Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency, but that’s not saying much. It is a new technology, and it has been around for less than 10 years. It accounts for just 3 percent of the market value of all cryptocurrencies combined.
In fact, there are more than 1,300 cryptocurrencies, and the most famous of them haven’t been invented yet. They are called “altcoins.” Some have been out longer than Bitcoin itself; some have had bigger markets; some have done better in the last year or so. But no one has heard of them.
So which ones should you know about? The top five are: Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash (the best known as “BCH”) and NEM (the best known as “XEM”).
Ethereum (“ETH”) is an open source platform very much like Bitcoin but with a wider range of options for using its blockchain technology. Its purpose is to enable a wide variety of transactions on a global scale without any major fees or restrictions.
Ripple (“XRP”) is another open source payment system built on top of the same blockchain technology as Bitcoin and Ethereum: the Ripple Transaction Protocol. Unlike other blockchain technologies today, though, Ripple is designed specifically for fast international banking transfers. It was
The top 5 cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash and Monero. All of these are based on blockchain technology. A blockchain is a distributed database that can be accessed by anyone without the need for a third party. The benefits of using one are immense. No cost: no transaction fees, no banks, no governments and no third parties means instant payments anywhere in the world. This can be used to make micropayments – a few cents or less – to people all over the world.
There is no central point of failure; it’s not like email or Facebook where if one server goes down you lose all your messages/friends. If one server goes down in the Bitcoin network, it’s still possible to access it from another machine on the network with little additional effort. One place where Bitcoin differs from normal payment systems is that there is no central authority that decides what happens at every step in a transaction. It’s up to everyone who has a copy of the block chain – everyone who can read in real time what is happening with their Bitcoins – to agree on what will happen at each step in exchange for making the transaction valid. Because there are no authorities most transactions are considered to be secure and reliable; however you should always check this with your bank
For a while, Bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency available. It is still the best known and easiest to trade, but others are rapidly catching up. The list below is not meant to be complete; there are many more cryptocurrencies than I could possibly list. But these five have some things that make them special, and I think the features discussed in this post will be important for people who want to use a cryptocurrency in the future.
1. The first cryptocurrency was Bitcoin, released on January 3rd 2009 by someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto as a pseudonym. Bitcoin has gone mainstream, but it is still very difficult to understand what it is exactly. It is described as a digital gold currency with no central authority and no central ledger of transactions; instead it uses public key cryptography (at least partly).
2. Bitcoin’s technology was designed specifically for anonymity, so that it could be used for illegal purposes like trading drugs or buying stolen credit card numbers online. But the anonymity can also help people that want to remain anonymous for other reasons: practicing political dissent or whistleblowing anonymously, for example; or helping activists in repressive countries communicate with each other without fear of being tracked down and imprisoned by their government.
3. Bitcoins can be used to move money around beyond national borders easily
Cryptocurrencies are an interesting subject. They have a lot of people talking about them, a lot of books written about them, and a lot of people trying to get rich off them.
We’ll do our best to break things down into manageable chunks.
If you are new to this, these may not be the best places to start. But they will give you a quick overview of the basics.
First and most important: Cryptocurrency is like gold but better. It was invented in 2009 by an anonymous person (or possibly several people) who called themselves Satoshi Nakamoto.
Cryptocurrency is based on mathematics, rather than government-issued money. It is not issued by any central bank or government, and it has no central authority that could be shut down or controlled by other governments, as has happened with gold.
Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was released in early 2009. Its creation was a collaboration of several programmers. These programmers had begun work on what they called “a new electronic cash system” and “a completely new payment system.” In November 2008, these programmers began releasing code to other people as a way of testing their ideas and making sure they worked before they released them commercially.
The programmer who made the most progress—and who is famous for it—is Satoshi Nakamoto. He was unknown until late 2010, when Newsweek said he was definitely a Japanese man living in California; Wired magazine said he was probably an Australian from New Zealand named Nick Szabo; The Economist said he might be a person or a group of people; and then Bloomberg claimed the real name was Mark Karpeles, the owner of Mt. Gox.
In any case, it’s impossible to know whether Nakamoto invented Bitcoin or not. It’s not possible to know that for sure because Nakamoto didn’t reveal himself until late 2010 and he left no written record of his work except for Bitcoin itself.
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency, meaning that it is encrypted and exists only in software. Some examples of cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Namecoin. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, which means that there is little oversight or regulation.
The first cryptocurrency was created in 2009 by an anonymous programmer under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The most popular cryptocurrency today is Bitcoin.
The value of cryptocurrencies has been volatile in the last few months. In early 2016, the value of Bitcoin reached $1,000 per coin, but as of March 2017 it was trading at $2,300 per coin.
Cryptocurrencies can be purchased through a variety of different methods including online exchanges or through methods such as LocalBitcoins.