On first thought, everyone will most likely say: "Bitcoin, obviously!"
However, what if I told you that might not "technically" be the truth?
By the way, it's not technically a market cap, but more like a total network value, but I will use the term "market cap" since it is what I am most used to from dealing with traditional equities.
If you don't like that, tough luck! :)
What the heck am I talking about?
Let's dive into some numbers...
Bitcoin currently has about 16.8 million coins in circulation with a price of roughly $17k per coin, which equates to roughly $285.6 billion.
Further, Bitcoin will technically only ever have 21 million coins in circulation.
There is debate about whether the forked coins add supply or not, but that is a debate for another day.
The original Bitcoin is worth roughly $285.6 billion at its current price.
According to coinmarketcap, that is far and away the largest market cap in crypto land. With Ripple coming in second place at less than half the value, right around $119 billion.
(Source: https://coinmarketcap.com/ )
Yes, if you haven't been paying attention this past week, Ripple leaped Ethereum as the second most valuable cryptocurrency in existence.
Pretty crazy right?
Here is where things get interesting...
What if I told you that "technically" Bitcoin wasn't technically the most valuable cryptocurrency in existence?
What if I told you that technically Ripple is more valuable than Bitcoin right now? Even with Bitcoin at $17k per coin.
And I am not talking about potential value or anything like that, I am talking straight dollars and cents.
You see, Ripple is quite different than bitcoin in how it works.
With Bitcoin, coins are mined on a blockchain with a maximum number to ever be produced set to be 21 million. Those 21 million coins don't technically exist yet, which is why determining market value based on current circulating coins makes sense.
However, with Ripple, the 100 billion coins are not mined or through some other act of securing a decentralized network.
Instead those coins are already created, and most are controlled by Ripple.
So, (technically) the 100 billion coins that will ever exist, already do. Even if roughly 61 billion of those are held by Ripple itself.
Which means, technically, a more accurate description of the total network value of Ripple would be the current price multiplied by 100 billion.
Which would be $3.06 X 100 billion = $306 billion network value.
(Source: https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/ripple/ )
Which would be about $21 billion MORE than bitcoin. Technically.
One slight caveat to all this...
One thing to keep in mind is that Ripple recently announced that they would be locking up roughly 55 billion Ripple in an escrow account, which would be released at a rate of 1 billion coins per month for the next 4 and half years.
So, technically those coins are locked up.... but still.
Technically, Ripple has the largest market cap of any coin currently.
*This was meant to be a fun ironic post, not to be used for making any investment decisions.
Stay informed my friends.
Follow me: @jrcornel