There are various elements that factor into whether or not an emerging digital token is adopted by the diverse cryptocurrency community. Many crypto investors might look to bitcoin as a store of value, or Ripple’s XRP for fast transaction speeds and banking approval. Other might even stand in support of joke currencies like dogecoin or rally behind the more obscure ones such as Pokemon based Pokecoin or Bitcoin God.
CoinMarketCap tracks the value of nearly 1,500 tokens across the board and ranks them accordingly to their market capitalization – their perceived total value.
1- Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin is a digital currency – usable for making payments without regard for the physical location of a payer or recipient.
Bitcoin was the first modern cryptocurrency, and the first practical implementation of blockchain technology; it has evolved into both the best known cryptocurrency, and the one with, by far, the greatest market cap (at approximately $200-Billion).
But, Bitcoin suffers from several serious problems, which could ultimately lead to other cryptocurrencies surpassing it in many ways.
2- Ethereum (ETH)
After Bitcoin’s introduction of blockchain technology, Ethereum is the next most significant cryptocurrency from a technological advancement perspective. Ethereum was created to facilitate the creation, execution, and implementation of smart contracts – a feature that makes Ethereum especially attractive to blockchain-related-project software developers and to firms using Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to raise capital. Smart contracts that automate the implementation and execution of pre-determined rules when agreed upon conditions occur protect all parties involved, eliminate confusion, and have the potential to dramatically reduce legal costs. In some ways, Ethereum is also better for commerce than Bitcoin. One of the primary reasons that Ethereum is the coin of choice is because its smart contract capabilities allowed various features of the sale to be encoded into unbreakable contracts – a strong attraction for purchasers. Ethereum’s market cap is presently a little under $100-Billion – about half of Bitcoin’s.
3- Litecoin (LTC)
Litecoin is a cryptocurrency based on Bitcoin, and was created with several improvements over Bitcoin that make it both faster and more robust. Like Bitcoin, Litecoin is intended to be used for payments between users (i.e., peer to peer) – not as tokens within some particular application or to implement smart contracts. Litecoin has been around for about seven years – skyrocketing in usage and value in the last few years. Litecoin is, however, more volatile in price than Bitcoin, and is not as widely accepted for payment. Its market cap is presently a little under $10-Billion – about 1/20 of Bitcoin’s.
4- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash is another potential successor to Bitcoin, and was created last year to address the scalability shortcomings inherent in Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash inherited the ledger of all Bitcoin transactions prior to August 1, 2017, and uses bigger blocks for transactions that have occurred since then. While many cryptocurrency experts supported the creation of Bitcoin Cash as a successor to Bitcoin, others opposed it – so Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash continue to operate simultaneously and separately. Bitcoin Cash has a market cap of about $25-Billion, or roughly a little more than 1/8 of Bitcoin’s.
5- Ripple (XRP)
Ripple is the native cryptocurrency of the Ripple network, which provides real-time payment, transfers, and currency exchange services for financial institutions. Ripple is unlike many other blockchain applications is designed for use by financial institutions, not consumers or most businesses. It uses a consensus process for validating transactions to be added to its ledger, and it is managed by a specific company and system of validators, rather than being truly decentralized. The Ripple Network is also many times faster than Bitcoin’s. In 2017 the price of XRP skyrocketed, and the company behind Ripple theoretically now sits on tens of billions of dollars in Ripple cryptocurrency, which it has sold or converted to other cryptos. Ripple’s market cap is presently about $50-Billion – roughly half of Ethereum’s and a quarter of Bitcoin’s.