The blockchain technology, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies have drawn a lot of attention from both the media and people. Unlike the internet which took more time before people warmed up to it, cryptocurrency seems to be on the lips and in the digital wallets of a greater population who have come to accept cryptocurrencies for what they are, and for what they can do. Sometime in 2015, there was a Bitcoin trade valued at $300 to 1 BTC, however, in January 2018, the value of one Bitcoin had experienced exponential increase, and was traded at about $16,700 to 1 BTC. Cryptocurrencies generally had a total value of about $423.7 billion. Apparently, the financial industry may just be about to experience a paradigm shift in their structure and system of functioning.
Cryptocurrencies come in different types, and for various purposes, however, some of the popular ones will be discussed in this post:
- Bitcoin – BTC: This was the very first decentralized cryptocurrency to be created, it came alive in 2009, and it was created using the SHA-256 algorithm. The digital currency has experienced a high rate of increase in value since inception. The Bitcoin cryptocurrency is decentralized, secure, private, fungible, globally acceptable, quick, irreversible transfers, among other qualities. The high volatility cost has been responsible for attracting a lot of investors.
- Ethereum – ETH: The second most valuable cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, was proposed in 2013, but began live operations in 2015. Ethereum cryptocurrency was created based on the Ethash algorithm. It enables the creation of decentralized applications (DApps) with the use of Smart Contracts. With Ethereum, new blockchain-based applications and tokens can be created. In January, the market capitalization of the cryptocurrency was at $4.46 billion.
- Litecoin – LTC: The Litecoin cryptocurrency was introduced in 2011, and it uses the Scrypt algorithm for its encryption. Litecoin has a much faster transaction confirmation speed than Bitcoin. The Litecoin can perform cross-chain atomic swaps, where users can directly swap digital currencies without using 3rd party platforms.
- Dash – DASH: Formerly known as “XCoin” and “Darkcoin”, the cryptocurrency was launched in 2014, and it is based on the X11 algorithm. The Dash cryptocurrency was created for the promotion of privacy and user anonymity. It can be mined using a GPU or CPU. It comes with a PrivateSend feature that fully encrypts transactions, and makes block transactions anonymous.
- Ripple – XRP: This was launched in 2012, and its market capitalization is about $1.26 billion, and unlike many other cryptocurrencies, it is not mined but rather bought from exchanges. Financial institutions and banks are adapting Ripple because of its seamless cross-border transactions.
- Zcash – ZEC: Released in 2016, Zcash uses the Equihash algorithm for its encryption. The cryptocurrency has better transparency and enhanced privacy features. While transactions get recorded on the blockchain ledger, data like the amount, sender, and recipient remain private.
- Monero – XMR: The cryptocurrency began operations in 2014; it uses the CryptoNight Pow Hash algorithm which is a derivative of the CryptoNote protocol. The cryptocurrency is fungible, hence, it is possible for every unit of the currency to get substituted for other units.
Some other cryptocurrencies include Namecoin (NMC), Bytecoin (BCN), Dogecoin (XDG), Neo (NEO), Tether (USDT), Ethereum Classic (ETC), etc.
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