Bitcoin was once the sole proprietor the digital asset world. Through the years, Satoshi Nakamoto has inspired many other individuals to create their own coins. Since Bitcoin surged past $5,000 not even two weeks ago and then later hit a new all-time high of $6,000, perhaps you are looking for smaller budget type coins. Or you are looking to expand your knowledge. There are over 1,200 coins listed on CoinMarketCap alone. We picked 6 coins that are definitely worth looking into if you haven’t yet.
1) Litecoin (LTC)
Litecoin was created by Charlie Lee in 2011. It was one of the earliest altcoins to hit the market and is often referred to as “litecoin silver to bitcoin’s gold.” Charlie is an MIT graduate and worked as a software engineer for Google in the past. Notably, he also worked as the director of engineering for Coinbase. Litecoin was once ASIC-resistant (this is not the case anymore) and was one of its main points of use in the past. The coin drew lots of attention due to the fact that it has a different POW algorithm than bitcoin. Litecoin runs off of scrypt compared to bitcoin’s SHA-256 proof-of-work algorithm. The coin also has shorter confirmation times than bitcoin. Litecoin’s market cap is around $3 billion and trades at $56 a coin.
2) Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum is a newer currency. The coin was born on white paper in late 2013 and officially hit the markets in 2015. Vitalik Buterin, the genius behind the scenes, is one of the creators of Ethereum. Ethereum is a decentralized programming stage that paves the ground for projects around the blockchain. Ethereum raised $18,439,086 with their first crowd sale back in mid-2014. They have raised over $1 billion with all of their crowd sales combined. The applications supported on the blockchain are ran with tokens. Ether is the most popular. Since ethereum is an extremely versatile project, it is very vast in the forms of what you can do with those tokens. Its market cap is $28 billion and trades at just under $300 a coin.
3) Zcash (ZEC)
Zcash is an even newer coin than Ethereum. It was brought to life in 2016 by a team of people. The coin’s original founder is Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn. “If Bitcoin is like http for money, Zcash is https—a secure transport layer,” (source). It is an untraceable alternative to Bitcoin. However, it had a controversial pre-mine and launch. 2.1 million coins will end up in the founder’s wallets when all 21 million coins are mined. That means ten percent of the coins are already gone. Despite the ridiculous pre-mine, Zcash makes everything totally private. How much was sent, how much was received, and wallet addresses of the sender and receiver are all private. This is thanks to the implementation of zk-SNARK. If you don’t know what that is, click here. Zcash’s market cap sits at $579 million and trades at $233 per coin.
Dash (originally known as Xcoin and Darkcoin), is a beefed-up version of bitcoin. It was brought to life by Evan Duffield back in 2014. However, back in April, some changes in the core team occurred. Ryan Taylor stepped up to become the new CEO of the project. The coin quickly gained many fans due to its once unheard of features. In addition to instant sending of coins, it also protects the sender and the receiver of the transaction. Everything is anonymous.
Mr. Duffield wanted to rebrand the coin due to many people assuming “Darkcoin” was mainly meant for the darknet. “I no longer feel the name Darkcoin reflects the true essence of the project and have decided to rebrand our product. Dash represents the goals that we’re trying to achieve, to be a fast, friendly and scalable online payment system,” (source). Pairing the name with all of the anonymity perks, the average joe assumed the coin was made for darknet use. Both rebrandings did not change any of the inner workings of the project. Dash’s market cap sits at $2.2 billion and trades at $284 per coin.
5) Ripple (XRP)
Ripple is a game changer. It is a coin and a payment protocol. Before you get confused, the protocol is very simple. It works exactly like this, except instead of using agents, it’s performed with online gateways. If you want to send money to your friend Jack, you send the money to a certain gateway. Jack logs into that gateway and claims the money. It’s that simple. Click here to see the payment protocol in action. Ripple was made by a company called Ripple (go figure) but was originally called Opencoin. It was renamed in 2015. The coin’s structure is centralized. There is no mining involved with the coin. Banks are on board with the protocol, don’t be surprised if you hear the name Ripple in your bank soon, if you have not already. Ripples market cap sits just under $8 billion and trades at 20 cents a coin.
6) Monero (XMR)
Monero is a protected, private and untraceable cryptocurrency. It was launched in Bitcointalk back in April 2014 and has had a successful journey since. It took only five days to rename themselves from bitmonero to monero. They are a fork of Bytecoin. Since the code is entirely open-source, the community decides where the coin goes next. Monero’s main concern is decentralization and versatility. With the implementation of ring signatures, everything stays private and anonymous across its blockchain. Every transaction is signed anonymously by a unique ring. Because of this, it’s impossible to detect the output of any transaction. Click here for a more in-depth explanation of ring signatures.