8 Biggest Cryptocurrencies to Watch Right Now

The digital coin market is growing by leaps and bounds. Here's a list of some of the biggest cryptocurrencies to get you started.

digital coin concept
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The past year-plus has seen a fresh explosion in cryptocurrencies. Companies are enabling payments via these digital assets or embracing the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin and others, creating a boon for some of the biggest cryptocurrencies.

It's all part of what has become known as DeFi, or decentralized finance. Imagine peer-to-peer networks that offer financial transactions, rather than a single authority like a central bank.

In the 12 years since the first Bitcoin was digitally mined, the space has grown exponentially, with the total crypto market value topping out at an all-time peak near $2.5 trillion in early May (though it was last seen hovering closer to $1.5 trillion).

Along the way, a number of cryptocurrency projects have been developed. Some are centralized, some are not. Many involve community input on adopting new protocols. There are now an estimated 4,000 cryptocurrencies in existence.

Many of the biggest cryptocurrencies at present also look like reasonable, differentiated places for new investors in the space to get started. In many cases, these digital coins have already built proven ecosystems, which should improve their prospects of being excellent long-term investments. Just be aware that cryptocurrencies are rife with risk, so learning about their pitfalls is every bit as important as appreciating the upside.

Here are eight of the biggest cryptocurrencies that are worth watching right now. Not only can you learn what you need to know to potentially make an investment in each, but by understanding the key differences between these major crypto assets, you'll be better able to identify opportunities in smaller coins, too.

Data is as of June 29, and reflects prices at publication.

Andrew Packer
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com

A prolific financial writer, Andrew Packer has helmed newsletters on small-cap value investing, early-stage investments, special situations, short-selling, covered call writing, commodity investing, and insider trading, among others. He’s most proud of his 100% win rate on all trades in 2016.