Market Overview

The Cryptocurrencies Set To Give Bitcoin A Run For Its Money

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Bitcoin

There’s no denying that Bitcoin has completely revolutionised the way we look at and talk about currency. The first digital currency of its kind has been around for over five years now, and is often heralded as the future of currency. It’s value currently sits at around $4,400, which has in turn, made some of its earliest adopters millionaires. But for how long can Bitcoin hang on to the cryptocurrency spotlight?

Whilst Bitcoin undeniably has the most name recognition, it’s not the only cryptocurrency out there. In fact, it’s just one of a number of different cryptocurrencies, which are, technically speaking, digital assets designed to work as a medium of exchange. In layman’s terms, that’s a currency that exists in digital format only, in comparison to say USD, or GBP, which can be exchanged physically.

With that in mind, Bitcoin is becoming increasingly aware that it’s not the only cryptocurrency on the block. But what are the cryptocurrencies that could give Bitcoin a run for its money in the coming years?

Ethereum

For those who work with and trade Bitcoin, Ethereum is a cryptocurrency that they’re likely already very familiar with. That’s because, other than competing with Bitcoin, like the other cryptocurrencies out there, Ethereum works alongside it.

Instead of tracking ownership of its own currency, like the Bitcoin block chain network, Ethereum’s blockchain provides programming codes for its users’ applications. And therefore, Ethereum is commonly used to create a wide range of different products, including crowdfunding platforms.

Because Ethereum offers something completely different to what’s currently available with Bitcoin, it’s actually outpacing Bitcoin– without even competing with it. Whilst Bitcoin continues to struggle with its own size and reach, Ethereum has been able to race ahead with the technology it uses. With that in mind, Ethereum is now able to do everything Bitcoin can, but faster, in a higher volume and at a lower cost.

Ethereum is also pretty cheap in comparison to Bitcoin. Bitcoin transactions typically cost around $1.50 – which is expensive if you’re only sending a small amount in the first place. They also take anywhere up to a few hours to complete. Ethereum on the other hand has no costs involved, and is incredibly quick and seamless. Because of that, it’s been openly embraced by everyone from start-ups to large organisations. Even the likes of Intel and Microsoft are on-board.

Litecoin

Ethereum may pose a serious threat to Bitcoin, but for as long as it continues to do things differently, it’ll never be a full competitor for the original cryptocurrency. Litecoin on the other hand, has the capacity to take Bitcoin’s reign.

Litecoin is incredibly similar to Bitcoin in the respect that it’s mined by computers solving algorithms. In fact, it’s even traded in the same way. The only difference between Bitcoin and Litecoin is that it works on a much smaller scale. To use a monetary analogy, if Bitcoin were gold, Litecoin would be silver.

But that does give Litecoin its perks. Whilst Litecoin is unsurprisingly worth a little less than Bitcoin, there’s approximately 84 million Litecoin in existence, in comparison to just 21 million total Bitcoin – making it a big business. However, Litecoin’s popularity really comes from the fact that it’s much easier to mine and quicker to move than Bitcoin.

At the same time, Litecoin is also a good deal more accessible than Bitcoin, especially for those who are new to trading currency online. Unlike Bitcoin, which leaves users largely to their own devices, Litecoin provides its own wallet, available to download directly from its website. For those who like the idea of Bitcoin, but are just put off by its expansive scope, Litecoin is an appealing option.

Ripple

Finally, cryptocurrencies are often seen as something of a polar opposite to banks, and that could definitely be considered to be the case with Bitcoin and some of the other aforementioned cryptocurrencies. However, Ripple offers something a little different because it not only embraces traditional banks, but relies on them. And as such, Ripple looks set to threaten Bitcoin in its own way.

Ripple is essentially a cryptocurrency designed with international payments in mind. Whilst an international transaction through traditional banks can often be a pretty slow process, thanks to the involvement of intermediaries, Ripple cuts out a lot of the fuss and allows quick and easily international payments.

For example, if a traditional bank customer in the US wanted to send some money to a customer in India, Ripple is able to act as an intermediary by transferring the money using cryptocurrency. This process is incredibly quick and the transaction is complete within a matter of minutes. It also means there’s no delays in altering the customers’ balances, making the transaction available right away. Ripple proves that cryptocurrency can work hand in hand with traditional banking.

The cryptocurrency market was once dominated by Bitcoin, but its reign could soon be coming to an end thanks to the aforementioned alternatives.

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

Posted-In: BitcoinCryptocurrency Forex Crowdsourcing Markets General

 

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