Bitcoin’s underlying technology has paved the way for numerous alternative cryptocurrencies. Although Bitcoin remains the most popular, there are others that have also performed really well during this past year. These alternative cryptocurrencies are called altcoins, and their arrival onto the scene is based on new funding mechanism called initial coin offerings (ICOs).
One of the best alternatives for Bitcoin is Ethereum (ETH), which is a decentralized software platform that enables Smart Contracts and Distributed Applications to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party. Ethereum has a market capitalization of $41.4 billion, second after Bitcoin among all cryptocurrencies.
Litecoin is often called the silver to Bitcoins gold and is also available for a much lower price than Bitcoin and Ethereum. One feature that is really useful in the case of Litecoin, is that it allows consumers who need a large number of small transactions to have these transactions processed extremely quickly. Litecoin has a market capitalization of around $17.8 billion.
IOTa is emerging as a new hot cryptocurrency in the market, mostly because of its non-traditional technology. Instead of blockchain, IOTa uses directed acyclic graph (DAG) technology. This system enables transactions to be free regardless of the size of the transaction. It also allows for fast confirmation times, it can handle unlimited simultaneous transactions, and the system can easily scale. IOTa has a market capitalization of around $10.4 billion.
Monero (XMR) is also an interesting cryptocurrency, mainly because its transactions are completely private and untraceable. This means that transactions cannot be linked to a particular user, distinguishing Monero from other cryptocurrencies. Monero has a market capitalization of $1.49 billion.
Ripple (XRP) is also popular, although it doesn’t require mining, which makes it different from Bitcoin and other altcoins. It was released in 2012, offering instant, certain and low-cost international payments. Ripple has a market capitalization of $1.26 billion.
There are, of course, many other altcoins, but these five are the most legitimate and probably safer than others.