Bitcoin is the first decentralized cryptocurrency that was introduced to the market in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto (an anonymous pseudonym). Ever since, the number of cryptocurrencies has grown exponentially, there are 17807 cryptocurrencies listed on coinmarketcap.com. That is far more than the number of 164 official national currencies in the world.
Although Bitcoin is still the most important cryptocurrency by market capitalization, there are several currencies that also deserve attention due to their originality, technology, security or value.
Table of Contents
Litecoin was launched in 2011 with an aim to be silver when compared with Bitcoin’s gold. It differs from Bitcoin in that it has a faster block generation rate and hence offers a Swiffer transaction confirmation.
Another important difference is Litecoin’s capability of producing four times as many coins like Bitcoin, which is 84 million compared with Bitcoin’s 21 million. This makes it well-suited for small transactions such as buying coffee. At present, Litecoin has a market capitalization is currently over $7 billion.
Dogecoin is an open source peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that was introduced in 2013, partly as a joke but it has become unexpectedly popular. The currency was inspired by the popular doge meme and went viral on social media websites such as Reddit, Twitter or Facebook.
Dogecoin has become the most popular cryptocurrency among internet-goers between the ages of 18 and 30. The coin’s market capitalization is currently over $16 billion.
Ethereum was launched in 2015, it allows users to make payments using their computer’s processing power which can be bought with other digital currencies such as bitcoin or DogeCoin. The advantage is that users are able to create Ethereum software called DAPPS (decentralized apps) which can’t be censored, taken down or modified by third parties. The coin’s market capitalization is currently over $30 billion.
Cardano is a relatively new cryptocurrency that was launched in October 2017. It is considered a third-generation blockchain and it has the potential of becoming the next Bitcoin. Its market capitalization is currently over $28 billion.
The founder of Cardano, Charles Hoskinson, was involved with several other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and BitShares. Unlike most cryptocurrencies which are derived from Bitcoin’s original source code, Cardano does not directly derive its source code from Bitcoin because it is written in Haskell, which is a much more complex programming language.
This allows the Cardano team to develop new features that can’t be found on other coins, including ADA – their native cryptocurrency.
An important feature of this coin is how users can trade with each other within peer-to-peer marketplaces. It is the first blockchain to have a provably secure proof-of-stake consensus algorithm called Ouroboros, which was designed by an experienced team of cryptographers.
Polkadot, released in October 2017, is an interesting project that builds many different kinds of blockchains that can communicate with each other. These chains will be able to communicate through token passing, which means the security of one blockchain (or Dapp) is dependent on the behavior of all the others. Its market capitalization is currently over $15 billion.
The Polkadot structure allows tokens to easily move from one chain to another because it uses a relay mechanism instead of each chain applying its own complicated consensus protocol. This reduces the time and complexity involved in running a Dapp on Polkadot, as well as reducing transaction times and costs.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash operates in a similar way to Bitcoin, with the difference being that the block size is eight times larger. This means that each block can contain more transactions and it will reduce problems such as network congestion which have been happening recently. Its market capitalization is currently over $5 billion.
Another advantage of this crypto is its use of SegWit2x which allows for faster transaction times and lower fees. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it is perfect and there are still several issues to be solved, such as how it can scale in the future when more people start using it.
Despite these problems, Bitcoin Cash has received a lot of support from its community and it has recently won the backing of Bitmain, one of the leading cryptocurrency mining firms in the world.
Stellar is a community-based, decentralized payment network with a market capitalization of over $4 billion. It was initially founded as a nonprofit organization with the aim of developing a fast and cheap way to send international payments through blockchain technology.
One reason why this cryptocurrency project has been so successful is that it allows users to quickly exchange government-backed currencies into assets via multi-currency smart contracts.
This is especially useful for countries without their own native currency, such as Kenya. Stellar aims to ‘bank the unbanked’ and it has even formed an alliance with IBM to help make this happen.
Binance Coin (BNB)
Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange with support for many different cryptocurrencies. Launched in July 2017, its focus on security. Its market capitalization is currently over $60 billion.
Tether, launched in July 2014, with a market capitalization of over $79 billion. This cryptocurrency token operates in a similar way to Bitcoin. However, one key difference is that it has a fixed value of $1 which then allows people to hedge against price fluctuations of other currencies on cryptocurrency exchanges. Moreover, Tether claims that each USDT token is backed by one US dollar held in reserve – this ensures its value.
If you want a cryptocurrency with a strong focus on anonymity, then Monero is the one for you. Its market capitalization is over $2 billion. Monero uses a special technology called ‘ring signatures’ to make transactions untraceable and it also has another cool feature – stealth addresses.
These are randomly generated, one-time addresses created for each transaction which makes it almost impossible to figure out who sent the money. The Monero developers have recently implemented additional privacy features such as RingCT which help to further strengthen the privacy of users and their transactions.
Its decentralized network also means that it can’t be shut down by any single authority or government, and the blockchain is maintained by a group of people spread across the world. This cryptocurrency has received a lot of interest, especially because it is the only one that truly guarantees you complete anonymity.