Cryptocurrencies that came after Bitcoin are known as Altcoins. In other words, Altcoins are anything other than Bitcoin and can include other cryptocurrencies, tokens, and stablecoins. Below is a brief list of the ten most popular Altcoins.
- Ethereum (ETH): Ethereum was developed by programmer Vitalik Buterin as a decentralized software platform with several advantages over Bitcoin. For instance, Ethereum allows the application of smart contracts to be build and run on the platform with third-party interference. Its goal is to allow anyone in the world to access its decentralized package of financial products. “Ether” is the name given to the platform’s token. In 2021, Ethereum pushed through a breakthrough by transitioning its algorithm from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake to enable Ethereum to operate with less energy and with greater transaction speed. As of mid-October 2021, Ethereum’s market capitalization is about $441.3 billion.
- Litecoin (LTC): Litecoin was launched as a coin much like Bitcoin. It was created by former Google engineer and MIT graduate Chalie Lee as an open-source global payment system that operates without third party or government interference. Litecoin has a faster block generate rate than Bitcoin and, as a result, its transaction confirmation time, are faster than Bitcoin’s times. Litecoin has a market capitalization of almost $12.2 billion as of mid-October 2021.
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH): Bitcoin Cash (BCH) resulted from a “hard fork” of the original coin, Bitcoin. A fork generally occurs where miners and developers reach multiple disagreements about an issue and decide instead to split the cryptocurrency into two chains: the first chain is the original code (Bitcoin) and the second chain becomes a new chain modeled on the old chain with several new changes to the code (Bitcoin Cash). Bitcoin Cash was launched in 2017 as a result of a successful fork from Bitcoin. It holds a market capitalization of almost $11.2 billion in mid-October 2021.
- Cardano (ADA): Cardano is a proof-of-stake cryptocurrency created by a group of engineers and mathematicians with a nexus of five principles: people, purpose, technology, research, and opportunity. It was co-founded by one of the founding members of the Ethereum project, Charles Hoskinson, who had disagreed with some of Ethereum’s properties and instead promoted Cardano. Cardano creates a decentralized financial package that provides solutions for multiple objectives including contract tracing. As of mid-October 2021, Cardano has the fourth largest market capitalization at about $71 billon.
- Tether (USDT): Tether is significant because it was one of the first “stablecoins,” which are basically cryptocurrencies that peg their market value to the value of some external source to reduce price volatility. This was significant because other cryptocurrencies—including Bitcoin—are characterized by drastic price fluctuations that are often unpredictable. Tether is unique because its price is pegged to the price of the U.S. dollar, which allows for easy and quick transfers from other cryptocurrencies to the U.S. dollar (via Tether) as opposed to the actual conversion process. Tether has the fifth highest market capitalization at about $68.5 billion in mid-October 2021.
- Polkadot (DOT): Polkadot is a proof-of stake cryptocurrency that provides for interoperability between other blockchains. This interoperability is important because it facilitates the cooperation of multiple blockchains together by connecting permissioned and permission-less blockchains. As of mid-October 2021, it has a market capitalization of about $40.1 billion.
- Stellar (XLM): Stellar is a blockchain network that aims to provide large scale enterprise solutions for processing large transactions in little time and without involving intermediaries. Stellar allows these transactions to be executed almost instantaneously at a low cost without relying on third parties. The cryptocurrency of the Stellar network is called “Lumens.” Stellar has a market capitalization of about $8.8 billion as of mid-October 2021.
- Monero (XMR): Monero is an untraceable decentralized cryptocurrency that immediately received widespread support because of its privacy enhancing capabilities. Because Monero is secure, private, and anonymous, it has gained quite a notorious reputation for its ability to facilitate online global criminal schemes. In mid-October 2021, its market capitalization stood at about $4.8 billion.
- Chainlink (LINK): Chainlink is a decentralized oracle network built on the Ethereum blockchain. It aims to facilitate the transfer of data to smart contract applications. Blockchains cannot connect to real world data in a secure manner. Chainlink solves this problem by allowing smart contracts to communicate with real world data and other outside input. Its token is called “LINK.” As of mid-October 2021, the market capitalization of Chainlink is about $12.3 billion.
- Binance Coin (BNB): Binance Coin is a utility token that serves as a payment method for fees on the Binance Exchange. It relies on proof-of-stake consensus. Using Binance Coin as a payment method allows individuals to receive discounts on the exchange. Binance Coin has the third largest market capitalization in the world at about $79.2 billion in mid-October 2021.
In 2021, there are over 6,000 cryptocurrencies. This list is expected to grow as more users accept cryptocurrencies as a form of value—whether to trade or invest. Along with brokers and exchanges that help individuals invest in cryptocurrencies, online payment companies such as PayPal has recently in 2020 allowed its users to buy, sell, and hold four cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.