For the past decade or so, we saw how Bitcoin rose to where it is today. It is not only the one virtual coin most people come up with when they think cryptocurrencies, its rise also made other blockchain-based cryptocurrencies a chance for a run for their money.
So what are cryptocurrencies?
First off, a cryptocurrency is fundamentally digital money which takes the form of tokens or “coins.” Yes, you can call it virtual coins too. The “crypto” in cryptocurrencies refers to the cryptography which allows each digital token to be anonymously generated, stored and transacted, all on a decentralized platform. The decentralization of cryptocurrencies makes it possible for the coins to be free from government manipulation and control.
As of today, the currencies modeled after bitcoin are collectively called alternative coins or altcoins as its popularly termed and are generally marketed as modified or improved versions of bitcoin. These currencies are also easier to mine than bitcoin is, thanks in part to its relevancy. Along with bitcoin, there are more than 1,700 cryptocurrencies today, and many coins and tokens have a following if not backing from a dedicated community of developers, investors and backers.
The field of cryptocurrencies is also consistently growing, and the next great digital currency may be made tomorrow, for all we know. While bitcoin looks unbeatable right now and has always been seen as the pioneer in the world of cryptocurrencies, the number one virtual coin, a lot of it has to do with its market cap, and this list in many ways rank the coins by that one factor. Of course, there are other reasons we’ll factor into the ranking and we’ll explain it in each reasoning.
If you have not heard of cryptocurrencies, this is a great time to learn about each of the top 30 cryptocurrencies (by market cap) and what they are know for. Because there are a lot of cryptocurrencies available, with new ones coming out almost every day and old ones disappearing just as fast as they appeared, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Even crypto experts get overwhelmed, and you if happen to be one too, this is a great resource to reference if you ever need to reference the top coins or read more about the new coins that get added to the list of top cryptocurrencies.
At the end of the day, we want to point you in the right direction, encourage you to do more research so that you can steer clear of potential scams out there (And yes, there are potential scam coins in the list)
Here at Blockchainara, quality cryptocurrency research is key (it may be why we don’t write too many articles). Let’s put it this way, this list is constantly changing and we will do my best to keep it up-to-date.
Let’s get started.
1. Bitcoin (BTC)
The number one on the list is no doubt bitcoin. Bitcoin is not only intangible from the term cryptocurrency, its early start as a reliable peer-to-peer technology that allows for payments to be sent online without the need for a third party (such as your bank or credit card companies), has given it the rise in popularity over the years.
Unlike banks that maintain a complete record about your financial transactions, the use of Bitcoin in many ways does not. Early adopters were drawn to the idea that bitcoin does not keep track of clients’ financial records, contact details, or any other relevant information. The wallet in Bitcoin in general requires little to no significant data to work.
The rapid rise in Bitcoin’s value, price per US dollar, has brought about an increase in new Bitcoin adopters over the years as investors see bitcoin as an opportunity to make a quick buck. With the rise in interest come the rise in merchants accepting Bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment.
As long as bitcoin is the answer to destabilized governments or situations where the paper fiat currency is no longer as valuable it used to be, bitcoin’s development led by bitcoin core developer Wladimir J. van der Laan, will continue to grow.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
With a market cap of $32,892,113,589 as of July 8, 2019, Ethereum is the cryptocurrency that revolutionizes “smart contracts” in the blockchain. It is also a virtual coin that had an impressive start. Launched in July 2015 by then 21-year-old Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum has quickly risen from obscurity to the world’s number two cryptocurrency by market cap.
As a decentralized software platform, ethereum enables Distributed Applications and Smart Contracts to be built and operate without downtime, fraud, control or third party interference. A unique thing about ethereum is its component called ether which acts like a vehicle within the ethereum platform. Developers seeking to develop and run applications within ethereum and investors aiming to purchases other digital jurisdictions have to use ether in their system.
Because ethereum has the ability to process transactions quickly and affordably over the blockchain similar to Bitcoin, and also has the ability to run smart contracts, it may one day overtake bitcoin as the number one virtual currency.
3. Ripple (XRP)
Ripple aims to improve the speed of financial transactions, specifically international banking transactions.
Ripple is a cryptocurrency that runs on the Ripple payment protocol and exchange network. The company that develops Ripple is an American technology company was founded in 2012 and based in San Francisco, California, and was originally named Opencoin and renamed Ripple Labs in 2015.
The main draw in Ripple is the international money transfer. Anyone who has ever sent money overseas knows that as of today, it currently takes anywhere from 3-5 business days for a transaction to clear. It is faster to withdraw money, get on a plane, and fly it to your destination than it is to send it electronically! Not to mention you will be paying exorbitant transaction fees — usually somewhere around 6% but it can vary depending on the financial institution.
Ripple’s goal is to make these transactions fast (it only takes around 4 seconds for a transaction to clear) and really affordable. Its team also has the largest team of staff in the cryptocurrency world who are working to make Ripple’s goal possible all over the world. Led by CEO Brad Garlinghouse, who has had high positions in renowned organizations such as Hightail, AOL, and Yahoo, Ripple is poised to better serve customers who need to send money to family and friends overseas.
4. Litecoin (LTC)
Like Bitcoin, Litecoin is a cryptocurrency that can be efficiently mined with consumer-grade hardware and is a peer-to-peer digital currency. Unlike Bitcoin though, Litecoin is able to process small transactions daily and handle more transactions at lower costs thanks in part to its technical configuration.
Litecoin is often thought to be the “digital silver” while Bitcoin is known as, you guessed it, “digital gold.” Think about it this way, back in the olden days, silver was used for tiny daily transactions while gold was used as a store of wealth and use in everyday life was rare.
The founder of Litecoin, Charlie Lee, launched Litecoin in 2011 when he was still working for Google. He is well-known as a cryptocurrency expert, and in 2017, sold off all his shares of Litecoin to prove impartiality. Fast forward to today, he is backed by a strong development team who recently achieved a very notable accomplishment with the first successful atomic swap.
5. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
A late addition to the cryptocurrency world is Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin Cash which was created on August 1, 2017 after a “hard fork” of the Bitcoin blockchain, is one cryptocurrency that is born out of a debate in the Bitcoin community. This debate on whether to increase the block size in the hope of alleviating some of the network bottleneck that has been adding pressure to Bitcoin since it rose in popularity, created Bitcoin Cash but no agreement was met. The Bitcoin chain was then left untouched while Bitcoin Cash as another cryptocurrency allows developers to modify some of Bitcoin’s original programmed features.
In other words, the reason for Bitcoin Cash is that by enabling the block size to increase, the number of transactions can be increased and processed in the same amount of time. Those against the idea of a Bitcoin Cash argue that increasing the block size will increase the bandwidth and storage requirement, and as a result price out the average users. At the end of the day, such move may lead to the exact thing Bitcoin set out to avoid, defeating the purpose of an additional currency.
6. EOS (EOS)
Known as the “Ethereum Killer”, EOS is a new project in the blockchain world that is radically improving on what is on the market today. The decentralized operating system it is working on will, much like Ethereum, allow developers to build decentralized applications via smart contracts.
Some of the main advantages EOS have are that the platform will eventually allow for industrial-scale applications, through elimination of transaction fees and an ability to support hundreds of thousands if not millions of transactions per second.
Developers like EOS because the team involved in EOS vows to fix the scalability problems often seen in the Ethereum network during times of high transaction volume. In addition, with Ethereum, every time you make modifications or interact with the network, you need to pay a transaction fee, while with EOS, the user pays zero. And really, who likes paying a transaction fee? Banks sure does but we as consumers? Probably not.
Apart from that, EOS also has a delegated proof of stake and other protocol changes that shows that it does have some serious power under the hood to challenge Ethereum and possibly take it down. If you’re wondering about the creator, EOS is created by Dan Larrimer, the man behind multiple successful ventures in the past like BitShares, Graphene and Steem.
7. Binance Coin (BNB)
Binance Coin is the coin used on the Binance platform, a cryptocurrency exchange that has the ability to process about 1.4 million orders per second. The name “Binance” comes from the concatenation of the two terms “binary” and “finance,” referring to the integration of computer science and finance.
The Binance coin can be used to pay transactional fees like withdrawals, listing fees, and all other possible expenses on the Binance platform. In order to incentivize new users to do their cryptocurrency trading on Binance, the team is offering discounts when BNB is used to pay fees. The discount will be 50% in the first year, 25% in the second, 12.5% in the third, and 6.25% in the fourth year before the discount ends.
Based out of the People’s Republic of China, Binance started off by marketing it to Chinese cryptocurrency investors, but they also since have English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Russian versions of the platform.
8. Tether (UDST)
Tether is a cryptocurrency token issued on the Bitcoin blockchain. The Tether was called a stablecoin because it was originally designed to be pegged to the dollar with a value equivalent to 1 USD. Their goal is to get transactions running with a rate fixed to the reserve currency.
The one prominent selling point of Tether is that it offers some stability to the otherwise volatile crypto space and offers liquidity to exchanges who can’t deal in dollars and with financial institutions. In other words, with USDT you can, by default, move into a coin that holds a stable value like USD… even when you are on an exchange that doesn’t deal in fiat!
That said, Tether Limited, the company behind it, states that owners of tethers have no legal claims or guarantee that tethers will be exchangeable or redeemable for dollars. In April of 2019, Tether Limited’s attorney claimed that each tether was only backed by $0.74 in cash or cash equivalents.
Tether also has other legal issues that make many of its investors wary of its true value. There is the concern over the centralized nature of Tether and some concern over the fact that the public has no access to verifying the system that Tether has claimed via its documentation and public audits.
9. Bitcoin SV (BSV)
Bitcoin SV is in short for Satoshi Vision. Like Bitcoin Cash, BSV is a hard fork where the community updates to the Bitcoin protocol or code and is established as distinctively different from Bitcoin Cash after the network upgrade scheduled for November 15th, 2018 resulted in a hash war that decided the chains would be split.
Bitcoin SV claims to maintain the vision set out by Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper in 2008: Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System Reflecting its mission to fulfil the vision of Bitcoin. This virtual coin was created at the request of leading BSV mining enterprise CoinGeek Mining and other miners so as to provide a clear choice for miners and allow businesses to build applications and websites on it reliably.
This cryptocurrency is working towards replacing every payment system in the world with lower transaction fees, a better user experience, and a safer level of security. Bitcoin SV also aims to bring back the values and technology of the original Bitcoin – decentralization, using crypto onlyas a payment method and elevating the capacity of the network.
10. TRON (TRX)
Ever thought about owning a cryptocurrency that is content-centric like TRON? Check out TRON where content creators can create freely moveable digital assets on their decentralized platform.
TRON is attempting to take the internet back from big companies like Amazon, Alibaba by constructing a free content entertainment system where users can freely store, publish and own data, giving them the power to decide where and how to share.
This cryptocurrency is led by founder Justin Sun who is a protégé of Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, China’s former Ripple representative and the founder of Peiwo APP. He has a team of prominent players in the tech industry of which includes Binshen Tang, the founder of Clash of King, Wei Dai, founder of ofo, the largest crowdfund bicycle rides provider in China, and Chaoyong Wang, the founder of ChinaEquity.