U.S. News & World Report
April 21, 2022, 8:00 PM
Bitcoin isn’t the only crypto you can invest in.
While crypto king Bitcoin (BTC) has the biggest share of the nearly $2 trillion cryptocurrency market, it’s only about 40%. So most of the market is captured by alternative coins, or altcoins for short. Altcoins are cryptocurrencies that are not Bitcoin, though many were created in the spirit of the leading crypto and have similar functions and purposes. But there is a wide spectrum of altcoins that range in features and applications. The wave of altcoin popularity has helped several altcoins outperform Bitcoin this past year. Here’s what you need to know about some of the most popular altcoins today.
Ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain, is one of the top cryptocurrencies when it comes to transaction volume. This leading altcoin has a market share roughly half of Bitcoin’s, currently standing at about 19%, or roughly $360 billion compared with Bitcoin’s $813 billion. Ethereum can process almost five times as many transactions compared with Bitcoin as crypto transaction volume increases. Ethereum users are waiting for the highly anticipated upgrade to the network called “the merge,” or Ethereum 2.0, which will transition the blockchain from the energy-intensive proof-of-work mining system to the proof-of-stake consensus, which is anticipated to provide faster processing speeds, energy efficiency and cheaper transactions.
XRP is a digital asset created by Ripple Labs that aims to strengthen the global payments network. XRP has helped reduce the role of third parties in financial transactions, helping lead the way for building decentralized finance, or DeFi, infrastructures. Ripple has come under fire by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleged in 2020 that XRP sales by Ripple amounted to an unregistered securities offering. One of the most popular crypto trading exchanges in the U.S., Coinbase Global Inc. (ticker: COIN), suspended trading in XRP as of Jan. 19, 2021, in light of the SEC’s lawsuit. Trading on the site is still not available, but there are other crypto exchanges where you can purchase XRP, such as Binance, Kraken and Huobi Global. XRP’s price was about 72 cents, with a $35 billion market cap, as of April 22. XRP users are optimistic about the price of this leading altcoin, especially if the SEC suit is resolved favorably, as it continues to bring value to blockchain development.
Next on the list of the top altcoins is Solana, best known as one of the leading Ethereum alternatives. It’s an open-source public ledger that supports smart contracts like non-fungible tokens, or NFTs; DeFi applications; lending protocols; and Web3 applications. The Solana network is known for its high speed and low fees, using a combination of a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism and proof of history to validate the time and order of transactions. Solana is considered by many to be the fastest blockchain in the world, with the ability to process almost 2,500 transactions per second. The platform also has a growing ecosystem of thousands of projects. Solana is up more than 200% over the past year, far outperforming Bitcoin and Ether.
Terra is an open-source stablecoin network that provides more stability to crypto payments. Terra leans on stablecoins, which are cryptocurrencies pegged to a stable underlying asset, such as the U.S. dollar. The network offers low fees, quick settlements and liquid cross-border payments for peer-to-peer transactions. Terra has been one of the stronger altcoin performers in the market. The algorithmic stablecoin that stems from Terra, called TerraUSD (UST), is now the third-largest stablecoin on the market, with a value of $17.5 billion. LUNA is up about 600% over the past year and has a market cap of $34 billion.
It is clear that Ethereum does not have a monopoly on the altcoin blockchain business. Another ETH competitor, Cardano, is growing at a fast pace. Cardano’s blockchain activities have increased, and more than 400 projects are being built on the platform. While other blockchains require more energy to increase performance, Cardano uses the proof-of-stake and Ouroboros protocols, which allow the platform to grow sustainably with minimal energy usage. Cardano has played an important role in advancing DeFi applications, accelerating access to financial services in underserved populations globally. Cardano users can stake with the platform’s native token, ADA. Staking is a process to build on your crypto returns by locking away your crypto tokens in exchange for annual percentage yield.
Avalanche is a popular smart-contracts platform that is achieving quick adoption. Avalanche technology users include governments, financial institutions and other enterprises. Avalanche has also been a home for NFT traders. According to data from CryptoSlam, an NFT data aggregator, Avalanche is the fourth-most-used blockchain platform, raking in more than $1 billion in sales in a 24-hour period. While relatively new, Avalanche is one of the most traded altcoins, with a $21 billion market cap. Its current price is about $77, and it is up almost 200% in the past year.
Dogecoin was created in 2013 as a joke based on a meme of a Shiba Inu dog. Tesla Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk showed support for DOGE through various tweets, which quickly contributed to the cryptocurrency’s popularity. Recently, when Musk revealed his 9.2% stake in Twitter Inc. (TWTR), the price of DOGE jumped 10%, which shows the billionaire’s influence on this altcoin. So this is no longer just a fun cryptocurrency. Dogecoin is among the most widely traded altcoins, with a market cap of more than $18 billion. Dogecoin supporters view the crypto as a currency of the people. The Dogecoin Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that was created to develop and advocate for the cryptocurrency. Among its advisors is Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.
7 of the best altcoins to buy:
— Ether (ETH)
— XRP (XRP)
— Solana (SOL)
— Terra (LUNA)
— Cardano (ADA)
— Avalanche (AVA)
— Dogecoin (DOGE)
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7 of the Best Altcoins to Buy Now originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 04/22/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.
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