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Top Five Alternatives to Bitcoin

Top Five Alternatives to Bitcoin

Bitcoins are comprehensively the most famous digital currency on the market today. It is a little surprising considering the continuous surge that has been seen in its value. Investopedia defines Bitcoin as a digital currency created in 2009 that follows the ideas of the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity has yet to be verified. He came up with a system of peers that could do away with the need of a trusted third party. A cryptocurrency thus uses a network of peers, and each peer has the entire history of all transactions. It means that each peer has exact knowledge of the balance available on every account. This system a consensus that had been in the past impossible to find, in the absence of a trusted third party. The fact that each peer has the entire record sees to it that every transaction that happens is legitimate, and not a mere attempt to double spend. Thus coming up with a full proof system where there is no possibility of illegal transactions. Forgery is another evil that had since times immemorial plagued the more normal forms of money. With Bitcoin, every transaction is known to the entire network after confirming the transaction few times. This transaction confirmation takes time on the network. When the transaction is confirmed, it is set in stone and there is no way that forgery or double spending can take place. That is the reason companies all around the globe are coming up with ways to minimize the confirmation time. This will help in creating a system that is ever improving, and hurtling its way towards becoming the currency of the future. However, bitcoin as a implementation is only limited to its use case as a cryptocurrency. And there was a need to handle different use-cases of underlying blockchain protocol. Hence was the need of Altcoins.

To proceed with our discussion, we will look at five alternatives to Bitcoin, and what sets each one apart.

Note: The market value of any coin referred in this article is from CoinMarketCap on 17th March 2018. 
Also, note that this is not an investment advice. TechSutram does not provide any kind of investment advice on crypto assets or cryptocurrencies.

What are Altcoins and why there is a need for them?

Altcoin stands for alternate coins. There are thousands of Altcoins available in the digital market today. Few examples are Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin cash, Litecoin, Cardano, IOTA, Dash, etc. Although only a handful of them have come into popularity. Amongst them, Bitcoin is obviously the most popular and widespread cryptocurrency. As a result of this popularity, the bitcoin market is extremely volatile, competitive and it’s difficult and expensive for beginners and amateurs to get into.

These entry-level impediments to bitcoins are compensated by the less-popular, inexpensive, and simpler altcoins that are thousands in number. In order to own altcoin, one has to buy bitcoin or ethereum first. This is true in most of the cases. Let’s talk about them.

Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is currently the biggest competitor to Bitcoin. Analysts have given it the most chance of displacing bitcoin as the most popular cryptocurrency. The currency has received a lot of attention since its introduction in 2014. The most significant advantage that Ethereum possesses is that it is an open-ended software platform. Ethereum allows contracts and Distributed Apps to run without fraud, control or interference from a third party. Ethereum also supports a programming language Solidity. Application (DApp) developers can use solidity to build and publish distributed applications. Its value has seen a surge, much like that of the Bitcoin, and looks like the one altcoin that has potential it in the near future, for a consistent period of time.
Ethereum CoinMarketCap

As of the writing of this article, as per popular CoinMarketCap portal, the total market cap of Ethereum was $59,664,351,602 USD

Ripple (XRP)

Another star in the altcoin market is XRP. It is backed by the company, Ripple Networks, mainly designed for financial institutions to send and receive currency in a decentralized way. The transaction processing is highly efficient and quick with thousands of transaction confirmed every few seconds. Ripple on their twitter account claimed that 3 out of top 5 money transfer companies planning to use Ripple.

Ripple CoinMarketCap

As per CoinMarketCap portal, the total market cap of ripple stands at $26,773,564,816 USD 

Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin is a scrypt based cryptocurrency that has a high market value and is more stable than bitcoin. It is one of the most popular altcoins as of 2017, and its stock is only to increase, in the future. Also claimed as the ‘Silver to Bitcoin’s gold’, it too has a peer to peer system which gives rise to nearly zero cost payments. Like Bitcoin, it is fully decentralized and features faster transaction confirmation time and improved storage efficiency. Its value has seen a steady upward trend and has kept up with the bludgeoning value of Bitcoin. 

Litecoin CoinMarketCap


The CoinMarketCap portal reports total market cap as $9,082,629,918 USD at the time of writing this article.

Dash (DASH)

Dash is the crypto-coin intended to be used as digital currency to buy goods and services. The use case is similar to bitcoin except that there are many merchants onboard with Dash. It is meant to faster and cheaper in buying goods and services using digital currency.
Dash CoinMarketCap

As per CoinMarketCap the, the total market capitalization of Dash stands at $3,362,519,769 USD

TRON (TRX)

TRON is a blockchain-based decentralized protocol. Tron aims to construct a worldwide free content entertainment system. The protocol allows each user to freely publish, store and own data, and in the decentralized autonomous form, decides the distribution, subscription, and push of contents. It also enables content creators by releasing, circulating and dealing with digital assets. Thus it creates a decentralized content entertainment ecosystem. Content providers will, therefore, no longer need to pay high channel fees to centralized platforms like Google Play and Apple's AppA Store. Its official currency is TRONIX (TRX). The value of the cryptocurrency has maintained a steady rise over the past one year and is one of the most stable digital currencies on offer.

Tron CoinMarketCap

As of writing this article, CoinMarketCap reports total market capitalization of Tron is $1,987,528,410 USD

Conclusion

Even with many close competitors, Bitcoin is still leading the virtual currency pack. Newer and more innovative versions are getting launched that offer modification in areas like transaction speed, privacy, proof-of-stake, DNS resolution and more. A few of them have gained popularity; the rest are lesser-known. Litecoin, Bitcoin cash is seen as the closest competitor to Bitcoin. Altcoins can be a fun and profitable investment! Since Bitcoin’s conception, people have been looking for fixes to their own issues they have with Bitcoin. Nevertheless, Bitcoin still remains in the top spot, and its unlikely it will fall. Much of the altcoin rise over the past few months has been driven along by Bitcoin’s rise and vice versa. Altcoins and Bitcoins are linked, they were formed because of Bitcoin, and so they shall forever remain linked. However, altcoins will still provide an alternative to Bitcoin in attempt to fix the issues Bitcoin has, and as long as these alternatives exist, Bitcoin can’t let its guard down. 

What do you think of Bitcoin’s competitors? Which one has the best chance of overtaking it as the worldwide digital currency? 
Do you think of any other Altcoin that can stand against Bitcoin? Do let us know in the comments below.

PC: pablo, unsplash, coinmarketcap



By Rishabh Bhatnagar:
Rishabh is a law student with a passion for the Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and Startups. He is an avid reader with a taste for writing. He likes learning about new things and is a writer at TechSutram. You can contact him at our contributors' section.Opinions expressed by techsutram contributors are their own.

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