Most people who spend any amount of time online, or keeping up with the world of finance have heard of Bitcoin, even if they don’t fully understand it. But what many don’t know is there are numerous other cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin.
According to Wikipedia, there are 19 active cryptocurrencies, and most of these were released in the last couple of years.
Coinmarketcap.com lists 100 cryptocurrencies. Many experts believe the numbers will continue to climb, especially considering that just about anyone, or any company can start a cryptocurrency. The process of creating a digital currency involves writing a sophisticated code, which is much easier than creating an actual physical currency.
Bitcoin has a considerable head start on the other offerings out there. Several cryptocurrencies are slight variations on what Bitcoin has done and may be more attractive to conventional financial institutions.
The first cryptocurrency to be welcomed by the banking industry will likely dominate the market. This is what traders and investors are waiting for. Which one will it be? Only the future will reveal the one that comes out on top.
Currently, these are the top five cryptocurrencies after Bitcoin:
1. Ripple. Ripple has a market capitalization of nearly $150 million. For comparison purposes, Bitcoin is almost $5 billion. This cryptocurrency was released in 2012 and has been making strong inroads into the banking industry
and payment networks. Ripple is increasingly gaining its popularity among cryptocurrency fans and investors all over the globe.
A “Bitcoin Bridge” permits Ripple currency holders to make payments to Bitcoin users without ever holding Bitcoins themselves.
Some financial experts believe that Ripple will eventually overtake Bitcoin and become the dominant digital currency.
2. Litecoin. Litecoin is the third largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $137 million. Charles Lee, a former Google employee, released Litecoin in 2011. This cryptocurrency is very similar to Bitcoin.
Litecoin offers several enhancements when compared to Bitcoin, including a higher limit on the maximum number of coins, improved user interface, and faster transaction approvals.
Several exchanges permit transactions of Litecoin with Bitcoin users and various conventional currencies, including US dollars, Euros, and Chinese Yuan.
3. Ethereum. The Ethereum market is half the size of Litecoin. Ethereum is challenging to understand, even for the experts. Ethereum combines the blockchain technology of Bitcoin with a programming language. This platform permits the construction of new applications to be developed.
4. Dash. Dash was started in 2014 as XCoin. You may have heard of XCoin or Darkcoin before they were rebranded to the name Dash. Dash is roughly one-tenth the size of Litecoin at $14 million. There are currently 6 million Dash coins in circulation.
Dash transactions are arguably more private than those of the previously mentioned currencies. Inputs from multiple users are needed to complete a transaction. Multiple identical outputs are also generated. These identical inputs and outputs shield the location and identity of the true parties.
5. Dogecoin. Dogecoin has approximately the same market capitalization as Dash. However, Dash currently has 6 million coins in circulation compared to the 102 million coins of Dogecoin! This crypto currency started as a joke, but quickly developed a loyal following.
Coins are produced very quickly and have very little value, roughly $0.0001 per coin.
The Dogecoin community has been actively involved in fundraising for interesting causes, including the Jamaican Bobsled Team, a NASCAR driver, and building a well in Kenya.
Several online exchanges exist to service those that wish to use Dogecoin. The cryptography technology employed is similar to that of Bitcoin and Litecoin and utilizes a private and public key system.
There is no limit on the number of Dogecoins that can be produced. More than 5 billion coins are expected to be produced each year.
Bitcoins in circulation are worth more than all of the other cryptocurrencies combined. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.