At this stage, you’d need to have been living under a rock to have not heard of Bitcoin. 18,000, media attention is at an speedy bitcoin-time high. What most people are a little uncertain on is what exactly Bitcoin is.
Simply put, cryptocurrencies are alternatives to standard monetary systems. They are a solely digital form of currency which rely on cryptography to secure transactions. Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency and the most famous. However, a multitude of alternatives have sprung up on the market and are slowly gaining traction. We’ve compiled a list of some of the notable names in the alt-coin market below. 20,000 per unit and beyond like their famous predecessor.
Probably the second-biggest name in the cryptocurrency game, Ethereum is an alt-coin founded by the Ethereum Foundation, a Swiss nonprofit organization, in 2014. Unlike Bitcoin, which uses blockchain only to record transactions, Ethereum is an open platform which allows anyone to create or use decentralized apps using blockchain technology. It is best suited to applications which automate interaction between peers or which facilitate group action in a network. Based on Bitcoin, Dash is a cryptocurrency with a strong focus on payments. It aims to offer a portable, affordable, and user-friendly form of money that can be spent both online or in person. Transaction fees are kept to a minimum, and all transactions are secure. Zcash is a privacy-based cryptocurrency which launched in October 2016.
On the surface, Zcash shares a number of similarities with Bitcoin: Both currencies cap at a maximum of 21 million units, not to mention the strong resemblance between their respective supply models. But whereas Bitcoin records all transactions in a public ledger, Zcash is a cryptocurrency which endeavors to offer true anonymity. But wait, isn’t Bitcoin supposed to be anonymous because it’s not connected to your name? Well, while it is true that names are not used to transfer Bitcoin, it is still possible to trace it to a specific person, using the public ledger on the blockchain in conjunction with IP addresses. Monero is yet another privacy-based cryptocurrency which is completely untraceable. All transactions and accounts are private and cannot be traced to a real-world or online identity. Unlike the previous entries, Monero is not modeled on Bitcoin.
Monero claims to be the only cryptocurrency which offers complete privacy of seller, buyer, and amount in every transaction. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that the entry above, Zcash, makes the same claim. NEO has at times been called the Chinese Ethereum. The two projects share a lot in common: They have similar capabilities in terms of decentralized apps and smart contracts, and both are open-source and not for profit.