In many ways, bitcoin has carried the cryptocurrency market on its back. For years, prior to March 2017, bitcoin comprised between 75% and 95% of the aggregate virtual currency market cap. Even today, with more than 1,600 different digital currencies for investors to choose from, bitcoin still accounts for around 37% of the aggregate $430 billion cryptocurrency market cap.
Investors have relished in bitcoin’s first-to-market advantage -- trading began all the way back in March 2010 -- as well as its numerous partnerships with online and brick-and-mortar merchants. The scarcity of bitcoin, vis-à-vis its 21-million-coin limit, has also played a role in pushing its valuation higher than all other virtual tokens. 1. Ethereum
With little exception, Ethereum has been firmly planted as the No. 2 most valuable cryptocurrency for about a year. I’ve stated my case that it very well could be, and should be, the world’s top virtual coin thanks to the utility of its underlying blockchain technology. Blockchain being the digital, distributed, and decentralized ledger responsible for recording transactions in a transparent and unchanging manner.
There are two factors that really allow Ethereum to stand out. First, its blockchain technology allows for currency and non-currency use, whereas bitcoin’s blockchain and token are to be used solely as a medium of exchange for goods and services. Banks can use Ethereum’s blockchain to expedite the validation and settlement of transactions just as easily as retailers can use Ethereum’s blockchain to track goods moving through a supply chain in real time. Though not all industries and sectors will necessarily benefit from blockchain, Ethereum’s underlying network offers enough versatility that it’s turning heads. In fact, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, the world’s largest open-source blockchain initiative, is now 450 organizations strong.
Most virtual currencies are all about their underlying blockchain technology. However, Litecoin is looking to top bitcoin at its own game as the go-to medium of exchange. Litecoin is aiming to partner with as many merchants as possible, and it’s done a pretty good job of closing the gap behind bitcoin in terms of total daily transactions. According to daily transaction data from BitInfoCharts.com, bitcoin has been “stuck” between 150,000 and 300,000 transactions per day since the beginning of 2016. Meanwhile, Litecoin has surged from handling fewer than 10,000 transactions a day, on average, a year ago, to between 25,000 and 35,000 transactions daily over the past month. With an average block processing time of just 2-1/2 minutes -- a “block” is a term describing a group of transactions that’s been validated as correct -- compared to bitcoin at 10 minutes, Litecoin offers significantly faster validation and settlement times than its foe.\ 3. Monero
Privacy coin Monero is another cryptocurrency alternative that has a chance to unseat bitcoin as the world’s most important virtual token. A privacy coin is a virtual token that takes the expectation of transaction anonymity and beefs it up a whole bunch. Truth be told, most blockchain networks aren’t as private as you’d think. Blockchain analyses can often reveal the sender and receiver of funds. With privacy coins like Monero, protections are put in place to obfuscate the sender and receiver of funds, as well as mask how much money was sent. With specific regard to Monero, this is done with ring signatures -- think of a bank account with multiple signees, although you’d never know who the actual sender was -- and stealth addresses that alert only the recipient of the funds. Monero speaks to libertarians who long for a way around traditional banking networks, as well as those people who simply want to remain under the radar. This attraction could well be enough to pump up its market cap over the long run. 4. Stellar
Another cryptocurrency that has a genuine shot of replacing bitcoin at the head of the table is Stellar, which has made a name for both its blockchain and its Lumens coin. Stellar’s blockchain is particularly revered for two aspects. First, it’s really fast. Most transactions can be validated and settled in a matter of two to five seconds. Though that might not sound as impressive as a real-time transaction, it’s considerably quicker than the up to five business day wait current payments could take on traditional banking networks. Secondly, like Ethereum, Stellar incorporates the use of smart contracts, allowing enterprises to customize legally binding contracts to fit their business needs.
5. VeChain Thor
If we were to focus strictly on non-currency blockchain applications, VeChain Thor might be the likeliest alternative to unseat bitcoin as the world’s most valuable digital currency. VeChain Thor is a blockchain-as-a-service company that primarily focuses on supply chain logistics. In conjunction with developed smart chips, VeChain Thor essentially uses blockchain and the Internet of Things to track products in real-time, keep counterfeit products out of supply chains, and allow retailers and wholesalers a glimpse at how products performed in various quality control tests. 6. Binance Coin
Finally, I figured we’d throw one absolute wildcard into the ring as a bitcoin alternative: Binance Coin (BNB). If the name sounds familiar, that’s likely because Binance Coin is the exclusive token issued on the Binance cryptocurrency exchange. There are quite a many factors that help to pump up the value of BNB coins. In particular, Binance incentivizes members to use the BNB coin when paying for fees in exchange for discounts. This alone can buoy the value of the BNB token, helping to explain why it’s one of the top performers in 2018. Binance offers a 50% trading-fee discount for the first year if using Binance Coin to pay for trading fees, with a staggered (but smaller) series of discounts through a member’s first four years.
I am personally involved with Litcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash.You do what you like and chose cryptocurencies what you like the most.