The market’s Bitcoin dominance is hovering around 40-50%. Bitcoin’s market cap is currently at $65 billion, leaving $55 billion for the rest of the 2000 altcoins which are fighting for a place in the list of the top 100 cryptocurrencies. Below is a brief preview of the Top 10 cryptocurrencies of the market, according to CoinMarketCap.
Ethereum was created in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin and other blockchain programmers. It has its own programming language called Solidity, which enables users to create decentralized apps (Dapps) on the Ethereum network through the use of smart contracts, which are conditions that dictate the execution of actions in the code of the blockchain. Users can also create cryptocurrencies on top of the Ethereum platform by using smart contracts which follow the ERC-20 rules. To this day, more than 500 ERC-20 cryptocurrencies have been created, making Ethereum the largest blockchain that uses smart contracts.
Ripple (XRP) was created in 2012 by the company Ripple Labs (Chris Larsen, enterpreneur & Jed McCaleb, founder of Mt. Gox) aiming to become the transaction medium for banks worldwide. It aims to solve the problems of international transactions between banks from which the global banking system suffers. It has its blockchain which offers very fast and cheap transactions. It’s the most famous cryptocurrency that isn’t decentralized, since it’s founders own 60% (60 billion) of the total coin supply (100 billion).
3. Bitcoin Cash
Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork of Bitcoin, which took place on August 1, 2017. Some programmers wanted to increase Bitcoin’s block size from 1 MB to 32 MB and for that reason the Bitcoin blockchain was split in two and the new cryptocurrency was named Bitcoin Cash. In the moment of the fork, all the Bitcoin holders received Bitcoin Cash coins in a ratio of 1:1. In 2018, due to some arguments, Bitcoin Cash had a hard fork and Bitcoin SV was also created. Roger Ver is the main Bitcoin Cash representative.
EOS was created by the company Block.one in late 2017 and it’s a blockchain platform for creating decentralized applications (Dapps), with a functionality similar to that of Ethereum. It makes the creation of dapps easier by offering high TPS with low fees, services and functions like user identification, cloud storage, server hosting, and has a build similar to an Operating System. It’s important to note that for the users of the applications that build on the EOS platform it’s not required to do micropayments to send messages or to perform actions on the blockchain. The dapp creators will decide whether to charge for the use of their applications or to offer them for free.
5. Stellar Lumens
Stellar is an open-source protocol and its goal is to empower money trading by using blockchain technology. It was created by Jed McCaleb (Founder Mt. Gox, Ripple) and emphasizes on international transactions, remittances and offers services for converting cryptocurrencies to fiat currencies and vice versa. It is very fast, with one transaction on the Stellar network requiring only 2-5 seconds to be processed. In contrast with Ripple it’s fully decentralized and aims to create a global economic network that is open and accessible to everyone. It has partnerships with IBM and Deloitte and recently there had been a lot of conversations regarding its adoption for use in various sectors.
If Bitcoin is the digital gold, Litecoin is the silver. Litecoin is a Bitcoin hard fork which was created on October 13, 2011 by the ex-Google employee, Charlie Lee. It’s similar to Bitcoin but with more coins in circulation, less block confirmation time (4 times faster) and has a different mining algorithm which allows the miners’ reward to be more decentralized and distributed in a more fair way.
Cardano is a smart contract blockchain and its native cryptocurrency is ADA. Cardano was founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson and the cryptocurrency entered the exchanges in November, 2017. Cardano has a more scientific philosophy as its team members are university academics and technicians focusing on security. Its goal is to comply with the law while maintaining the privacy and decentralization that is offered by the blockchain technology. Cardano has a Proof of Stake algorithm mechanism that is called Ouroboros.
Monero is one of the biggest privacy-focused cryptocurrencies at the moment, providing its users the ability to hide their identities while transacting with safety. It’s a Bytecoin fork which took place in 2014 and uses the Cryptonote protocol. The method of encrypting the transaction amount and the sender’s identity is called Ring Signatures, in which many parties work together to obfuscate the data. Monero also uses key images to solve the double spending problem.
Zcash was forked by Bitcoin in October, 2016 and was originally known as Zerocoin. Zcash is based on the cryptography protocol zk-Snarks, which was created by MIT scientists and researchers and offers privacy and anonymity. On October 28, 2018 the Sapling upgrade was activated. Sapling is an upgrade of the Zcash network which offers improved performance for anonymous (shielded) transactions and it will empower the broader adoption by users and merchants.