Cryptocurrencies are all the rage these days, particularly with speculative investors. What used to be a “fringe” investment is now front and center in the financial press. Even financial networks like CNBC talk about Bitcoin daily and keep a ticker up on the screen showing the current price.
Put this all together and now even the average investor is well aware of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency movement. However, many people are likely still unaware that Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency out there. In fact, there are plenty of other options if you want to get your crypto fix away from the big names. Just be aware that each cryptocurrency is unique, and that you should consult your financial advisor before you invest in any of these speculative products. If you’re ready to invest in some crypto, check out the 10 cheap options on this list.
- Coin price as of Oct. 7: $1.07
XRP is an open-source cryptocurrency that uses an open-source distributed ledger called XRP Ledger. It was developed by Ripple, an enterprise blockchain company that facilitates global transactions. Ripple says XRP was built for payments and can settle transactions faster, more reliably and at lower cost than is possible over standard global payment infrastructure. Although Ripple is currently embroiled in a lawsuit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges it engaged in unregistered securities trading, XRP prices have been trending up since March, when they dropped to their lowest level since 2017.
- Coin price as of Oct. 7: $0.2429
Dogecoin originated as something of a joke, but it has become quite real for all of those who are now profiting from it. The coin is certainly still “cheap,” at about $0.25 per coin as of Oct. 7, especially compared to its $0.68 peak back in May. But the current price is up over 4,000% since the beginning of the year, when you could buy DOGE for about half a cent.
Unlike many other cryptocurrencies that serve actual functions, Dogecoin was created as a satirical take on Bitcoin. Earlier this year, the crypto rose sharply based on hype on message boards and tweets by Elon Musk. This is the same type of speculation that drove GameStop up by more than 400% in a single week earlier this year. Of course, that likely doesn’t matter to those who are generating real profits and who are still searching for “cheap” cryptocurrencies.
- Coin price as of Oct. 7: $4.72
EOS is considered a competitor to Ethereum, but both seem to coexist in the crypto world. EOS is the token that lives on the EOSIO blockchain. Like many of its brethren, the EOSIO blockchain is designed to facilitate large transactions rapidly and securely. The platform is fast and scalable, highly configurable, developer-friendly and security- and compliance-focused, according to its developers. EOS is an affordable coin at just above $4.70 — a price much closer to its 2021 low of $2.51, where it closed on Jan. 27, than its high of $14.37 at closing on May 11.
- Coin price as of Oct. 7: $26.83
According to Coinbase, Chainlink is another Ethereum token that powers the Chainlink decentralized oracle network. This network is used to securely connect to external data sources, APIs and payment systems.
Chainlink describes itself as enabling real-world data and off-chain computation to expand the capabilities of smart contracts while maintaining the upsides of blockchain technology, namely its security and reliability guarantees. The Chainlink price moves in fits and starts but currently sits above $26 per coin.
USD Coin (USDC)
- Coin price as of Oct. 7: $1
USD Coin is a stablecoin, which means its value is pegged to the value of another asset — in this case, the U.S. dollar. That makes it remarkably stable compared to other cryptocurrencies — USD Coin prices deviate by just a couple hundredths of a cent before returning to $1. Although you can’t make money by purchasing low and selling high like you would other tokens, you can earn interest by loaning your USD Coin through a decentralized finance platform like Aave, which pays as much as 10%.
USD Coin is jointly managed by the crypto trading platform Coinbase and Circle, a digital payments company that in July announced plans to go public through a special purpose acquisition company merger with Concord Acquisition Corp, CoinDesk reported.
- Coin price as of Oct. 7: $2.28
At less than $2.50, Cardano remains a very cheap cryptocurrency for most investors, even after its roughly 1,265% gain since the beginning of 2021.
According to Coinbase, Cardano is a blockchain platform built on a proof-of-stake consensus protocol called Ouroboros, which can validate transactions without high energy costs. Development on Cardano uses the Haskell programming language. The symbol for the Cardano token, ADA, comes from the 19th-century mathematician, Ada Lovelace. According to its developers, Ouroboros allows the Cardano network’s decentralization and provides the ability to sustainably scale to global requirements without compromising security.
- Coin price as of Oct. 7: $33.97
Polkadot carries one of the more interesting cryptocurrency names, and it serves as the token on the Polkadot network. According to its developers, the Polkadot token serves three main purposes: providing governance for the network, operating the network and creating parachains by bonding Polkadot tokens. While this may be a foreign language to investors who are not familiar with the field, the roughly 400% gain in the Polkadot token since Jan. 1 is something anyone can understand. Still, Polkadot remains an affordable altcoin at just over $33 per token.
- Coin price as of Oct. 7: $0.344
Stellar is its own payment network, and it uses Stellar Lumens as its currency on that network. While the network can be used by anyone, it was envisioned to connect financial institutions making large transactions. On the Stellar network, these types of transactions can be done nearly instantaneously at little to no cost, unlike with traditional or even competitor blockchain networks. The price of Stellar Lumens has been steadily rising, but it still trades well below $1 per coin.
- Coin price as of Oct. 7: $1.00
Tether is an Ethereum token that is pegged to the value of a U.S. dollar. At $1 per token, Tether is still one of the more inexpensive cryptocurrencies available. However, that price is not likely to move like many of the other cryptocurrencies out there because Tether, like USD Coin, is a stablecoin tied 1-to-1 to the value of the U.S. dollar.
- Coin price as of Oct. 7: $0.806
Decentraland is the token behind an Ethereum-blockchain-based virtual reality game of the same name. Securities.io describes Decentraland as a 3D virtual world where users buy land on which to develop and monetize content, buy goods and services and visit other properties. With a $1.5 billion market capitalization, this crypto project isn’t exactly child’s play. In fact, a Sept. 3 Coinbase analysis noted a bullish trend in Decentraland’s pricing, saying it has underperformed the market over the past month and could be headed to targets of $1.14 and higher.
Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.
Data is accurate as of Oct. 7, 2021, and subject to change.