8 Best Cryptocurrencies To Invest In for 2021

Bitcoin gold coins in a close-up shot, digital currency concept.
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Cryptocurrency is digital money that isn’t managed by a central system like a government. Instead, it’s based on blockchain technology, with Bitcoin being the most popular one. As digital money continues to gain traction on Wall Street, more and more options become available. There are currently more than 5,000 cryptocurrencies on the market.

While you can use cryptocurrency to make purchases, most people treat it as a long-term investment. However, volatility makes investing in cryptocurrency risky, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you buy in. These are the top eight cryptocurrencies that are most worthy of investment in 2021.

Top 8 Cryptocurrency Investments in 2021

Cryptocurrency Price Market Cap
Bitcoin $51,266 $960.073 billion
Ethereum $3,499 $404.401 billion
Binance Coin $440.74 $73.862 billion
Cardano $2.23 $71.021 billion
XRP $1.07 $50.045 billion
Dogecoin $0.26 $33.880 billion
Polkadot $31.49 $30.972 billion
Chainlink
$26.76
$12.216 billion
Data is accurate as of Oct. 5, 2021.

1. Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin has been around for the longest of any cryptocurrency. It’s easy to see why it’s the leader, with a price, market cap and volume that’s much higher than any other investment options. Even with thousands of other cryptocurrencies on the market, Bitcoin still represents over 43% of the cryptocurrency market cap.

Building Wealth

Many businesses already accept Bitcoin as payment, which makes this cryptocurrency a smart investment. Visa, for example, transacts with Bitcoin. Additionally, Tesla announced in February that it has invested $1.5 billion in it, and for a time, the company accepted it as payment for its cars — and it soon might again. Plus, the larger banks are beginning to incorporate Bitcoin transactions into their offerings, too.

Risks of Investing In Bitcoin

The value of Bitcoin tends to fluctuate a lot. You may see the price go up or down thousands of dollars during any month. If wild fluctuations like these make you nervous, you may want to avoid Bitcoin. Otherwise, as long as you keep in mind that cryptocurrency could be a smart long-term investment, these fluctuations shouldn’t be too concerning.

Another reason to reconsider investing in Bitcoin is its price. With a single Bitcoin costing more than $51,000, most people can’t afford to buy whole Bitcoins. For investors who want to avoid buying a fraction of a Bitcoin, this is a negative.

2. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is different from Bitcoin because it isn’t only a cryptocurrency. It’s also a network that allows developers to create their own cryptocurrency utilizing the Ethereum network. While Ethereum is far behind Bitcoin in value, it’s also far ahead of the other competitors.

Even though it came out years after some other cryptocurrencies, it has far exceeded its place in the market because of its unique technology.

Risks of Investing In Ethereum

While Ethereum utilizes blockchain technology, it only has one “lane” for conducting transactions. This can lead to transactions taking longer to process when the network is overloaded.

In 2016, a hack that took advantage of a security flaw led to the loss of more than $50 million worth of Ether.

3. Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance Coin is one of the few cryptocurrencies to reach its peak after 2017. During that year, there was a bull market and the price of all cryptocurrencies rose on it, reaching a peak before plateauing and decreasing in value.

Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Binance Coin continued a slow but consistent trend upward after 2017. Because of its performance, Binance Coin has proven to be one of the more stable investment options, posing fewer risks.

Risks of Investing In Binance Coin

Building Wealth

What sets Binance Coin apart from its competitors is that it was created by a company instead of a group of tech developers. Although Binance Coin’s commitment to maintaining a strong blockchain has won over many skeptics, some investors remain leery of this cryptocurrency and its potential security issues.

4. Cardano (ADA)

The Cardano network has a smaller footprint, which is appealing to investors for several reasons. It takes less energy to complete a transaction with Cardano than with a larger network like Bitcoin. This means transactions are faster and cheaper.

It claims to be more adaptable and more secure. Cardano consistently improves its development to stay ahead of hackers.

Risks of Investing In Cardano

Even with a better network, Cardano may not be able to compete with larger cryptocurrencies. Fewer adopters mean fewer developers. This isn’t appealing to most investors who want to see a high adoption rate. The platform has big plans, but there are doubts about whether it can live up to that potential.

Advice

Don’t be discouraged by fluctuations in the market. Your investment may lose money one day and make a profit the next. Instead of getting caught up in the day-to-day changes, look at the big picture.

5. XRP (XRP)

XRP was created by founders of the digital payment processing company Ripple. It serves as a crypto PayPal of sorts, allowing exchanges between both crypto and fiat currencies.

Ripple is investing heavily in non-fungible token projects that use XRP Ledger, which is a public blockchain. This investment suggests Ripple is positioning itself as another “Ethereum killer,” according to Inside Bitcoins.

Risks of Investing In XRP

In December 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Ripple and two of its executives, alleging that they violated registration provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 by raising over $1 billion through an unregistered digital asset securities offering. The implication that XRP is a security, not a currency, could have consequences not just for XRP, but for other cryptos as well.

6. Dogecoin (DOGE)

Dogecoin started as a facetious meme featuring a Shiba Inu dog, but it’s no joke these days. Elon Musk and Mark Cuban are investors, with Musk calling Dogecoin one of the “three meaningful assets” he owns besides his company, Fox Business reported.

Risks of Investing In Dogecoin

Dogecoin prices have proven highly vulnerable to hype — good and bad. For example, the coin tanked during Musk’s May appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” when he called it a “hustle.” And unlike Bitcoin’s finite supply, there’s no limit to how much Dogecoin can be mined.

7. Polkadot (DOT)

Polkadot was created by Ethereum leaders who broke away to form their own cryptocurrency with a better network. Instead of having a single “lane” to complete transactions in, Polkadot has several.

This cryptocurrency was designed to reward genuine investors and weed out people who are just trading to make money fast. Investors who are engaged in the platform also help to make decisions on things like:

  • Network fees
  • Network upgrades
  • Establishing or removing parachains

Risks of Investing In Polkadot

Polkadot’s founder, Gavin Wood, first introduced the cryptocurrency via a white paper in 2016. Its launch took place in 2020. With such a short history, Polkadot doesn’t have a track record for comparison, making it a riskier investment for potential buyers.

8. Chainlink (LINK)

Chainlink is appealing to investors for several reasons, including its affordable price. It has also proven that it can increase in value, and there is still a lot of room for growth.

Chainlink is also available for trading on Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency platforms. Being more accessible also makes Chainlink appealing to investors.

Risks of Investing In Chainlink

While it’s still above thousands of other cryptocurrencies, it has a lower volume and market cap than more appealing cryptocurrencies.

Advice

Don’t settle on any number of cryptocurrency investments without continuing to learn about the market. A new cryptocurrency network could easily climb the ranks and emerge as a leader above other platforms. As an investor, the smartest thing you can do is to stay abreast of market happenings.

Rating the Top Cryptocurrency Choices

Run a quick online search and you’ll find dozens of recommendations for how to invest in cryptocurrency. In choosing the top eight picks, the following factors were considered.

Longevity

How long has the cryptocurrency been around? New cryptocurrencies aren’t immediately ruled out, but having historical data for comparison helps you see how a company has performed up until now.

Track Record

How has the company performed during its years in business? If you see stability in prices, that’s a good sign. If you notice that the cryptocurrency is gaining traction and becoming more valuable with time, that’s even better.

Good To Know

Past performance is not indicative of future performance. At any time things can change, and an investment may perform better or worse than it has in the past.

Technology

How does the platform compare to others in terms of usability and security? The first thing you want to look for is the speed at which transactions occur. The network should be able to handle transaction traffic with ease.

You also want to make sure your investment is secure. Most cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology, making all transactions transparent and easy to track. Blockchain technology doesn’t necessarily make it harder for hackers to steal your cryptocurrency. It does make it easier to track your investment so it can be recovered instead of being lost following fraud.

Adoption Rate

How many people are investing in the cryptocurrency you’re considering? When you see a high level of adoption, that means the cryptocurrency has better liquidity. Trading, selling or spending will be easier in the future.

Final Take

There’s no question about it: Cryptocurrencies are here to stay. The question becomes, where is the best place to invest your money in the market?

As you decide which cryptocurrency is the best investment for you, here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • The speed at which transactions are completed
  • The fees associated with transacting
  • The ability to use your cryptocurrency for regular purchases and bank transfers

If you’re strictly looking to invest without transacting within the network, remember that cryptocurrency isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. Instead, you should consider it a long-term investment.

Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.

Data is accurate as of Oct. 5, 2021, and subject to change.

GOBankingRates’ Crypto Guides

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Katy Hebebrand is a freelance writer with eight years of experience in the financial industry. She earned her BA from the University of West Florida and her MA from Full Sail University. Since beginning to work full-time as a freelance writer three years ago, she has written on topics spanning many fields, including home building, families and parenting, legal and professional/corporate communications.

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