So Many Cryptocurrencies: Here Are 6 of The Most Interesting Ones
There’s no doubt that the vertigo‑inducing rise and fall in the price of bitcoin towards the end of 2017 piqued many people’s interest in cryptocurrencies generally and in bitcoin in particular. However, the dramatic fall in price left many skeptical about the long-term viability of cryptocurrencies as a store of value and a medium of investment. While some view them as a scam, some kind of Ponzi scheme that’s bound to collapse, many seasoned investors others see them as the next big thing, extremely valuable assets which are merely going through teething problems at the moment. Regardless of what you think, here are some irrefutable facts about cryptocurrencies:
- It’s Money: Cryptocurrency is real money in very sense of the word. As a store of value, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin meet all the qualifications of money and are accepted as legal tender in many places – even Microsoft, Shopify and Expedia accept bitcoin, to name but a few. So on that score you can rest assured.
- It’s much safer than cash. Cryptocurrencies rely blockchain technology to secure them. Blockchains are virtually unhackable as they are distributed across thousands of computers and traceable by everyone on the network. Unlike cash transactions, every cryptocurrency transaction is assured and verified by thousands of people.
- No third‑party control: A cryptocurrency is stored electronically; it serves as a medium of exchange the same way as fiat money does. One of the biggest differences, however, between cryptocurrencies and the dollar, for instance, is that cryptocurrencies are based on decentralized networks. They are not controlled or issued by a government or central bank.
Having said that, it is true that cryptocurrencies differ in their value and while it’s good to research which is good and which isn’t, it is possible to get confused by the sheer number of cryptocurrencies out there. And that’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the more interesting cryptocurrencies available.
Bitcoin: Highly rated and most well-known cryptocurrency. It is decentralized and runs without the control of any central bank. Bitcoin transactions take place directly between users, by-passing any intermediaries. Cryptography is used by network nodes to verify transactions whose details are stored in a public ledger known as blockchain.
Ethereum: Ethereum, unlike bitcoin, is a platform with many uses, with digital currency being a mere component. It runs on Ether, which can be said to be its currency, much like fuel is the “currency” a car needs to run. Ether can be traded and is the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Ethereum’s primary strength is the smart contracts that run on it. Developers use it to build, decentralize and deploy applications and Ether is the form of payment made by the clients of the platform to the machines executing the requested operations. One of Ethereum’s blockchain‑based apps allows buyers to trace a product’s origin, while smart contracts eliminate intermediaries and ensures fast and safe trade between two parties.
Ripple: Ripple is a real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), currency exchange and remittance network. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, ripple is not blockchain‑based. Rather it gains consensus using a common ledger that is managed by a network of independently validating servers which may belong to anyone, from individuals to banks.
Ripple’s currency – the XRP token is tradeable like other cryptocurrencies although that’s not the main purpose of the Ripple platform. There are currently 100 billion XRP tokens, each valued at about $0.67. Ripple is much faster than bitcoin and can settle a payment within 3.5 seconds through XRP.
Litecoin: What silver is to gold, Litecoin is to bitcoin. Like bitcoin, Litecoin is a decentralized digital currency which uses the same encryption techniques to validate transactions. One notable feature of Litecoin is speed. While it takes bitcoin just above 8 minutes to generate a transaction or a block, it takes Litecoin under 3 minutes to accomplish the same feat. Litecoin also has a larger amount of coins that can be created.
Dash: Dash is slightly different from Bitcoin and the others. It promotes itself as peer-to-peer decentralized electronic cash, which intends to be as liquid as fiat cash USD, GBP or EUR. Its network has two tiers; one is made up of miners who keep the network secure and keep the record of transactions while the second one is made up of master nodes through which transactions are relayed which enable InstantSend and PrivateSend transactions. These enable Dash transactions to be faster than Bitcoin and it provides a greater degree of anonymity to the user while they are transferring digital exchanges of value, than other crypto currencies.
NEO: This cryptocurrency focuses on smart contracts, like Ethereum. NEO was created primarily for use in the Chinese market, and is the largest currency in China with a market cap of $4.6 billion. It permits all types of financial contracts and apps distributed by third parties to be developed on it and is often referred to as the „Ethereum of China.“
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