This year, the value of Bitcoin has soared, even above one ounce of gold. There are also new cryptocurrencies in the market, which is even more surprising, increasing the value of cryptocurrencies to more than a hundred billion. On the other hand, the long-term outlook for cryptocurrency is somewhat clouded. There is controversy about the lack of progress among the 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 cap of around $41 billion and has been around for the past 8 years. All over the world, Bitcoin is widely used and so far there is no exploitable weakness in the way it works. As both 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 an idea of what cryptocurrencies are.
Simply put, blockchain is a database distribution that stores each network transaction as a piece of data called a “block”. Every user has blockchain copies, so when Alice sends 1 Bitcoin to Mark, every person on the network knows it.
An alternative to Bitcoin, Litecoin attempts to solve many of the problems holding Bitcoin back. It is not as stable as Ethereum, with its value mostly due to solid user adoption. It’s worth noting that Charlie Lee, a former Google employee, runs Litecoin. He also practices transparency with what he does with Litecoin and is quite active on Twitter.
Litecoin was second fiddle to Bitcoin for quite some time, but things started to change in early 2017. First, Litecoin was accepted by Coinbase along with Ethereum and Bitcoin. Litecoin then fixed Bitcoin’s problem by adopting Segregated Witness technology. This enabled him to lower 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 the Director of Engineering, just for Litecoin. Because of this, the price of Litecoin has risen in the last few months, the strongest factor being the fact that it can be a real alternative to Bitcoin.
Vitalik Buterin, a superstar programmer, invented Ethereum, which can do everything Bitcoin can do. However, its main purpose is to be a platform for building decentralized applications. Blockchains are where the differences between the two lie. Basically, the Bitcoin blockchain records a type of contract that indicates whether funds have been moved from one digital address to another. However, there is significant expansion with Ethereum as it has a more advanced scripting language and has a more complex, wider range of applications.
Projects began to spring up on Ethereum as developers began to notice its better qualities. Through token sales, some have even raised millions of dollars and this is still an ongoing trend even today. The fact that you can create wonderful 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 be valued at almost $3000.
Monero aims to solve the problem of anonymous transactions. Even if this currency is perceived as a money laundering method, Monero aims to change that. Basically, the difference between Monero and Bitcoin is that Bitcoin has a transparent blockchain, with every transaction being public and recorded. With Bitcoin, anyone can see how and where money has been moved. However, there is a somewhat imperfect anonymity of bitcoins. In contrast, Monero has an opaque rather than a transparent transaction method. No one is completely sold on this method, but since some people love privacy for any purpose, Monero is here to stay.
Unlike Monero, Zcash also aims to solve the problems that Bitcoin has. The difference is that instead of being completely transparent, Monero 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 how much money they actually spent on Star Wars memorabilia. Thus, the conclusion is that this type of cryptocurrency does have an audience and a demand, although it is difficult to say which cryptocurrency that focuses on privacy will ultimately come out on top of the heap.
Also known as a “smart token”, Bancor is a new generation cryptocurrency standard that can support more than one token in reserve. Basically, Bancor tries to facilitate the trading, management and creation of tokens by increasing their level of liquidity and allowing them to have a market price that is automated. Bancor currently has a front-end product that includes a wallet and smart token creation. There are also community features such as statistics, profiles and discussions. In short, the Bancor 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 purchase any of the tokens in 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 set of tools that are more robust for launching and building applications on the platform.
An alternative to Ethereum, Tezos can be consensually upgraded without much effort. This new blockchain is decentralized in the sense that it is self-governing by creating a true digital community. It facilitates a mathematical technique called formal verification and has features to enhance the security of the most financially sensitive smart contract. Definitely a great investment in the coming months.
It is extremely difficult to predict which Bitcoin on the list will become the next superstar. However, user acceptance has always been a key success factor when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Both Ethereum and Bitcoin have this, and even if there is great support from early adopters of each cryptocurrency on the list, some have yet to prove their durability. However, these are the ones to invest in and watch out for in the coming months.