Best Crypto by Year-to-Date Performance: 9 Top Cryptocurrencies

The best crypto for a specific investor will depend on their particular situation, but here are 9 of the top cryptocurrencies in terms of returns this year.
Sam Taube
By Sam Taube 
Published
Edited by Chris Davis

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2024 has been an exciting year for cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin reaching a new all-time high of more than $70,000 in March.

Bitcoin may be the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, but it’s not the best crypto this year in terms of performance.

And the stronger performers aren’t just meme coins — there’s a growing selection of established cryptocurrencies with long-term track records.

9 top cryptocurrencies by year-to-date performance

Below is a list of the nine best-performing cryptocurrencies with market caps above $10 billion — a number chosen to weed out less-established coins — ordered by year-to-date performance.

Coin name and symbol

Market cap

YTD return

Toncoin (TON)

$22,624,035,309.

181.83%.

Shiba Inu (SHIB)

$14,876,922,420.

144.13%.

BNB (BNB)

$90,575,280,352.

96.46%.

Dogecoin (DOGE)

$23,914,219,506.

85.09%.

Solana (SOL)

$79,234,874,717.

73.78%.

Ethereum (ETH)

$449,228,505,834.

63.88%.

Bitcoin (BTC)

$1,360,159,526,857.

63.28%.

Cardano (ADA)

$17,236,433,702.

18.71%.

XRP (XRP)

$29,089,622,577.

14.45%.

Source: CoinMarketCap.com. Data is current as of May 22, 2024, and intended for informational purposes only.

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Is cryptocurrency a good long-term investment?

Malcolm Ethridge, a financial planner with Maryland-based registered investment advisor CIC Wealth, said in an email interview that a small crypto investment, although it isn't "absolutely necessary," may help provide some diversification to a long-term portfolio, as long as investors put a few sensible guardrails around it and limit their exposure.

“I think that investors could cap their allocation to crypto at 5%, and long term, they would still be able to reap the benefits of being exposed to the asset class if it does 10x like its biggest proponents hope, but also reduce the chances of being wiped out by it if the asset class goes to zero tomorrow, which is also possible,” Ethridge said.

Which is the best crypto to buy now?

The best crypto to buy now for a particular investor will depend on their circumstances and goals. If you’re using extra money to speculate on cryptocurrencies for fun, you may be inclined to look for small, high-volatility altcoins.

But if you’re looking to make a long-term cryptocurrency investment for diversification purposes, you may be more interested in mature coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which have longer track records, larger market caps and more adoption by major financial institutions.

When looking at the coins in the table above, it’s important to remember that return isn’t everything. Many of the cryptocurrencies that are outperforming Bitcoin this year have significantly more-limited use cases.

Toncoin (TON), for example, is a spinoff of a defunct blockchain-based web hosting scheme (“The Open Network,” or “TON”) originally developed by the social media app Telegram. Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) are meme coins — joke altcoins that represent internet memes. And BNB (BNB) is the native coin of the embattled cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

These kinds of coins can sometimes post triple-digit returns in a matter of months, but investors should note that they are considerably smaller, less mature, more specialized and more volatile than the “blue chip” cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

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How to add cryptocurrency to your portfolio

There are many ways to invest in cryptocurrency, such as a variety of crypto exchanges, apps and platforms. The following conventional online brokers also offer some cryptocurrency access:

There are also exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that indirectly invest in various kinds of cryptocurrency, as well as spot Bitcoin ETFs that invest directly in Bitcoin.

In Ethridge’s opinion, investors should either focus on Bitcoin or look for a diversified cryptocurrency ETF.

“I think that investors looking to get exposure here should either own bitcoin exclusively, as it is the largest, most mature crypto currency by a wide margin, or they should invest via a crypto ETF that owns the 10-20 legitimate, established tokens for you all in one place,” Ethridge said.

“This approach will help make trading and tracking easy, as well as help keep costs down, as these things are very expensive to trade,” he said.

» Check out some of the best crypto wallets.

The author owned Bitcoin at the time of publication.

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