Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency with a current price of $6,500 per coin and the largest market capitalization. It is the coin which represents the whole crypto space but has a lot of competitors. The blockchain technology behind Bitcoin has proved itself to be an excellent basis for various systems and there are now numerous other projects powered by it – in 2018, the number of altcoins exceeded 2,000.
It is clear that many projects don’t have anything unique to offer and won’t survive on the market. The question is which currencies are worth your attention. Let’s look through the brief reviews and find out about the best Bitcoin alternatives.
The Idea Behind Bitcoin
Launched in 2009, Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency. It was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto as a global decentralized payment system. Its network covers the entire world and there are neither central servers nor intermediaries. It was designed to provide a better way to perform money transactions which would replace traditional methods by being faster, cheaper, and more convenient.
Top Bitcoin’s Alternatives
Almost all major coins are also focused on providing payment services. Some were created as a result of Bitcoin’s forks; they were separated from the main network. Let’s see which altcoins are the most successful in terms of their market capitalization.
1. Ripple (XRP)
The highest rated Bitcoin alternative has slightly different goals. Ripple is the crypto platform which converts everything – fiat money, cryptocurrencies, or even air miles – into tokens. Ripple allows for instant direct worldwide money exchanges, but it doesn’t focus on becoming a single global system. Instead, it cooperates with banks. On the one hand this is inconsistent with the general crypto idea of decentralization, but on the other hand, guarantees wide and stable adoption.
Rank by market cap – 3 ($18.6 billion).
2. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
The most famous Bitcoin hard fork was created to improve scalability which was the main issue BTC suffered from. With a limited block size, fees and processing time could be extremely high when the system was overloaded. Bitcoin Cash expanded block size and therefore features way lower fees and faster transactions. You can check the list of merchants who accept BCH. Even though Bitcoin has wider adoption, it won’t last long if its problems aren’t solved.
Rank by market cap – 4 ($9.6 billion).
3. Litecoin (LTC)
Litecoin’s creation was also the result of a Bitcoin fork. It has the same goals but features lower processing time and a simpler mining algorithm. It was originally designed for the Linux backup service. Litecoin’s network supports SegWit for better scalability and Atomic Swaps for direct exchange of cryptocurrencies based on different blockchains.
Rank by market cap – 7 ($3.1 billion).
4. Monero (XRM)
Monero is primarily focused on providing outstanding anonymity – paradoxically, this should be a crucial determinant of every crypto, but that’s not entirely true. This payment system utilizes CryptoNote protocol, ring signatures, and obfuscation. Thanks to these features, transactions in the network are completely anonymous and can’t be linked to existing users. XRM is widely used in the DarkNet, MMORPGs, and online casinos.
Rank by market cap – 10 ($1.8 billion).
5. Dash (DASH)
Similar to Monero, Dash tries to increase privacy and provide instant deals. The system supports several crypto algorithms: PrivateSend shuffles transactions to make them anonymous, and InstantSend speeds them up greatly. Deals in the system are faster and cheaper than the Bitcoin-based ones. You can check the list of shops where Dash is accepted – their number is growing steadily.
Rank by market cap – 12 ($1.4 billion).
Bitcoins vs Altcoins
Even experienced experts find it hard to predict what will happen in the crypto market and which currencies will get more accepted. Bitcoin still holds a strong leading position and is the number one association with crypto in general.
Similar to various web-based projects which bloomed in the late 1990s, crypto startups have a lot of promise. Some of them are moving towards areas completely different from money transfers. For instance, Ethereum and similar projects (EOS, ADA) aim to facilitate decentralized application development. They also continuously grow in value and acceptance.
The majority of cryptos are focused on making financial operations more convenient. Some, like Ripple, are integrating more closely with the real world. Some, like Monero, are focused on high anonymity, while others, like BCH, LTC, or DASH , are solving scalability issues and improving algorithms. At the moment, they coexist on the market, and it’s expected they will enter intense competition soon. Each one of them is an alternative to Bitcoin, but it remains to be seen if any will actually replace the first crypto.