The Non-Bitcoin Cryptocurrencies You Should Watch Out For
In the wake of our virtual money revolution, particularly the storm that bitcoin has created, it’s no surprise that there are more that are following it. We are all aware, or have at least heard of the terms bitcoin and crypotcurrency, but the growth has been so rapid that there are already other rival cryptocurrencies competing with bitcoin. These are the different (better, perhaps?) versions of bitcoin and differ in nature, purpose and of course pose different risks.
Every day we wake up to news of bitcoin soaring higher in value. There’s no doubt that it is the most popular and most valuable cryptocurrency, as more people have started warming up to it. However it must be noted that there are several other cryptocurrencies gaining prominence simultaneously. Inspired by Bitcoin, these alternate coins (or altcoins) have tackled some of the problems that Bitcoin faces and have emerged with improved features to serve a broader purpose.
There are over 1000 cryptocurrencies in existence today. It is very simple to create a new one with some coding knowledge, but only few have managed to give stiff competition to bitcoin and have come into the spotlight because of their increasing use and performance. Here are some cryptocurrencies that you should watch out for:
#1 – Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum is often associated with bitcoin and the Blockchain but what we’re not aware is that the Blockchain technology has numerous other applications and bitcoin is just a rock in the ocean.
- Ethereum, like Bitcoin, is based on blockchain tech that enables creation of decentralized applications.
- It was launched in 2015 and differs significantly from bitcoin in purpose and capability. It contains Smart Contracts and Distributed Applications (DApps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party.
- The ethereum blockchain uses the crypto token called ether for transactions.
- The computer code that can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value is what is described as smart contract. This smart contract is a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific conditions are met.
- Since blockchain works with smart contracts, they function exactly as programmed without any possibility of censorship, downtime, fraud or third party interference.
- One of the main purposes of ethereum is to build decentralized applications. For instance, bitcoin is a decentralized application that serves peer to peer e-transaction. This means that the purpose can be specific to the user of ethereum and any centralized service can be de-centralized.
Ethereum has a market capitalization of $4.46 billion, which is second after bitcoin among all cryptocurrencies.
#2 – Monero (XMR)
Monero (XMR) is a decentralised open-source cryptocurrency that emerged from Bytecoin in April 2014.
- The coin’s fundamental purpose is that of privacy. It aims to be a digital medium of exchange with untraceable payments, unlinkable transactions and resistance to blockchain analysis.
- This is done by a software algorithm called CryptoNight, developed by the CryptoNote project.
- CryptoNote uses “ring signatures”, an innovatory scheme that demands different public keys from a group of users for verification. As such, the exact person behind a Monero transaction is not known and so it tends to be more secure and scores better on privacy as compared to Bitcoin.
- The value of Monero has been fluctuating, however recently it has seen a sudden surge in value because of its strong privacy feature and has a current market capitalization of around 1 billion.
#3 – Litecoin ( LTC)
Litecoin was launched in 2011 and was among the initial cryptocurrencies that followed bitcoin and is often described as a sibling of bitcoin. It is indeed very similar to bitcoin in that it is a peer to peer e-currency which enables instant and close to zero cost payments to anyone in the world.
- Litecoin is also an open source, global payment network that is fully decentralized and uses “scrypt” as its software algorithm.
- It differs from bitcoin in that it is known to be faster and cheaper and has higher storage efficiency with a higher transaction volume.
- Litecoin is now slowly being accepted by several merchants as they are recognising the better features it provides along with other options. Litecoin has a current market capitalization of 2 billion.
#4 – Ripple ( XRP)
Ripple was first released in 2012 and is a distributed open-source payments system that aims to do away with traditional tedious payment methods like credit cards, banks and even PayPal.
- The purpose of Ripple is to do away with all the fees and extra charges for currency exchange, with the goal being to “keep money flowing freely” by making international payments and transactions more convenient and easier.
- Ripple doesn’t need mining, a feature that differs from bitcoin and altcoins. Since Ripple doesn’t require mining, it reduces the usage of computing power, and minimizes network waiting.
- Ripple also includes an added feature of expedited transactions and increased stability. As a distributed network, Ripple does not depend on a single company to manage and secure the transaction database and so there is no waiting on block and transaction confirmations and it can go through the network quickly. The current market capitalization of Ripple is around 1 billion.
#5 – Zcash (ZEC)
Zcash is one of the latest cryptocurrencies to be added to the fast growing list. It is a decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency launched in 2016.
- Zcash offers increased privacy and selective transparency of transactions. Zcash claims to provide extra security or privacy where all transactions are recorded and published on a blockchain, but details such as the sender, recipient, and amount remain private.
- Zcash consists of the choice of ‘shielded’ transactions, which facilitates for content to be encrypted using advanced cryptographic technique or zero-knowledge proof construction called a zk-SNARK.
- Bitcoin has given rise to other cryptocurrencies known as altcoins which have better features and more applications
- Some of the recent cryptocurrencies that are gaining popularity and usage are Ethereum, Monero, Litecoin, Ripple and Zcash.
- Ethereum is based on the blockchain technology and enables creation of decentralized applications using the ether algorithm. It contains Smart contracts which are self-regulated and so reduces censorship, fraud and third-party interference.
- Monero is a decentralised open-source cryptocurrency serving the purpose of privacy. It aims to be a digital medium of exchange with untraceable payments, unlinkable transactions and resistance to blockchain analysis.
- Litecoin which is very similar to bitcoin uses “scrypt” as its software algorithm and differs from bitcoin in that it is known to be faster and cheaper and has higher storage efficiency with a higher transaction volume.
- Ripple is a distributed open-source payments system that aims to do away with traditional tedious payments methods like credit cards, banks and even PayPal and enables easier and convenient international payments and transactions. It includes the feature of expedited transactions and increased stability.
- Zcash is a decentralized and open-source crypto money that offers increased privacy and selective transparency of transactions where the details of the sender, recipient, and amount remain private.
It is true that digital currencies will continue to spur newer and better innovations. If this is the money of future then get ready to embrace altcoins and crypto money. Bitcoin still continues to lead on this front however it is only a matter of time that there will be further disruptions with better , customized features and applications.