Altcoin is basically an abbreviation, where Alt refers to Alternate and Coins refer to Currency basically cryptocurrency. There are many crypto-currencies other than Bitcoin but the fact can’t be ignored that Bitcoin is the most widely used cryptocurrency with a roughly $160 billion market value.
Altcoins were developed after the success of bitcoins and serve as the substitutes of Bitcoin as Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency. Now there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies other than bitcoins and all fall under the category of altcoins. Altcoins are trying to overcome the limitations of bitcoins.
Bitcoin serves as the benchmark for the altcoins thus most altcoins are Peer-to-Peer involving a mining process by which users solve difficult problems to unlock blocks, and offer efficient and cheap ways to carry out transactions on the web. Even after having common features altcoins differ from each other in various ways like in procedural variations, including different proof-of-work algorithms, different means by which users can sacrifice energy to mine blocks, and application enhancements to increase user anonymity.
It’s next to impossible to list all the crypto-currencies as there are more than 1600 crypto-currencies in existence. So here is the list of top ten most important altcoins.
Litecoin is open-source software and was developed by Mr. Charlie Lee, an MIT graduate. It was released on October 7, 2011. It is based on global payment which is not controlled by any central authority. The Litecoin Network aims to process a block within every 2.5 minutes, whereas Bitcoin process within 10 minutes this allows Litecoin to have faster transaction confirmation. Litecoin uses scrypt in its proof-of-work algorithm, a sequential memory-hard function requiring more memory than an algorithm which is not memory-hard. Litecoin was announced in 2011 with the goal of being the ‘silver’ to bitcoin’s ‘gold’. At that time, Litecoin has the highest market cap of any mined cryptocurrency, after bitcoin.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
Vitalik Buterin is the co-founder of Etherenum which was released on July 30, 2015. It is an open-source and blockchain-based distributed computing platform that enables Smart Contracts and Distributed Applications (DApps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party. The applications run on its platform-specific cryptographic token, ether. Ether is like a vehicle for moving around on the ethereum platform. Now investors are looking forward to making purchases of other digital currencies using ether.
In 2013, Buterin published the white paper that would lay the foundations for the ethereum network. During 2014, ethereum launched a pre-sale for ether which received an overwhelming response. It can be used to codify, decentralize, secure and trade just about anything. Following the attack on the DAO in 2016, Ethereum was split into Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC).
3. Zcash (ZEC)
ZCash was founded by Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn in October 2016, a decentralized and open-source Peer-to-Peer cryptocurrency. Earlier it was called the Zerocoin protocol before it was transformed into the Zerocash system and then finally, Zcash. If bitcoin is like HTTP for money, zcash is HTTPS. Thus, like https, zcash claims to provide extra security or privacy where all transactions are recorded and published on a blockchain, but details such as the sender, recipient, and amount remain private. Zcash provides ease to users by offering them two kinds of transactions-Transparent and Shielded transactions. The shielded transactions are private that hide the details of transactions from the world while in transparent transactions details are opened to the public. The identity of both sender and receiver is not hidden nor the details of transaction are hidden from the public.
Zcash has a fixed supply of 21 million units.
4. Dash (DASH)
Dash, originally known as Xcoin was developed by Evan Duffield, released on April 2014. Later it was rebranded as Dark coin which was used in darknet markets. In 2016 it was renamed as Dash which stands for Digital Cash. After this, it’s no longer used in darknet markets. It is a more secretive version of bitcoin. Dash offers more anonymity as it works on a decentralized master code network that makes transactions almost untraceable. Dash experienced an increasing fan following in a short span of time.
5. Ripple (XRP)
Ripple is a real-time global settlement network that offers instant, certain and low-cost international payments. Launched in 2012, ripple enables banks to settle cross-border payments in real-time, with end-to-end transparency, and at lower costs. The ledger employs the decentralized native cryptocurrency known as XRP, which as of September 2018 was the second-largest coin by market capitalization. Ripple has been adopted by banks and payment networks as settlement infrastructure technology. Ripple relies on a common shared ledger, which is a distributed database storing information about all Ripple accounts. Since Ripple’s structure doesn’t require mining, it reduces the usage of computing power and minimizes network latency. The network is managed by a network of independent validating servers that constantly compare their transaction records. Servers could belong to anyone, including banks or market makers. Ripple validates accounts and balances instantly for payment transmission and delivers payment notification within seconds. Payments are irreversible, and there are no chargebacks.
6. Monero (XMR)
Monero is cash for a connected world. It’s a fast, private, and secure and untraceable currency as the transactions cannot be linked to a particular user or real-world entity. This open-source cryptocurrency was launched in April 2014 and soon spiked great interest among the cryptography community and enthusiasts. The development of this cryptocurrency is completely donation-based and community-driven. Monero has been launched with a strong focus on decentralization and scalability, and it enables complete privacy by using a special technique called “ring signatures.”
With this technique, there appears a group of cryptographic signatures including at least one real participant, but since they all appear valid, the real one cannot be isolated. Because of exceptional security mechanisms like this, monero has developed something of an unsavory reputation; it has been linked to criminal operations around the world. Nonetheless, whether it is used for good or ill, there’s no denying that monero has introduced important technological advances to the cryptocurrency space
7. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash holds an important place in the history of altcoins because it is one of the earliest and most successful hard forks of the original bitcoin. In the cryptocurrency world, a fork takes place as the result of debates and arguments between developers and miners. Due to the decentralized nature of digital currencies, wholesale changes to the code underlying the token or coin at hand must be made due to general consensus; the mechanism for this process varies according to the particular cryptocurrency.
When different factions can’t come to an agreement, sometimes the digital currency is split, with the original remaining true to its original code and the other copy beginning life as a new version of the prior coin, complete with changes to its code. Bitcoin cash began its life in August of 2017 as a result of one of these splits. The debate which led to the creation of BCH had to do with the issue of scalability; bitcoin has a strict limit on the size of blocks, 1 megabyte. BCH increases the block size from 1 MB to 8 MB, with the idea being that larger blocks will allow for faster transaction times. It also makes other changes, too, including the removal of the Segregated Witness protocol which impacts block space.
8. NEO (NEO)
NEO began life in 2014. Originally called AntShares, the coin was later rebranded by creator Da Hongfei. To date, it is the largest cryptocurrency which has emerged from China and is sometimes referred to as a “Chinese Ethereum” because of its similar use of smart contracts. In 2017, NEO experienced its most successful year to date. From a value of $0.16 per token in January of 2017, NEO climbed to about $162 per token by one year later. This constitutes a return of more than 111,000%. One key to NEO’s success has been its support of programming in many existing languages, including Go, Java, C++, and others.
Further, NEO has experienced benefits as a result of its positive relationship with the Chinese government, which is generally known for its harsh positions on cryptocurrencies
9. Cardano (ADA)
Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of ethereum, launched Cardano in September of 2017. For supporters of this digital currency, ADA offers all of the benefits of ethereum, as well as many others. Cardano offers a platform for Dapps and smart contracts, like ethereum before it. Beyond that, ADA aims to solve some of the most pressing problems plaguing cryptocurrencies everywhere, including interoperability and scalability.
Cardano also hopes to tackle issues related to international payments, which are typically both timely and expensive. Thanks to its focus on this area, ADA was able to take international payment processing times from days down to just seconds.
10. EOS (EOS)
One of the newest digital currencies to make our list is EOS. Launched in June of 2018, EOS was created by cryptocurrency pioneer Dan Larimer. Before his work on EOS, Larimer founded the digital currency exchange Bitshares as well as the blockchain-based social media platform Steemit. Like other cryptocurrencies on this list, EOS is designed after ethereum, so it offers a platform on which developers can build decentralized applications. EOS is notable for many other reasons, though.
stock photo found on pexels.com