So-called alternative cryptocurrencies are making their presence felt in the first week of 2018, recording impressive gains that are drawing investors to options once considered risky.
Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, rallied 1,900 percent last year. But, as prices neared the $20,000 mark in December, the relatively cheap "small cap" coins began to rise. With gains due, in part at least, to the rotation of money out of an overbought bitcoin, the broader cryptocurrency rally seems to have gathered pace in 2018.
With 66 percent appreciation so far in 2018, Ripple's XRP token is now the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. That's impressive, yet XRP still ranks sixth on the list of top gainers so far this year, among those ranked in the top 25 by total value, as of 18:00 UTC.
So which "large-cap" cryptocurrencies are leading the pack?
Top 10 cryptocurrencies of 2018 by percentage gained
Overall, the TRON token tops the table with 270 percent gains since Jan. 1. The cryptocurrency has appreciated by 100 percent in the last 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap, and its market cap has tripled this week to $10 billion.
In second place is the status network token (SNT) – an ethereum-based cryptocurrency that has gained more than 160 percent in value this year and is up 700 percent month-on-month. Stellar, which topped the list two days ago, has slipped to number three. It is now the seventh largest currency with a market cap of $9.97 billion.
And although at a record high of over $1,000 today, ethereum's native token ether (up 28 percent this year) sits at the bottom of the table in 10th place.
Interestingly, bitcoin ranks as low as 18 (up 2 percent this year), as prices have traded roughly sideways since the fall from its December all-time high.
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Ripple.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.