For those who are unfamiliar with the term cryptocurrencies, it refers to a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to generate the regulation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently from a central bank. The first cryptocurrency was developed in 2009 and has been on an upwards trend ever since that inception. The way that cryptocurrencies differ from traditional currencies comes in the fact that they have no centralized authority. With traditional currencies, there are banks and other financial institutions that handle the recording of transactions. With cryptocurrencies, transactions happen directly between parties and are recorded by a digital ledger called blockchain. All cryptocurrencies have their own blockchain which is stored across a larger network of computers known as “nodes.” Now there are 1300 and counting cryptocurrencies going right now, so it can be very difficult determining which ones to invest. Here are some of the top cryptocurrencies to take a look at:
Ethereum is by far the most popular and important coin to invest. They have had a growth of 40x in the last two years. They also allow for you to build fully-functional apps on the blockchain without a middleman. This is why it will serve as a basis of an entire ecosystem of Decentralized Apps which makes it possible for more efficient cross-industry interactions. It currently sits as the number two cryptocurrency, just behind BitCoin but it has a very promising team that is making major strides.
BitCoin is the current leader in the world of cryptocurrency. They use a blockchain that currently is strictly for peer-to-peer financial transactions which may change in the future. They are also in the process of developing a new scaling solution, and with other projects such as BitNation and the Blockchain Education Network, BitCoin is in line to stay at the top for a quite some time.
Monero is a more private and anonymous bitcoin. Typically all bitcoin transactions can be viewed by the public meaning when you give your wallet address to someone they can view all the payments you have sent and received. To combat this, some black market dealers have created software that allows for the mixing of some coins with others. Monero has this mixing system built-in which makes it a useful tool for those in the black market. It provides that level of anonymity that is very appealing.
Factom’s blockchain-based system is optimized to allow it to store millions or real time records with a single hash. It is great with all kinds business apps but also works primarily with defense contracts. The US Defense Department serves as one of its clients.