This year, the value of Bitcoin even jumped above one ounce of gold. There are also new cryptocurrencies on the market, which is even more surprising, because the value of cryptocurrencies is more than a hundred billion. On the other hand, the longer-term outlook for cryptocurrencies is somewhat unclear. There are arguments about the lack of progress among its core developers, which makes it less attractive as a long-term investment and as a payment system.
Still the most popular, Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency that started it all. It is currently the largest market capitalization with about 41 billion dollars and has been around for the last 8 years. Around the world, Bitcoin is widely used and until now it has not been easy to exploit weaknesses in the way it works. Both as a payment system and a store of value, Bitcoin allows users to easily receive and send bitcoins. The blockchain concept is the foundation upon which Bitcoin is based. It is necessary to understand the concept of blockchain to get a sense of what cryptocurrencies are all about.
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Put simply, blockchain is a database distribution that stores each network transaction as a piece of data called a “block.” Each user has blockchain copies so that when Alice sends 1 bitcoin to Mark, every person on the network knows it.
One alternative to Bitcoin, Litecoin tries to solve many of the problems that hold Bitcoin back. It is not as resilient as Ethereum, and its value mostly comes from solid user adoption. It is worth noting that Charlie Lee, a former employee of Google, runs Litecoin. He also practices transparency in what he does with Litecoin and is quite active on Twitter.
Litecoin was second fiddle to Bitcoin for a while, but things started to change in early 2017. First, Litecoin was accepted by Coinbase along with Ethereum and Bitcoin. Then Litecoin solved Bitcoin’s problem by adopting Segregated Witness technology. This allowed him to reduce transaction fees and do more. However, the deciding factor was when Charlie Lee decided to focus solely on Litecoin and even left Coinbase, where he was Director of Engineering, just for Litecoin. This is why the price of Litecoin has increased in the last few months, the strongest factor being the fact that it could be a real alternative to Bitcoin.
Vitalik Buterin, a superstar developer came up with Ethereum, which can do everything Bitcoin can do. However, its purpose is primarily to be a platform for building decentralized applications. Blockchains are where the differences between the two lie. Basically, the Bitcoin blockchain records the type of contract, one that states whether funds have been moved from one digital address to another. However, there is a significant extension with Ethereum as it has a more advanced language script and has a more complex, wider scope of applications.
Projects began to spring up on top of Ethereum when developers began to notice its better qualities. Through token crowdsale, some have even raised millions of dollars, and this is still an ongoing trend even today. The fact that you can build beautiful things on the Ethereum platform makes it almost like the Internet itself. This caused the price to skyrocket so that if you bought a hundred dollars worth of Ethereum at the beginning of this year, it would not have been valued at nearly $3,000.
Monero aims to solve the problem of anonymous transactions. Even if this currency was considered a method of money laundering, Monero wants to change that. Basically, the difference between Monero and Bitcoin is that Bitcoin has a transparent blockchain with every transaction public and recorded. With Bitcoin, anyone can see how and where money has been moved. However, Bitcoin’s somewhat imperfect anonymity exists. In contrast, Monero has an opaque rather than transparent transaction method. No one is enthusiastic about this method, but since some people like privacy for any purpose, Monero is here to stay.
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Unlike Monero, Zcash also aims to solve the problems that Bitcoin has. The difference is that Monero, instead of being completely transparent, is only partially public in its blockchain style. Zcash also aims to solve the problem of anonymous transactions. After all, not everyone likes to show off how much money they actually spent on Star Wars memorabilia. So the bottom line is that this type of cryptocurrency does have an audience and demand, although it’s hard to pinpoint which privacy-focused cryptocurrency will ultimately come out on top.
Also known as a “smart token”, Bancor is a new generation cryptocurrency standard that can hold more than one token in reserve. Basically, Bancor attempts to facilitate the trading, management and creation of tokens by increasing their level of liquidity and allowing them to have an automated market price. Currently, Bancor has a front-end product that includes a wallet and smart token creation. In the community there are also features such as statistics, profiles and discussions. In short, Bancor’s protocol enables the discovery of an embedded price as well as a liquidity mechanism for smart contract tokens through an innovative reserve mechanism. Through a smart contract, you can instantly liquidate or buy any of the tokens within Bancor’s reserve. With Bancor, you can create new cryptocurrencies with ease. Who wouldn’t want that?
Another Ethereum competitor, EOS, promises to solve Ethereum’s scaling problem by providing a more robust set of tools for running and building applications on the platform.
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An alternative to Ethereum, Tezos can be consensually upgraded without too much effort. This new blockchain is decentralized in the sense that it is self-governing through the establishment of a true digital community. It facilitates a mathematical technique called formal verification and has security-enhancing features of the most financially measured, sensitive smart contract. Definitely a great investment in the coming months.
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It is incredibly difficult to predict which Bitcoin on the list will become the next superstar. However, user acceptance has always been one of the key success factors when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Both Ethereum and Bitcoin have this, and even if there is strong early adopter support for each cryptocurrency on the list, some have yet to prove their staying power. Nevertheless, these are the ones to invest in and watch out for in the coming months.
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