin NVC $4.25 $1.16 million

* Excluding Devcoin

2014

Fast-forward a year and a half to November 2014, and there were 513 cryptocurrencies in existence.

Bitcoin remained the dominant force, now with a market cap of around $5.13 billion. Only Litecoin ($122.63 million market cap) and Peercoin ($16.26 million market cap) remained in the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap.

The rest of the original seven had made way for the likes of XRP ($346.22 million market cap) and Dogecoin ($23.30 million market cap).

At this stage, Bitcoin’s price had more than doubled to $378.05. And approximately 76,000 merchants accepted Bitcoin worldwide.

2015

One year later, the cryptocurrency landscape hadn’t changed so drastically. Nevertheless, there were now 564 cryptocurrencies at the end of November 2015.

Bitcoin’s market cap increased to over $5.5 billion, while November 2014’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, XRP, fell to approximately $144.18 million.

In total, seven of November 2014’s largest cryptos by market cap remained in the top 10 a year later. These were:

  • Bitcoin - Approximately $406 million market cap increase
  • Litecoin - Approximately $37 million market cap increase
  • XRP - Approximately $202 million market cap decrease
  • Bitshares - Approximately $39 million market cap decrease
  • Dogecoin - Approximately $10 million market cap decrease
  • Peercoin - Approximately $6 million market cap decrease
  • Dash - Approximately $1 million market cap increase

The most notable newcomer to the top ten was Ethereum with a market cap of $65.98 million.

2016

By the end of 2016, there were 663 cryptocurrencies in existence.

Bitcoin’s price reached a three-year high of almost $900, increasing nearly 3x on November 2015’s price.

The best-performing cryptocurrencies by market cap increase for the year were as follows:

  • Bitcoin ($14.59 billion) - Market cap increase of approximately 2.5x
  • Ethereum ($638 million) - Market cap increase of approximately 8x
  • Ripple ($232 million) - Market cap increase of approximately 1.1x
  • Litecoin ($212 million) - Market cap increase of approximately 1.5x
  • Monero ($134 million) - Market cap increase of approximately 28x
  • Ethereum Classic ($91 million) - Market cap increase of approximately 2x
  • Dash ($71 million) - Market cap increase of approximately 4.5x

2017

By mid-2017 (April 30th to be exact) a further 126 cryptocurrencies were now being traded, bringing the total number up to 789.

Ethereum’s market cap had skyrocketed more than 1000% in just four months to over $7.2 billion. Likewise, XRP also saw a large increase from approximately $232 million to $1.96 billion.

Despite the healthy growth, there were (and are) several factors keeping cryptocurrency from mass adoption.

2018

A year later, the number of cryptocurrencies had surged to more than double. The success of blockchain technology and varied use of coins continued to lead to further market growth.

By the end of 2018, there were 2,073 cryptocurrencies. And 12 of those had a market cap of over $1 billion.

Here is a look at the top five cryptocurrencies by market cap as we went into 2019:

Rank Currency Abbr. Price (2 d.p.) Market Cap
1 Bitcoin BTC $3,865.95 $67.48 billion
2 XRP XRP $0.37 $15.08 billion
3 Ethereum ETH $139.86 $14.56 billion
4 Bitcoin Cash BCH $163.62 $2.87 billion
5 EOS EOS $2.68 $2.43 billion

2019

A November 2019 article indicated there were almost 3,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation at the time of writing.

However, some sources were reporting figures closer to 6,000. This discrepancy was (and is) a result of differing review processes for a range of criteria.

For example, test cryptos and joke cryptos are often quickly abandoned but may appear on some listings. To combat this, trade volume and market caps are often used as determining factors when calculating the true number of active cryptocurrencies.

During the course of 2019, Bitcoin’s market cap surpassed the $100 billion mark, ending at $134.57 billion. Despite this, the number of cryptocurrencies with a market cap exceeding $1 billion dropped to nine.

2020

The pandemic did little to halt the increase of cryptocurrencies hitting the market. By April, there were a reported 5,392 cryptos being traded.

According to CoinMarketCap, the top 10 cryptocurrencies combined for a total market cap of almost $200 billion. And Bitcoin was responsible for over $140 billion of this valuation.

Having seen a small drop to nine in 2019, the total number of cryptocurrencies with a market cap over $1 billion stood at 28 by the end of 2020.

These four cryptos each exceeded $10 billion market caps:

  • Bitcoin - $488.21 billion
  • Ethereum - $77.83 billion
  • Tether - $20.73 billion
  • XRP - $12.85 billion

2021

Flash forward to today, there are now 12,870 cryptocurrencies in circulation. However, many of these are likely inactive or invaluable.

Chances are, as you read this, that figure is already an underestimate as more ICOs occur.

The thousands of cryptos we have today can be most simply broken down into three categories:

  • Bitcoin - the market leader and original cryptocurrency
  • Altcoin - Alternatives to Bitcoin (not necessarily similar)
  • Tokens - Cryptocurrencies using pre-existing blockchains

The evolution of cryptocurrency has come a long way in a relatively short space of time. To illustrate just that, here is a comparison of the first seven cryptocurrencies in 2013 compared to now:

Currency 2013 Rank 2021 Rank Market Cap Change Price Change (2 d.p.)*
Bitcoin 1 1 ↑ $1.15 trillion ↑ $61,257.14
Litecoin 2 15 ↑ $12.37 billion ↑ $181.04
Peercoin 3 757 ↑ $17.48 million ↑ $0.52
Namecoin 4 786 ↑ $15.98 million ↑ $0.38
Terracoin 5 2,019 ↓ $1.00 million ↓ $0.63
Devcoin 6 N/A ↓ $1.08 million ↓ $0.0003*
Novacoin 7 1,955 ↓ $530 thousand ↓ $3.98

* Excluding Devcoin

Sources: CoinMarketCap 1, CoinMarketCap 2, investing.com, Bank of Canada, CoinDesk, TechCrunch, Bob’s Guide, Liquid, Yahoo, gfinity esports

Crypto Usage Demographics

The average cryptocurrency owner is a white 38-year-old male with a $111,000 annual salary.

average-crypto-owner-min.png

Here is the breakdown of Gemini’s 2021 survey on crypto usage:

  • 71% of crypto holders identify as white/caucasian
  • Three quarters (74%) of crypto holders are male
  • Almost three in four (74%) of crypto owners are between 25 and 44 years old
  • Approximately 63% of people are “crypto-curious
  • Of those who identified as “crypto-curious”, 53% are female

Cryptocurrency Awareness

The 2021 Gemini report also shed light on the knowledge and awareness of cryptocurrency. In total, 39% of people who do not own crypto described themselves as “somewhat or very” knowledgeable about crypto.

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Here are some interesting findings about specific cryptocurrencies:

  • Just 1 in 20 crypto owners/crypto-curious people have not heard of Bitcoin
  • Over one third (38%) are aware of Ethereum
  • Less than 1 in 4 (24%) know about Bitcoin Cash
  • 16% of participants claim to have heard of Litecoin
  • Approximately 1 in 10 (11%) are aware of Tether
  • Just 1 in 50 (2%) surveyed know of Cardano or Polkadot

Continents by Cryptocurrency Usage

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  • 1. Asia - Approximately 160 million crypto users
  • 2. Europe - Approximately 38 million crypto users
  • 3. Africa - Approximately 32 million crypto users
  • 4. North America - Approximately 28 million crypto users
  • 5. South America - Approximately 24 million crypto users
  • 6. Oceania - Approximately 1 million crypto users

Top 5 Countries by Cryptocurrency Usage

countries-by-usage-min.png

  • 1. India - Approximately 100.7 million crypto users
  • 2. US - Approximately 27.5 million crypto users
  • 3. Nigeria - Approximately 13 million crypto users
  • 4. Vietnam - Approximately 6 million crypto users
  • 5. UK - Approximately 3.4 million crypto users

Top 5 Countries by Cryptocurrency Usage (Population %)

countries-by-usage-percentage-min.png

  • 1. Ukraine - Approximately 12.7% of the population use crypto
  • 2. Russia - Approximately 11.9% of the population use crypto
  • 3. Venezuela - Approximately 10.3% of the population use crypto
  • 4. Singapore - Approximately 9.4% of the population use crypto
  • 5. Kenya - Approximately 8.5% of the population use crypto

Sources: Yahoo, Gemini

Top 20 Cryptos by Market Cap

Some cryptocurrencies have become household names over the past decade. The most noteworthy of which, without a doubt, is Bitcoin, which comfortably leads the way in terms of market cap.

Here is a full breakdown of the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap:

Rank Currency Abbr. Price (2 d.p.)* Market Cap
1 Bitcoin BTC $57,325.00 $1.16 trillion
2 Ethereum ETH $3,629.10 $448.00 billion
3 Binance Coin BNB $478.00 $80.52 billion
4 Cardano ADA $2.17 $71.39 billion
5 Tether USDT $1.00 $68.81 billion
6 XRP XRP $1.12 $52.72 billion
7 Solana SOL $150.51 $45.31 billion
8 Polkadot DOT $42.12 $41.36 billion
9 USD Coin USDC $1.00 $32.82 billion
10 Dogecoin DOGE $0.24 $31.07 billion
11 Terra LUNA $39.42 $15.86 billion
12 Uniswap UNI $25.01 $15.38 billion
13 Binance USD BUSD $1.00 $12.98 billion
14 Avalanche AVAX $57.00 $12.6 billion
15 Chainlink LINK $27.24 $12.51 billion
16 Litecoin LTC $178.83 $12.32 billion
17 Wrapped Bitcoin WBTC $57,632 $12.13 billion
18 SHIBA INU SHIB $0.000029* $11.37 billion
19 Algorand ALGO $1.84 $11.34 billion
20 Bitcoin Cash BCH $598.65 $11.31 billion

* Excluding SHIBA INU
All figures are accurate as of Oct 14, 2021.

Source: CoinMarketCap

Key Statistics on the top 20 cryptos right now

  • Bitcoin has the highest current market cap at over $1 trillion - more than double its closest rival Etherum
  • Together, Bitcoin and Ethereum have a market cap of almost 3x the size of the rest of the top 20 cryptocurrencies combined
  • The top six cryptocurrencies each have a market cap of over $50 billion
  • Only three of the top 20 cryptocurrencies have a price higher than $1,000 - Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Wrapped Bitcoin
  • Almost half (8) of the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap are priced at under $5
  • Three of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are directly linked to USD value - Tether, USD Coin, and Binance USD

Sources: CoinMarketCap, investing.com

How Many Cryptocurrency Exchanges Are There?

Naturally, as the number of cryptocurrencies has increased, so too has the number of cryptocurrency exchanges.

As of October 2021, there are 412 exchanges.

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Here is a closer look at the top five decentralized exchanges (according to coingmarketcap.com) right now:

CMC Rank Exchange 24hr Trading Volume Markets Coins
1 Binance $25.67 billion 1,472 393
2 Coinbase Exchange $4.90 billion 329 110
3 KuCoin $2.27 billion 936 478
4 FTX $2.72 billion 526 266
5 Gate.io $1.58 billion 1,699 967

Source: CoinMarketCap

Conclusion

That wraps up the state of cryptocurrency today.

Cryptocurrency has exploded into the general consciousness. And while there has been a fair amount of fluctuation, the general market is only going one way (up), with Bitcoin still leading the charge.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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