If you were lucky enough to buy Bitcoin a few years ago, you’re probably feeling pretty smug about yourself.
But what if you’re skint and hoping to copy some of the early traders’ success?
It’s probably too late to get involved in the booming Bitcoin market because just one of the coins will now cost you well over £10,000 after shooting up in value from just £738 during 2017.
Yet other cryptocurrencies have also seen astonishing growth.
Ripple, a new coin created by the founder of bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, surged 35,000 percent during 2017 – way higher than the 1,200 percent growth of Bitcoin.
That means £100 invested in Ripple in January 2017 would have grown to about £35,000 at the start of this year. This coin is expected to become even more valuable if a rumour that Coinbase will soon start trading it turns out to be true.
Bitcoin is still the biggest cryptocurrency by far – with a market value exceeding $250 billion (£185 billion) – and is expected to keep that mantle in the months to come.
Launched in 2015, NEM is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency platform.
It is used in a commercial blockchain called Mijin, tested mainly in Japan, by financial institutions and private companies.
Percentage gain in 2017: About 29,000 percent
Trading price at the time of writing: $1.27 (£0.94)
Released in early 2014, Stellar comes in at number three in terms of percentage growth in 2017.
In October 2017, Stellar and IBM entered into a deal aimed at improving the speed of global payments.
Percentage gain in 2017: Close to 14,000 percent
Trading price at the time of writing: About $0.76 (56 pence)
Originally launched as XCoin in early 2014, Dash got its name in March 2015. It offers instant transactions, meaning trades done with Dash get confirmed in seconds, whereas Bitcoin transaction can take up to 10 minutes to confirm.
Percentage gain in 2017: About 9,300 percent
Trading price at the time of writing: $1,162.84
Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum’s main aim is to operate ‘smart contracts’, instead of acting as a form of money.
Smart contracts are scripts of code that can be deployed in Ethereum blockchain.
Percentage gain in 2017: About 9,200 percent
Trading price as of Wednesday: $879.91 (£649.37)
Introduced in October 2011, Litecoin is very similar to bitcoin and is the sixth largest cryptocurrency.
Percentage gain in 2017: About 4,800 percent
Trading price at the time of writing: $250.31 (£184.78)
Cardano was founded in 2014 and began trading on Bittrex exchange in October 2017. Within three months, it has garnered a market cap of over $18.6 billion, to secure itself at the fifth position (in terms of market cap).
Percentage gain in 2017: Close to 3,000 percent
Trading price at the time of writing: About $0.99 (73 pence)
Bitcoin Cash (BCH):
Born from bitcoin itself, Bitcoin Cash is a segregated version of bitcoin that was released on Aug. 1, 2017. Bitcoin Cash was branched out to increase the blocksize limit to 8 MB and allow faster transactions.
Percentage gain in 2017: Over 500 percent
Trading price at the time of writing: $2,748.33 (£2028.84)
IOTA was introduced in June 2016 and started trading on Bitfinex in June 2017. With a market cap of about $11.19 billion, it is the ninth largest cryptocurrency
Percentage gain in 2017: Over 450 percent
Trading price at the time of writing: $4.03 (£2.97)
This coin is based on Ethereum and works to create ‘smart contracts’ designed to power the economy of the future.
Percentage gain in 2017: 50,320 percent
Trading price at the time of writing: $72.99 (£53.88)
This is also based on Ethereum and is designed to store data and content so the internet can be decentralised, meaning content is not just simply stored on Facebook, Google or Amazon servers. It’s a bit fiddly to buy, so click here for more information.
Percentage gain in 2017: 7818 percent
Trading price at the time of writing: $0.158375