Since its launch in 2009, Bitcoin has dominated the cryptocurrency scene. To this date, it remains the poster child of the crypto world, the gold standard. But it has also inspired many spinoffs or crypto projects, and there are now over 1500 crypto coins on the market.
Apart from Bitcoin, here are 10 of the best crypto coins around:
Launched only in 2015, Ethereum (ETH) has risen to be the second most popular and biggest cryptocurrency around. Ethereum is a platform that enables other distributed applications (dApps) to run on it, as well as other tokens and smart contract applications. If Bitcoin (BTC) coin is blockchain money, then Ethereum is blockchain Internet. Ether is the crypto-coin that enables transactions on the Ethereum platform.
Litecoin (LTC) was one of the earliest spinoffs of Bitcoin and operates much the same way as its godfather. But as its name suggests, it was designed to be faster than its predecessor.
Litecoin has a faster block generation, which consequently means faster confirmation of transactions. Speed is Litecoin’s foremost agenda, and in 2017 it was the first crypto to apply the Lightning Network, which marked the first transaction to be completed in under a second.
Another offshoot of the original Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has been the most successful of them all. Bitcoin Cash has the same mining process as well as the supply limit of Bitcoin, but notably, its block size is 8MB compared to Bitcoin’s 1MB. This allows for more transactions to be done at a faster speed.
Ripple was designed as a global settlement network to allow for instant and low-cost cash transfers. XRP is the crypto-coin that fuels the network. The uniqueness of Ripple is that all coins were released at once, so no mining is needed. Ripple has achieved widespread use cases, making XRP the most appealing crypto coin to financial institutions and banks.
The Cardano (ADA) blockchain project hopes to achieve financial inclusion by striking the delicate balance of privacy and regulation. The Cardano architecture is multi-layered, featuring a settlement layer to handle transactions as well as a control layer for running smart contracts. ADA is the crypto-coin that runs on the platform.
Monero (XMR) was designed to guarantee full anonymity, and when it launched, it was touted as the private crypto coin. It can hide the identities of senders, recipients, miners as well as the amount transferred.
It achieves this by applying a special technique known as ‘ring signatures’, where multiple cryptographic signatures are generated for one transaction, with all of them appearing genuine, making it difficult to isolate the real one.
By far the largest and most successful crypto coin to emerge from China, NEO has earned the name ‘Chinese Ethereum’, because it is not only a coin but also a platform that allows for the development of decentralised apps and smart contracts.
Still, it scores better than Ethereum as it is relatively faster in completing transactions and supports the creation of dApps and smart contracts in all the major programming languages.
Tether (UDST) was the pioneer of blockchain based stable coins. This is the creation of utility tokens that represent fiat currencies at the ratio of 1:1, with the obvious benefit being the efficiency of performing cross-border payments through the secure, fast and cheaper blockchain technology.
Tether is pegged on the US dollar and designed to be more or less equal to $1 US. The idea is that other slow-moving crypto coins can easily be converted into Tether, which can easily be converted into US dollars.
Stellar Lumens (XLM) is an open source, distributed blockchain based ledger, designed to facilitate the cross-border transfer of valuable assets. Stellar seek to make it easy, convenient and cheaper for banks, payment systems and people to move money around the globe.
Lumens is the crypto-coin that runs on the Stellar platform. Stellar has announced partnerships with major financial institutions, ensuring its Lumens token have caught the attention of investors.
If Bitcoin is HTTP, then Zcash is HTTPS. That is one of the analogies Zcash (ZEC) uses to describe itself, denoting a strong focus on privacy. Like other crypto coins, Zcash is based on the open source distributed ledger, but unlike them, Zcash enhances greater security and privacy by allowing users to control what is shared on the blockchain.
Shielded wallet addresses and their underlying balances are not visible on the distributed ledger; but users can share special viewing keys with trusted parties in cases where audits or compliance is required.
Bitcoin continues to dominate the crypto space in terms of popularity and market capitalisation, but it has also led to the creation of multiple crypto coins, keen to improve on its limitations. This can only be a good thing because cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and competition can only improve the industry.