Amid constant headlines about huge increases in the values of cryptocurrencies bitcoin and Ethereum, the dental profession recently launched its own cryptocurrency, Dentacoin. At first glance, the idea of a dental cryptocurrency (and its name) may seem absurd, but there’s actually a lot more cryptocurrencies out there than the average investor may realize.
The website CoinMarketCap lists no less than 1,037 different types of cryptocurrencies, 626 of which have listed market caps of at least $100,000.
Related Link: Does Bitcoin Actually Hold Any Value At All?
At the top of the list is, of course, bitcoin, with a market cap of $55 billion. Ethereum is a distant second with a market cap of $25 billion, but there are seven other cryptocurrencies with market caps over a billion. The currencies include Ripple ($6.8 billion), Bitcoin Cash ($5.1 billion), Litecoin ($2.3 billion), NEM ($2.3 billion), Dash ($1.4 billion), Ethereum Classic ($1.4 billion) and IOTA ($1.3 billion).
Here's an overview of the different cryptocurrencies:
- Bitcoin started the global phenomenon and is known for its innovative blockchain technology created and released by Satoshi Kakamoto back in 2009.
- Ethereum may prove to be the cryptocurrency of choice for many corporations, due to its smart contract capabilities and major corporate backing.
- Ripple is known for its real-time gross settlement system and has been integrated into the payment networks of a handful of global banks.
- Bitcoin Cash is the spin-off of bitcoin that was created when bitcoin split on Aug. 1 after bitcoin owners failed to agree on the best approach to grow the cryptocurrency’s global presence.
- Litecoin was originally created as by Google employee Charles Lee in 2011 to serve as an alternative to bitcoin and shares many of the same traits as its inspiration.
- NEM is a Japanese cryptocurrency that is known for its proof-of-importance algorithm, multisignature accounts and encrypted messaging.
- Dash is the new name of Darkcoin, a favorite among “dark web” users, and is known for its speed and anonymity.
- Ethereum Classic was created as a result of a split in the Ethereum market after a small minority of investors objected to changing Ethereum’s code following a 2016 cyberattack in which hackers made off with $60 million in ether.
- IOTA is a cryptocurrency network for machine payments that was designed to be used in and by the Internet of Things.
Are Cryptocurrencies For Real?
Skeptical investors may see cryptocurrencies like Dentacoin as a flavor-of-the month market fad that will soon die out. But the explosive growth in the cryptocurrency market suggests there is some major money pouring into the idea of decentralized currency. The top 10 cryptocurrencies have a combined market cap of nearly $100 billion, roughly the size of the nominal GDP of Puerto Rio.
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