Crypto Market Cap — What It Is and Why It Matters

Learn what market capitalisation means in the crypto space and how to use this metric to assess cryptocurrencies.

Mar 22, 2024
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What Is Market Cap

Key Takeaways:

  • Market capitalisation (market cap) is a crucial metric in the cryptocurrency space, providing insights into the overall value and significance of a cryptocurrency.

  • Calculating market cap is straightforward, as it involves multiplying the current price of a cryptocurrency by its total circulating supply.

  • Traders often use market cap to assess the size and importance of a cryptocurrency, considering it alongside other factors like technology and adoption for informed investment decisions.

  • Different exchanges may provide slightly different prices, and some cryptocurrencies have a maximum supply cap, impacting market cap variations.

  • Market cap and trading volume are distinct metrics in the crypto market, representing the size and activity levels, respectively.

  • High market capitalisation combined with high trading volume can indicate a strong and stable asset, while low values may suggest less-established cryptocurrencies.

Introduction

In the cryptocurrency space, market capitalisation (market cap for short) plays a crucial role for traders understanding the overall value and significance of a particular digital asset. In this article, we explore what market cap is, why crypto traders think it is important, how it relates to crypto asset valuation, and how to calculate it. Let’s dive in.

What Is Cryptocurrency Market Capitalisation?

Crypto market cap is a measure of the total market value of cryptocurrencies. It is calculated by multiplying the current price of a cryptocurrency by its total circulating supply (i.e., the amount of the asset currently held in users’ wallets). This metric is used to gauge the size and importance of a cryptocurrency in the market, helping traders assess the potential for growth and stability of a particular cryptocurrency.

How to Calculate Market Cap for Cryptocurrencies

Calculating market cap in the crypto market is straightforward. 

Simply multiply the current price of a cryptocurrency by its total circulating supply. The current price can be obtained from various cryptocurrency exchanges, while the total circulating supply is usually available on the project’s website or through reliable data providers. 

For example, if Bitcoin is currently worth US$50,000, and its current circulating supply is 20 million, then its market cap is just over US$1 trillion.

It is worth noting that market cap can vary depending on the source of data, as different exchanges may have slightly different prices for the same cryptocurrency. Additionally, some coins may have a maximum supply cap, which means the total circulating supply will not increase over time (if the cap has already been reached). 

For example, Bitcoin’s maximum supply is 21 million, so its market cap is limited by max supply but can still rise if the coin price increases.

Market Cap and Volume in Crypto

Crypto market cap and trading volume are two important metrics in the crypto market, but they represent different aspects of a cryptocurrency’s value. Market cap provides an indication of the overall value and significance of a cryptocurrency, while trading volume reflects the level of activity and liquidity in the market.

While market cap gives traders an idea of the size of an asset within the market, trading volume provides information about the level of buying and selling activity. High trading volume suggests there is a lot of interest and activity surrounding a particular asset, while low trading volume may indicate a lack of interest or liquidity.

It is important to consider both crypto market cap and trading volume when assessing the potential of a cryptocurrency. A high market cap combined with high trading volume can indicate a strong and stable asset, while a low market cap and low trading volume may suggest a less established or less popular asset.

Common Misconceptions About Crypto Market Caps

There are several common misconceptions about market cap in the crypto industry. 

One is that market cap represents the amount of money locked in a cryptocurrency. In reality, the market cap is simply a measure of the total value of a cryptocurrency based on its price and circulating supply.

Another misconception is that market cap is the sole determinant of a cryptocurrency’s potential for growth. While market cap can provide insight into the size and significance of a cryptocurrency, it does not guarantee future success or growth. It is important to consider other factors, such as the project’s technology, team, and adoption, when assessing an asset’s potential.

Furthermore, market cap can be influenced by factors like market manipulation, hype, and speculative trading. These factors can artificially inflate or deflate the market cap of an asset, making it important for traders to conduct thorough research and analysis before making decisions.

Why Are Market Caps for Cryptocurrencies Important?

Market cap is a significant metric for traders in the crypto market, as it provides an indication of the size and importance of an asset within the market. Users often use market cap as a factor in their buying decisions, as it can help them assess the potential for growth and stability of a particular asset.

What Impacts Crypto Market Caps?

Several factors can impact the market cap of assets in the crypto market. One is the overall sentiment and confidence in the market.

Positive news and developments surrounding cryptocurrencies can increase buyer confidence and drive up market cap. Conversely, negative news or regulatory actions can lead to a decrease in market cap.

Another factor that can impact market cap is the level of adoption and use of an asset. For example, if a cryptocurrency is widely accepted and used in various industries, its market cap is likely to be higher. Additionally, the technology and features of a cryptocurrency can also have an impact, as innovative and unique features can attract traders and drive up market cap.

Lastly, and notably, market cap can be influenced by market manipulation and speculative trading. These activities can artificially inflate or deflate the market cap of a cryptocurrency. It is important for users to be aware of these factors and conduct thorough research before making buying decisions.

The Difference Between Crypto Market Cap and Cryptocurrency Price

While market cap and price are related, they represent different aspects of a cryptocurrency’s value.

Price refers to the current value of a cryptocurrency and is determined by supply and demand dynamics in the market. It represents the amount of money needed to purchase one coin or token of the currency.

Market cap, on the other hand, represents the total value of a cryptocurrency based on its price and circulating supply. It provides an indication of the size and significance of an asset within the market, taking into account both the price and total number in circulation and providing a more comprehensive assessment of a cryptocurrency’s value.

It is important to consider both market cap and price when assessing the potential of a cryptocurrency. A low price combined with a high market cap may indicate a large user base and high level of adoption, suggesting long-term viability. 

Conversely, a high price combined with a low market cap may suggest limited adoption and higher risks.

There are numerous cryptocurrencies in the market, each with its own market cap. Let’s take a look at the market caps and price charts of some popular cryptocurrency assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other popular coins and tokens (as of February 2024). Note that market caps can change within days or even hours, and the numbers below were accurate at the time of publication.

See Crypto.com/price for the latest market caps.

Conclusion

Market capitalisation is a crucial metric in the cryptocurrency industry, as it provides insight into the overall value and significance of a cryptocurrency. It is calculated by multiplying the current price of a cryptocurrency by its total circulating supply. Market cap can help institutional investors and traders assess the potential for growth and stability of a particular digital asset.

It is important to consider market cap in conjunction with other factors like the project’s technology, team, and adoption when making buying decisions. Market cap alone does not guarantee future success or growth. Thorough research and analysis are necessary to assess the overall potential of a cryptocurrency.

As the crypto market continues to evolve and mature, market cap will remain an important metric for investors and traders. Staying informed and keeping up with the latest market data will help traders navigate the dynamic world of cryptocurrencies to make informed decisions.

Due Diligence and Do Your Own Research

All examples listed in this article are for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, cybersecurity, or other advice. Nothing contained herein shall constitute a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by Crypto.com to invest, buy, or sell any coins, tokens, or other crypto assets. Returns on the buying and selling of crypto assets may be subject to tax, including capital gains tax, in your jurisdiction. Any descriptions of Crypto.com products or features are merely for illustrative purposes and do not constitute an endorsement, invitation, or solicitation. 

Past performance is not a guarantee or predictor of future performance. The value of crypto assets can increase or decrease, and you could lose all or a substantial amount of your purchase price. When assessing a crypto asset, it’s essential for you to do your research and due diligence to make the best possible judgement, as any purchases shall be your sole responsibility.

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