Few things can be as exciting— and often rewarding— as investing in Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency that started a revolution is still standing stroking as the leader of the pack, but there are definitely some alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) that are absolutely coming in hot. But not every single one of them will be found in the top trading volumes lists, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth getting.
Holding onto the idea that Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash have some serious value and maintain a solid, well-dispersed interest among investors, these two major altcoins function almost identically to Bitcoin and are two of the best-known hard forks of the major crypto market. So definitely worth looking into for sure, but not exactly what we’d think of as rivals. These other major alts, on the other hand, bring something to the table that Bitcoin (and its forks) can’t.
Definitely the most popular of the altcoins by far, Ethereum is an incredible representation of the potential of cryptocurrencies. The Ethereum platform has created the functional financial systems behind crypto. The place where decentralized banking (DeFi) is coming to be more than a pipe dream, but something that is incredibly real. Ethereum is one of the most popular Alts because of its inherent potential. What it can do, and what it will bring, to the crypto space gives this token incredible flexibility and a bright future of growth and innovation.
Ethereum is home to DeFi, DApps, smart contracts, and a number of other fundamental systems that help crypto behave like actual currency. More than that, the platform has already started to tackle some Bitcoins biggest stumbling blocks, addressing concerns of scalability and energy demands by completely overhauling their validation system. Using shard chain technology and a new proof-of-stake system, Ethereum is poised to take all crypto to the next level and early adopters will definitely be rewarded.
Tether is another paradigm-shifting crypto that offers a protocol system that makes cryptos more usable. However, it doesn’t do this by creating infrastructure, instead, Tether has created crypto that could genuinely be used for day-to-day purchases— something that isn’t really practical with breakaway tokens like Litecoin and Bitcoin.
This crypto achieves this much needed system by “tethering” its value to the US dollar. So instead of hitting up the vending machine with Bitcoin, where you could end up spending thousands of dollars on a soda— or millions on a pizza like Laszlo Hanyecz— you instead just end up paying exactly what you would if you had used cash. While the investment potential of Tether is minimal, the use case scenarios for this coin are nearly boundless. Creating a genuine, usable currency that has all the accessibility of a crypto, and none of the hassles of spending speculative assets to buy daily necessities.
Ripple is the token that ties the legacy banking world to that of crypto. Something that is not only hugely contentious among crypto users, but also wildly necessary for both investors and those who hope to stick to legacy systems. One of the many attributes of crypto that makes them superior to legacy banking systems is the fact that cross-border transactions are nearly instantaneous, and don’t incur super-high fees. If you’ve ever tried to send money overseas with traditional banking systems, you may be readily familiar with the fact that this is absolutely not the case with your local bank.
Because of the way that banks communicate with other banks and the ways in which currencies have to be converted before getting to its intended destination, cross border transactions take a good long while to go through. As your money is hopping from institution to institution, it incurs transaction fees at each stop. More than that, every time the currency has to be converted— which depending on where you’re sending it could be far more than once— a conversion fee is added. Add both of these fees to exchange rate differences and at times, you wind up paying more in fees than the amount you sent. With Ripple and crypto technology, traditional institutions can circumvent all of this and use a single, tokenized system in order to get your cash where it needs to go. Fast, and without major expenses.
Monero, while functioning similarly to Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash, serves to protect the fundamental ideals of Bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto. As Bitcoin has gained popularity, much of the initial ethical assertions made by Nakamoto have gotten lost. The mysterious creator of Bitcoin believed in a fully decentralized, anonymous, and fungible system of digital currency. Unfortunately, currencies and assets have to abide by legislation, so a lot of the anonymity and decentralization Bitcoin started with has slowly disappeared.
Monero is one of the few true Privacy Coins left. Fully anonymous to get and maintain, the platform employs a number of precautions built into its base protocols— ensuring that each user is fully anonymous, the network is totally decentralized, and the tokens are fungible. The coin has become a firm favorite of crypto purists and maintained a pretty stable market value since its manifestation.