WE ALL KNOW BITCOIN, BUT ARE THERE ANY OTHER CRYPTOCURRENCIES?
Mickael Mosse, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Expert
If there’s a name that has disrupted our modern age and integrated fully the virtual part of our advances in technology is Bitcoin. When we think of Bitcoin, we think about it as an asset to store value or wealth and, since it’s not easily used to pay for product and services, not everybody thinks about it as a currency, specifically a cryptocurrency.
In fact, Bitcoin is so unique and trend-setter – although is much more than that -, we wouldn’t think Bitcoin belongs to any category, as it is cryptocurrencies.
Does that mean there are others like Bitcoin? Yes. Bitcoin was the first virtual money based on cryptography to allow the creation of a decentralized money system while maintaining the privacy of its users. The technology used to create Bitcoin has been so robust, that it inspired the conception of other digital coins called altcoins, since they are an alternative to Bitcoin.
Although each currency differentiates themselves by the protocols they use to mine new coins or perform other processes intrinsic to a cryptocurrency, there has been a boom in the virtual field and today we have more than 1,600 cryptocurrencies.
So let me briefly introduce you to only the five of the most prominent ones besides Bitcoin:
1. Ethereum (ETH).
Although our first instinct is to compare it with Bitcoin, Ethereum is completely different. Ethereum was born to take blockchain technology to build decentralized applications. It introduced the concept of smart contracts and it is now the main platform for other cryptocurrencies and tokens. It’s the second most important in terms of market capitalization.
2. Ripple (XRP).
Ripple is a blockchain platform for payments. Its main goal when it was created was to reduce the costs associated with transfer of money. It supports common units of value from cryptocurrency to fiat money, commodities, as well as flier miles and mobile minutes. That’s the main reason why it is the third coin in terms of market capitalization.
3. Litecoin (LTC).
Litecoin is the closest to either Bitcoin and to online payment systems like PayPal. It differs from PayPal in that the payments are made using litecoins. But it is also different from Bitcoin in the time that blocks are processed and a different form of cryptography, called scrypt. It has also been third in terms of market capitalization and it’s usually in the top five.
4. Zcash (ZEC).
This cryptocurrency is based on Bitcoin’s codebase but it’s main goal is to provide enhanced privacy capabilities. Unlike the transparency offered by Bitcoin, Zcash allows user to control what part of their transactions are visible to others. Although not at the top in market capitalization, this cryptocurrency is getting so much track and is traded on 146 exchanges.
5. Tether (USDT).
The same way that the other altcoins are unique, Tether differentiation is based on the fact that is backed by an equivalent amount of fiat currencies held in bank accounts. So it is aimed to offer more stability than other digital coins and, although backed by fiat, it is based in blockchain technology. Although it has suffered some setbacks, in 2020 has jumped to the top ranking in market capitalization.
Whatever cryptocurrency is your preference, there’s a lot more to know about each digital coins. Most importantly, altcoins are becoming in the new alternative to fiat, and that’s reason enough for you to not get behind by not knowing that there are a lot of options besides Bitcoin.
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