Starting from $1000 this year, Bitcoin has ramped up to around $20,000. With the launch of Bitcoin futures this week by Chicago-based derivatives exchange Cboe Global Markets, the prices are still expected to shoot up.
The Bitcoin “bubble” has ignited a series of discussions on the Wall Street, questioning whether the Bitcoin is the new way of doing business. Many financial markets are now treating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legitimate financial assets. While on the other hand, firms like JP Morgan call it a “fraud” and claim that those who traded in digital currency are just being “stupid”.
The debate can go long whether to or not to invest in cyptocurrencies. Nonetheless, the boom in Bitcoin value has also helped its rivals surge. In some parts of the world, people are even selling their houses to invest in cryptocurrencies. Smart move? or dumb? only time will tell.
Bitcoins are not the only cryptocurrencies that has gathered all this attention. Let’s talk about other less expensive cryptocurrencies that one can invest in. But once again, is it a dumb move or smarter one, who knows?
Ethereum is the strongest rival of Bitcoin. After Bitcoin, it is considered as the most valuable cryptocurrency. Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality. It provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes. It differs from Bitcoin primarily in its purpose and capability. Unlike Bitcoin’s use to track ownership of the digital currency bitcoin, Ethereum blockchain is used to build decentralized applications. It was launched in 2014.
Many industry experts consider Ripple as the logical successor of Bitcoins. Ripple was released in 2012 and co-founded by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb. Ripple is more known for its digital payment protocol than its cryptocurrency, XRP. Ripple operates on an open source and peer-to-peer decentralized platform that allows for a seamless transfer of money in any form, whether USD, Yen, litecoin, or bitcoin. Ripple “connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporates”.
Ripple also operates as payment network called RippleNet. It is currently having a approximate market capitalization of Rs 67,000 crore.
While the cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin expose your entire payment history to the public. Zcash is the first open, permissionless cryptocurrency that can fully protect the privacy of transactions using zero-knowledge cryptography. Launched in mid-2016,Zcash’s monetary base too is the same as Bitcoin’s — 21 million Zcash currency units (ZEC) and is mined over time. “In order to remain equally interchangeable, units of cryptocurrency must be unlinked from their history so that one unit is as good as any other unit. Zcash brings fungibility to cryptocurrency by unlinking shielded coins from their history on the blockchain.” says Zcash website.
Zcash aslo recently received the backing of the Bitcoin Investment Trust and the Ethereum Classic Investment Trust. In November this year, Internet Archive, the digital library of internet artifacts and webpages, added Zcash as a new cryptocurrency payment option.Announcing the move in a blog post, it said, “At the Internet Archive, we are big fans of the cryptocurrency movement and have been trying to do our part to test and support alternative means of commerce. We’ve been accepting Bitcoin donations since 2012, and starting this week, we are now accepting donations of Bitcoin Cash and Zcash.”
Litecoin (LTC or XLT)
Litecoin (LTC or Ł) is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open source software project released under the MIT/X11 license. Creation and transfer of coins is based on an open source cryptographic protocol and is not managed by any central authority. While inspired by, and in most regards technically nearly identical to Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin has some minor technical differences compared to Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies.
Dash is another open source peer-to-peer cryptocurrency which can be used to make instant, private payments online or in-store using our secure open-source platform hosted by thousands of users around the world. It is said that Dash was made to shadow the shortcomings of Bitcoins. Its three biggest benefits are said to be: Instant, Private and Secure. It claims to send payment confirmations in less than a second. Two, protect users’ financial information by safeguarding their activity history and keeping balances private. Three, transactions are claimed to be confirmed by 200 TerraHash of X11 ASIC computing power and over 4,500 servers hosted around the world.
Moreover, there a lot many more cryptocurrencies like Monero, IOTA that are in line after Bitcoins. While Bitcoins may be too costly for a segment of investors, these other cryptocurrencies are something that can attract your attention as well.