20 Jan The Future is Now: The World’s Biggest Cryptocurrencies
Most Americans no longer carry a wad of cash. Maybe one could hold on to some coins for the vending machine or some smaller dollar bills for the newspaper—or do people still buy newspaper? But the point is, almost all transactions are done through a credit card. Most Americans or those in the Western world could forgo with bringing cash and they will survive and still be able to eat, shop and go from one place to another. This would have been unheard of decades ago. So as the world moves forward, there is a new asset gaining ground—cryptocurrency. It’s not yet widely accepted but a large number of people around the world are already investing in it. Perhaps one day the world’s monetary exchange will be through this digital asset? That is still up in the air but it is no secret that cryptocurrencies are making themselves known.
Proof of how cryptocurrency is slowly making a name for itself and gaining a lot of users is a report from US News stating that the 10 most valuable cryptocurrencies in the world have a combined market value that is bigger than Procter & Gamble, a multi-national company founded in 1837. So here are the top 10 cryptocurrencies today, measured by market capitalization.
Bitcoin (BTC) – $119.98 billion
Chances are, you’ve already heard of bitcoin even before you’ve heard of the term cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is definitely the most popular one out there that even those who don’t understand cryptocurrency have already heard of the term. Incidentally, Bitcoin is celebrating its first decade this year. This cryptocurrency was founded in 2009 by a group known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin is a form of electronic cash without a central bank or any government authority manning it. This is why this form of digital asset is more popular among millennials because it doesn’t have intermediaries to move. The digital asset is a reward through a process that is technically termed as mining. The “reward” could then be exchanged for other currencies. The University of Cambridge has estimated that between 2.9 and 5.8 million people are using crytocurrencies and most of them use bitcoin.
Ethereum (ETH) – $41.12 billion
A distant runner-up among the most popular or important cryptocurrencies is Ethereum, which uses ether as unit of currency. It features smart contract or the use of computer protocol to intermediate or verify negotiations or deals. The ether currency started going live in 2015. Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum, wanted to modify the bitcoin by adding a scripting language for application development. The idea was not supported, which prompted him and a few others to form Ethereum.
XRP – $16.4 billion
Again, there is a wide gap between this cryptocurrency and the top two digital assets in the world. This company was actually developed in 2012, earlier than Ethereum. But it had a more specific target market, which are the more enterprising users. The goal was to be a safer and more convenient banking bet among overseas customers or suppliers. The XRP is believed to be 1,000 faster than bitcoin transactions.
Bitcoin Cash (BTC) – $11.95 billion
As the name suggests, it is a spawn of the Bitcoin. Those who owned a bitcoin in August 2017 has a claim to the Bitcoin Cash. So that it will not be confused with bitcoin, this currency is often referred to as Bcash. This digital currency was born due to the rising fees in the Bitcoin network. Some members of the Bitcoin community prompted the creation of a hard fork to increase the block size.
EOS – $6.36 billion
The EOS was born through collaboration among crypto veterans like Dan Larimer of Bitshares and Steemit and Brendan Bloomer. The EOS coin was basically developed in order to support the Eosio, a decentralized operating system for application developers. This way, developers would continue to design without a number of intermediaries. Applications built on or through Eosio can be free for developers.
Stellar (XLM) – $4.44 billion
This company wasn’t created to compete with the bitcoin or any other digital asset out there, it was meant to complement. It is an open-source protocol that will allow the exchange between cryptocurrencies. But while it only wanted to complement the cryptocurrency system, Stellar has become one of the most notable digital currencies in the world.
Litecoin (LTC) – $4.27 billion
Born in 2011, which was just two years after the bitcoin went live, Litecoin essentially works just like the bitcoin. It was then known as the altcoin—alternative coin or alternative digital currency. But Litecoin processes faster at a block every 2.5 minutes compared to bitcoin’s 10 minutes. Litecoin prices have dropped 80 percent though. Its peak was at $366 in December 2017. But with billions in market value, there is no doubt that Litecoin will continue to shine in the following years.
Cardano (ADA) – $3.39 billion
Cardano is another altcoin. It was developed by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson. It only became operational in 2017 so its value is still volatile. But despite its young age, it has already become one of the most significant altcoins in the digital market.
Iota (MIOTA) – $2.42 billion
It only went live in 2017 and already the maximum number of Iota coins has been issued. It has spent its limit. The company’s goal is to provide micro transactions without fees providing data integrity for machines. It may be young but it is already among the top cryptocurrencies in the world.
Tron (TRX) – $1.93 billion
The unique characteristic of this cryptocurrency is entertainment. It is a block-chain based operating system for sharing entertainment content. It is most popular in Asia. The goal is to disrupt large content platforms like Google Play and the Apple Store, known for taking large cuts for themselves rather than the artists who created the content.
Cryptocurrencies have become so big that Facebook, according to Forbes, has already set up a cryptocurrency division. The goal is to develop a system that would allow the use of digital currency in sending payments through online messaging.
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