As a nascent and disruptive technology, cryptocurrency has transformed how many of us trade and transact online.
The idea of a digital currency, which is secured by cryptography and exchanged between peers without the need of a third party, has gained traction across the world, as the market capitalisation of all cryptocurrencies demonstrates – $2.57trn (£1.87trn, €2.21trn) as of 28 October according to CoinMarketCap.
Spot trading volumes at major crypto exchanges rose by 6.2% to $2.5trn according to a September 2021 CryptoCompare report. It also found institutional investors seeking exposure to crypto saw BTC trading volumes on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) rise 36% month on month – the largest increase since June 2020.
And it is not just institutional investors who are turning to cryptocurrencies. A study published by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center found that 13% of Americans invested in crypto this year.
While dogecoin has taken the top spot for the most Googled crypto in the US, a new study shared with Capital.com by Bacancy Technology has revealed the others that make up the 10 most searched cryptocurrencies. Let’s take a closer look at what the study uncovers.
Dogecoin: the top dog of crypto searches
The results revealed that the meme cryptocurrency dogecoin topped the list as the US’s most searched crypto on Google for 2021. The dog-themed coin received an astonishing seven million searches a month.
Regarded by some as the world’s most valuable parody, dogecoin (DOGE) is a Shiba Inu-themed cryptocurrency that was started by software engineers, Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer as a way to joke with and satirise the momentum surrounding cryptocurrencies.
Since its launch in 2013, the currency has gained popularity on social media and has a market capitalisation of $33.9bn as of 27 October.
Dogecoin differs from bitcoin in that it is considered inflationary, not deflationary. This means that there is no hard limit on the total supply of coins, unlike bitcoin which has a ceiling on the number of coins that will be created. Dogecoin is derived from the Litecoin cryptocurrency and is based on the Scrypt algorithm.
Additionally, Dogecoin has achieved crypto stardom largely due to a push from Tesla CEO Elon Musk who famously tweeted in April 2019 that dogecoin may be his “fav cryptocurrency”.
Earlier this year, Musk shared a similar sentiment about how dogecoin’s “simplicity is its genius”. However, he is not alone in his support. Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban announced this year that US basketball team, the Dallas Mavericks, will accept online dogecoin payments for the Mavs’ merchandise and tickets.
Coinbase recently became the first-ever cryptocurrency exchange in the world to list dogecoin as a token on its platform for professional traders. Earlier this year, the company announced that it will accept inbound transfers of dogecoin to Coinbase Pro.
Bitcoin: the most established crypto
Among the most watched cryptos on Google is bitcoin, which came in second place this year. Bitcoin received an average of 4,700,000 crypto-related searches a month.
Bitcoin (BTC) is a digital currency that provides an alternative payment system using peer-to-peer technology to confirm purchases directly between users. The main benefit of bitcoin lies in the disintermediation it provides, enabling individuals to transact directly without centralised institutions. As the most established cryptocurrency, bitcoin’s ascent since 2009 has coincided with increasing institutional adoption and backing from investors.
For example, mobile payment company Square invested $50m and $170m in bitcoin in the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, respectively. Electric car pioneer Tesla announced in its 2020 annual report filing submitted to US Securities and Exchange Commission that it had invested $1.5bn in bitcoin. In another boost to mainstream cryptocurrency acceptance, PayPal announced in October 2020 that it would be launching cryptocurrency buying and selling features (including bitcoin) for its 26 million merchants worldwide.
Ethereum: top trending crypto
In third place ranked Ethereum, the top trending cryptocurrency, with 1,800,000 searches a month.
Ethereum, a leading blockchain platform for decentralised applications (DApps) was first conceptualised by Vitalik Buterin in a white paper back in November 2013. Prior to its launch, Ethereum (ETH) was designed to expand upon bitcoin’s primary function by building a protocol on top of it.
Rather than a digital currency or commodity, Ethereum aims to be a global computing platform where smart contracts are programmed for a specific and recurring use.
Ethereum is in its fourth stage of development called Ethereum 2.0. The long-awaited network upgrade will fundamentally change how Ethereum works. However, Ethereum faces limitations in terms of scalability since the network can only process an average of 15 transactions a second. Also, in 2016, an attacker exploited a vulnerability of the decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) and stole 3.6 million ether coins.
As of 28 October, Ethereum’s market capitalisation is $489bn.
Shiba Inu: founded by Ryoshi
Just behind Ethereum in the list of most watched cryptos is shiba inu, a meme currency created in August 2020 by an anonymous individual going under the alias Ryoshi. The dog-themed crypto is Googled on average 870,000 times a month.
Like many other cryptocurrencies, shiba inu (SHIB) is based on the Ethereum blockchain. However, what is unique about the project is the declaration in its white paper of being a community-run token led by 120,000 members.
Shiba Inu famously sent 50% of its total supply – 50 trillion coins – to Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin in May 2021. The market capitalisation of shiba inu stands at $44bn as of 28 October.
Cardano: built on proof-of-stake
In fifth place is Cardano, a blockchain platform built on a proof-of-stake consensus protocol that facilitates peer-to-peer transactions through its internal cryptocurrency. The currency received 704,000 Google searches a month.
Cardano (ADA) was founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson and Jerry Wood, with its open-source software network initially designed around the principles of gradual decentralisation. Today, Cardano aims to power an internet-native global cloud economy that relies on using academic research, peer-review, and formally verified security.
Last month, the developers of Cardano’s network announced on Twitter that the much-anticipated Alonzo upgrade had been successfully rolled out, enabling smart contract capability to the network.
Litecoin: built to handle more transactions
Founded in 2011 by ex-Google engineer, Charlie Lee, the cryptocurrency litecoin ranks sixth, with 339,000 searches a month.
Litecoin (LTC) is a peer-to-peer currency that uses a different cryptographic algorithm than bitcoin. More specifically, the Litecoin blockchain is capable of handling higher transaction volume than bitcoin.
Earlier this year, the payment app Venmo announced the launch of its new cashback on crypto feature that expands on Venmo’s crypto functionality by allowing users to receive cashback in litecoin. The market capitalisation of litecoin as of 28 October is £12.9bn.
Avalanche: fast and scalable
Avalanche, a programmable platform for decentralised applications and custom blockchain networks, saw approximately 297,000 searches made each month.
Avalanche (AVAX) was founded last year by Emin Gün Sirer with the intent of offering extreme scaling capabilities and sub-second transaction times. As such, the core consensus engine is able to support a global network of hundreds of millions of internet-connected devices that operate with low latencies.
The Avalanche Foundation raised $230m in a financing round last month. In another boost, AVAX was listed on the Coinbase exchange on 29 September. As of 28 October, avalanche’s market capitalisation is $13.9bn.
Polygon: based on the Ethereum protocol
In the list of most popular cryptocurrencies is Polygon with 221,000 Google searches.
Polygon (MATIC) is an Ethereum protocol that was first launched in 2017 by Sandeep Nailwal, Jayanti Kanani and Anurag Arjun under the name Matic Network.
In essence, Polygon supports two major types of Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks: stand-alone networks and networks that leverage security as a service. Polygon’s market capitalisation was $12.8bn as of 28 October.
Cosmos: a network of blockchains
In ninth place is Cosmos, a decentralised network of independent, sovereign blockchains. It received around 214,000 Google searches a month. Cosmos (ATOM) uses a cross-chain protocol called Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) to enable data exchanges between different blockchains.
A Map of zones Cosmos ecosystem explorer shows a surge in activity for the IBC protocol, with 1,071,132 transfers made over the past 30 days. The market capitalisation of cosmos is $8.7bn as of 28 October.
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