Bitcoin is an open-source, peer-to-peer, digital decentralized cryptocurrency. Powered by the Blockchain technology, its defining characteristic is its decentralization, i.e. the lack of central governing authority, such as a central bank or a ministry of finance. Bitcoin's issuance and circulation are ensured by regular users via a process known as "Bitcoin mining". Bitcoin can be sent anywhere, anytime, (almost) for free, and with little regard for national borders or government/bank-imposed restrictions.
Litecoin (LTC) is a cryptocurrency and an open-source project released in 2017, inspired by and very close technically to Bitcoin. The key idea of the project was to make a faster and cheaper to use alternative to Bitcoin
Although there are some similarities between BTC and LTC, you can’t define Litecoin without pointing out some key differences, such as instant and near-zero cost transactions, increased speed of adding a new block into the Blockchain (2.5 minutes against 10 in the Bitcoin network) and a scrypt usage in its Proof-of-Work process to make it easier for regular PC users to mine new blocks against ASIC miners. It is also one of the first cryptocurrencies that adopted SegWit.
Litecoin is hugely popular to this day, ranked sixth place on CoinMarketCap with a more than eight billion dollars market cap.
Developed by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is a public, open-sourced Blockchain-based platform developed that features smart contracts. It would be wrong to define Ethereum as a cryptocurrency or confuse it with Ether, a cryptocurrency part of Ethereum system.
Ethereum was created as a platform that has the ability for users to build programs without the involvement of middlemen, including central servers to store information that makes them less exposed to abuses of those middlemen and authorities.
Ethereum went live on July 30, 2015, and is the second major currency on the market with 45 billion dollars of capitalization.
The latest news about Ethereum mostly concerns the move to Serenity the last post-development phase of Ethereum as well as changing Ether mining’s concept from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake in order to reduce the power cost of the process.
Ripple is a real-time gross settlement system that also supports fiat currency, cryptocurrency, and commodity exchanges and remittances. The native cryptocurrency of the platform are Ripples, abbreviated as XRP.
Ripple was made by the Ripple company, but can function without it due to its shared ledger. Used by companies such as UniCredit, UBS and Santander, Ripple has been increasingly adopted by banks and payment networks as settlement infrastructure technology because of the payment’s speed within the network, stability of the technology, and the ability to its coin as a bridge currency.
There were 100 billion XRP created at Ripple's inception, which is the currency’s cap according to the protocol's rules. Of the 100 billion created, 20 billion XRP were retained by the creators and the remaining 80% of the total were given to Ripple Labs for sale.
In May 2017, Bitcoin transactions could take up to four days to complete. The only way to make a transaction quicker was to pay a transaction fee, which at the end of 2017 was around $28. The delay and the need to pay fees made Bitcoin impractical for making small purchases, which led to a new Bitcoin-based currency Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
BCH is a cryptocurrency established as a result of the hard fork that took place to manage the scalability problem. Bitcoin Cash has a number of significant differences to Bitcoin: it is advertised as being faster and cheaper to use, the maximum block size is eight megabytes against one in previous Blockchain, and it has an emergency difficulty adjustment feature. Bitcoin Cash also uses 0-conf (or zero-conf) which allows for nearly instant transactions, meaning Bitcoin Cash transactions are almost always confirmed in the next block.
Developers define EOS as an operating system made for businesses to construct Blockchain applications as a replacement for web-apps while retaining similar structural principles. There are two main things about EOS that make this platform stand out from all the other Blockchain projects.
The first is the absence of transactions fees due to an ownership model where is entitled to use network resources equivalent to his stake without the need of paying for every transaction. This ownership model makes it possible to manage your costs before getting involved in the system, predicting the amount of stake required to manage your business. The second advantage is the scalability, with a promised operating power of millions of transactions per second.
It’s also an important feature that EOS doesn’t require a hard fork to make big
changes within the network. All the decisions can be made by supermajority without
polling the whole Blockchain.
Cardano is a platform for maintaining the operations of Ada cryptocurrency. The platform is multilayered and gives the system the elasticity to be easily maintained and upgraded with a soft fork.
Cardano uses a Proof-of-Stake system, reducing the amount of electricity requirements and improving its scalability. The second feature of Cardano is its Recursive InterNetwork Architecture that allows for the existence of a subnetwork within a main network, which also makes it easier for a network to grow.
Cardano aims to become an “Internet of Blockchain,” making it possible for all cryptocurrencies to exist side by side and be converted from one to another without intermediaries. Cardano will also allow users to attach metadata to their transactions if they want to, making the network friendlier to banks and governments.
Stellar is a payment technology built upon the Ripple protocol, but it has changed a lot since its inception. Unlike Ripple, Stellar aims to work with developing markets instead of banking systems and other well-established financial institutes.
Stellar is also very different from Bitcoin in terms of transaction approval. Instead of using an entire network to validate a transaction, Stellar uses a quorum which is just a part of the whole pool this is what makes Stellar so fast in conducting transactions. Because of this feature, Stellar is considered to be a great choice for small businesses, nonprofits, small banks, and inside-corporation transactions. One of the important Stellar partnerships is with IBM, as the company now uses the Stellar network as corridor for transactions across nations in the South Pacific.
IOTA is a cryptocurrency designed for use in the internet of things, enabling secure sales and trading data streams, with no need of transaction fees and miners to maintain to operations. IOTA aims to get rid of all the biggest troubles of major cryptocurrencies, such as lack of scalability, mining expenses, and slow transaction speed.
IOTA is unable to have a Turing complete language in its system, making it very different from Ethereum or NEO. The world is moving forward to a machine-to-machine interactions ecosystem, and it’s in the definition of IOTA to be the crypto platform fueling those transactions. In theory, IOTA’s network should become the best solution for an IOT with its transaction fee-free platform perfectly suitable for machines to communicate with each other. IOTA’s coin MIOTA trading, which is one of the major currencies on the cryptomarket, shows a lot of support for that idea.
Tronix (TRX) is the official currency of TRON, which aims to be a decentralized entertainment content sharing platform eventually leveraging blockchain and peer-to-peer (p2p) network technology. Founded by a non-profit Singapore-based foundation, the Tron Foundation seeks to tackle the global entertainment industry – currently valued at $1 trillion.
NEO is a Blockchain platform and cryptocurrency created with the idea of establishing a scalable network of decentralized applications. While NEO is very close to Ethereum at its core, there are a few things that could be said only about NEO.
NEO also integrates a lot of other cryptocurrencies into its network, while most of the other platforms are focusing only on their own currency. This unique feature makes NEO suitable to become a global digital system of in a smart economy. Today, some may define NEO as one of the most stable cryptocurrencies on the market with a lot of potential to grow even more in the future.
Monero is a digital currency very similar to Bitcoin, but it offers a higher level of security and anonymity for users and their transactions.
The Monero ledger, unlike Blockchain, doesn’t record the actual stealth addresses of parties to transactions, and the one-time created address that is recorded is not linked to the actual addresses of the parties as well. All Monero transactions between two parties are grouped up with some other transactions that occur among unrelated parties. Monero also handles transactions by splitting the amount transferred into multiple parts and then treating each split part as a separate transaction.
The popularity of Monero is not growing just because of attention from black market, but also because of the large amount of people not fond of being watched by governments, hackers, and corporations
Tether is a cryptocurrency token that claims be backed by 1 dollar for each token issued. Tether may be explained as a hybrid between a cryptocurrency and fiat money, as its “tethered” to the value of fiat currencies. Tether usually uses a USDT currency, which is supposed to be worth exactly what USD is worth at the same period of time.
Tether can’t be an investment because the US dollar’s price is decreasing over time due to inflation, but neither it can be a speculative interest, because it most certainly would be around the same price for a long time.
Still, there are a few things about Tether that make it very suitable for crypto investors to use. Tether transactions mostly take a few minutes to complete, Tether charges no transaction fees for moving funds between Tether wallets, and it is a stable and fast resource to cash out and cash in when there is a difficult situation in the market.
Dash is a cryptocurrency unlike most others. It’s neither a development platform nor it is like first cryptocurrencies with their huge transactions fees, long transaction waiting times, and volatility Dash is oriented on a completely different level.
Developers define Dash as a cryptocurrency analog for electronic cash. They want Dash to be as liquid and as fast as the online fiat money that is mostly used now
Dash is decentralized peer-to-peer electronic cash built on core of Litecoin, enabling such features as PrivateSend and InstantSend. Dash is decentralized in governance and founded via its own network by mining, which makes autonomous and independent from any authority but its own users. The average block mining time is 2.5 minutes on the Dash Blockchain, making Dash significantly faster than Bitcoin.
NEM is a Blockchain-based peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and a development platform. You can’t define NEM without mentioning its innovative consensus algorithm a Proof-of-Importance algorithm.
Every user of the NEM Blockchain that holds more than 10,000 XEM has his or her “importance score.” Once a user gets to that threshold, every coin on the account and every transaction that was linked to the account will improve his or her importance score. Miners with a higher importance score are more likely to get a reward from mining. The POI system is designed this way to stimulate NEM users not only to have XEM coin, but also to perform transactions with it.
NEM also provides such features like Messages included in transaction that can be used for secure communication, and multi-signature transactions that protect users from hackers and secure the community-held funds.
VeChain is a blockchain-based smart contract platform which focuses on business applications related to inventory quandaries and, more broadly, tracking. Like most smart contract platforms, VeChain relies on and currently requires Ethereum. In a late-Feburary, 2018 event, CEO Sunny Lu announced the platform would from there forward be called VeChain Thor.