At $7300 a unit, bitcoin is by far the priciest cryptocurrency in the market. Its market capitalization currently stands in excess of $128 billion accounting for 45% of the market.
Although you can practically buy any amount of bitcoin, it can still be a steep price to pay. Especially where there are hundreds of bitcoin alternatives out there.
There is no denying that bitcoin has the first mover advantage. It is this quality that makes it the fall back virtual currency of sorts – with investors often opting to put their digital assets into bitcoin during times of serious market slumps.
However, far much more sophisticated, more practical cryptocurrencies have since emerged. These coins hold a bigger promise of being used in day to day to transactions, faster cross border transfers and many other uses. Besides, some of these alternative coins to bitcoin or altcoins as they are called have made some of the biggest gains in 2017.
Obviously, not every cryptocurrency will see the astronomical gains in value that bitcoin has seen in the last few years. In fact hundreds of these coins have been rendered pretty much useless during the prolonged market slump. That is because people are becoming wiser when choosing projects invest in. If it’s just another copycat job, chances are that it won’t make it that far.
Here are the most promising bitcoin alternatives at the moment
Bitcoin Cash broke off from the pioneer crypto after developers differed over which path bitcoin should take.
Developers who wanted bigger block sizes to allow for faster transactions eventually created bitcoin cash. The ultimate aim was to allow it to be used for daily transactions like buying groceries at a store.
Bitcoin has since grown to become the fourth largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $13.6 billion in less than a year. It is easy to see bitcoin cash narrowing the gap or even surpassing bitcoin in the future.
Litecoin has many things in common with bitcoin except the fact that it is much cheaper and faster. It also enjoys wide support with a market cap of $4.8 billion which puts it on seventh place.
Ethereum is known for its smart contracts functionality. This allows developers to write smart contract functionalities to decentralized applications. In fact a good number of ICO projects were launched on top of Ethereum and helped push its value up in 2017.
IOTA is a rather ambitious but innovative project looking at powering the internet of things. If you think about at the number of interconnected devices right now and try to project it going forward, you will understand that IOTA is up to something.
Whether it will deliver a solid product is another matter but its prospects are looking good at the moment. There are partnerships already with the likes of Microsoft and Bosch so it all depends on how creative the team will be and how the market develops.
Ripple climbed a record 36000% in 2017. Of course it has lost much of this value but it still holds a great potential. The idea behind Ripple is to allow for faster crossborder transfers. There is no doubt about this need in the market.
The Ripple network has already been tested by several banks and financial institutions. Some banks like Santander are already using its network and we could see the value of Ripple (XRP) explode when greater adoption takes place.
Cardano (ADA) is one of the few cryptocurrencies that have seen some notable spikes this year. This is another smart contracts platform but with a “scientific philosophy” behind it. Its proof-of-stake system means that it does not consume a lot of energy as bitcoin.
DASH and Zcash
One of the main things that attract people to cryptocurrencies is the privacy they afford. These two are currently on top of their game and interest could explode barring any regulatory action.
This is another privacy focused crypto with its ring of signatures for total privacy. This coin alternative can still be mined using an ordinary PC and it has received a lot of interest recently from charity organizations.
Stellar has been bucking the trend in the last one month with gains of as much as 1000%. With a growing number of partnerships and a certification as a shariah-compliant product, Stellar looks set for bigger things.