Market cap in crypto, what is it? How to know what metrics to pay attention. What value does this metric gives us? Market cap and fundamental analysis alongside portfolio and benchmark analysis.

August 14, 2023

What is market cap in crypto: A Full Deep Dive

Market capitalization in crypto, also known as market cap, is one of the most essential metrics for evaluating cryptocurrencies. As the cryptocurrency market has expanded in recent years, it is essential for anyone interested in investing in this emergent asset class to comprehend market capitalization. This guide will provide a thorough explanation of what market cap in crypto means in the context of cryptocurrencies and why it is significant.


In conventional finance, market capitalization refers to the market value of all outstanding shares of a company. It is determined by multiplying the total number of shares by the share's current market price. This provides investors with a sense of the scale and overall market valuation of a company. 

The same holds true for cryptocurrencies. The market cap in crypto represents the total value of a coin. It indicates the significance of a cryptocurrency on the market as a whole. Understanding market cap is essential for crypto enthusiasts and investors to make informed comparisons between various cryptocurrencies. It also aids in determining the general health and maturity of the cryptocurrency market.

With thousands of cryptocurrencies currently in existence, market cap in crypto is a useful metric for eliminating low-value tokens and focusing on the most promising opportunities. This guide explains the nuances of calculating market cap in cryptocurrencies and why it should be an integral part of your decision-making.

Section 1: What is Market Capitalization?

Market cap in crypto refers to the aggregate value of all mined currencies. It can be computed using the following formula:

Market Capitalization = Current Price × Circulating Supply.

Here are the most important variables:

- Current Price - The current value of a single coin or token based on live exchange trading activity.

- Circulating Supply - The quantity of coins that are available to the public and circulating in the market. 

- Market Capitalization - Current Price multiplied by Circulating Supply

Unlike conventional businesses, cryptocurrencies require consideration of multiple categories of supply metrics:

- Circulating Supply - Coins that have been issued and are currently in circulation. This determines market capitalization.

- Total Supply - The number of coins in circulation, including those that are closed or reserved.

- Maximum Supply - The maximum quantity that can ever be produced in accordance with protocol regulations.

Since only circulating supply can be actively traded, market cap in crypto is determined by circulating supply rather than total supply. The market capitalization represents the current value of all tradable currencies and is therefore the most accurate metric for valuing a cryptocurrency.

Consider Bitcoin, which has a current price of approximately $40,000 and a supply of 19 million BTC in circulation. The market value would equal:

$40,000 (Price) multiplied by 19 million BTC (Circulating Supply) equals $760 billion (Market Capitalization).

Due to the significance of circulating supply in the calculation, the market cap in crypto includes coins that are easily traded on exchanges and in circulation. This enables a uniform valuation of all cryptocurrencies.

Section 2: Why Market Cap Matters in Crypto

When evaluating cryptocurrencies and making investment decisions, market cap in crypto is one of the most essential metrics. Here are several important reasons:

Quantifies overall value and size.

The most fundamental definition of market cap in crypto is that it is the total value of a cryptocurrency. It provides an indication of the coin's significance within the ecosystem as a whole. Larger market capitalizations denote cryptocurrencies that are well-established and have amassed substantial value. Comparing market capitalizations aids in determining the relative size and value of cryptocurrencies.

Ranks Adoption and Popularity in order of importance.

The market cap of a cryptocurrency correlates with its widespread adoption. Bitcoin and Ethereum have the largest market capitalizations, reflecting their leadership in terms of actual utilization and integration. A high classification based on market capitalization typically indicates ample liquidity and use cases that drive investor demand. It is a broad indicator of widespread adoption.

Impacts Liquidity and Volatility 

Larger market capitalization have greater liquidity and narrower spreads. This makes them less susceptible to dramatic price fluctuations than alternatives with a low market capitalization, which are considered riskier. Additionally, trading volume tends to be concentrated in cryptocurrencies with the highest market capitalizations. Therefore, market capitalization indicates stability and probable volatility.

Determines Market Position 

Market capitalization influences the prominence of a cryptocurrency in rankings and indices. Sorting crypto assets by market capitalization reveals their relative market dominance. Top 10 or Top 100 rankings will include cryptocurrencies with the largest market capitalizations, attracting the attention of investors. Changes in market cap can also indicate power transfers between cryptocurrencies.

Market cap in crypto provides a valuable perspective on the comparative standing of cryptocurrencies by serving as a measure of value, adoption, liquidity, and market position. In the context of investment analysis and portfolio management, it conveys significant weight.

Section 3: Market Cap Limitations 

While market cap is a useful metric, relying too heavily on it to evaluate cryptocurrencies has disadvantages. It is essential to recognize its limitations:

Susceptible to Manipulation

The value of cryptocurrencies can be fraudulently inflated via coordinated market cap manipulation. This causes a market cap that does not accurately reflect the asset's value to be inflated. Pump and dump schemes that exploit market cap in crypto for short-term gains are prevalent.

Impacted by Deflationary Measures

Some cryptocurrencies implement deflationary mechanisms, such as burn mechanisms, which eliminate coins from circulation permanently. This has an effect on the circulating supply and can result in an artificial crypto market cap pump. Thus, market capitalization does not always reflect true value.

Favours Established Cryptocurrencies

Market cap in crypto tends to give greater weight to cryptocurrency pioneers that have already captured substantial market share. Therefore, inventive new projects with enormous potential may be neglected if their initial market caps are modest.

Not the Sole Valuation Metric

While beneficial, market capitalization should not be the only factor in valuing cryptocurrencies. Metrics such as developer activity, transaction volume, liquidity, and designated assets provide additional perspectives on value. Market capitalization alone provides an incomplete picture.

By understanding what market cap in crypto does not reveal, cryptocurrency investors can avoid using it in isolation. It is an essential starting point, but further research and analysis are required to make informed decisions.

Section 4: Comparing the Market Capitalizations of Various Cryptocurrencies

In a market populated with thousands of competing assets, the ability to compare the market capitalizations of various cryptocurrencies is incredibly valuable for investors. The following is a summary of how market capitalization analysis can inform investment decisions:

Top Cryptocurrencies by Market Capitalization

In terms of market share, liquidity, and network effects, the cryptocurrencies with the highest market capitalizations are regarded as the most dominant. According to market capitalization, the top five cryptocurrencies as of August 2023 are:

  1. Bitcoin's (BTC) current market capitalization is $400 billion. 
  2. Ethereum (ETH) - Current Market Cap: "$180 Billion"
  3. Tether (USDT) has a current market capitalization of $70 billion. 
  4. Current market capitalization for BNB (BNB) is $45 billion.
  5. The current market cap for XRP (XRP) is $15 billion.

This provides a notion of the crypto landscape's hierarchical order and capital concentration. While Bitcoin is unquestionably number one, adjustments in Ethereum, stablecoins, and exchange tokens indicate market movements.

Investing Determinations

When deciding which cryptocurrencies to invest in, market cap rankings enable investors to narrow their options. Given their market dominance, BTC and ETH are both evident options. The next few altcoins by market capitalization should also be considered as formidable competitors.

Market capitalization-weighted indices, such as the MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 100 Index, also enable investors to construct proportionally market capitalization-weighted portfolios. By reflecting the market as a whole, this can reduce volatility. Other indexes provide the same functionality depending on the theme.

Comparing Market Capitalization

Market cap in crypto cannot be viewed in isolation. Comparing the market cap of cryptocurrencies over time and against one another provides context. For instance, Ethereum has a market capitalization that is half that of Bitcoin, indicating that it is priced at a significant discount relative to network valuation. 

Comparing coins with comparable market capitalizations, such as Cardano and XRP, reveals two leading contenders for an adoption advantage. Changes in market capitalization over the past year indicate whether momentum is increasing or decreasing.

Changes in Market Capitalization 

Zooming into market capitalization charts of specific cryptocurrencies reveals their volatility. In 2021, the market capitalization of Bitcoin momentarily surpassed $1 trillion before declining alongside the rest of the market cap in crypto in 2022. Meanwhile, new coins like Solana experienced rapid market capitalization growth before collapsing.

These examples illustrate the market's volatility. However, the long-term trend is typically more revelatory than short-term fluctuations. Charts of market capitalization over time provide insight into momentum and user growth.

Section 5: Market Capitalization and Investment Techniques

Market capitalization should be incorporated into cryptocurrency investment strategies in the following ways:

Market Cap versus Price

A common misconception is that market capitalization and price are synonymous. Price refers to the value of a single coin or token, whereas market cap measures the total value of all coins in circulation. Comparing market cap is more relevant than comparing prices.

Long-Term versus Short-Term

Since market cap in crypto reflects the entrenched position of cryptocurrencies such as BTC and ETH, long-term investors are more likely to place a premium on it. Short-term traders may look to cryptocurrencies with a lesser market capitalization for greater upside potential. Different market capitalization preferences correspond to investment horizons.

Risk versus Returns

As a result of their stability and liquidity, coins with a larger market cap in crypto are regarded as secure portfolio additions. Newer cryptocurrencies have a high risk profile but a high potential reward. Market cap in crypto can guide allocation between established and speculative assets based on risk tolerance.

Diversity Diversification 

To construct a diversified crypto portfolio, various market capitalization categories must be represented. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the primary significant capitalization exposures. Midcaps such as Polygon provide development potential. Small-cap stocks have a high prospective. Managing market capitalization exposures is crucial.

In conclusion, market capitalization should guide investment strategies based on methodology, objectives, and timelines. It is a tool for both diversification and risk management planning.

Section 6: Market Cap and the Crypto Market 

In addition to shedding light on market trends and maturation, analyzing the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies can be instructive.

Market Capitalization Developments

Late in 2021, the total crypto market cap surpassed $3 trillion before falling to $1 trillion in 2022, illustrating the cyclical nature of the market. But long-term increases in market cap in crypto indicate infrastructure expansion and widespread adoption. Capital infusion is necessary for sustained upswing momentum.

Recognizing Trends

Sharp changes in the direction of total market cap in crypto indicate a shift in investor sentiment. Gradual shifts or stagnation may indicate consolidation phases preceding the subsequent explosion. Monitoring market capitalization can therefore reveal trends and sentiment shifts.

Market Viability and Maturity

The magnitude and stability of the total market capitalization provide insight into the health and trajectory of the cryptocurrency market. Periods of euphoria may lead to an inflated market capitalization, whereas periods of anxiety result in market declines. Consistent growth in market capitalization indicates maturation.

As cryptocurrencies acquire legitimacy in the financial sector, the market capitalization figures will serve as development benchmarks. As the rate of adoption rises, market leaders will strengthen their positions. Analyzing the market capitalization provides data-driven market insights.

Lympid to access High, Mid and Low Market Cap Tokens

At Lympid, you will have access to a multitude of crypto tokens/coins that can range from high cap such like BTC, ETH, XRP, to medium cap such as Polygon, Litecoin, Chainlink, or even low cap such as Axie Infinity or Sushi.

Regardless of the token you want to purchase you can do it easily with EUR. At Lympid you can create a personal Iban account to deposit and withdraw EUR within seconds.

If you don't know what coin to buy you can also invest through the available crypto indexes that work just like crypto ETFs.

Concluding Remarks

In the cryptocurrency ecosystem, market cap is a key metric that gauges the aggregate value of digital assets based on their circulating supply. It facilitates the comparison of cryptocurrencies and informs investment decisions. A larger market cap in crypto indicates greater maturity, stability, liquidity, and network effects.

Despite its limitations, market capitalization is an indispensable starting point for fundamental analysis. It illustrates a characteristic of user adoption and mainstream prominence. The application of market capitalization analysis across investment horizons and portfolio construction techniques enables more informed cryptocurrency strategies.

Understanding market cap in crypto provides investors with a vital instrument for navigating opportunities in this emerging market. As adoption grows, market capitalization weightings will reflect the consolidation of cryptocurrencies with the most traction. By monitoring market capitalization trends and evaluations, investors can determine which assets to prioritize.

As always, don't forget to do your own research.

Great job on learning something new today 🎉