By Kelly Hartog
"…I think it says a lot about the cryptocurrency space in general that a currency with a dog on it which hasn't released a software update in over 2 years has a $1B (billion) market cap." That was written by Jackson Palmer, the co-creator of Dogecoin, a parody cryptocurrency — named for an Internet meme featuring a dog — that recently was worth more than $2 billion!
Never heard of it? What about Litecoin or SmartCash? Perhaps not, but they have been worth at least $1 billion, along with all the other cryptocurrencies in this article.
When looking to invest in cryptocurrencies, most people will automatically head straight to Bitcoin (BTC), the best known and highest valued. However, the alt-coin market is growing rapidly and there are plenty of opportunities to invest in other cryptocurrencies, many of which have performed extremely well. WARNING: We don't recommend investing more than you could afford to lose in the volatile world of cryptocurrencies.
Among those that have piqued the interest of investors is Ripple (XRP), which grew faster in 2017 (36,018%) than Bitcoin (1,318%).
Ripple is designed to make international banking transfers quicker and cheaper. It was developed to replace the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) network that banks usually use. Jeff Koyen, president and CEO of 360 Blockchain USA, notes that while Ripple is in the cryptocurrency family, "it's not ethically or spiritually a cryptocurrency, because it's more of a digital currency that's centralized. However, it's a rocket ship and has attained its place in digital currency royalty and has found success as a mainstream coin."
Ethereum (ETH) is a decentralized blockchain platform that runs smart contracts and is designed to replace Internet third parties — those that store data, transfer mortgages and keep track of complex financial instruments.
Cardano (ADA) is a decentralized public blockchain and cryptocurrency project that is fully open source. Andrei Romanov, who runs a cryptocurrency podcast, says Cardano has risen in popularity "because it's the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach." It also has a former member of Ethereum as part of its team and works with the coded Haskel language for additional security.
IOTA (MIOTA) offers real world applications and focuses on the Internet of Things (IOT). IOT allows you to connect devices to the internet and IOTA allows companies to explore new business-to-business (B2B) models by making every technological resource a potential service to be traded on an open market in real time with no fees. Says Koyen, "IOTA says, 'You've been scared about your baby monitor being hacked? I can fix that.' It's a concrete use case that people can get behind," and is part of the reason it's performing so well.
Formerly known as Antshares, the Chinese non-profit community-based blockchain rebranded itself as NEO (NEO) in the summer of 2017. It uses blockchain technology to digitize assets, automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts, and accomplish a "smart economy" with a distributed network. Romanov credits the success of NEO to its excellent marketing strategies. "You can have fundamentals, or you can do great marketing and it catches fire," remarks Koyen.
Monero (XMR) is one of the top privacy coins, a secure and untraceable cryptocurrency. Says Koyen, "Its distinguishing feature is increased anonymity compared to Bitcoin, which is considered to be more pseudonymous than anonymous." It's also open-source and accessible to all. Monero bills itself as allowing you to be your own bank. You are in control of your own funds and all your transactions and accounts are private. Another high performing cryptocurrency – Verge (XVG) – operates on a similar model. Koyen calls it "the ultimate anonymous coin." Verge also has strict security, is a decentralized currency and is based on an open-source platform.
Siacoin (SC) is the currency behind Sia, a new approach to cloud storage platforms based on decentralized storage. It makes use of unused processer and hard drive space, and puts it on a blockchain. Sia states that no outside company can access or control your files, unlike traditional cloud storage providers, and claims its decentralized cloud is on average ten times less expensive than current cloud storage providers such as Amazon.
ARK (ARK) broke the $1 billion mark in January 2018. "It aims to be the bridge between various blockchains," says Romanov. ARK provides users, developers, and startups with innovative blockchain technologies and aims to create an entire ecosystem of linked chains.
Despite the fact that Dogecoin began as a joke back in 2013 from an Internet meme of a Shiba Inu dog, it has continued to grow and has broken the $2 billion mark. Its website tag simply states: "Dogecoin is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency, favored by Shiba Inus worldwide." As Koyen notes, "Dogecoin literally does nothing … but make people money."
What more could you ask from a coin?
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