Exploring the crypto-currency market, from a South African perspective

Is this your first look at crypto-currencies? Welcome. Let’s quantify the crypto-currency market by comparing its size to that of the JSE.


According to coinmarketcap.com, there are 1150 crypto-currencies available as at time of writing, traded on 5700 different markets, with a total market cap of $143 billion US dollars. Furthermore, almost $3 billion worth of trades went through in the last 24 hours, of which Bitcoin dominates half of the market (49.6%).

So many currencies

Lets start with the number of crypto-currencies, 1150. That’s plenty – especially if you take into consideration that there are only 195 countries in the world, using a total of 180 currencies. So the cryptos outnumber the ‘real’ currencies by almost 6½ to 1.

How much is a $143 billion market cap?

There are currently 7.442 billion people on planet earth, so if you had to share the total crypto market cap equally among us then every person would receive just shy of $20.

But in relative terms, it is much smaller than you think. The total crypto-currency market cap is 143 billion (USD). Not far from where I sit is the is the Shoprite head office and their turnover for the last 12 months was 141 billion (ZAR). Yes, it is a different exchange, but you get the picture. Let’s take another one – Naspers, the JSE listed company that owns DSTV is valued at $95bn USD, or two-thirds of the total crypto market. Again this is just one company.

If you start comparing the coin market cap to the JSE as a whole, it pales in comparison – the market cap of just the Top 100 JSE listed companies amounts to R14.4 trillion ZAR (as at close of market yesterday). This is $ 1.055 trillion USD, or about 7½ times the size of the total crypto market.

And the daily volumes?

There is most certainly a lot of activity in the crypto market place, with $3bn worth of trades going through in the last day. One could almost say that it is similar to the daily trading values on the JSE, given that the latter is only open for 8hrs but the crypto market runs 24/7.

Sharing the $143 billion dollars

The 80/20 Rule applies here: the top 12 cryptos account for over 88% of this total $143bn value, leaving the 1138 smaller ones to share the remaining tenth. Therefor we’ll only look at the largest cryptos for now, but not ignoring the growth potential of the >1000 smaller ones. The chart below quantifies the size of the majors. It is basically Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and the rest (and don’t forget about the related Bitcoin Cash and Etherium Classic).

Them apples

Are we comparing apples with apples when looking at actual companies vs the value of a digital currency? Not so much. But it sure helps to quantify the size of the mark and get a feel for it, especially if you are already trading the South African stock market or investing locally.

Over to you

Explore with us. Use the list below to navigate to the biggest crypto-currencies and find live prices, charts, videos, history, resources and more. Pretty much all you need to know.

# Coin MCap Share
1 BITCOIN  $71.06bn 49.55%
2 ETHEREUM  $27.36bn 19.08%
3 RIPPLE  $7.63bn 5.32%
4 CASH  $6.69bn 4.67%
5 LITECOIN  $2.75bn 1.92%
6 DASH  $2.27bn 1.58%
7 NEM  $2.02bn 1.41%
8 NEO  $1.67bn 1.16%
9 IOTA  $1.48bn 1.03%
10 MONERO  $1.33bn 0.92%
11 CLASSIC  $1.15bn 0.80%
12 BITCONNECT  $0.93bn 0.65%


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