The cryptocurrency ecosystem is perhaps one of the most fascinating and exciting spaces to have cropped in a long time. Some even go out to say that this technology will have the same impact that ‘the internet’ has had in our lives.
Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency to have existed is by far the most popular cryptocurrency to this day and pretty much birthed a whole new ecosystem that we see today.
Apart from bitcoin, there have been hundreds of cryptocurrencies that have come into existence in the past decade,
With so many altcoins how does one decide which project is promising and which is not?
Well, there is really no secret recipe to the success of an altcoin, what really matters is the real-world application of the technology and if people are willing to use it.
Here is the list of the top 5 altcoins that show promise in the year 2021.
Second, only to Bitcoin in terms of market cap, Ethereum has long been one of the top cryptocurrencies.
Launched in 2015 by Russian — Canadian computer programmer Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum allows for the execution of something known as smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts that execute once specific conditions are met, this allows developers to build decentralized applications that can be used by the users.
Despite being only 6 years old, Ethereum technology has seen prominent real-world applications mainly in the decentralized finance [DeFi] space in the form of exchanges, lending & holding platforms, and ICOs.
The most recent application of Ethereum blockchain that has managed to capture the attention of the mainstream world is NFT [non-fungible tokens].
NFTs allow tokenization of unique digital items, such as art, video game items, music, videos, etc., and provides ownership of such items. The NFT craze has captured the likes of Christie's, Sotheby's, NBA [Top Shot], and celebrities including, Mark Cuban, Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, Jack Dorsey, who have managed to sell their NFTs for millions of dollars.NFT: “Everyday: The First 5000 Days” — by Beeple sold for $69.3 Million [Source: The Verge]
Such developments and mainstream adoption can explain the recent bull run that Ethereum is experiencing. The current price for Ethereum stands at $3933 up from $184 a year ago, which is an almost 2000% rise.
Bitcoin Cash [BCH]
Born out of a fork of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash [BCH] came into existence to process a high number of transactions per second and keep the transaction costs low.
In 2017, there a disagreement between the bitcoin community, which included, activists, entrepreneurs, investors, and miners, over the proposed SegWit implementation to increase bitcoin’s transaction capacity.
A new plan was pushed forward that increased the block size of bitcoin from 1MB to 8MB thus increasing its transaction capacity.
Since no consensus was reached, the bitcoin chain was split in half giving birth to what is known today as Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash has largely been supported by crypto entrepreneur, Roger Ver, who is often referred to as ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ for his numerous crypto startups and investments.
An up-and-coming cryptocurrency that is gaining traction in terms of usage is Cardano.
Cardano was launched in 2017 by Charles Hoskinson, a co-founder of Ethereum and BitShares, who left Ethereum after a dispute with Buterin over the future of the organization. Charles wanted to make Ethereum a for-profit company by accepting venture capitalists while Vitalim wanted to keep it non-profit.
Unlike the popular counterparts Bitcoin and Ethereum, Cardano uses proof-of-stake technology to validate blockchain transactions and implements Ouroboros, a peer-reviewed, verifiably secure blockchain protocol.
One of the key aspects which stands out about this technology is its ecologically sustainable scalability thanks to the environment-friendly protocol that takes minimal energy to validate blockchain transactions.
Similar to Ethereum, Cardano offers utility tokens, which means that it is used to built applications.
Dogecoin has quite a peculiar story behind its creation. Back in 2013, two software engineers, Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer decided to create a cryptocurrency as a ‘joke’ to capture the crypto speculation going around at that time.
They decided to use the Shiba Inu as the mascot for the cryptocurrency, a meme circulation the internet at the time and named the currency DOGE.The Original Doge Meme [Source: Wikipedia]
In principle, Dogecoin works exactly like other popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Litecoin but with one major difference, the supply. Dogecoin currently has 129.5 billion coins in circulation, a stark difference compared to bitcoin’s 18.7 million in current circulation [and 21 million supply cap].
Despite the currency being a joke, it has gained a sizeable chunk of fans and enthusiasts.
Celebrities including Musk, Snoop Dog, Gene Simmons, have tweeted about Dogecoin. Dallas Mavericks, a Mark Cuban owned NBA team started accepting Dogecoin as a form of payment for tickets and products.
Elon Musk has also been pretty vocal about his support for Dogecoin, announcing that his space exploration venture, SpaceX will offer a rideshare mission completely funded by Dogecoin.
Often dubbed as ‘Digital Silver’, Litecoin is an early cryptocurrency that came into existence in 2011 around the same time as bitcoin.
Created by Charlie Lee, Litecoin is P2P open source project that is functionality and principal is just like Bitcoin with a few differences, such as the block confirmation time, which is 2.5 minutes in Litecoins’ case and 10 minutes for Bitcoin, and the supply limit which is 84 million for Litecoin and 21 million for Bitcoin.
Litecoin has always been one of the top cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization, holding a spot in the top 15 almost always.
While there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies and new projects coming up every day, picking the right coin can be rather daunting.
It is always best not to give into hype news and do your own proper research about the project and the coin.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, have been around for more than a decade and have probably the strongest foothold in the crypto space in terms of adoptions and users.
Newer altcoins such as Cardano show a promising future with a strong community and innovative technology.
There is never really a certainty when it comes to cryptocurrency and how a particular coin will perform only time can tell.
But one thing is for sure, crypto space is just getting started and we have much more exciting developments to look forward to in the future.
Disclaimer: This article is not investment advice. Readers are requested to perform due diligence before investing and understand the risks involved.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://insights.blockonomics.co/top-5-cryptocurrencies-besides-bitcoin-for-2021-b84bfb2b8ccb/