Over the past few years, the world of cryptocurrency has been flourishing at an unprecedented rate. Take the example of the most commonly known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. It took just 8 years to surpass a majority of the traditionally popular investment vehicles like stocks, gold, real estate, and others.
However, nowadays the market is brimming with thousands of new cryptocurrencies, with most of them being replicas of prominent virtual currencies with a few distinct features. Here we discuss the top cryptocurrencies you, as an entrepreneur or investor, should know about:
No digital currency list is complete without Bitcoin leading the ranks. With its market capitalization hitting the $70 billion mark in August 2017, it is the oldest cryptocurrency and still performing very well. Bitcoin is being sold at $4,200, making it the costliest virtual currency out there that has been legalized and largely accepted in many countries. BTC functions as a peer-to-peer network, which is somewhat similar to a file sharing service. You can buy, mine, and trade Bitcoins. Due to its high reputation, all other digital currencies are called alternative coins or ‘altcoins’.
Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that was launched back in 2015. It allows you to build and operate Distributed Applications and Smart Contracts without facing any fraud, downtime, interference, or control issues from a third party. You can use ETH for creating autonomous online organizations, custom crowdfunding platforms, and even your own cryptocurrency. It is the most popular altcoin with a market capitalization of over $28 billion as of August 2017 and unit price of $300. After the attack on the DAO in September 2016, this virtual currency was divided into Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. While its value is still small as compared to BTC, it has the potential to grow substantially in the future.
A former Google employee, Charles Lee, launched Litecoin in October 2011 as an alternative to Bitcoin. Litecoin has wide-spread acceptance, because it works in the same way as Bitcoin, but is relatively easier to use. It can be used as currency, mined, and transacted for exchanging goods and services. The current market capitalization standing of Litecoin is around $2 billion with a unit price of $46. It is a preferred cryptocurrency for people who want to move money in smaller amounts fast, without having to worry about malicious attacks from computer viruses or accidental spending.
Known as a real-time currency exchange, remittance network and gross settlement system, Ripple offers certain low-cost and instant international payments. It was introduced in 2012, and has been adopted by a few payment networks and banks to reduce their transactional costs. The Ripple system is designed to cater to the unique needs of banks, allowing for faster, on-demand, cost-effective payments of any size, especially for cross-border transactions. It has a market capitalization value of over $6 billion and a unit price of $0.16.