Best Crypto To Invest in 2024 [Expert Guide]

Best Crypto To Invest in 2024 [Expert Guide] -

Cryptocurrencies have cemented themselves as a revolutionary new asset class, offering investors the chance to be part of the future of finance. As we enter 2024, the crypto landscape has evolved dramatically from the early days of Bitcoin.

There are now thousands of cryptocurrencies, each trying to solve unique problems and capture value in our increasingly digital world.

This extensive guide explores the top cryptocurrencies leading the pack going into 2024. These digital assets show strong potential for real-world adoption, have solid development teams behind them, and are spearheading innovation in blockchain technology.

We analyze the pros and cons of each cryptocurrency, their growth prospects, and the niche they are trying to serve. Whether you’re a seasoned crypto investor or just starting your journey into digital assets, read on to uncover the top cryptocurrencies to watch closely in 2024.

The Evolution of the Crypto Market

Before diving into the top cryptos for 2024, it’s important to understand how much the market has evolved from Bitcoin’s inception over a decade ago. What started as an obscure digital asset is now a booming market worth over $800 billion.

There are a few key developments that have shaped the growth of crypto:

  • Bitcoin proved the viability of decentralized digital money and became the first global cryptocurrency
  • Ethereum enabled smart contracts and decentralized applications through its programmable blockchain
  • The ICO boom of 2017/2018 brought hundreds of new crypto projects to life
  • DeFi created an open alternative to legacy financial systems without intermediaries
  • NFTs showed crypto’s potential for powering digital ownership and new economies
  • Regulatory clarity in countries like the USA confirmed cryptocurrencies are here to stay
  • Major tech and financial companies are integrating crypto and blockchain tech

As we move into 2024, the foundations for the “Web 3” revolution have been laid. Cryptocurrencies enable decentralized networks owned by users with strong cryptographic security guarantees.

The applications for this technological shift are far-reaching, from finance to gaming, social media, identity, supply chain tracking, and beyond.

It’s an exciting time to get involved with crypto. As adoption spreads, the utility and value of blockchain networks will dramatically increase. But with thousands of cryptocurrencies around, all with varying use cases—which should you pay attention to in 2024?

The Methodology Behind Our Crypto Picks

We used a rigorous methodology for choosing the top cryptocurrencies to invest in for 2024:

  • Real-world adoption – How many users/transactions does the network have? Who are the major partners using the technology?
  • Developer activity – How robust is development work on the crypto? What major upgrades are planned?
  • Community strength – Does the crypto have an active community of users, developers, and partners?
  • Use case fit – Does the cryptocurrency solution fit well with the problem it’s trying to solve?
  • Technology innovation – What consensus mechanism does the crypto use? Does its tech provide advantages over rivals?
  • Tokenomics – Is the coin/token model properly aligned with the network incentive structure?
  • Decentralization levels – How distributed is control and power over the cryptocurrency network?
  • Transparency – Are finances/plans communicated clearly to users? Is progress regularly updated?
  • Security track record – Have there been any major hacks/exploits of the blockchain?
  • Team quality – What is the experience and track record behind the cryptocurrency?

We weighted these factors according to their importance for determining long-term success and investment return potential. The result is a hand-picked selection of the top cryptocurrencies worth paying attention to going into 2024.

An Overview of the Top Cryptocurrencies for 2024

  • Bitcoin (BTC) – Digital gold and the leading global cryptocurrency
  • Ethereum (ETH) – The preeminent programmable blockchain for decentralized applications
  • Solana (SOL) – High-performance blockchain focused on scalability
  • Polkadot (DOT) – Next-gen multi-chain protocol for cross-blockchain transfers
  • Cardano (ADA) – Academic research-driven blockchain optimized for sustainability
  • Polygon (MATIC) – Scalability solution for building Ethereum-compatible chains
  • Uniswap (UNI) – The most popular decentralized crypto exchange protocol
  • Chainlink (LINK) – Decentralized blockchain oracle network for external data sourcing
  • Decentraland (MANA) – 3D virtual reality platform powered by Ethereum and crypto
  • Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR) – Enterprise-grade public ledger designed for performance

This list captures established leading protocols like Bitcoin and Ethereum and younger networks like Solana and Polygon making waves. Spanning decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized apps, crypto infrastructure plays, metaverse projects, and more—these top cryptocurrencies represent diverse sectors driving innovation.

Now, let’s analyze the investment case for each of these top cryptos to watch closely in 2024.

Bitcoin (BTC) – The Flagship Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin market cap: $380 billion

Investment thesis: Bitcoin is digital gold—a scarce digital asset with uncorrelated returns for diversification. The leading cryptocurrency with the longest track record and widespread familiarity/trust. Functions as a store of value, inflation hedge, and wealth preservation tool. Higher return potential than gold with a harder supply cap (fixed at 21 million BTC).

Key 2024 catalysts:

  • Expanding adoption as a “digital gold” store of value and inflation hedge
  • Greater integration for payments/transactions among merchants/apps
  • Further maturation as an uncorrelated asset class for institutional investors
  • More supply moving off exchanges into long-term holder wallets
  • Greater network security via accelerating hash rate to new all-time highs

Despite market volatility, Bitcoin has solidified itself as “digital gold”—a scarce digital asset that functions as a store of value and inflation hedge. No other cryptocurrency has the brand cachet and security of the Bitcoin network after over a decade of reliable operation.

With only 21 million BTC that can exist, compared to gold’s ever-increasing supply, Bitcoin’s transparent and fixed supply makes it attractive for long-term value preservation.

Furthermore, the decentralization and cryptography securing the Bitcoin network may give it an edge over gold in holding its value long-term.

Going into 2024, Bitcoin is still cryptocurrency investments’ most logical onboarding point. While altcoins carry higher risk/reward profiles, Bitcoin appeals to conservative institutional investors due to its stability as “the crypto market beta”. With increasing familiarity and trust in Bitcoin, its potential growth trajectory remains strong.

Ethereum (ETH) – The Leading Programmable Blockchain

Ethereum market cap: $190 billion

Investment thesis: Ethereum is the leading programmable blockchain—hundreds of decentralized applications across DeFi, NFTs, games, and more are built on top of it. The network effects are immense, with Ethereum dominating developer activity, Total Value Locked (TVL), and end-user applications.

Key 2024 catalysts:

  • Transition to proof-of-stake consensus mechanism with ‘The Merge’ – more scalability, security
  • Launch of sharding to increase transactions per second drastically
  • A steady stream of Layer 2 upgrades providing order-of-magnitude scalability boosts
  • Dominance of Ethereum ecosystem likely to persist amid “ETHzation” trends

Ethereum has secured itself as the most used programmable blockchain, serving as the foundation for decentralized finance and a still-growing range of decentralized applications.

Despite high gas fees and periodic network congestion, Ethereum processes some 1.2 million daily transactions, dwarfs all other smart contract networks combined. Over 3,400 dApps have been built on Ethereum, offering users everything from crypto banking to tokenized asset investing to decentralized prediction markets.

The network effects are compounding, too—almost all stablecoins run on Ethereum, over 250 million NFTs minted use Ethereum smart contracts, and 99% of all DeFi transactions occur on Ethereum-based protocols.

These “platform network effects” reinforce Ethereum’s dominance as the programmable blockchain of choice as more users/applications attract even more activity.

With game-changing upgrades like proof-of-stake consensus, sharding, and Layer 2 scaling solutions on the horizon, Ethereum has a bright future. As Web3 adoption accelerates, Ethereum will remain the industry backbone powering this decentralization revolution.

Solana (SOL) – The High-Performance Blockchain

Solana market cap: $11 billion

Investment thesis: Solana prioritizes scalability and rapid innovation—offering DeFi and dApp developers a high-speed platform with low transaction costs. Ethereum congestion and gas fees often make solutions economically unviable, and Solana offers a user-friendly alternative.

Key 2024 catalysts:

  • Onboarding more DeFi protocols and dApps as Ethereum gas fees deter developers
  • Rapid transitions Proof-of-History innovations to the core protocol
  • Expanding transaction volumes once scaling limits are resolved post-2022 instability
  • Growing developer mindshare from hackathons/grants for SolanaPay/Phone initiatives

Dubbed “Ethereum’s Killer”, Solana prioritizes usability, scalability, and rapid innovation to drive decentralized application adoption. The blockchain uses a unique proof-of-history (PoH) consensus that processes over 50,000 transactions per second—at nearly zero cost to users.

This extreme performance makes it possible to build global-scale decentralized apps that handle tens of millions of users. Everything from decentralized finance to gaming to social networks is being developed on Solana to leverage these advantages.

Solana experienced growing pains in 2022 with frequent outages as demand scaled exponentially faster than anticipated. But a young, agile team of developers is strongly committed to overcoming these hurdles and propelling Solana to further growth.

With abundant venture funding and expanding DeFi/NFT/gaming ecosystems, Solana shows long-term promise as an environment for Web3 mass adoption.

Polkadot (DOT) – The Interoperable Multichain

Polkadot market cap: $5.5 billion

Investment thesis: Polkadot is a multifaceted blockchain connecting private/consortium chains, public networks, and oracles and enabling cross-chain transfers. The interoperability focus allows external chains to integrate easily with Polkadot while benefiting from shared security.

Key 2024 catalysts:

  • Onboarding more parachains through auction processes
  • Cross-chain transfers gaining traction as Polkadot ecosystem matures
  • Shared security benefits attract projects from other chains
  • Parachains launching dApps that leverage Polkadot’s interoperability

Often described as a “blockchain of blockchains”, Polkadot’s strength lies in its unique multichain design. It enables external chains to connect to its central Relay chain to gain key benefits:

  • Shared security from Polkadot’s validator network so external chains don’t need to bootstrap their security
  • Seamless interoperability between other Polkadot parachains to access functionality across different blockchain networks
  • Future upgradability through Polkadot’s governance system

This interoperability focus makes Polkadot almost an infrastructure for innovation—giving developers an easy onramp for leveraging cross-chain composability.

Companies that build on Polkadot can focus more resources on domain-specific problems versus bootstrapping yet another independent blockchain. Although still in the early stages, Polkadot shows promise as a nexus enabling blockchain interoperability at scale.

Cardano (ADA) – The Sustainability-Focused Blockchain

Cardano market cap: $13.5 billion

Investment thesis: Cardano emphasizes research-driven engineering for maximum security, scalability, and long-term sustainability. An evidence-based approach ensures systematic improvements rather than reactionary problem-solving—giving Cardano the stability needed for large-scale adoption.

Key 2024 catalysts:

  • Launch of scaling hydra solution to reach >1 million TPS
  • Onboarding new users/assets as capabilities like smart contracts introduced
  • Leveraging academic philosophy to enable compliant use cases
  • Expanding project funding/talent development from the Cardano Foundation

Dubbed the “Ethereum killer”, Cardano differentiates itself through an evidence-based approach backed by academic research. All protocol upgrades undergo extensive peer review to guarantee network stability at scale.

This philosophy carries cost and speed tradeoffs but prioritizes sustainable long-term solutions over rushed development. Cardano is likely to avoid catastrophic failures plaguing faster-moving rivals—at the expense of nimbler product iteration.

Value accrual for ADA will depend greatly on expanding usability now that core smart contract capabilities are live. But the thoughtfulness and care behind Cardano’s improvements provide confidence real-world usage can scale gracefully without existential crises down the line.

Polygon (MATIC) – Scaling Ethereum Today

Polygon market cap: $8 billion

Investment thesis: Polygon provides an Ethereum scaling platform to build apps with low fees and fast transactions by leveraging Layer 2 sidechains. Instead of betting on uncertain Ethereum upgrades, Polygon offers a working scalability solution.

Key 2024 catalysts:

  • Onboarding users/apps from Ethereum seeking to escape high gas fees
  • Launching counterfactual transactions and ZK rollups to boost scalability further
  • Expanding asset bridges between ETH/Polygon/other chains
  • Embedding itself as long-term scaling infrastructure for Ethereum

Polygon is a leading “Layer 2” scaling solution tackling Ethereum’s Achilles heel—the severe network congestion causing exorbitant gas fees. Built as a sidechain extension, Polygon offloads transactions from the main Ethereum network while retaining security guarantees.

This allows decentralized apps (dApps) built on Polygon to offer significantly better user experiences. Costs to users fall under $0.001 per transaction, while final settlements occur on Ethereum.

Polygon handles 65,000 transactions per second today, with the roadmap advancing to 1 million+ soon.

The bottom line is Polygon lets developers build Web3 apps that are easy and affordable for users now—not years down the road dependent on Ethereum improvements. With strong growth in active users and apps migrating from Ethereum, Polygon has cemented itself as a long-term scaling solution for Ethereum.

Uniswap (UNI) – The Leading Decentralized Exchange

Uniswap market cap: $5.8 billion

Investment thesis: Uniswap pioneered decentralized trading protocols and still leads the industry, providing liquidity for thousands of Ethereum token pairs. As DeFi adoption grows, decentralized exchanges like Uniswap will capture more trading volume from legacy platforms.

Key 2024 catalysts:

  • Adding support for non-Ethereum assets to expand the addressable market
  • Transition to a new fee structure captures more value as TVL grows
  • MATIC, Optimism integrations circumvent Ethereum gas fees
  • Continued growth as the preferred method for newly launched tokens to list

Uniswap pioneered the concept of an automated market maker—using asset pools instead of traditional buyers/sellers to facilitate decentralized trading. This breakthrough enabled users to trade/list tokens directly without intermediaries taking rents or controlling access like centralized exchanges.

By simplifying the listing process for new assets, Uniswap became the gateway to DeFi—kickstarting the explosive growth of decentralized finance. Today, Uniswap enables $1 billion+ in daily trading volume across Ethereum assets.

Uniswap is well-positioned to keep eating away at incumbent platforms as decentralized exchange adoption grows. With plans to support cross-chain swaps and optimize capital efficiency, Uniswap has staying power to defend its leading industry position over the long term.

Chainlink (LINK) – The Blockchain Oracle Giant

Chainlink market cap: $3.2 billion

Investment thesis: Chainlink has established itself as the industry-standard blockchain oracle solution for getting real-world data onto smart contract networks. With the shift towards a multi-chain future rather than winner-takes-all, Chainlink provides the connectivity layer between off-chain and on-chain worlds.

Key 2024 catalysts:

  • Rapidly expanding integration with blockchain protocols beyond Ethereum
  • Launching mixing services to guarantee privacy for Oracle networks
  • Chainlink 2.0 introduces staking and better external data coordination
  • Dominant position continues as “middleware” enabling smart contract usability

Here’s the issue—blockchains can’t natively interact with external systems to leverage valuable real-world data. Solving this connectivity gap is crucial for unlocking functionality and mainstream usability.

Chainlink provides reliable oracles—data/connectivity layers getting everything from sports scores to shipping data onto smart contract networks. The project has secured high-value partnerships with leading DeFi applications, cloud services firms like Google/Oracle, and major blockchain ecosystems like Polkadot.

As more assets digitize and blockchain adoption advances, the oracle space will become important. Given Chainlink’s commanding market share and developer mindshare—especially amid a multi-chain future needing interoperability—it remains a long-term hold as critical infrastructure.

Decentraland (MANA) – The Leading Metaverse Cryptocurrency

Decentraland market cap: $1.2 billion

Investment thesis: Decentraland is the largest open metaverse platform where users can create scenes, play games, transact virtual assets, and more through customizable 3D avatars. With Microsoft, Adidas, and Atari buying virtual land, Decentraland is a bet on blockchain-powered digital worlds taking off.

Key 2024 catalysts:

  • More brands/celebrities drive hype cycles by purchasing virtual estates
  • New casino, recreation, and leisure experiences launch
  • Additional land sold as Decentraland expands the world map
  • More users flooded in by the next crypto/metaverse hype cycle

As NFTs (non-fungible tokens) unlock provable digital ownership, virtual worlds are emerging, fueled by blockchain and cryptocurrency economies. Decentraland is pioneering this movement—building a 3D metaverse with the same immersive graphic capabilities as popular video games.

The key difference from existing metaverses? User ownership. Just like NFTs allow owning one-of-a-kind digital items, Decentraland extends that model so users can own virtual land plots as NFTs. Monetization happens through advertising, casinos, virtual events, and more on user-owned land parcels—creating real economic incentives.

Brands already buy virtual land plots in Decentraland for marketing and digital experiences. For example, JPMorgan Chase opened a lounge for global meetings. Luxury fashion house Gucci launched an experimental garden.

Musicians regularly perform concerts for their fans. Virtual concerts in Decentraland have drawn millions of viewers as the next evolution of events. Since land and items sold in Decentraland require MANA, investing in the underlying cryptocurrency plays a role in the growth of blockchain-based metaverses.

As the lines between our physical and online worlds increasingly blur in the coming years, decentralized metaverses like Decentraland will likely capture substantial value.

Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR) – The Enterprise-Facing Blockchain

Hedera Hashgraph market cap: $2 billion

Investment thesis: Hedera Hashgraph offers blazing-fast performance and robust security while enabling enterprise needs like compliance, low transaction fees, and council node validation.

With major corporations like Boeing, IBM, and LG already building on Hedera, it’s a future-focused enterprise blockchain.

Key 2024 catalysts:

  • Expanded mainnet usage by existing council members
  • Attracting more Fortune 500 companies/apps via increased developer marketing
  • Delivering the first widely adopted enterprise NFT use case
  • Leveraging council status for tailored legal/regulatory solutions

Praised for its speed, low costs, and enterprise-grade attributes, Hedera Hashgraph competes closely with blockchain platforms like Solana and Algorand.

Unlike pure public blockchains, Hedera targets large institutions with specialized needs around compliance, legal ambiguity, and performance.

The network’s governance model is unique, too—requiring two-thirds of the 39 global entities on its governing council to approve changes. Council members include Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, IBM, Nomura, Ubisoft, and more.

While still under the radar relative to leading chains, Hedera’s impressive technical benchmarks and working enterprise use cases give it legitimate sleeper potential.

Hedera’s visibility and value should continue rising as businesses migrate operations to blockchain-based architectures over time.

Summary: Top Cryptocurrencies Poised for Greatness

Despite ongoing market volatility, the long-term growth trajectory for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology remains explosively positive. As crypto penetrates mainstream channels in the 2020s, decentralized networks will radically transform finance, technology, governance, and the internet.

The top cryptocurrencies highlighted in this guide appear primed to capture tremendous value within their niches—by serving user needs better than existing solutions constrained by legacy inefficiencies. Our methodology considered all dimensions influencing an asset’s likelihood of prosperity in 2024 and beyond.

While risk factors always exist with early-stage innovation, the projects covered have clear use cases, ample funding, strong teams, building user adoption, and communities rallying behind their visions.

Monitoring their advancement promises to be an exciting ride towards mainstream adoption.

Of course, no list can capture the entire innovation happening across thousands of crypto assets today.

If you find this article thrilling, discover extra thrilling posts like this on Learnhub Blog; we write a lot of tech-related topics from Cloud computing to Frontend Dev, Cybersecurity, AI, and Blockchain. Take a look at How to Build Offline Web Applications. 


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