The rise of Altcoins
Many cryptocurrencies have been attempting to replicate bitcoin’s success, some with better results than others. With various Altcoins being developed this market does not seem to be slowing down. While most altcoins are merely a copy of bitcoin (with very few modifications or improvements), others are attempting to do new things with the underlying bitcoin technology.
Some altcoins, like Ethereum, have been using the blockchain to allow the development of decentralised applications where the data is held by every user of the blockchain instead of a single server. Others, like Monero, have put their focus on anonymity, building on the cryptography used by the bitcoin blockchain to further obfuscate recipient and sender wallet addresses.
Because many casual users use “cryptocurrency” and “bitcoin” interchangeably and because “cryptocurrency” is too long a word, especially in marketing materials, new cryptocurrencies released after bitcoin began using the moniker “altcoin” – a conflation of “alternative” and “coin”.
While prices rise and fall dramatically, here’s a list of just a few of the top traded cryptocurrencies you can buy and sell today.
Ether (ETH). Commonly referred to by its platform, Ethereum, Ether’s marketed as a “next-generation” currency allowing for “smart contract” exchanges without a middleman.
Litecoin (LTC). Announced in 2011, Litecoin is most similar to bitcoin but with one of the highest market caps among cryptocurrencies.
Dogecoin (DOGE). Founded on the jokey “doge” memes, Dogecoin has since gained traction for targeted donations and online tipping.
Monero (XMR). Focused on privacy, Monero claims it’s “secure, private and untraceable” through a multilayered signature process.
Dash (DASH). Named for “digital cash,” Dash focuses on speed and privacy with the ability to spend it through debit cards accepted worldwide.
Ripple (XRP). Integrated with the Earthport blockchain, Ripple can now be used for services with select banks that include Bank of America and HSBC.
Tether (USDT). Introduced in 2014, this currency is “tethered” to the US dollar, offering a more stable value for traders.
BitShares (BTS). Among the more popular cryptocurrencies, BitShares’ founder describes this altcoin as “shares” distributed among a network and software that embraces public keys.