What Are Alt Currencies In A Crypto World
Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency, was established in 2009. In subsequent years, a number of new cryptocurrencies have been launched. These are known as alternative currencies, alt currencies, or altcoins.
Like bitcoin, altcoins are also digital currencies. Each alternative currency has different features. They also have varying degrees of popularity. Of course, bitcoin is the most well-known. It currently trades at a value of over $14,000. That gives it a market capitalization (the total value of all the bitcoin in the world) of more than $236 billion.
But the other digital currencies are catching up. Here is a quick review of the top ten altcoins:
Current price: $2.25
Market cap: $87 billion
Ripple is the name of the San Francisco-based company that has started the cryptocurrency, which is officially called XRP. Just a year ago, each XRP cost only one cent. The value has skyrocketed to $2.25 in 12 months.
This price rise has made the founders of Ripple immensely rich. They reportedly own 61% of the 100 billion XRP in existence.
Current price: $778.92
Market cap: $75 billion
The founder of Ethereum is Russian-Canadian Vitalik Buterin. Ethereum uses blockchain technology to provide an open software platform that allows developers to build distributed applications and smart contracts. The blockchain technology ensures that these are error-free and impossible to hack into.
Ethereum’s currency, ether, is used by developers to pay the fees for services on the Ethereum network.
- Bitcoin cash
Current price: $2,526
Market cap: $43 billion
Bitcoin cash is an offshoot of bitcoin and was created in August 2017. The idea behind launching bitcoin cash was to speed up transactions. The original bitcoin works on “blocks” (which are like pages on the digital record of the blockchain) of 1 MB. The size of each bitcoin cash block is 8 MB.
On the day that bitcoin cash was created, everyone who owned bitcoin received an equivalent amount of bitcoin cash.
Current price: $0.71
Market cap: $18 billion
Cardano was started in 2015. It was launched by Charles Hoskinson, a co-founder of Ethereum, who partnered with the Cardano Foundation. The objective of Cardano is to become a platform for designing smart contracts.
Cardano’s coin is known as ADA and is referred to as the “Ethereum of Japan” because a large majority of the individuals who financed the venture at the time of its launch were Japanese.
Current price: $236
Market cap: $13 billion
Litecoin is a faster version of bitcoin. When Charlie Lee, a former director of engineering at digital currency exchange Coinbase, created this altcoin he designed it to generate blocks four times faster than bitcoin.
In the alternative currency world, Litecoin is referred to as the “silver to bitcoin’s gold” as the altcoin’s price often moves in tandem to that of bitcoin.
Current price: $3.66
Market cap: $10 billion
According to David Sonstebo, the co-founder of IOTA, this new cryptocurrency will enable the exchange of data between sensor-equipped machines. It is designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) and will become the “Ledger of Everything.”
In a matter of months, the price of the cryptocurrency has risen by a factor of ten. Why is that? IOTA will benefit from the IoT market, which is expected to be $470 billion by 2020. IOTA has already tied up with CISCO and Samsung Electronics, two of the world’s leading tech firms.
Current price: $1.07
Market cap: $10 billion
The founders of NEM launched the altcoin, which is referred to as XEM, as a technologically superior version of bitcoin. It can also be used for a variety of other purposes.
One promising project is Landstead. This is a property registration system that functions on the NEM platform and infrastructure.
Current price: $1,064
Market cap: $8 billion
Initially, Dash was known as Darkcoin. When Evan Duffield created the altcoin in 2014, its distinguishing feature was its anonymity. Dash transactions are also much faster than those involving bitcoin. A bitcoin transaction can take several minutes or even hours.
Dash offers instantaneous confirmed transactions. Additionally, a Dash transfer is locked as soon as it is made. This gives the parties dealing in Dash an added measure of security.
Current price: $0.46
Market cap: $8 billion
The Stellar network’s altcoins are known as Stellar Lumens or XLM. The primary purpose of Stellar is to reduce inefficiencies in the transfer of funds between individuals and financial institutions.
Stellar is an open source technology that allows money to be transferred across borders quickly and efficiently. It is an extremely low-cost way to send cash to another country. The transfer takes only a few seconds and costs just a small fraction of one lumen.
Current price: $354
Market cap: $5.5 billion
One of Monero’s most distinguishing features is anonymity. The altcoin is reportedly very secure and practically untraceable.
If bitcoin is transferred from one person to another, the sender can see the receiver’s bitcoin holdings on the recipient’s public address is visible. However, the transfer of Monero does not give the sender a view of the recipient’s holdings.
Another 1000+ altcoins
At last count there were 1,374 cryptocurrencies with more being added on a regular basis. Valuations have risen rapidly in 2017. Many people say that bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies are a bubble that will burst any day.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, one of the world’s largest financial services companies, says that you’re “stupid” if you buy bitcoin. 2018 will reveal if he’s right.
NOTE – prices and market cap on 1 January 2018