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Cryptocurrencies are almost always designed to be free from government manipulation and control, although as they have grown more popular this foundational aspect of the industry has come under fire. First, though, a caveat: it is impossible for a list like this to be entirely comprehensive. One reason for this is the fact that there are more than 1, cryptocurrencies in existence as of this writing, and many of those tokens and coins enjoy immense popularity among a dedicated if small, in some cases community of backers and investors.
Beyond that, the field of cryptocurrencies is always expanding, and the next great digital token may be released tomorrow, for all anyone in the crypto community knows. While bitcoin is widely seen as a pioneer in the world of cryptocurrencies, analysts adopt many approaches for evaluating tokens other than BTC.
Litecoin 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. As of Dec. Launched in , Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that enables Smart Contracts and Decentralized Applications DApps 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, ether.
Ether is like a vehicle for moving around on the Ethereum platform and is sought by mostly developers looking to develop and run applications inside Ethereum, or now by investors looking to make purchases of other digital currencies using ether.
During , Ethereum launched a pre-sale for ether which received an overwhelming response; this helped to usher in the age of the initial coin offering ICO. Thus, like https, 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.
Dash originally known as Darkcoin is a more secretive version of bitcoin. Dash offers more anonymity as it works on a decentralized master code network that makes transactions almost untraceable. Launched in Jan. Ripple is a real-time global settlement network that offers instant, certain and low-cost international payments. In this way, Ripple sets itself apart from Bitcoin and many other altcoins. So far, Ripple has seen success with its current business model; it remains one of the most enticing digital currencies among traditional financial institutions looking for ways to revolutionize cross-border payments.
Monero is a secure, private and untraceable currency. This open-source cryptocurrency was launched in April and soon spiked great interest among the cryptography community and enthusiasts.
The development of this cryptocurrency is completely donation-based and community-driven. 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.
Because of exceptional security mechanisms like this, Monero has developed something of an unsavory reputation; it has been linked to criminal operations around the world. Bitcoin Cash holds an important place in the history of altcoins because it is one of the earliest and most successful hard forks of the original bitcoin. In the cryptocurrency world, a fork takes place as the result of debates and arguments between developers and miners.
Due to the decentralized nature of digital currencies, wholesale changes to the code underlying the token or coin at hand must be made due to general consensus; the mechanism for this process varies according to the particular cryptocurrency.
BCH began its life in August of as a result of one of these splits. The debate which led to the creation of BCH had to do with the issue of scalability; Bitcoin has a strict limit on the size of blocks, one megabyte. BCH increases the block size from one MB to eight MB, with the idea being that larger blocks will allow for faster transaction times. NEO began life in Originally called AntShares, the coin was later rebranded by creator Da Hongfei. In , NEO experienced its most successful year to date.
Further, NEO has experienced benefits as a result of its positive relationship with the Chinese government, which is generally known for its harsh positions on cryptocurrencies. Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, launched Cardano in September of For supporters of this digital currency, ADA offers all of the benefits of Ethereum, as well as many others.
Cardano offers a platform for DApps and smart contracts, like Ethereum before it. Beyond that, ADA aims to solve some of the most pressing problems plaguing cryptocurrencies everywhere, including interoperability and scalability. Cardano also hopes to tackle issues related to international payments, which are typically both timely and expensive. Thanks to its focus on this area, ADA was able to take international payment processing times from days down to just seconds.
One of the newest digital currencies to make our list is EOS. Before his work on EOS, Larimer founded the digital currency exchange Bitshares as well as the blockchain-based social media platform Steemit. Like other cryptocurrencies on this list, EOS is designed after ethereum, so it offers a platform on which developers can build decentralized applications.
EOS is notable for many other reasons, though. EOS offers a delegated proof-of-stake mechanism which it hopes to be able to offer scalability beyond its competitors.
IO, similar to the operating system of a computer and acting as the blockchain network for the digital currency, as well as EOS coins. EOS is also revolutionary because of its lack of a mining mechanism to produce coins. Instead, block producers generate blocks and are rewarded in EOS tokens based on their production rates.
EOS includes a complex system of rules to govern this process, with the idea being that the network will ultimately be more democratic and decentralized than those of other cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin continues to lead the pack of cryptocurrencies, in terms of market capitalization, user base, and popularity. Going by the current trend, cryptocurrencies are here to stay but how many of them will emerge as leaders amid the growing competition within the space will only be revealed with time.
Ethereum LinkedIn. Securities and Exchange Commission. Accessed Oct. XRP Ledger. Initial Coin Offerings. Your Money. Personal Finance. Your Practice. Popular Courses. Login Newsletters. Part Of. Bitcoin Basics. Bitcoin Mining.
How to Store Bitcoin. Bitcoin Exchanges. Bitcoin Advantages and Disadvantages. Bitcoin vs. Other Cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin Value and Price. Virtual currencies such as Ethereum and Ripple, which are being used more for enterprise solutions, are becoming popular. Article Sources. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts.
We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy. Compare Investment Accounts. The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation.
Related Articles. Bitcoin Bitcoin vs. Ethereum: What's the Difference? Partner Links. Related Terms Ripple Cryptocurrency Ripple is a technology that acts as both a cryptocurrency and a digital payment network for financial transactions.
Tezos Tezos is a decentralized blockchain project that has run into snags since its successful ICO. Bitcoin Maximalism Bitcoin maximalists favor bitcoin over other use cases and for the long term.
Maximalists are unapologetically in favor of a bitcoin monopoly at some point in the future. Bitcoin Definition Bitcoin is a digital or virtual currency created in that uses peer-to-peer technology to facilitate instant payments. It follows the ideas set out in a whitepaper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity has yet to be verified. ZCash ZCash is a cryptocurrency with a decentralized blockchain that provides anonymity for its users and their transactions.
Crypto Commodity A crypto-commodity is a digital representation of a commodity, utility, or a contract on the blockchain network through exclusive tokens.
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