When you think about cryptocurrencies the first thing that comes to mind is most likely Bitcoin. Since 2009, Bitcoin has definitely become a standard for cryptocurrencies, but it has also started a wave of cryptocurrencies, some of which are aiming to be improved versions of Bitcoin.
Today, there are over 700 cryptocurrencies. However, many of these new cryptocurrencies include a great risk that comes with lesser liquidity and volatile value. That doesn’t mean that some of those aren’t worth checking out. We have picked six altcoins that might spark your attention.
Litecoin is one of the oldest decentralized cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin. It was launched soon after Bitcoin, in 2011, and it’s based on the same model. It uses an open source decentralized cryptographic protocol which can be decoded with consumer grade CPUs.
Litecoin is not just a copy of Bitcoin. The creator of Litecoin and a former Google engineer, Charlie Lee, tried to improve on some shortcomings of Bitcoin. The main difference is that Litecoin has a faster block generation rate that results in faster transactions.
Ethereum is a decentralized software platform and a programming language that runs on a blockchain. Distributed Applications and Smart Contrast can be run on the this distributed computing platform without any downtime. Applications are run on a cryptographic token called ether.
In 2016, The DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization based on the Ethereum platform suffered an attack after which the network split in two. That’s why now there are two separate cryptocurrencies, Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC)/
Launched in 2016, Zcash is a newcomer to the field of cryptocurrencies claiming to provide better security by offering selective transparency of transactions. It is an open-source cryptocurrency operating without any central authority. All the transactions are published on a blockchain, but information about the sender and the recipient involved in the transaction or the amount that was sent remain hidden.
The distinguishing feature of Zcash is that it uses public blockchains and allows for private transactions at the same time. Users can choose “shielded” transactions which are encrypted using a cryptographic technique called zk-SNARK, developed by Zcash team.
Dash was launched in January 2014 (originally as Xcoin and later Darkcoin), and it has quickly gathered a large fanbase. The reason for this is the enhanced anonymity it provides. It is basically a version of Bitcoin that aims to make transactions as untraceable as possible.
Dash, short for Digital Cash, was developed by Evan Duffield. It operates on a model of decentralized governance that allows Dash to fund its own development instead of relying on donations or pre-mined endowments.
Ripple stands out among the rest of the entries in this list because it’s not exactly a cryptocurrency. It is a real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) that uses a native cryptocurrency called XRP. Built on an open source internet protocol, Ripple aims to provide secure and instant financial transactions across the world.
Ripple was launched in 2012 and XRP is now the 3rd largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $51 billion. What makes XRP different from other cryptocurrencies is the fact that it doesn’t need mining.
Monero is an open source cryptocurrency with a strong focus on privacy and security. It was launched in April 2014, and it attracted a lot of attention with its unique privacy properties. Monero uses “ring signatures”, a new technique that makes it virtually impossible to trace the movement of money.
Monero builds on Bitcoin and uses various mechanisms to overcome vulnerabilities in Bitcoin’s protocol. Because of this, Monero has attracted many enthusiasts in the field and is completely funded by donations.