Cryptocurrency or digital currency is an invention of the Internet. Basically, someone out there thought; ‘what if we can create a system where money is not bound by geography, like the internet’ and lo and behold, now we have over 3000 cryptocurrencies going around. Not all cryptocurrencies are created equal. Some feature amazing underlying blockchain technology behind its creation while some are part of an elaborate pyramid scheme. Some are pretty useless to keep as they are perceived as worthless – any cryptocurrency is only as valuable as the value assigned to it by a mass audience. While many of them are present in the market cap and listed on top exchange, the following few that will be discussed in this treatise are in the top 10 based on market demand, market cap, future scope and value investment asset.
Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency and the one that started it all, it was created and released in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, an anonymous figure. Bitcoin has the biggest market cap to date, overshadowing all other cryptocurrencies in this list, combined. For most people, an introduction into cryptocurrencies is an introduction to Bitcoin. Other cryptocurrencies are referred to as altcoins – alternatives to bitcoin. It has the widest acceptance of all cryptocurrencies and it is the easiest to get. Bitcoin has not just been a trendsetter, ushering in a wave of cryptocurrencies built on decentralized peer-to-peer network, it’s become the de facto standard for cryptocurrencies.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
Launched in 2015, Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that enables Smart Contracts and Distributed Applications to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party. The applications on Ethereum are run on its platform-specific cryptographic token which is used to codify, decentralize, secure and trade just about anything.” Following the attack on the DAO in 2016, Ethereum was split into Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). Ethereum (ETH) has a market capitalization of $4.46 billion, second after Bitcoin among all cryptocurrencies.
3. Litecoin (LTC)
Litecoin, launched in the year 2011, is among the top 10 cryptocurrencies and it was often referred to as ‘silver to Bitcoin’s gold.’ It was created by Charlie Lee, a MIT graduate and former Google engineer. This altcoin is based on an open source global payment network that is not controlled by any central authority and uses “scrypt” as a proof of work, which can be decoded with the help of CPUs of consumer grade. Although Litecoin is like Bitcoin in many ways, it has a faster block generation rate and hence offers a faster transaction confirmation. Other than developers, there are a growing number of merchants who accept Litecoin.
4. Ethereum Classic
Ethereum Classic is one of two separate versions of Ethereum’s Blockchain, the other being Ethereum itself. The split occurred after The DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization based on Ethereum, got hacked in June 2016, and $50 million worth of its funds were stolen. Because The DAO was crowdfunded, this event has resulted in a large number of people losing their stakes. After several weeks of heated debate, the community has decided to conduct a “hard fork” of Ethereum’s Blockchain in order to “code” the stolen money back to its owners. The hardfork resulted in two versions existing simultaneously: Ethereum, which is the new one, and the old one, which was renamed Ethereum Classic.
Dash (originally known as Darkcoin) is a more secretive version of Bitcoin. Dash offers more anonymity as it works on a decentralized mastercode network that makes transactions almost untraceably. Launched in January 2014, Dash experienced an increasing fan following in a short span of time. This cryptocurrency was created and developed by Evan Duffield and can be mined using a CPU or GPU. In March 2015, Darkcoin was rebranded to Dash, which stands for Digital Cash and operates under the ticker – DASH.
6. Ripple (XRP)
Ripple is a real-time global settlement network that offers instant, certain and low-cost international payments. Ripple “enables banks to settle cross-border payments in real time, with end-to-end transparency, and at lower costs.” Released in 2012, Ripple currency has a market capitalization of $1.26 billion. Ripple’s consensus ledger — its method of conformation — doesn’t need mining, a feature that deviates from bitcoin and altcoins. Since Ripple’s structure doesn’t require mining, it reduces the usage of computing power, and minimizes network latency. Ripple believes that ‘distributing value is a powerful way to incentivize certain behaviors’ and thus currently plans 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.
7. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash [BCH] is the first hard-forked cryptocurrency of Bitcoin, and you can also say it is the brother coin of Bitcoin. Launched on 1st August 2017, this currency was born as a result of a civil war among the Bitcoin community. The reason of the conflict was the proposition of two solutions for the common problem of improving the efficiency of Bitcoin network. Bitcoin cash has a total supply of 21 milion, same as bitcoin. It should be noted that everyone who had bitcoins on 1st August, now also has the same amount of bitcoin cash and that is a pretty handsome treasure seeing the current price and expecting its growth in near future. In a month of its birth, the value of 1 BCH rose near to 1k USD.
8. Monero (XMR)
Monero is a secure, private and untraceable currency. This open source cryptocurrency was launched in April 2014 and soon spiked great interest among the cryptography community and enthusiasts. The development of this cryptocurrency is completely donation-based and community-driven. Monero has been launched with a strong focus on decentralization and scalability, and enables complete privacy by using a special technique called ‘ring signatures.’ With this technique, there appears a group of cryptographic signatures including at least one real participant – but since they all appear valid, the real one cannot be isolated.
NEO, formerly referred to as Antshares, is a smart-economy software platform like Ethereum which even supports Smart Contracts. However, unlike Ethereum which only supports Solidity for writing programs on its platform, NEO, also known as ‘Chinese Ethereum’, supports popular languages. Also, NEO supports an identity protocol unlike other smart contract based coins. It has a total market supply of 100 million coins which is five times less than bitcoin. NEO has lot more differences or unique features than other altcoins, it uses dBFT (delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance) and proof-of-stake to secure its network. Though NEO is rebranded out of Antshares which is three years old, it didn’t reach high price until August 2017.