Just a little over 9 years ago, the first Bitcoin was mined. The world was busy with one of the most
gruesome economic meltdowns in history, so it took us years to discover the invention that turned into
the frenzy of the century. Now, almost 10 years after Satoshi Nakamoto published his white paper, the
asset that just a few people in a closely-knit mailing list knew about, spawned an explosion of digital
assets that no one would have been able to foresee.
With ICOs adding more crypto assets to the market on a daily basis, it is hard to keep an updated count of how many are out there. There are more than 4,500 coins and tokens in circulation, challenging what we thought we knew about cryptocurrency markets.
A Lack of Information
Anyone would think that the 1,500 or so coins listed on coinmarketcap.com make up the market, but
this is not accurate. Many more coins are hiding somewhere in a dark corner of the web, waiting to be
dusted, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. The dearth of information about cryptocurrencies is
greater than we thought. In fact, for every well-known cryptocurrency, there might be hundreds of
unknown ones, which forces us to think about other information that we might be missing.
Juggle These Numbers in your Mind
Thanks to preliminary research, CoinJanitor has been able to establish just how many cryptocurrencies
we are missing out on. Most of them are not tradeable and a significant number is also functionally
dead. Just take a look at CoinJanitor’s initial findings. The numbers below will give you a taste of the kind
of information we are missing out on:
- CoinJanitor found more than 4,500 cryptocurrencies in circulation, of which the top 10 account
for between 75% and 80% of the total market cap.
- The following 90 coins on those ranked within the top 100 on coinmarketcap.com, account for
anywhere between 15% and 18% of the total market cap.
- That leaves around 4,400 cryptocurrencies holding about 2% of the total market cap in the most
Just take a minute to digest that and think, if Bitcoin is now processing hundreds of thousands of
transactions per day, how many cryptocurrency transactions have been completely unaccounted for
because they took place within micro-cap blockchains? What could that information teach us? How
about all the metadata related to that information? There are many more questions we could ask
ourselves just based on those small data samples from CoinJanitor’s preliminary research, so imagine
what we could learn if we knew more?
Knowledge Nurtures Wisdom
It took Bitcoin years to be as widely known as it is now, but this global phenomenon is still understudied.
Now the pace at which other cryptocurrencies are created makes Bitcoin’s long and arduous journey
look like a story from the last century. The cryptocurrency explosion has increased the unknowns
exponentially, widening our gaps in understanding. If we study the markets we might be able to narrow
this gap, and our newfound knowledge will nurture our wisdom.
The first step is to understand that there are indeed more than 4,500 coins out there, so we can start looking for all the treasures hidden behind the data that they produce.