As Bitcoin continues to generate massive headlines, here ValueWalk takes a look at the world’s top cryptocurrencies. This list is growing as more altcoins become available, but here for now are the top cryptocurrencies available.
It would be impossible to compile this list of the top cryptocurrencies without making reference to Bitcoin. The original, biggest, and arguably best, cryptocurrency has established itself as an investment phenomenon, making tons of money for many early investors.
Not only is Bitcoin more valuable than any other cryptocurrency in the world, it also defined the entire notion of a decentralized alternative currency. While many believe that Bitcoin is currently in a massive bubble, its followers and advocates suggest that its value will still increase massively from its current level, and will establish the cryptocurrency as permanent furniture at the great financial dining table.
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Considering the lasting value of Bitcoin, it is certainly difficult to write off the cryptocurrency at the time of writing.
Litecoin followed hot on the heels of Bitcoin, and was initially referred to as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. Like Bitcoin, it was launched in 2011, and created by Charlie Lee; a graduate of MIT. Litecoin delivers an open source global payment network that cannot be controlled by a central authority, drawing obvious comparisons with Bitcoin. Scrypt is used as proof of work on the system, although it is notable that Litecoin delivers a faster clock generation rate than the similar Bitcoin.
Numerous vendors and merchants already accept Litecoin, and its faster transaction confirmation means that it has significant potential.
The second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ethereum is another decentralized example of altcoin technology that enables Smart Contracts and Distributed Applications to be delivered rapidly. The escalation in the value of Ethereum has led to the second most significant cryptocurrency garnering a good deal of media headlines, although it is still dwarfed by Bitcoin.
Applications are necessary in order to run on its platform-specific cryptographic token, which is referred to as ether. According to Ethereum, it can be used to “codify, decentralize, secure and trade just about anything.” With a trading price in the region of $1,300 per unit, it seems that the future of Ethereum is very bright.
Zcach is another decentralized example of cryptocurrency, which launched towards the end of 2016. “If Bitcoin is like http for money, Zcash is https,” the altcoin’s founders assert. Zcash delivers outstanding security and privacy, with details of sender, recipient and the amount transferred on the system always remaining private. Zcach has now been usurped to some extent by new contenders such as Ethereum and Ripple, but still has its fair share of backers.
Originally referred to as Darkcoin, Dash is effectively a more secretive version of the headline-grabbing Bitcoin. Dash offers even more anonymity than its great rival, as it is delivered on a decentralized blockchain network that makes transactions virtually untraceable.
Dash was launched back in January 2014, and immediately garnered a significant following of enthusiastic cryptocurrency users. This altcoin was created and developed by Evan Duffield and can be mined using a CPU or GPU.
Ripple is probably the most important new cryptocurrency, even though some fans of the niche quibble over this description. Ripple has already achieved significant penetration in the mainstream financial world, but is criticized by cryptocurrency purists due to aspects of its approach. It is argued that Ripple fails to deliver a decentralied system, which is favored by the likes of Bitcoin.
However, Ripple “enables banks to settle cross-border payments in real time, with end-to-end transparency, and at lower costs,” which could lead to the payment system becoming a part of the financial architecture in the near future.
Ripple also doesn’t require mining, as all of the coins associated with the currency were issued on day one. The system and blockchain associated with Ripple reduces the amount of computing power required, with network latency being similarly reduced.
Ripple’s founders believe that “distributing value is a powerful way to incentivize certain behaviors,” and thus currently plan to distribute XRP primarily “through business development deals, incentives to liquidity providers who offer tighter spreads for payments, and selling XRP to institutional buyers interested in investing in XRP.”
Definitely an altcoin to watch in the future, and undoubtedly one of the top cryptocurrencies.
Monero is another of the top cryptocurrencies which prides itself on its untraceable nature. Provided on an open source basis, this financial solution launched back in April 2014, and quickly spiked interest among the cryptography community. The community-driven and donation-based nature particularly appeals to this libertarian niche of the population, and Monero is particularly focused on decentralization and scalability, enabling complete privacy via a special technique referred to as ‘ring signatures.’
Dogecoin has bizarrely established itself as one of the top cryptocurrency, having originally been launched as a joke! Dogecoin currency is now frequently used to make tips in forums, while it can also be sent as a donation in any fundraising or crowdfunding appeal. While never likely to rival the likes of Bitcoin, the achievements and penetration of Dogecoin are nevertheless impressive.
Finally, MaidSafeCoin (also known as Safecoin) may not threaten the top cryptocurrencies on this list, but the security-centric data platform delivers a “crowd-sourced internet” that is pretty neat. With a market capitalization of just $39 million, it is possible for the penny investor to easily buy into this platform.