The rise of bitcoin has taken the world of finance by storm with millions of people creating virtual wallets attempting to join the ‘crypto-frenzy’ and raise money betting on the world’s number one digital currency.
Bitcoin fever shows no sign of receding with rivals of the first digital asset gaining traction to become the main agents of a cashless environment. Here are the top five of major bitcoin competitors, commonly called altcoins, as a blend of bitcoin alternative, whose market value has exceeded $5 billion, according to crypto-market data leader CoinMarketCap.
The second biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, ethereum was launched in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin, a Canadian computer programmer born in Russia. As of Friday, this relatively young cryptocurrency was trading at more than $445 with a market cap of about $43 billion. It is up over 5,000 percent this year.
Ethereum differs from bitcoin in application. Its platform is open and decentralized, and the digital currency is used there to pay for transaction fees and services.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
A spinoff of the original, bitcoin cash was created on August 1, 2017, and has become the third largest digital currency. The cryptocurrency was born as a result of a solution dubbed SegWit2x, which led to the split of the world’s most popular digital asset into two.
Bitcoin cash has implemented an increased block size of 8mb, to accelerate the verification process, with an adjustable level of difficulty to ensure the chain’s survival and transaction verification speed, regardless of the number of miners supporting it.
Bitcoin cash is trading around $1,500 with a market value of $25.5 billion.
Unlike its rivals, IOTA uses a system called Tangle as a distributed ledger technology. Tangle is claimed to be next-generation blockchain. IOTA was founded by David Sonstebo, Sergey Ivancheglo, Dominik Schiener, and Dr. Serguei Popov in 2015.
One of the youngest virtual currencies demonstrated a bullish rally earlier this month when the price of an IOTA token more than tripled from roughly $1.40 to $5.45 before facing a correction. It was trading at a modest $4.25 per token with its market cap climbing to $12 billion on Friday.
Released in 2012 in California, ripple is listed on 30 exchanges and is currently in the fifth place by market capitalization. The cryptocurrency is winning popularity among banks as a worldwide payment and transmission system.
Unlike bitcoin, ripple is not just a currency, but a system through which any currency can be transferred or traded. On Friday, ripple was trading at $0.25 with a market cap of around $9.6 billion.
Litecoin is the second oldest cryptocurrency in the world along with Namecoin and SwiftCoin. All the three virtual currencies were launched in 2011, but litecoin became the first to be mined using the so-called scrypt algorithm, which is entirely different from work algorithm of bitcoin.
Litcoin was created by former Google engineer Charlie Lee and is commonly referred to as “silver to bitcoin's gold.” The digital currency is seen as a faster alternative to bitcoin due to its speedier block processing time: 2.5 minutes to bitcoin's 10.
The market value of the cryptocurrency climbed over $5.4 billion with one token trading at $100 as of Friday.
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