Cryptocurrencies are virtual coins or tokens that are designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure transactions and monitor their spendability. The first cryptocurrency to be created was Bitcoin in 2009 by an unidentified software developer going by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, thousands of cryptocurrencies have been created, with more appearing every day. The most successful cryptocurrencies are those that focus on solving a real-world problem and providing a service that people need.
Cryptocurrencies are becoming more mainstream and are being adopted for a variety of applications. One of the most successful cryptocurrencies has been Ethereum, which was created in 2015 by Russian developer Vitalik Buterin. Ethereum focuses on using blockchain technology to create decentralized applications (dapps) that can replace current centralized applications. However, Buterin wasn’t the only one who saw the potential of this new technology. Other developers quickly began developing other virtual currencies that also utilize blockchain technology. Here are some of the most successful cryptocurrencies.
Launched in 2009, Bitcoin is the oldest and most successful cryptocurrency. It was the first virtual currency to gain significant attention from the general public and has continued to be among the top performers in the market. The value of Bitcoin has grown from less than $0 in 2009 to more than $19,000 in December 2017, making it one of the best investments of all time.
Bitcoin is a digital currency created and distributed by a decentralized network of computers using blockchain technology. This technology was first developed for financial transactions but has since been used for other applications. Bitcoin transactions are verified and recorded on a digital ledger known as a blockchain, which is managed by the software program known as Bitcoin Core.
Bitcoin’s value is determined by two factors: scarcity and utility. Scarcity is driven by demand as more people want to use Bitcoin, and is reflected in the price because buyers outnumber sellers. Currently, there are 16.6 million Bitcoins in circulation and the supply is limited to just 21 million. As more people want to use Bitcoin, its price will likely see significant growth.
Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that allows developers to build and deploy decentralized applications. Ethereum was created in 2015 by Russian developer Vitalik Buterin and is based on the blockchain technology developed for Bitcoin. While Bitcoin is more of a cash currency and stores value purely based on scarcity, Ethereum provides for more complex use cases such as smart contracts and tokens.
To date, Ethereum has had the most successful year among all cryptocurrencies, with its price rising more than 1,500 percent in 2017. Because of this growth, more people are starting to recognize Ethereum and its potential.
Launched in 2011, Litecoin is another decentralized cryptocurrency that enables instant payments to anyone in the world. Like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Litecoin uses blockchain technology to manage transactions and issue new coins. However, Litecoin has had less success than Bitcoin and Ethereum. In fact, one could argue that before this year, Litecoin hadn’t seen much success since launching. That all changed in 2017, when the price of Litecoin grew more than 1,000 percent.
Like many cryptocurrencies, Litecoin’s value is primarily driven by supply and demand. There are no physical coins or notes, just digital tokens. Like other cryptocurrencies, demand for Litecoin is driven by interest in using the technology behind it.
Ripple is a payment protocol and cryptocurrency designed to help financial institutions transfer money quickly and inexpensively. It’s often compared to Bitcoin because both are decentralized and use blockchain technology, but it’s fundamentally different. Like Bitcoin, Ripple is not backed by any government or central authority. It’s entirely speculative, with its value determined by supply and demand.
Ripple started in 2012 and is led by CEO Brad Garlinghouse, who has stated that his goal is to create a financial system that’s “100 times faster and cheaper.” Unlike other cryptocurrencies, which may see increased interest from investors as they grow in popularity, Ripple is focused on aiding financial institutions.
One of the main selling points of Ripple is that it can be easily integrated into existing payment systems. This may appeal to financial institutions that want to use the latest and greatest technology but don’t necessarily want to deal with the volatility and risk of cryptocurrency investing.
Launched in 2017, NEO is one of the newer cryptocurrencies, though it’s quickly gaining ground. Like Ethereum, it’s based on blockchain technology, but it differs in several key ways. For example, it’s designed for use by developers, not just consumers.
One of the biggest advantages of NEO is that it’s based in China, where many cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms are banned. Because of this, it’s easier to buy, sell and trade NEO in China than it is to use other cryptocurrencies.
Another difference between NEO and other cryptocurrencies is that it has its own “token,” called “neo.” This token can be used to pay for transaction fees and services on the NEO blockchain.
One of the biggest challenges facing cryptocurrencies is finding real-world applications. So far, NEO has been one of the most successful at this. It has several partnerships with established businesses, including ANX and Microsoft, and it’s currently working on applications that will use blockchain technology.