Leaders in cryptocurrency may be galloping, but the real rush is happening a couple of thoroughbred horses behind the two market leaders. Cardano (CRYPTO: ADA) and Solana (CRYPTO: SOL) rank fourth and fifth among the highest-value cryptocurrency tokens by market cap, after eliminating a couple of dollar stablecoins. They are also the two largest denominations hoping to overthrow the dominance of Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH) into the realm of distributed blockchain technology in decentralized applications.
Cardano had the lead over Solana - in terms of market cap - for most of last year. A surge from Solana in the fall ended with Solana finally overtaking Cardano in early November. It didn't last long though. The renewed interest in Cardano finds that denomination as one of the few cryptocurrencies to move higher in the past month. Cardano regained his lead on the quotation by Solana at the end of last week, and the battle for the market cap continues.
It is a battle that anyone can win
Solana temporarily overtook Cardano in November, when it was reaching new all-time highs. Cardano had peaked two months earlier. The two proof-of-stake protocols were playing with a $ 70 billion market cap, and sadly the sharp correction in the cryptocurrency markets finds today's battle at a much lower level.
Cardano's market cap was hovering around $ 46 billion on Thursday morning, with Solana remaining close to $ 44 billion. The gap closed on the last day, but not ideally. Cardano has slipped 6% in the last 24 hours, with Solana fortunately on the march.
The market cap battle is interesting, but the real battle isn't just about which fast-growing crypto is ahead of the other. The real opportunity here is to take a bite out of Ethereum's dominance in decentralized finance. Ethereum is the undisputed leader with its blockchain powering the smart contracts found at the heart of more than 3.000 widely adopted decentralized applications.
The problem for Ethereum is that it is finally vulnerable
A popular metric for measuring success in this market is total locked value, essentially the sum of all assets currently staked in a certain protocol. A year ago, Ethereum commanded more than 95% of the total locked value. It was just under 75% of the market six months ago; it has now dropped to just over 60%.
Solana and Cardano aren't necessarily second and third on the list right now. Solana is close, and Cardano has a lot of ground to make up for. However, recent updates of both leading cryptocurrencies have strongly positioned them to do a race for market share. Ethereum is popular and a pioneer of smart contracts on the blockchain. However, Solana and Cardano are circling around Ethereum in terms of processing speed, the amount of transactions it can handle, and the ultimate cost to complete a transaction.
There must be no single winner. Solana and Cardano - as well as Ethereum, for that matter - have all provided strong returns in wealth over the past year. Just don't restrict your cryptocurrency hunting expeditions to the two most valuable currencies for market value. There are a lot of exciting things happening just below the surface.