The purpose of this post is to example the top 5 cryptocurrencies and answer the question “Why are these the top 5 cryptocurrencies?” For this we’ll be using CoinMarketCap to view the top 5.
#1: Bitcoin (Duh)
Invented in January 2009. It was the first, it led the whole movement with it’s revolutionary implementation of peer-to-peer distributed currency system solving the “double spend” problem that plagued digital currency since the inception of the internet. Need I say more?
Market Cap: Near $100 Billion or over 50% of the entire cryptocurrency valuation.
Ethereum was initially released in July 2015 by mastermind Vitalik Buterin. The currency is actually the “Ether” token and the value of Ethereum is that it is an open-source computing platform for integrating smart contracts and custom tokens. Like bitcoin it introduced some revolutionary features that make it aggressively standout in the crypto space. It’s been referred to as “the next generation of the internet.”
Ethereum gained the adoration and approval of Silicon Valley, not only the TV Show but in real life. It’s backed by a dozen Fortune 500s including Intel, Microsoft, JPMorgan, BP and Thomas Reuters through the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA).
Proving itself through surviving multiple shakeups, hard forks, something called “The DAO”, this platform is here for the long haul and a market capitalization of $18 Billion surely reflects that.
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#3: XRP (Ripple)
This is tricky and controversial. XRP (formerly referred to as Ripple) is a payment protocol from way back in 2012. It debuted with massive skepticism from the then Libertarian-strong crypto space who questioned whether it could even be considered “decentralized”. It was created by a US based technology company called Ripple Labs.
Ripple was thought to be the cryptocurrency put out by the big banks to fool the public into thinking they had financial freedom when really they had been fooled to stay under the thumb of the very banking establishment bitcoin was created to thwart. The fire of suspicious were further flamed and fuel added when in October 2017 ex-Federal Reserve chairman Benjamin Bernanke seemingly endorsed ripple and said bitcoin will be brought down by the government. It doesn’t sound so far fetched knowing in 2016 12 banks trialed the Ripple XRP system for cross-border payments. Some believe it’s meant to replace the international financial system known as SWIFT.
All that said, there has to be one currency backed by mainstream financial institutions so they’re not left in the dust, right? And no wonder that currency will be valued at at least $14 Billion at the time of this article’s publication.
Bitcoin Cash is the outlier on this list; being created less than two years ago as a fork of Bitcoin. It’s purpose was to appease the die hard original bitcoiners who believed the system should scale on the native blockchain (the built-in ledger) to handle the increase in number of transactions into the foreseeable future. This currency is the much gestated baby of the great blocksize debate which raged for years in the passionate cryptocurrency arena.
Released in August 2017 as the BitcoinABC software, this currency has seen some massive volatility. It is more important to gauge this currency against bitcoin than to the US Dollar as the goal of this was to takeover the market FROM the main bitcoin developers continued implementation.
On launch it started at 5 bitcoin cash per 1 bitcoin, quickly dropping over half to 11 bitcoin cash per 1 bitcoin. The massive volatility continued and as hype dyed the currency did lose ground to bitcoin, especially after the lightning network (bitcoin’s solution to full blocks and no more transaction capacity) proves to work and grow up until this day, though it is still seen with much skepticism, hence the massive $5 billion market cap of Bitcoin Cash. It has begun a slight recovery in the recent bull market after hitting bottoms at 1/30th the typical bitcoin price.
Bitcoin Cash’s existence proves that bitcoin’s original anarcho-capitalist origins are still intact and the vibes are alive for a new paradigm in financial freedom.
Litecoin is a fighter. It was the first popular currency to fork off of bitcoin but change significant aspects including the mining hash algorithm so that different hardware was required to mine litecoin as opposed to bitcoin.
Released way back in October 2011, less than 3 years after bitcoin’s launch by a genius named Charlie Lee, who now works at Google and was a former Engineering Director at Coinbase. In May 2017 litecoin led the way in cryptocurrencies by being the first to adopt a soft fork known as Segregated Witness which paved the way and provided a testing ground for the implementation of that software into bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Litecoin reached a billion in market cap way back in November 2013 and now rests at a healthy $5 Billion right under Bitcoin Cash. My next favorite cryptocurrency (Dash) is worth way less at only $1 Billion.
Litecoin has a very passionate community of 200,000 members on reddit alone (compare to 250,000 for bitcoin cash and 1 Million for the original bitcoin). Litecoin was the people’s currency back in the day because it fought off ASIC style hardware mining centralization. From July 2012 to September 2018, litecoin rose value from 0.38% of BTC (bitcoin) to 2.62% and is now up to over 5%!
In my opinion, litecoin had 4 key advantages that launched it into alt-coin dominance early on:
1: It’s transactions were faster
2: It had a higher supply making each coin appear ‘cheaper’
3: The alternative hashing algorithm allowed hobbyists to mine this coin over a longer period
4: It was marketed as the silver to bitcoin’s gold; a necessary counterpart
What do you think?
What are your favorite cryptocurrencies and what do you think gives them their popularity?
I’ll see you next time…perhaps with the reason why the Top 6-10 Cryptocurrencies are what they are.
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