Crypto market meltdowns can be scary, and what we currently see in the crypto markets is enough to make any crypto investor nervous. Trading screens are red, and it's almost impossible to find a cryptocurrency in the green. So, understandably, risk-averse cryptocurrency investors are looking for safe-haven cryptos to put their money in.

During a market downturn, cryptocurrencies that have large market capitalizations, large developer networks, and a track record of surviving past market meltdowns can reduce the risk. With that in mind, the top cryptocurrencies for risk-averse investors include Bitcoin (BTC -1.15%), Ethereum (ETH -1.37%), and Cardano (ADA -0.73%).

1. Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the safe haven of choice for many crypto investors, and for good reason. Bitcoin has instant name recognition, is the top crypto by market capitalization, and has proven time and time again that it can survive market meltdowns. If you take a look at the price history of Bitcoin, you'll see that it has survived several prior market meltdowns, including one major scare back in 2011 when it looked like Bitcoin was going to zero.

Gold coin with Bitcoin symbol on it.

Image source: Getty Images.

Bitcoin has emerged as the clear market benchmark for crypto investors. The first place people look to get a sense of the pulse of the crypto market is Bitcoin. More often than not, Bitcoin is leading the market higher or leading the market lower. As Bitcoin goes, so goes the market. So if your Bitcoin position is losing money, there is a high likelihood that everyone else is losing money too. For risk-averse crypto investors, there is yet one more positive: Bitcoin has become much less volatile over the past few months. This suggests that the risk involved in investing in Bitcoin might be on the decline.

2. Ethereum

Ethereum is currently the second-largest crypto by market capitalization and has the largest developer network in the world. Ethereum, like Bitcoin, also has a track record of surviving past market meltdowns. Unlike other cryptos that might only be one or two years old, Ethereum launched all the way back in 2015.

And, unlike some one-trick-pony cryptos, Ethereum does everything well: smart contracts, NFTs, decentralized finance (DeFi), Web3, and blockchain gaming. This ecosystem is a form of diversification and helps to neutralize some of the risks of investing in Ethereum.

Ethereum also deserves a place in any risk-averse investor's portfolio because this year, it pulled off one of the most difficult and trickiest technological upgrades in history, known as The Merge. The difficulty level of this upgrade was a 10 out of 10, with some comparing it to changing all four engines of an airplane mid-flight while running low on fuel. Now that Ethereum has upgraded to a proof-of-stake blockchain, it is even more stable, secure, and efficient. This also lowers the risk of investing in Ethereum.

3. Cardano

Finally, there's Cardano. Unlike other cryptocurrencies that have seen huge spikes in price over the years, Cardano seems to muddle along without all the drama. Currently trading at $0.35, Cardano has never traded higher than $3.10 per token. That almost seems impossible to believe, given that Cardano has been trading since 2017. In many ways, Cardano meets the definition of an asset with low volatility: Instead of huge highs and lows, Cardano often seems to trade in a very narrow band for long periods of time. It could be a great long-term play but may frustrate investors looking for an immediate home run.

Part of what makes Cardano a relatively safe investment is the fact that it takes a slow, methodical, and very academic approach to blockchain development. This infuriates investors at times because Cardano seems to be moving so slowly. But it also guarantees that every update, change, tweak, and new functionality to Cardano actually works as planned. Instead of being a Lamborghini, Cardano is more like a safe, four-door sedan you can trust to get your kids to school each day.

How to reduce risk via diversification

Of course, there are other ways to reduce the overall volatility of your crypto portfolio. For example, you could pay much more attention to the overall diversification of your crypto portfolio. If you think about your crypto portfolio in baseball terms, you don't want to have a lineup solely of boom-or-bust home-run hitters who rarely put the ball in play. Instead, you want to have a diverse lineup of hitters who can bang out singles and doubles on a regular basis. 

The good thing is that just because you are deploying a risk-averse strategy doesn't mean you have to forego any of the incredible upside that is possible with crypto. Just look at the example of Bitcoin -- it made my list of the top risk-averse cryptos, but has also been one of the top-performing assets over the past decade. There is always risk involved in investing in crypto but these three cryptos can help minimize some of that risk without sacrificing any of the upside.