Despite all the bad press, the last two years (2017-2018) have been pretty good for cryptocurrencies all the way across the board. True enough, we did witness Bitcoin (BTC) plummet like crazy, dropping over 50 percent below its peak of $19,783 in 2017. Other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ripple, and Ethereum have also suffered double-digit losses since their height in 2017.
Nevertheless, a lot of this turbulence stems from a toxic mixture of governmental legislation and suspected fraud, like in the case of BitConnect, which utterly collapsed after it was discovered to have been an elaborate Ponzi scheme.
What we are witnessing in the cryptocurrency universe is what some would term as growing pains. Will the idea of cryptocurrency die out eventually? No one truly knows for sure, but the big bet would be against that thought. Because through all of the negatives there are a lot of positives that keep the bright light of hope alive. Look at it as survival of the fittest – a sort of Darwinistic approach to see which currencies will evolve and which ones will be killed off.
Top 10 Cryptocurrencies In 2018
Bitcoin is still the undisputed champ. Created in 2008 by an unknown person or group, it was the first of its kind. It also remains the only cryptocurrency that no one knows who the creator(s) is. The only thing we do know is that he, she, or they used the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto.” You can learn more about it here.
Bitcoin is based on distributed ledger technology called blockchain. Bitcoin rids us of the need for a centralized intermediary such as banks, credit institutions, and other such organizations that act as a middleman for people and businesses conducting transactions.
Created by Vitalik Buterin in 2015, Ethereum is the second most valuable cryptocurrency on the cryptocurrencies market. More than just a digital currency, Ethereum is a blockchain-based platform geared towards the development of decentralized smart contracts and apps. It is the native currency used for all transactions on the Ethereum’s blockchain.
Note: Smart contracts are coded agreements on the blockchain. They execute on their own once the fulfillment of specific preset conditions is met. This self-execution means that if someone has an idea for a project or application that relies on the use of blockchain technology, they don’t need to develop their own blockchain. They can start building it on Ethereum’s blockchain instead.
Coming in at number four on our list is Ripple, a very unique and special cryptocurrency. This digital currency is specifically designed to solve problems revolving around just one industry: International Payment Transfers. Founded in 2012, its creators aim to make international transactions both fast and cheap.
Out of the 100 billion XRP that will ever exist, Ripple Labs will own 50 percent of them. This approach is in stark comparison to most other cryptocurrencies where no central entity holds onto the majority of the digital coins.
In 2016, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was forked from Bitcoin itself when the developer-based community of Bitcoin failed to reach an agreement concerning the changes required in the Bitcoin’s code. The result was Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Furthermore, the developers promised the cryptocurrency world that they would create digital cash that Bitcoin failed to become. At the time this article was written, BCH was hovering between $730 and $750, with hopes that it would reach $800 soon.
Note: A “fork” is the splitting of a cryptocurrency in two. The parent cryptocurrencies maintain their features while the child currency undergoes technological improvements. The reason behind the creation of BCH was to solve a few of the existing issues of Bitcoin, namely scalability and transaction fees.
EOS is one of the rare breeds of cryptocurrency that ranked among the Top 10 before the launching of its platform on June 3, 2018. At the time this article was written, the price of EOS was already $8.73 and poised to climb even higher. In 2017, EOS Token was launched through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Speculation is that EOS will become the direct competitor to Ethereum (Ether) and NEO (NEO).
EOS is the brainchild of Dan Larimer, also the founder Bitshares, a cryptocurrency exchange, and blockchain-based blogging site Steemit. Much like Ethereum, EOS is creating an intuitive platform for developers looking to build decentralized applications and smart contracts, though with vastly improved technology.
Fun Facts About Cryptocurrencies: Here are a few digital coins backed by actual gold.
- The UK’s blockchain-based Royal Mint Gold (RMG).
- GoldCrypto is a Belize corporation and governed under English Common Law and augmented by local legislation.
- Golden Currency (PGCT) plans to be the first global private currency on the blockchain, both paper and electronic, 100% backed by gold. Pre-ICO on until July 2018.
Created by Charles Hoskinson in September 2017, Cardano is intended to function much like Ethereum with a platform developed for decentralized apps and smart contracts. Similarly to EOS, the dividing factor between Cardano and Ethereum lies in the numerous technological improvements it has accomplished over Ethereum’s technology.
It is said that Cardano is the third most advanced generation of blockchain technology to date (with EOS and NEO being on the top three list as well), which automatically earns it as one of the Top 10 cryptocurrencies of 2018.
In 2011, ex-Google employee Charlie Lee created built Litecoin on Bitcoin’s blockchain, with the intention of improving upon it. This means, much like Bitcoin, Litecoin doesn’t offer a platform for smart contracts. This is a resilient and stable digital currency, making it to the Top 10 and staying there for a little over seven years. This makes it unquestionably a cryptocurrency to keep an eye on in 2018 and beyond.
Founded in 2014 by Jed McCaleb, Stellar (KLM) is a sibling of Ripple, since McCaleb also created it. As a matter of fact, Ripple was “hard forked” into Stellar, giving birth to the Stellar Development Foundation. That makes Stellar more of a child than a sibling. And just like Ripple, Stellar is designed to make international payments and transfers cheaper and more efficient.
One of the keystone points that propel Stellar onto the Top 10 List is the fact that the Stellar Development Foundation is a non-profit organization.
Another one of the unique coins among the Top 10 List, IOTA was founded in 2015. It is the only digital currency to employ “Tangle,” a new protocol invention that is different than the traditional blockchain technology. IOTA focuses on making Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology more secure, seamless, and scalable.
Created in 2014, NEO is a Chinese cryptocurrency designed by Da Hongfei. We’ve talked a lot about NEO and how other coins on this list compare to it. This digital coin was initially called AntShares but was rebranded in June 2017 as NEO. A lot of people in the cryptocurrency world refer to NEO as the “Chinese Ethereum” due to its similarities in what it offers, which is a lot like Ethereum as we discussed earlier. NEO has made it on the Top 10 because of its blockchain-based platform designed for smart contracts and launching ICOs.
The media and opponents of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology would like to convince themselves that this all a flimsy idea that will sooner or later fizzle away, never to be thought of again. They pose numerous ethical arguments against it as well. And though the cryptocurrency market has yet to perfect itself, you can bet your bottom dollar that the movement won’t halt because of some minor setbacks.
This is what makes the technological age such a unique one; the human species has evolved to such a state that we are beginning to dismantle the old established ways that have held our societies down for hundreds if not thousands of years. We no longer have to take to the streets in protest or pick up arms in order to start a revolution. The hardest hitting revolutionaries of our age are changing the world, fighting the status quo on a virtual battleground.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are the cornerstones of freedom, just as the centralized monetary system has been used by the corporate elite as a foundation of modern-day slavery.
The best thing each one of us can do is get involved, whether it be investing, contributing to the technology, sharing the knowledge with others, or any number of things.