Just how valuable are the top five cryptocurrencies on the market? While the price of individual tokens can offer one kind of answer — BTC is worth around $8,600 at the moment — this doesn’t really account for the larger impact and value of the entire network. The best tool for understanding the big picture is the “market cap,” or the combined value of all tokens at the current price.
Even then, however, it helps to have a little context. Bitcoin is worth billions, but is it as big as Pepsi? (No, it isn’t.) To gain some perspective, in this post we’re going to compare the five biggest crypto tokens with their closest publicly traded equivalents. As you read this list, remember to keep the usual caveat in mind: Market cap is a very rough estimate of a company’s true value, and it’s not a terribly meaningful metric for investors.
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. Bitcoin ($157B) — Closest equivalent: HSBC ($157B): Commonly cited as the 7th largest bank in the world, HSBC’s public trading value reflects a tiny fraction of its $2.5 trillion in total assets. While a one-to-one comparison isn’t fair to either BTC or HSBC, it is interesting that the market appears to view a 12-year old crypto token and a 155-year old multinational holding company as being roughly equivalent in value.
2. Ethereum ($18.3B) — Closest equivalent: Dish Network ($19B): Even though the company has been hit hard by the “cord cutting” trend, satellite TV provider Dish Network still has an estimated 12 million subscribers. The fact that the Ethereum network, which powers countless ERC-20 tokens, DApps, and other smart contract platforms is still only valued as much as a struggling broadcast TV provider speaks volumes about ETH’s room to grow.
3. XRP ($10B) — Closest equivalent: Aramark ($11B): Based in the U.S., Aramark is best known as a food services provider for workplace cafeterias and other large facilities around the world. It’s a fitting match with Ripple Lab’s XR, which provides blockchain-based settlement services to banks and other large companies across the globe.
4. Bitcoin Cash ($6B) — Closest equivalent: Sealed Air Corporation ($6B): Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of this North Carolina-based packaging company, because you’ve definitely heard of their signature product. They make Bubble Wrap, a product originally designed as a kind of novelty wallpaper (seriously) that found a second life as a packing material. These days, Bubble Wrap has plenty of competitors, but the brand name still packs enough of a punch to keep Sealed Air Corp. popping along. Any parallels to BCH are purely coincidental.
5. Bitcoin SV ($5.5B) — Closest equivalent: Crown Resorts ($5.7B): Mostly known as the owner of two major Australian casinos (Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth), Crown Resorts has been the focus of multiple investigations and corruption scandals over the last few years. Bitcoin SV is mostly known as a hard fork of Bitcoin Cash founded by Australian businessman Craig Wright, who has been the focus of multiple investigations and at least one high-profile lawsuit since claiming, without verifiable evidence, to be the inventor of bitcoin.