Find everything you need to know about cryptocurrencies here! At CryptoShimbun, we provide information about the world of digital coins including the latest cryptocurrency news and basic information you need to know to get started.
Begin your search by knowing the definition of cryptocurrency, its uses, how it came to be and how it took the world by storm. Then, delve deeper by learning about the market’s leading digital coins. Ever since its creation, thousands of cryptocurrencies have now been released to the public. Each one has its own special purpose and learning about them is essential if you want to get the most out of your crypto investment.
What are cryptocurrencies?
Cryptocurrencies are digital coins exchanged through the Internet using a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. It utilises cryptographic functions in conducting transactions with the use of blockchain technology which makes it decentralised, transparent and immutable.
Compared to traditional fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies are not issued by any central authority like banks or governments. Instead, an open-source decentralised ledger called the blockchain validates the legitimacy of every transaction.
Thousands of computer nodes validate each transaction, and to do so, they need to reach a consensus that a transaction is legitimate. If one node disagrees with the majority, the exchange won’t pass and it won’t be added to the blockchain. On the other hand, if the nodes reach a consensus, then the exchange passes and it’ll be added to the blockchain.
Once a transaction is validated, it cannot be changed anymore. It’s permanent and immutable, making it impossible for anyone to tamper it. The first cryptocurrency was created to prevent double-spending or when you spend the same amount twice because of an error in the central server.
List of significant crypto coins today
Bitcoin is the world’s first cryptocurrency invented in 2009, and it’s currently the most famous coin in the market. Created with the idea of digital gold, Bitcoin is mostly used to conduct online transactions. By removing the middleman from the process, it promises lower transaction fees, faster processing time, and a more secure way of sending money.
Created by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum serves both as a digital currency and a platform where developers can build their own decentralised applications (Dapps). Instead of using fiat currency, users of the Ethereum platform use ETH as payment for completed smart contracts.
Similar to Ethereum, EOS is also a digital coin with its own blockchain platform. It’s the native digital coin used in the EOS.IO blockchain platform where smart contracts are developed. Launched in 2017 by Block.one, the EOS.IO platform now has over 100 dapps with thousands of daily users. The EOS coin is used as payment in exchange for tasks that can only be done in the system, much like ETH.
ADA is the native coin of Cardano, another blockchain platform developed by a team of academics and engineers headed by one of Ethereum’s co-founders, Charles Hoskinson. It’s designed to be the third-generation of blockchain technology.
Tether is the first of its kind with a market value that is tied to a fiat currency. When it was released in July 2014, its coin value was equivalent to USD$1.00. Compared to other digital coins, its value is steadier and less volatile thus earning the name ‘stablecoin’. Now, there are other stablecoins in the market and Tether is the largest in terms of market capitalisation.
In 2017, the first Bitcoin fork was formed and it was named ‘Bitcoin Cash’. A new cryptocurrency was created by forking the Bitcoin blockchain and changing the limit of the block before it is added to the platform. With a higher block size limit, Bitcoin Cash achieved higher scalability compared to the original Bitcoin blockchain. Other cryptocurrencies have been created by forking the Bitcoin blockchain but the largest to date is Bitcoin Cash.
Ripple is a financial ecosystem created for fast, cheap and seamless remittance of money across borders. To move money fast within its channels, it is converted into Ripple’s own coin, XRP. Unlike fiat currencies that go through rigorous bureaucratic processes that take weeks, XRP can be transferred from one country to another within minutes.
Launched by former Google engineer Charlie Lee, Litecoin is a cryptocurrency that is meant to act as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. With a few tweaks done to the codebase, Litecoin is ‘lighter’ and four times faster than Bitcoin. Its total mineable supply is four times bigger than the first crypto coin.
Created by Da Hongfei, Erik Zhang and a group of Chinese developers, NEO is another blockchain platform similar to Ethereum. It was designed to utilise blockchain technology with the use of smart contracts and common programming languages, making it more accessible to developers. This platform uses two types of tokens: NEO and GAS. NEO doesn’t hold monetary value but rather, it acts as a placeholder for voting rights within the blockchain system.
Unlike usual cryptocurrencies, IOTA isn’t built on a blockchain. Its system called ‘Tangle’ allows the seamless exchange of data and payment information between multiple devices without any fee. Unlike blockchain-based cryptocurrencies that rely on miners for validation, Tangle users are the network’s validators. The more people using the system, the faster it becomes.
Monero focuses more on providing privacy when it comes to financial transactions. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, exchanges in the Monero blockchain are anonymous, making its users and their money transactions untraceable.
Facebook joins the crypto craze by announcing their own coin called Libra. Acting like digital cash, Libra is designed to make sending money to acquaintances or paying for products easier and more secure. It’s headed by the Libra Association Council consisting of different partner companies such as Visa, Spotify and Uber among others. It’s yet to launch but anticipation for Facebook’s Libra is already high.
Binance is known as the largest cryptocurrency exchange and trading site in the world. To spur movement in its operations, they launched Binance Coin that can be used to pay trading, exchange and listing fees among other Binance exchange fees.
Tezos is another smart contract and decentralised application platform like Ethereum. It utilises its own native coin called XTZ to conduct payment transactions within its system.
Named after Bitcoin’s creator, Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (SV) is a cryptocurrency formed in 2018 by forking the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. Its supporters adjusted the protocol to allow even larger block limits and reduce transaction fees. The name ‘Satoshi Vision’ comes from the belief that Nakamoto intended transaction fees to be cheap.
Founded by Justin Sun in 2017, Tron was formed in Singapore with a vision of decentralising entertainment and the internet by providing a platform where everyone can utilise decentralised applications. The system’s native coin is called ‘TRX’ and network users can use it to conduct transactions.
Cosmos is a network of different independent blockchains with the same algorithm. It aims to create an ‘Internet of Blockchains’ composed of blockchains that can seamlessly communicate with one another. With their coin Atom, Cosmos raised a significant amount of money during its initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017.
NEM is another blockchain platform that creates a decentralized ecosystem for its users. Standing for ‘New Economy Movement’, NEM powers the Smart Asset System that allows growing and harvesting of its local coin XEM once a significant amount is deposited in the official NEM Nano wallet.
Dash is another cryptocurrency that priorities user privacy with its PrivateSend feature. It’s a derivative of Litecoin that improves security by using a mix of computer nodes and miners to validate the legitimacy of transactions.
Like Monero and Dash, Zcash prides itself in providing users with the option to keep their transaction information private and untraceable. It went public in 2016 with the offer of providing more privacy than Bitcoin. Those who don’t mind making transparent exchanges can have their information publicly visible on the blockchain.
Launched by the Russian entrepreneur Alexander Ivanov, the Waves Platform is a cryptocurrency project that went live in 2016. It’s specially designed to hold crowdfunding campaigns. Investors can use the Wave’s own decentralised exchange platform called DEX to convert their coins to another currency and use it to fund a campaign.
DigiByte is another cryptocurrency based on Bitcoin. Released in 2014, the open-source blockchain was developed with improved functionality such as a 15-second block time and tighter security.
During the rise of altcoins in 2013, Dogecoin initially emerged as a joke. It wasn’t supposed to be used as a digital currency but with its large supply and low price, it gained popularity and people started using it.
The Theta project is about providing a high-quality video streaming platform based on a decentralised blockchain. To get the most out of the network, the platform uses its own THETA coin.
HedgeTrade is a social trading platform built on a blockchain. It provides a space where the world’s best traders can post predictions into a smart contract and users can purchase it and gain if the prediction is correct. The platform uses HEDG tokens as its native coin.
ChainLink is a decentralised blockchain oracle service that connects users to other applications and payment gateways. Its native coin LINK is used to incentivise users.
When the Ethereum blockchain code was updated in 2016 for better security, supporters of the original version opposed and decided that they will continue using the code’s classic version. Thus, Ethereum Classic was born. It supports smart contracts and provides space for developers to create decentralised applications.
Steller is an open-source payment system built on a blockchain. It utilises Lumen (XLM) as its native coin. Its use is similar to Ripple in that it aims to connect financial institutions with each other to create smoother processes.