In the world of cryptocurrencies, there are up to 1,500 different digital tokens, all with different values and use cases. While we have the famous ones like Ethereum or Ripple, we also have the less known ones like Pokecoin or Bitcoin God, and even some bordering on the ridiculous such as Dogecoin. The values of these cryptocurrencies and how much they have been adopted by the community vary largely and are dependent on various factors based on their relative perception as stores of value. Here are some of the most renowned altcoins of 2018.
Ethereum was first created as a sort of super-network for computers. It was designed for the development of decentralized apps and Smart Contracts that act very much like a futures contract or a will, all without a counterparty or middleman. Apps developed on this network are distributed on a public platform fueled by Ether (the native token), which can also be mined and widely accepted as any other credible cryptocurrency. The current ETH to USD price is $711 (as of May 14, 2018).
This platform enables the developers to create markets, store debt registries, move or transfer funds in accordance with pre-designed instructions that have been given to the system in the past.
Ether is a crypto coin that has vast potentials. Its usage in the tech world has contributed to a strong support among investors. It has served various purposes, such as crowdfunding, currency exchange, store of value as well as identity management. The value of ETH has increased over the years growing to nearly 100 times in 2017 alone. Currently, ETH enjoys a trading volume of up to $2.6 billion in 24 hours and its estimated market cap is a little over $70 billion.
Unlike other popular altcoins, Ripple is a centralized cryptocurrency. The Ripple token is one of the fastest growing, going as far as shooting past Ethereum in 2017 before falling back behind it again. It is pre-mined with a limit of 100 billion XRP.
Ripple, although a major competitor to Bitcoin and other bigger names, is completely different in its operation. It is similar to SWIFT and other centralized networks employed by banks for transferring money. Money sent using the Ripple network is digitally converted on one end into the XRP token and then reconverted on the other end into the desired currency. The development of Ripple and its global rise in prominence is influenced by the desire to make financial transactions in the 21st century progress at the same speed as information. This can be achieved by accelerating financial transactions both locally and across countries. With a trading volume of up to $640 million per day, the current market cap value of Ripple’s XRP is about $28.5 billion.
The digital token for Cardano is ADA. Just like Ethereum, the Cardano platform is designed to run apps on a decentralized system. Little wonder, since it was developed by one of the original programmers of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson. The platform was launched in 2017 and has since gradually grown to dominance in the digital market. About 95% of its coin offerings when it started were from Japan, so it was dubbed “Ethereum of Japan”.
Cardano was created as a decentralized platform for smart contracts. The division of its computational layers into a basic layer that handles ADA tokens and another for placing smart contracts is one of its most notable difference from other platforms. Cardano uses Ouroboros, a PoS algorithm for determining how individual nodes reach a consensus. This is a critical aspect of the general support infrastructure for the ADA cryptocurrency. Ouroboros is a major innovation that has revolutionized blockchain technology. ADA’s market cap is currently valued at $7 billion and has a daily trading volume of about $180 million.
EOS is a blockchain platform, which is very much similar to Ethereum and is poised as one of the major future competitors to Ethereum and other decentralized apps platforms. The EOS platform was created by the founder of Bitshares, Dan Larimer, with the main objective of trumping one of the major weaknesses of Ethereum, which is the low number of transactions recorded per second.
EOS brings two features to the table, which makes it a big deal out there, despite its relative newness to the market. It completely eliminates transaction fees and is quite scalable.
The initial coin offering (ICO) for EOS began in June 2017. The platform token trading has already begun and boasts of up to 50,000 transaction confirmations every second. It is believed that at this rate EOS will be competing for the top spot among altcoins in a little while. EOS currently has a market capitalization of about $12 billion with a trading volume of about $1.6 billion every 24 hours.
Tron, whose native altcoin is called Tronix (TRX), is also a decentralized platform. It was introduced to revolutionize the distribution of content in the entertainment world, allowing content creators on the platform to own, store, release data and promote or distribute it without using Google Play, Apple Store and other centralized platforms.
Tron is relatively new to the market but has quickly attained market dominance. The coin which only started trading in 2017 has begun to compete with market leaders at the top of the cryptocurrency rating table and has a huge potential to progress even more. The market cap value for TRX is about $4.7 billion. It has a trading volume of approximately $559 million per day.
The Altcoin market is indeed a very vast one, with many other altcoin options available to investors to choose from. Other notable examples include Stellar Lumens, NEO, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, all with various modes of operation and different market values.
This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrencies or a recommendation to invest. Historic performance is no guarantee of future returns. As an investment class, cryptocurrencies are speculative investments and investing in cryptocurrencies involves significant risks – they are highly volatile, vulnerable to hacking and capital loss and sensitive to secondary activity. Before investing you should obtain advice and decide whether the potential return outweighs the risks.