Cryptocurrencies came into being in 2009 when the first Bitcoin was developed. So what are these cryptocurrencies? They are basically virtual money or digital money. The digital coin is generated and then stored securely while the transactions are anonymous. This anonymity is the main reason for the popularity of the cryptocurrencies. Since no government or central bank is involved, the secure transactions are theoretically free from any political complications.
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be introduced. Later on, several others also joined in and are now in the top ten of successful cryptocurrencies. Let’s have a look at them and how they work.
10 Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin remains the number one cryptocurrency in the world, not because it was the very first one introduced, but because of its market value. Using Bitcoins, people can easily transfer their money between digital wallets over the internet.
The transactions are verified by other people on the public ledger or the blockchain. Bitcoin’s popularity is also because major companies have started accepting it for transactions. Supported by digital wallet platforms and exchanges like Coinbase, Bitcoin is quite easy to use and start. It also has a high market capitalization that makes it favorable amongst other cryptocurrency users as well.
9 Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum is another cryptocurrency that has earned a top spot. It uses a blockchain with its own currency called Ether. It runs a smart code when a user sends a message that has transaction fees. The Ethereum machine then interprets this code and updates the blockchain when there is an agreement with other nodes. A smart contract that Ethereum uses eliminates any third party in any transaction. Since there is no paperwork, everything is faster. Just like Bitcoin, a public ledger makes sure all the transactions are verified by other users as well. This record keeps the users secure.
8 Ripple (XRP)
One of the main reasons why Ripple has come onto the list of top cryptocurrencies is due to its super-fast speed. The transactions that take place on Ripple happen in about four seconds. This is much less when compared to Ethereum (two minutes) and Bitcoin (an hour). The tokens used in Ripple are called XRP and can be exchanged in euros, dollars or any currency even cryptocurrency. Since Ripple has a connection with banks and payment providers, it is very easy to send money anywhere without the use of transaction fees. Being able to handle 1,500 transactions per second has really helped increase its success.
7 Litecoin (LTC)
Litecoin is similar to Bitcoin in many ways. With Litecoin people transfer their money in the form of Litecoins between the digitals wallets online. These transactions are then verified by other people known as miners on the public ledger known as the blockchain.
The processing speed of the Litecoins is much faster than Bitcoin though – about two and a half minutes. This could be the reason why there are 84 million Litecoins while there are only 21 million Bitcoins. Litecoins use complex algorithms that miners use to resolve the transactions. But these are less complex than Bitcoin algorithms.
6 Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
When compared to other cryptocurrencies, it was noted that Bitcoin takes a long time for transactions to be verified. So even though it is the most popular, Bitcoin chose to upgrade to Bitcoin Cash to address transaction speed.
From the previous 1-megabyte block size that Bitcoin used, an increase to 8 megabytes was made. This meant that more transactions could now be verified in a given time. By doing so, Bitcoin Cash can easily reduce its transaction fees that could also attract more customers. Competing with companies like PayPal or even Visa is now possible for Bitcoin Cash.
5 Zcash (ZEC)
All other cryptocurrencies use a blockchain and public ledger where all transactions are noted and verified by miners. Zcash has taken this same technology and added more privacy. So, even though the transactions are recorded on the blockchain, extra security features are added. Most importantly, information like sender and recipient name and the amount are kept private. So with the use of this selective transparency, Zcash is able to give customers more power. It developed an advanced technique called zk-SNARK for this purpose. Due to this fantastic technique, Zcash has been able to get more customers and raise its currency value.
4 Dash (DASH)
Taking a cue from Bitcoin, Evan Duffield created a cryptocurrency that could be mined with a CPU. This was originally called Darkcoin as it was intended as a more of a secretive form of the Bitcoin. It aims to make transactions untraceable by using a decentralized master code network. This lead to a great fan following after Darkcoin was launched in 2014. In 2015, Darkcoin's cryptocurrency changed into Dash. Though nothing much was changed and the other technology used like InstantX and DarkSend is still the same. Dash is still a great cryptocurrency used by many and its market cap is always rising.
3 Monero (XMR)
Another great cryptocurrency that stays on top is Monero. It is a private and theoretically untraceable currency that is more secure. Since it uses open-source technology, it gained huge popularity. This is based on donations and remains private due to decentralization and ring signatures. Here you have one real participant and a group of crypto signatures. Isolation of the real participant is more difficult. This is a reason why Monero could be used for criminal transactions. Launched in 2014 and with all the advancement in crypto technology, Monero has reached the top ten. A great market cap and per token value make it a really great choice.
2 NEO (NEO)
This cryptocurrency was launched in 2014. This was created by Da Hongfei and is the largest cryptocurrency from China. It uses smart contracts just like Ethereum and this has led to its success. Another key factor is that it supports many programming languages like C++, Java, and Go. This has meant it can be dealt on many platforms with ease. Even though NEO emerged in China, it has managed to stay on top due to its great relationship with the government there. A brilliant increase in its market cap has ensured that NEO remains one of the best cryptocurrencies.
1 Cardano (ADA)
Cardano was created by Charles Hoskinson who also co-founded Ethereum. Cardano was launched in 2017 and uses many of the same technologies that Ethereum uses. With a great platform for smart contracts, Cardano is able to take care of transparency. It has added a lot of new technology to its system which helps with scalability as well as interoperability. International payments that take time and are expensive can be easily managed using Cardano. Now it takes just seconds to handle international payments that would otherwise take days. It is due to these advancements in technology that Cardano has been able to stay in the top 10.