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The next bitcoin: biggest alt coin challenges
Though bitcoin remains the biggest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalisation and coin value, rival coins are beginning to gain ground due to technological advancements and increasing demand. Below are some of the alt coins that could overtake bitcoin in the years ahead:
Like bitcoin, ethereum is a public blockchain network. But while bitcoin is an electronic cash system, – and therefore one specific application of blockchain technology – ethereum is a platform that allows developers to build and deploy programming code for any decentralised blockchain application.
Bitcoin users work to ‘mine’ the currency, while ethereum users work to earn ether, a crypto token. Ethereum blocks, the record of transactions, can be created much more quickly than bitcoin – making it more useful for transactions, instead of just for storing value. Ethereum allows a variety of programmes to run on its network, and this perhaps broadens its value beyond that of bitcoin.
When it launched in 2011, litecoin proclaimed that it will be silver to bitcoin’s gold. Like bitcoin, it is also generated by mining. Litecoin’s main difference is that it can confirm transactions at a faster rate than bitcoin, meaning it can handle a higher volume thanks to faster block generation. During bitcoin’s massive rally in 2017, litecoin also saw its value rise: from around $4 in March to over $60 in August.
Zcash (ZEC), originally called Zerocoin, is the result of the trend toward anonymous transactions. The main difference between bitcoin and Zcash is that while the bitcoin blockchain keeps a record of the participants of transactions, as well as the amount they exchange, the Zcash blockchain only shows that a transaction took place – not who or how much was involved.
Zcash reached highs of $799 in the first week of 2018, but as investors raced to take profits, the price was driven back down to $710.
Former bitcoin developers launched software company Ripple in 2012. The ripple network is designed to enable the transfer of any form of currency, regardless of whether it is the traditional sort, such as dollars or euros, or the new types such as bitcoin. Its digital currency, ripple XRP, positions itself as complimentary to bitcoin, rather than a rival – and has been called the logical successor to bitcoin. Ripple’s XRP unit is, like bitcoin, a form of currency based on formulae, with a limited number of units that can be mined.