6 Most Important Cryptocurrencies Other Than Bitcoin
Bitcoin was the trendsetter and has become the de facto standard for cryptocurrencies. Following its lead of using decentralized, peer-to-peer networks, many other cryptocurrencies have been developed. These alternative cryptocurrencies are known as altcoins and attempt to improve on the original version of Bitcoin. Some of the bitcoin alternatives are mined more easily than Bitcoin, but present other challenges to the investor. Lesser liquidity, acceptance and value retention may make these new bitcoin alternatives more risky for the investor. With Bitcoin prices reaching new heights, here are six of the best bitcoin alternatives chosen from a list of over 700 that may warrant your attention.
1. LiteCoin (LTC)
Founded in 2011, Litecoin was one of the first new bitcoin alternatives and has been called ‘silver to Bitcoin’s gold.’ Former Google engineer and MIT graduate Charlie Lee is its creator. This btc alternative is based on a global payment network that is open source and has no central controlling authority. It uses consumer grade CPUs to decode the “scrypt”, which is its proof of work. It takes many features of Bitcoin, but offers faster confirmation of transactions by way of a faster rate of block generation. Merchants are slowly starting to accept Litecoin, adding to the developer community where it has been mainly used up to this point.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum was started in 2015 and is a decentralized software platform that allows Distributed Applications (DApps) and Smart Contracts to be developed and executed without any fraud, downtime, control or interference from third parties. Ethereum received a positive response for a pre-sale of ether conducted in 2014. Running applications on Ethereum requires the use of its platform-specific cryptographic token, ether. Used by developers who are creating and running apps inside Ethereum, ether can be seen as a conduit of movement around the Ethereum platform. Ethereum’s founders claim that ether can be used to “codify, decentralize, secure and trade just about anything.” The company was split into Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) after the DAO attack in 2016. Etherium may well be one of the best cryptocurrencies to invest in as its current market capitalization is over $41 billion, making it second only to Bitcoin among available cryptocurrencies.
3. Zcash (ZEC)
Here is another bitcoin alternative currency built on open-source and decentralized cryptography. Appearing in late 2016, Zcash claims to be the https to Bitcoin’s http, meaning they offer better privacy and security. This is accomplished by leaving details such as sender, recipient and amounts private and unpublished on the blockchain. Users can choose to employ ‘shielded’ transactions that are encrypted with advanced cryptographic procedure or zk-SNARK, a zero-knowledge proof construction designed by the Zcash team.
Formerly known as Darkcoin, Dash is an alternative cryptocurrency that offers more secrecy than Bitcoin. It uses a decentralized master code network that offers increased anonymity with virtually untraceable transactions. It has been around since January of 2014 and has developed quite a following in a short period of time. You can mine this bitcoin alternative with a CPU or GPU. Developer Evan Duffield renamed Darkcoin to Dash in March 2015. Its name stands for Digital Cash, and the name change did not remove its advanced features like Darksend and InstantX.
5. Ripple (XRP)
Ripple offers users an instant, certain and low-cost method of making international payments by using a real-time global settlement network. It claims to allow banks to make cross-border payments at low cost in real time with complete transparency.
Started in 2012, the company currently boasts a market capitalization of $1.26 billion. It is different than many other altcoins in that is doesn’t use mining to maintain its consensus ledger. The lack of mining reduces Ripple’s computing power and network bandwidth requirements. Ripple’s business model is one of incentivizing certain behaviors through distributed value. The company plans to distribute XRP through business development deals and by selling it to institutional investors interested in the product.
6. Monero (XMR)
Monero is an open source, alternative cryptocurrency that was launched in April 2014. It has attracted wide interest in the cryptography community and promises to be a secure, private and untraceable currency. This bitcoin alternative is developed through a community of developers who work on donations. Monero’s focus is scalability and decentralization. Complete privacy is afforded using what are known as ‘ring signatures’. This propriety technique presents a group of cryptographic signatures that all appear to be valid. At least one real participant is included in the list, but cannot be isolated due to the other seemingly valid signatures.
In the world of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is still the undisputed leaded based on popularity, user base and market capitalization. Other digital currencies like Ripple and Ethereum are becoming popular despite being used for enterprise solutions. Some other alternative cryptocurrency are trying to separate themselves from the pack by offering more advanced features. While you can say with some degree of certainty that these digital currencies are a new fixture in our financial landscape, singling out the best cryptocurrency may not be able to be done for some time.