Bitcoin Exchange Guide's
Top 50 Crypto Coins [Updated 2019]

Bitcoin Exchange Guide strives to be the leading cryptocurrency content curator for everything bitcoin and blockchain. Along with providing more daily crypto news headlines and bitcoin storylines than anywhere online, our focus has always been giving the inquisitive user the best experience and knowledge in this crazy new world of crypto assets by providing insightful guides to digest.

There are, quite literally, thousands of cryptocurrencies ‘available’ online today. Sure, most have heard of Bitcoin, the godfather coin; and on the fray a few have uttered Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and even Ripple (XRP). But how many have heard of other trending coins like Stellar (XLM), Monero (XRM) or Cardano (ADA)? Add in the unofficial blockchain news announcer Justin Sun of Tron (TRX), or the likes of DASH, ETC, NEO, BNB, ZRX (thanks Coinbase) and even the controversial EOS, BSV, IOTA and Tether (USDT) stablecoin tokens – and you are staring down quite a bit of research and understanding before ever even considering investing and getting involved with.

This “cryptocurrency guide” is meant to give you the highlights of each of the Top 50 Cryptocurrencies in the world by market cap, complete with a brief breakdown of how each crypto asset works, the history behind the coin and what the token’s team is looking to accomplish in the future.

Let’s jump right into it, click any logo to review the coin’s background and after cruising through these fifty make sure to read our part two of this ‘non bitcoin blockchain crypto asset user guide’ below:

BITCOIN (BTC)

Bitcoin is a household name to most people in the world. Sure, your grandma might not be able to explain how bitcoin works, but she has probably heard of it. Satoshi Nakamoto posted the bitcoin whitepaper online on October 31, 2008, then sent the link to a cryptography mailing list for comments and feedback. By January 3, 2009, the bitcoin network had officially launched. Satoshi Nakamoto mined the bitcoin genesis block, signing it with a now-famous reference to banks getting another bailout.

We still don’t know the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, although he / she / they hasn’t been involved with the project under that pseudonym since 2011. Today, bitcoin’s development is led by a decentralized team of developers, with all bitcoin changes decided democratically by the community, with miners voting using their hashpower.

Bitcoin pioneered cryptocurrencies. It was the first cryptocurrency. It was the first blockchain. It paved the way for literally everything else on this list. Bitcoin’s brightest days may still be ahead, however, as the project continues to try to become a global form of secure, electronic cash.

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ETHEREUM (ETH)

Ethereum held the world’s first major initial coin offering (ICO) in 2014. By 2015, Ethereum had been released to the world, promising “blockchain 2.0” thanks to innovations like Turing-complete smart contracts, which effectively allow users to build software programs on the blockchain.

Today, Ethereum has a complete team of developers working to push Ethereum forward, making it a desirable development platform for decentralized app (DApp) developers.

Unlike bitcoin, Ethereum isn’t designed as a global peer-to-peer payments platform or currency. Instead, Ethereum is more like a decentralized supercomputer. Ethereum’s native currency, Ether (ETH), can be used to access that supercomputer.

Ethereum is also known for its ICOs. Companies use Ethereum’s smart contracts to host an ICO. Users send ETH to that smart contract, and companies send their native token in return. Today, a number of companies use Ethereum’s ERC-20 token standard for their own native tokens.

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RIPPLE (XRP)

Ripple is one of the more controversial cryptocurrencies in the top 10 – mostly because some people don’t consider XRP to be a cryptocurrency.

Ripple is a private company. XRP is a digital token created by that company to facilitate faster, cheaper, more frictionless international banking transactions.

One of the unique things about XRP is that the entire total supply of XRP was mined on the first day it existed. All 100 million XRP tokens are already in existence. The majority of those tokens continue to be held by Ripple. The company reportedly sells the tokens to generate revenue.

Despite the controversy over whether or not it’s a cryptocurrency, Ripple is one of the most promising blockchain companies today. Ripple has partnered with Santander and other global giants to introduce its XRP ledger into the global banking system. With fast transactions, cheap cross-border payments, and a growing number of institutional partners, Ripple and its 150-person team should continue making major strides forward over the coming years – assuming their battle chest of XRP tokens continues to keep the company afloat while they wait for more revenue.

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BITCOIN CASH (BCH)

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), along with bitcoin (BTC), is one of two versions of bitcoin available today. BCH supporters see BCH as the “true” version of Satoshi’s bitcoin because it emphasizes secure peer-to-peer payments and daily usage.

Detractors, meanwhile, see Bitcoin Cash as a “scam coin” trying to steal the name of bitcoin. They deride it as “BCash” and claim anyone who supports BCH – including Craig Wright, Roger Ver, Jihan Wu, and others – is a scam artist.

In any case, BCH has about 10% of the daily transaction volume and mining hashrate as BTC. Nevertheless, it continues to be one of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies. It’s also shown a better ability to scale than BTC. By adopting a 32MB blocksize limit (and possibly a 128MB blocksize limit by November 2018), BCH has vastly increased the transactional capacity of the bitcoin network without resorting to clunky off-chain solutions.

BCH split from bitcoin on August 1, 2017. Today, BCH continues to be backed by significant mining support and a strong development team. Nevertheless, the majority of support – and the majority of developers – continue to back BTC.

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EOS (EOS)

EOS is being marketed as an Ethereum killer. Even the logo looks similar to Ethereum. EOS promises a more sophisticated decentralized app development platform than Ethereum. One of the main areas of focus is with scalability. While the Ethereum network continues to suffer from scalability issues, EOS claims to have achieved scalability through novel solutions like the Brock Producer (BP) voting system, which uses delegated proof of stake to achieve consensus.

Another difference between EOS and Ethereum is the way in which EOS its used. With Ethereum you’ll need to pay a fee every time you do anything on the Ethereum network. With EOS, a payment still needs to be paid every time the network is used, but that payment is made by decentralized app creators, who “stake” a certain number of tokens when building their app. Users pay nothing.

EOS was created by one of the world’s leading blockchain developers, Dan Larimer. Larimer was previously involved with major blockchain projects like BitShares, Graphene, and Steem.

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STELLAR LUMENS (XLM)

Stellar Lumens is another relative newcomer to the top 10 cryptocurrencies in the world by market cap. Stellar Lumens and its XLM digital token specialize in making fast, cheap, international payments. It’s similar to Ripple in a number of ways. In fact, XLM was originally based off the Ripple protocol. XLM is designed to be used for small daily payments, micropayments, international money transfers, and mobile payments, among other helpful use cases.

In terms of development, the Stellar team is led by Jed McCaleb, one of the earliest figures in the crypto space. McCaleb has presided over projects like Mt. Gox (he founded and ran the exchange before it ran into significant trouble), eDonkey, Overnet, and Ripple.

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LITECOIN (LTC)

Litecoin was originally built to be a faster, more lightweight version of bitcoin. Litecoin’s developers – including former Google engineer Charlie Lee – took the bitcoin codebase and made several changes to boost its speed and transferability.

The biggest change was reducing the block time from 10 minutes to 2.5 minutes – which meant transactions can be completed four times faster with LTC than BTC. LTC also quadrupled bitcoin’s total supply, which is why there’s a total supply of 84 million Litecoins.

When Litecoin was launched in 2011, it was heralded as “blockchain 2.0” because it was the first major improvement of the bitcoin protocol. Today, most people refer to Ethereum as blockchain 2.0. Nevertheless, some continue to see Litecoin as the “digital silver” to bitcoin’s “digital gold”, and development continues to take place on the network. One of the biggest recent technical achievements with Litecoin was the world’s first successful atomic swap.

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TETHER (USDT)

Tether is another controversial token to include on this list. Like Ripple, Tether doesn’t meet the strict definition of a cryptocurrency. Tether’s flagship product, the US Dollar Tether (USDT) is a blockchain-based representation of the USD. Tether claims that every USDT in existence on their blockchain is represented by 1 USD in a vault somewhere in the world.

There’s some controversy over whether or not Tether actually has a reserve of USD sufficient to match the market cap of Tether. Nevertheless, Tether has achieved its goal of being a reliable stablecoin for the cryptocurrency industry, and several major exchanges – including Bitfinex – count USDT as one of their most popular tokens.

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CARDANO (ADA)

Cardano is a blockchain platform focused specifically on smart contracts. Originally released under the name Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), Cardano and its ADA token aim to solve some of the problems of the Ethereum platform while challenging Ethereum’s dominance over smart contracts.

One of the biggest areas of growth for Cardano is in the development of its own programming language. Ethereum created Solidity, and Cardano created Plutus (although the name has changed a number of times, including to its most recent name, Marlowe). Both languages allow for seamless smart contract development.

Cardano’s founder, Charles Hoskinson, is the former co-founder of BitShares, Ethereum, and Etheruem Classic. Using that experience, he aims to make Cardano the preferred platform for smart contract development. The initial release of Cardano took place in September 2017, and the ADA token is already one of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies by market cap.

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IOTA (MIOTA)

IOTA is a blockchain network dedicated to solving issues with internet of things (IoT) devices. These devices will need to communicate with each other securely and rapidly, handling millions of transactions worldwide per second. IOTA and its MIOTA digital token aim to provide that solution.

To increase their transaction capacity, IOTA has introduced a unique technology called Tangle. Tangle is IOTA’s transaction validation network. When you make a transaction with IOTA, you also validate two previous transactions. Validation is no longer outsourced to miners, and computing power is not wasted or centralized.

IOTA’s Tangle network means that functionality approves on the ledger when more activity occurs. The more people using a ledger, the faster transactions become. You don’t have to subsidize miners. It’s a self-supporting network. Plus, IOTA’s Tangle means there are zero fees – none.

The team behind IOTA has been building blockchain platforms since 2011. The IOTA Foundation launched in 2016.

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TRON (TRX)

TRON’s whitepaper describes the platform as “an attempt to heal the internet.” The TRON founders, including Justin Sun, believe that the internet has shifted away from its original intention of allowing people to freely create content and post as they please. Today, the internet is dominated by huge corporations like Amazon and Alibaba, while centralized entities like Google have undue control over the internet.

TRON wants to take the internet back, returning power to the people and reducing the impact corporations have online.

The key product offered by TRON Is a free content entertainment system. This system enables users to freely store, publish, and own data. Users have the power to decide where and how to share their data.

TRON’s team is promising. Justin Sun, for example, has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list twice (2015 and 2017). In the blockchain space, Sun was the former Ripple representative in China and founded the Peiwo app.

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MONERO (XMR)

Monero (XMR) is one of the most privacy-focused digital currencies in the world today. Some will tell you that it’s the most anonymous payment system you can use today – even more anonymous than cash.

Monero was built from the ground-up to be a completely anonymous blockchain-based payment system. With Monero, only the sender and receiver can view important details of the transaction. Neither the sender nor the receiver, however, can see the balance of the other person’s wallet. Meanwhile, anyone outside the transaction – like law enforcement monitoring the blockchain for suspicious activity – is unable to see any details of the transaction.

This is far different from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Some laypeople will tell you that bitcoin is an anonymous digital currency used for dark web transactions, that’s not really true: bitcoin is one of the most public digital currencies out there. All bitcoin transactions are recorded on the blockchain, and anyone can see the sender and receiver’s address, their balance, and the transaction amount, among other details.

Monero achieves complete anonymity by implementing cryptographic hashing of receiving addresses. This separates the coin from the address It’s going to, making it easy to conceal your transaction for whatever reason.

Another unique thing about Monero is that it has seven core developers, although only two of those developers have been revealed to the public. Over 200 additional developers have contributed to the project, however, Monero receives a software upgrade once every six months or so.

One of the biggest testaments to Monero’s privacy came in 2017 when darknet drug marketplace AlphaBay was shut down by law enforcement agencies. The marketplace was run by a man named Alexandre Cazes. After AlphaBay was shut down, authorities recovered Cazes’ enormous cryptoasset stashes in bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital currencies. Authorities were never able to recover Cazes’ Monero, however.

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DASH (DASH)

Dash may be the most under-reported digital currency in the top 15. Dash, or “Digital Cash” aims to be a user-friendly and scalable alternative to bitcoin. Unique features of Dash include the ability to send funds instantly confirmed by “double-send-proof” security with the added functionality of being able to erase transactions or send transactions anonymously. You can pay extra to “instant send” your transaction, for example, allowing your transaction to be confirmed instantly.

Today, Dash’s development continues to push forward, led by a team of 50 developers worldwide. The team is led by former financial services professional Evan Duffield.

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ETHEREUM CLASSIC (ETC)

Ethereum Classic split from the main Ethereum blockchain in 2016 after the infamous incident regarding The DAO. The DAO was an ambitious Ethereum-based decentralized app that sought to manage a hedge fund through a “Decentralized Autonomous Organization”-style structure. The DAO raised $150 million in ETH during its ICO. Then, due to a previously-undiscovered glitch in the smart contract, one third of those funds were hacked and frozen.

The Ethereum community had a decision to make: they could effectively reverse the blockchain to a time before The DAO hack occurred. Or, they could accept that the blockchain was immutable, and that all changes were encoded in the blockchain permanently. The former group – the one that decided to roll back the hack – recovered the funds and continued under the Ethereum (ETH) name. The latter group – the purists who believed code was law – moved forward under Ethereum Classic (ETC).

Today, Ethereum (ETH) continues to be the main supported version of Ethereum. Ethereum Classic, however, has its own development community and is actively developed to this day.

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NEO (NEO)

Dubbed “China’s Ethereum” at launch, NEO aimed to replicate key features of Ethereum like smart contracts and digital token standards. Formerly known as Antshares, NEO exploded with growth in mid-2017, rising from an obscure token into a powerhouse of the crypto community.

Today, key features of NEO include the NEP-5 token standard and NEO’s smart contract platform. Future use cases for NEO could include tokenizing houses on the blockchain or transferring other traditional assets to the blockchain.

Today, NEO has encountered some growing pains and has fallen behind its competition. However, development is ongoing, and NEO continues to work towards a future where traditional assets can be tokenized and placed on the blockchain.

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BINANCE COIN (BNB)

Binance Coin (BNB) emerged with Binance in 2017. Like Binance, Binance Coin quickly rose throughout 2017. As more users flocked to Binance, the value of Binance Coin rose significantly.

Today, Binance continues to be one of the world’s top five cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume. The BNB coin, meanwhile, continues to have significant value for traders on the platform. You can use BNB to pay exchange fees, withdrawal fees, listing fees, and other transactional fees on the Binance platform. As a new Binance user, you have an incentive to buy and use Binance.

As of September 2018, Binance is processing over $1 billion in trading volume every day, making it the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

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NEM (XEM)

New Economy Movement (NEM) and its XEM digital token form the world’s first proof of importance (PoI) consensus system based on blockchain technology. NEM is targeted specifically towards business users, and the platform is designed from the ground-up with enterprise users in mind.

One of NEM’s unique features is its smart asset system, which allows companies to implement customizable blockchains into their own systems. Companies can use NEM’s smart asset system to tokenize virtually anything – including company assets, company stocks, or company invoices and records.

Voting, crowdfunding, stock ownership, secure recordkeeping, loyalty points programs, mobile payments, and escrow services are other enterprise-friendly features built into NEM.

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VECHAIN (VET)

VeChain and its VET token aim to create a trustless, distributed business ecosystem based on blockchain technology. That ecosystem is designed to be self-circulating and self-expanding. To do that, VeChain is creating a trustless ecosystem that eliminates the friction in today’s information transfer systems.

What exactly does all of this mean? Well, it means VeChain can revolutionize things like supply chain management to eliminate counterfeiting. Thanks to VeChain, someone buying a Louis Vuitton bag, for example, can check the blockchain to ensure their bag is legitimate and not a knock-off.

Other possible use cases for VeChain include tracking food supply systems, digitizing maintenance in the care industry, and optimizing many other global supply chain processes.

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TEZOS (XTZ)

Tezos is one of the newest entries on the list of top 50 cryptocurrencies. Back in summer 2017, Tezos raised over $230 million of BTC and ETH, setting a record at the time for the largest ICO in history. That ICO was followed by controversy after an internal dispute and several class-action lawsuits. Today, however, Tezos continues to move forward. The platform launched its beta in July 2018.

So what exactly is Tezos and how does it work? Tezos was developed by Arthur Breitman, a mathematician, physicist, and computer scientist, and his wife, Kathleen Breitman, a former hedge fund employee. In 2014, Arthur published two whitepapers online highlighting the defects in bitcoin. He proposed a solution called Tezos that would have “self-amending” properties.

Today, Tezos is a distributed, peer-to-peer, permissionless network based on smart contracts similar to Ethereum. However, Tezos claims its system is more advanced than traditional blockchains because it has the ability to evolve and implement new implementations over time without the risk of a hard fork. Tezos also uses delegated proof of stake instead of proof of work.

As an XTZ token holder, you have the ability to vote on new protocols and dictate the future of the Tezos blockchain. You can also vote for rewards allocated to the best developers on the network.

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ZCASH (ZEC)

Zcash, like Monero, is one of the most privacy-focused, anonymous cryptocurrencies on this list. Zcash originally launched as an anonymous version of bitcoin forked off the bitcoin blockchain. To this day, Zcash operates in a similar way to bitcoin but with a significantly higher degree of anonymity.

Zcash’s protocols are so well-respected that they’ve begun to be implemented into other projects as well. Ethereum, for example, is reportedly seeking to implement Zcash’s protocols into Ethereum transactions. Traditional financial firms like JP Morgan have also announced plans to implement Zcash’s privacy technology.

Today, Zcash’s development continues, led by the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company.

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OMISEGO (OMG)

OmiseGO was founded with the goal of “banking the unbanked”. The platform aims to bring cheap, accessible transactions to developing parts of the world. OmiseGO was founded all the way back in 2013. Eventually, the company decided to build their platform on the Ethereum blockchain. OmiseGO’s digital token, OMG, was the first Ethereum project that exceeded a $1 billion evaluation.

Today, the Bangkok-based company continues to target its financial services towards Southeast Asia. In the last year, OmiseGO has announced major partnerships with McDonald’s and Credit Saison, among other major corporations in Southeast Asia.

With 130+ developers located around the world, OmiseGO is supported by major names in the crypto space, including Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood, Ethereum’s co-founders. OmiseGO’s CEO and founder, Jun Hasegawa, worked for Google for 16 years and was previously involved in a number of startups.

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LISK (LSK)

Lisk is a decentralized network featuring its own native LSK token. As one of the newer members on this list, Lisk doesn’t have the same name-brand recognition as other members of the top 25. However, Lisk has enormous potential as the blockchain space continues to expand.

The reason Lisk has potential is simple: Lisk is a blockchain-based platform where developers can build apps in plain old JavaScript. Developers don’t need to learn a new programming language to create effective decentralized apps. They don’t need to learn Ethereum’s Solidity, for example. Instead, developers can create their own apps – and even their own sidechains – on the Lisk blockchain. A sidechain on Lisk is fully customizable – all with JavaScript.

In summer 2018, Lisk underwent a major rebranding effort to create more cohesive messaging around the brand.

Lisk’s development team is headquartered in Berlin. The group is led by Lisk co-founders Max Kordek and Olivier Beddows, both veterans of the crypto and development world.

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ONTOLOGY (ONT)

Ontology is an enterprise-grade blockchain platform aiming to become a trust-based ecosystem where users can interact with each other without the need for an intermediary.

Ontology and its ONT token make it easy to exchange data between different parties – say, two corporations doing business with one another. Identity verification, data exchanges, data collaboration, community building, and decentralized apps are just a few of the core features of the platform.

Ontology successfully launched its mainnet in July 2018. Today, development is led by a large team of developers directed by Onchain, a blockchain technology company.

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0X (ZRX)

0x is a decentralized exchange built on the Ethereum blockchain where users can trade ERC20 tokens. The goal of 0x is not just to create a decentralized exchange, but to allow others to easily create their own decentralized exchanges.

0x, like all good exchanges, emphasizes fast transaction times. Instead of transferring all tokens on a bloated blockchain, 0x transports orders off-blockchain and then verifies them later. Users don’t need to spend gas to pay for network transaction costs like they do on other decentralized exchanges like EtherDelta.

Today, a number of major projects have already started developing on the 0x open source smart contract system, including Augur, Aragon, and Request Network. One of the main advantages of 0x is that users can “plug in” the protocol to their own Ethereum decentralized applications.

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NANO (NANO)

Formerly known as RaiBlocks, Nano experienced a dramatic surge of growth in January 2018, rising as high as $34 per token after sitting below $1 for its entire history to date. As Nano surged into the list of the top cryptocurrencies by market cap, everyone was suddenly introduced to the project.

Along with the rest of the crypto markets, Nano has slumped significantly into 2018. However, active development of the project continues, and Nano’s value comes from its near-instant transaction times and low transaction fees.

The ultimate goal of Nano is to achieve a level of performance and scalability unseen by any other platform. Nano achieves this scalability using a unique programming structure where every account has its own unique blockchain, allowing each blockchain to update asynchronously to the network. Instead of the entire network being forced to upgrade at once to move forward, Nano’s blockchain works differently. The end result is fast transactions at a cheap price.

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QTUM (QTUM)

QTUM – pronounced Quantum – is an open-source value transfer platform built with an emphasis on mobile decentralized apps (DApps). QTUM made headlines at launch for being the world’s first proof of stake smart contract platform.

QTUM can be seen like a version of Ethereum focused specifically on mobile DApps. Like Ethereum, QTUM has a smart contract platform on which developers can build.

Launched in March 2017 after a successful ICO, QTUM continues to grow backed by its small but strong development community, including the Singapore-based QTUM Foundation.

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BYTECOIN (BCN)

Bytecoin is a private, decentralized cryptocurrency with open source code where everyone is encouraged to participate in BCN development. Bytecoin made headlines for being the first token to offer untraceable payments, unlinkable transactions, and resistance to blockchain analysis, among other privacy-focused features.

Like Zcash and Monero, Bytecoin allows users to send transactions anywhere in the world. These transactions are completely untraceable. You don’t need to pay an additional fee for the transaction. All Bytecoin transaction fees are low.

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BITCOIN GOLD (BTG)

There are three bitcoin forks in the list of top 50 cryptocurrencies. Motivated by the successful launch of Bitcoin Cash, the Bitcoin Gold team launched their hard fork in fall 2017. Bitcoin Gold introduced several miner-friendly changes to the bitcoin protocol, including a different consensus mechanism that allows users to mine using GPUs, theoretically lowering the barrier to entry for new miners while discouraging centralized miners from using ASIC (Bitcoin Gold has ASIC-resistant features).

Bitcoin Gold also switched from bitcoin’s SHA256 hashing algorithm (the same used by Bitcoin Cash) to the Equihash algorithm used by Zcash. These were the two major changes.

While some derided Bitcoin Gold as a scam at launch, it continues to be actively used and developed into 2018, despite a successful 51% attack by an unknown person in May 2018.

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ICON (ICX)

ICON (ICX) is a South Korea-based startup company that aims to build the technology that connects different blockchains together – similar to another company on our list, Ark.

ICON’s core product is the concept of a “loopchain”, which is described in the ICON whitepaper as a “high-performance blockchain that can provide real-time transaction, which is based on enhanced smart contract.”

If ICON and its loopchain concept are successful, then participants will be able to connect to any blockchain regardless of their current system. It could connect different private corporate blockchains together – similar to how the internet connected different private networks together.

ICON was founded by the Dayli Financial Group, a $4 billion financial services company that also owns Korean crypto exchange Coinone.

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ZILLIQA (ZIL)

Arguably the strangest name on this list, Zilliqa is a blockchain platform that aims to solve scalability issues on public blockchains. Zilliqa’s system is designed to scale in a linear way, which means as the number of nodes increases, so does the transactional capacity of the network.

In a test filmed last year, Zilliqa showed its platform processing 1200 transactions per second with only 2400 nodes.

Zilliqa is also known for its unique “sharding” system. Zilliqa was the first to integrate sharding into a public blockchain. The concept boosts scalability, bandwidth, and performance in blockchains, splitting the blockchain into “shards”, with different groups of nodes responsible for processing each shard. Sharding is now a scalability system proposed across multiple blockchains – including Ethereum.

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DECRED (DCR)

Decred, or decentralized credit, aims to decentralize decision-making to create a truly decentralized governance structure. The Decred development team looked at the governance structure of bitcoin and other systems and realized there was room for improvement. Decred’s team believed that miners had undue influence over the bitcoin network compared to users, for example. Decred’s governance system is based on the idea that miners and users have the same amount of influence over decision-making on the network.

Other notable features of Decred include a dividend-like mechanism where users can earn a reward for staking DCRs.

Today, Decred’s development team is located around the world. Development is ongoing as Decred seeks to create the best possible blockchain governance system in the industry.

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BITSHARES (BTS)

BitShares (BTS) was created in 2014 by cryptocurrency visionary and early adopter Dan Larimer. Larimer was one of the world’s first adopters of bitcoin, working on the project as far back as 2009. Larimer was also one of the first to realize the problem with centralized exchanges, which is why he proposed BitShares as a decentralized exchange. Oh, and he also co-founded EOS and Steem. Larimer created BitShares in partnership with Ethereum and Cardano co-founder Charles Hoskinson.

In a blog post announcing the project, Larimer described BitShares as a software, a network, a ledger, a community, and a decentralized peer-to-peer exchange system. With BitShares, you can make secure transactions with other users without trusting a centralized third party – like a bank or a centralized crypto exchange.

BTS, meanwhile, was one of the first digital tokens built on a delegated proof of stake blockchain.

At its height, BitShares was the fourth largest cryptocurrency in the world. Today, it comfortably occupies a spot in the top 50 cryptocurrencies by market cap. The brightest days for BitShares might still lie ahead, however, as the platform continues to seek partnerships with mainstream financial institutions.

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DIGIBYTE (DGB)

DigiByte (DGB) is an open-source blockchain launched in January 2014 by Jared Tate, who still leads the project today.

One of the unique things about DigiByte compared to other blockchain projects is that DigiByte uses five secure and advanced cryptographic mining algorithms to prevent mining centralization – which some see as the biggest problem on blockchains like the bitcoin blockchain. DigiByte also emphasizes benefits like improved scalability and unique technologies like DigiShield, MultiAlgo, MultiShield, and SegWit.

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MAKER (MKR)

Maker and its Dai stablecoin (MKR) are based on the Ethereum blockchain. Maker’s stablecoin uses an autonomous smart contract to automatically balance the value whether markets are going up or down. The system is designed specifically to react to market fluctuations and keep the price of 1 Dai equivalent to 1 USD. Each Dai is backed by ETH tokens, with the entire system secured by a smart contract.

The smart contract works in a simple but genius way. When the price of ETH drops below a predetermined threshold, the Maker smart contract automatically liquidates holdings to keep the collateral at the safe level and prevent the collapse of the value of the Dai token.

One of the unique things about Maker and Dai compared to other stablecoins is that each Dai is backed by some valuable asset held in the secure Maker smart contract platform, but anyone can lock their tokens up as collateral and issue Dai against them.

As a Maker user or holder, you don’t need to know any of these things about Dai. You can just relax knowing that it should maintain its value of 1 USD at all times.

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DOGECOIN (DOGE)

Created as a joke based on the 2013 Shiba inu “doge” meme, Dogecoin is one of the most bizarre cryptocurrencies on the market today. The cryptocurrency periodically goes through unexplained meteoric rises for no apparent reason. Despite the lack of major recent development activity, Dogecoin is an excellent token for microtransactions online and it continues to be used to “tip” articles, social media posts, and other online activity.

Dogecoin emerged in 2013 as a lighthearted version of bitcoin. By 2015, over 100 billion Dogecoins were in circulation. Dogecoin was viewed as last valuable than bitcoin, making it ideal for tipping on Reddit and other social media.

In January 2018, Dogecoin – which started as a joke cryptocurrency based on a meme – reached a market cap of $2 billion. You can trade DOGE on numerous exchanges across the crypto space.

Overall, the Dogecoin community is the most lighthearted in the cryptocurrency space. Development on Dogecoin stalled in recent years, with no Github updates in nearly two years between 2016 and 2018. However, in recent months, Dogecoin development has picked up again. The future of the cryptocurrency looks much bright and the community is so excite.

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AETERNITY (AE)

Aeternity is a decentralized digital asset platform that differentiates itself from the competition with features like “state channels”. Aeternity uses state channels to keep transactions off the blockchain until they absolutely need to be added to the blockchain. This boosts scalability on the network.

In terms of real world applications, Aeternity aims to add real-world data to the blockchain, but in a superior way to other blockchains. The Aeternity whitepaper identified three specific shortcomings of other blockchain projects, including stateful design, real world information processing, and consensus.

Aeternity aims to solve all of these problems with solutions like a hybrid PoW/PoS consensus mechanism.

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STEEM (STEEM)

Steem is the first blockchain network that aimed to disrupt the world of social media. Steem and its Steemit platform is like a blockchain-based version of Reddit – if Reddit had its own cryptocurrency that allowed you to reward users with money instead of just upvotes.

The idea behind Steem is that it incentivizes the creation of high-quality content, and users who post the best-quality content are rewarded for sharing that content with the Steem community.

When you browse Steem and view content, you have the opportunity to reward content creators with Steem. Meanwhile, you can also upvote and reward commenters. If you add a worthwhile comment to the discussion, for example, then other Steem users might tip you.

Steem was founded by Dan Larimer and Ned Scott. We’ve mentioned Larimer several times on our list of the top 50 cryptocurrencies by market cap: Larimer co-founded projects like BitShares and EOS.

Today, Steem continues to be a giant in the crypto social media space. However, Steemit has faced problems attracting new users to the platform due to its steep learning curve. There are also concerns about plagiarism, among other issues.

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SIACOIN (SC)

Siacoin was founded with the goal of using blockchain technology to optimize speed and efficiency in the world of cloud storage. Siacoin’s system allows anyone to “rent” storage space on their computer to a decentralized network of Siacoin users.

Siacoin users, on the other hand, can pay to store data on computers across the network. All data is encrypted and split across the network. The end result is a decentralized cloud storage system that connects users directly with storage space without the need for a costly, centralized intermediary. Siacoin doesn’t need to own or maintain a data center, for example.

Siacoin was launched by Luke Champine and David Vorick of Nebulous Inc. Siacoin, unlike many startups that emerged around the same time, did not hold an ICO. However, the company still managed to raise $1.25 million in financing from several major venture capital firms.

Today, Siacoin is competing with Storj and other blockchain-based cloud storage providers to dominate the market. As Siacoin’s platform continues to grow, the value of SC – which is used to buy storage space on the network – will also rise.

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VERGE (XVG)

Verge is an electronic payment system that, like Zcash and Monero, emphasizes anonymous transactions. Verge’s public ledger is similar to bitcoin at a fundamental level but prevents users from seeing the public addresses associated with recent transactions. To achieve this level of anonymity, Verge uses Tor and I2P, encrypting network traffic and hiding the IP addresses of users.

Thankfully, Verge rebranded itself from its original name, “DogeCoinDark”, in 2016. Since then, the international development team has continued pushing the project forward, and Verge has been attracting plenty of attention throughout 2018 as users start to take note of the privacy-focused cryptocurrency.

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BASIC ATTENTION TOKEN (BAT)

Basic Attention Token, or BAT, is a digital token based on the Ethereum blockchain. The token is designed to change the internet as we know it, creating a reward system that sends tokens between advertisers, publishers, and users. The token is open source and can be integrated virtually anywhere. However, it’s specifically designed to work with the Brave internet browser.

The long-term goal of the Basic Attention Token is to allow users to share in the digital advertising economy. Users can get paid for the ads they view. Advertisers can directly pay publishers for publishing their advertisements. Today, centralized advertising giants like Google take an enormous share of advertising revenue, enriching themselves at the expense of users, publishers, and advertisers. Brave and BAT could create a future where that’s no longer an issue.

The BAT team includes Brendan Eich, co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox, along with JavaScript creator Brian Bondy, among other Silicon Valley veterans. The San Francisco-based company sees itself as the browser of the future – and it stands a realistic chance of achieving that goal.

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AUGUR (REP)

Augur is a decentralized platform for prediction markets. The platform is based on the ideas of game theory and wisdom of the crowd. Basically, Augur users can bet on the outcome of a particular event, then collect earnings based on the accuracy of that prediction.

Augur allows people from anywhere in the world to ask a question about the outcome of a future event. Then, Augur users “bet” on that event by choosing one of the available prediction options. There’s no need for a centralized bookmaker or an individual reporter: the users dictate the odds based on the predictions they make in real-time.

Augur is backed by an impressive team of developers led by Jack Peterson and Joey Krug. The Augur advisor team also includes Vitalik Buterin among other major names in the crypto space.

Augur’s platform went live in July 2018 after three years of development (the Augur ICO originally took place in September 2015). By mid-July, Augur had reported daily betting volume over $1 million.

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WAVES (WAVES)

Waves launched with a simple goal: to allow anyone to launch their own digital token. Today, Waves has added a decentralized exchange to its platform, allowing you to exchange newly-created tokens with more-established tokens.

Of course, Waves isn’t the only platform that lets you launch your own token. You can launch an ERC20 token on Ethereum, for example, with basic smart contract coding knowledge. Waves has a huge advantage over Ethereum, however: you don’t need to learn a new coding language to create a token on Waves.

Waves is led by founder and CEO Sasha Ivanov, best-known for creating crypto exchange Coinomat.com.

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BYTOM (BTM)

Bytom announced itself to the internet in June 2017 as “an interoperational protocol for diversified byte assets”. The goal was to create a platform capable of handling all types of blockchain-based assets – including everything from cryptocurrencies to dividends to bonds to securities. Bytom aims to make it easier than ever to transfer these assets atomically, allowing for the seamless transfer of, say, stocks to cryptocurrencies.

Using smart contracts and a decentralized platform, Bytom aims to boost income asset management and digitize the management of securities and options. The long-term goal is to create a secure digital asset layer for the internet.

The Bytom mainnet token swap (moving BTM tokens from Ethereum to the Bytom mainnet) occurred in May 2018. Mainnet development is ongoing by an international team of developers.

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PUNDI X (NPXS)

Up to this point, every token we’ve mentioned has been associated with a blockchain platform, a decentralized network, or a piece of software. Pundi X, however, is the first token on this list directly connected to a piece of hardware.

Pundi X is a hardware point of sale (POS) system designed to accept cryptocurrencies. Merchants can add the Pundi X POS machine – called XPOS – to their counter. That machine has two screens, including one screen facing the merchant and the other facing the custody. There’s also an RFID chip. XPOS has all of the ordinary functions of a traditional POS machine: it prints receipts, for example. The main difference is that when you go to pay, XPOS displays a QR code, and you scan that QR code using your mobile device.

The future looks bright for Pundi X. The company aims to launch a card that can store cryptocurrency. It will be shaped like a credit card and function, for all intents and purposes, just like a credit card. This could open up cryptocurrency to a new wave of users.

There’s one big hurdle facing Pundi X: the company was founded in Indonesia, where cryptocurrency payments for goods and services have been banned by the government (although crypto exchanges continue to be legal). The reason Pundi X can deploy hardware without breaking the law is because their POS system defaults to accepting payments from non-cryptocurrency systems – like bank cards and Apple Pay. In other words, XPOS can function like an ordinary POS machine when it needs to.

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BITCOIN DIAMOND (BCD)

This is the fourth bitcoin hard fork among the list of top 50 cryptocurrencies by market cap. Bitcoin Diamond doesn’t get the same attention as Bitcoin Cash or even Bitcoin Gold. However, it’s a legitimate project that continues to be developed moving forward. The project hard forked from BTC in early 2018 to focus on private transactions and anonymous transfers – similar to Monero and Zcash.

One of the key differences between BCD and other versions of bitcoin is the total supply: the developers chose to multiply the total supply by 10, which is why there are a total of 210 million BCD tokens in circulation.

Don’t get too excited about Bitcoin Diamond, however: the development team has posted limited information about the project online, and there’s little reason to believe it has a long-term future. Some have called it a scam, while others have called it a get rich scheme. Nevertheless, BCD typically sits between the 40th and 50th position on the list of top cryptocurrencies by market cap.

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METAVERSE ETP (ETP)

Metaverse ETP aims to offer digital financial services over the blockchain. Metaverse was one of the first in the “blockchain as a service” (BaaS) field. Thanks to Metaverse, users can create their own digital identity while also creating and storing digital assets. Those “digital assets” can include digital tokens or more traditional assets like property titles, tax records, receipts, and ordinary documents.

The goal of Metaverse is to create value for businesses. Businesses can use Metaverse for identity management, for example. Meanwhile, all transactions on Metaverse are paid using ETP tokens.

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STRATIS (STRAT)

Stratis aims to introduce enterprises to the potential of blockchain technology. Stratis functions in a similar way to Ethereum, but with more of a focus on attracting enterprise users. One of the main advantages Stratis has over Ethereum is that Stratis uses the C# and .Net programming languages, which means developers can build using the languages they’re already familiar with instead of learning a new language like Solidity (used in Ethereum’s smart contracts).

Stratis’s services are best summed up with the slogan, “We make blockchain easy for you.” The goal of the company is to allow companies from across industries to leverage the power of blockchain technology. Stratis allows developers to build customized blockchain solutions to cater to each business’s unique needs. Developers can create sidechains off the main Stratis blockchain.

Overall, Stratis can be seen as similar to Lisk, in that both allow for sidechain and blockchain development using familiar programming languages.

Stratis is led by CEO Chris Trew, who has worked in the blockchain space since 2013.

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STATUS (SNT)

Status is the first messaging-focused blockchain platform in our list. The open source messaging platform can be integrated into decentralized apps on the Ethereum network. If your DApp needs a secure, decentralized, end-to-end encrypted messaging protocol, then Status aims to be that solution.

Status works in a similar way to how browsers work as a gateway to websites. Just like a browser, Status provides a gateway to decentralized apps and services. The ultimate goal is to create a digital hub – not just a messaging platform – where users can interact with decentralized apps on Ethereum, Aragon, Gnosis, and others.

Status held a much-publicized ICO in June 2017, raising over $100 million. The company used that money to hire former Google product manager Nabil Naghdy as their Chief Operating Officer, then released the Status hardware wallet soon after.

Status continues to be one of the most exciting projects in the crypto space.

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POPULOUS (PPT)

Populous is a global invoice trading platform built on the blockchain. The goal is to connect invoice buyers with business owners for improved security, transparency, speed, and efficiency.

Built on the Ethereum blockchain, Populous allows investors to easily participate in the alternative financial market of invoice purchasing. Anyone in the world can invest in an invoice sold by an invoice seller. This allows, say, a German software company to sell an invoice to a Chinese manufacturing partner. The German software company receives capital today, while the Chinese manufacturing company gets future income at a discounted rate today.

On Populous, invoices are sold via a blockchain-based auction. The Populous development team is based in the UK. Populous is still in the early stages of development and it’s difficult to determine how far along the company has come. However, stay tuned for more information about Populous and its PPT token as the project gets closer to launch.

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GOLEM (GNT)

Golem aims to create a global, open-source, decentralized supercomputer usable by anyone who has internet access. Today, the world’s most powerful supercomputers are controlled by academic institutions, private companies, and governments, and ordinary users have limited opportunities to use such high-powered tools.

Golem aims to change that by organizing computational power from around the world. Users worldwide can lend computing power to the Golem network in exchange for GNT tokens. Meanwhile, users can buy computing power from the network in exchange for GNT tokens. If you have unused computing power, then you can lend that power to the network in exchange for tokens.

Golem caters to some of the world’s most computational-heavy industries, including cryptography, AI development, medical research, graphics processing, and other industries that require substantial computing power.

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CryptoCurrency

Digital Money Trading, Exchanges & Investing Guide?

The idea of cryptocurrencies has been around for a long time. Developers and coders have been seeking the perfect way to implement cryptography into a digital asset since the birth of the internet. The idea is to use cryptography to secure all transactions of the specific digital asset, as well as control the creation of that same asset through the same means.

First descriptions of a functional Cryptocurrency appeared around 1998, and were written by a person named Wei Dai. They described an anonymous digital currency titled “b-money.” Not long after, another developer by the name of Nick Szabo created what they call “Bit Gold,” the first cryptocurrency that used a proof of work function to validate and authenticate each transaction. All following currencies would use this proof of work concept in their code.


Bitcoin

It wasn’t until 2009 that the first, decentralized cryptocurrency was launched and developed by none other than the famously reclusive Satoshi Nakamoto. Simply put, his digital form of currency was a work of art. It used cryptography and proof of work functions just as described by Nick Szabo. The whole code was released as open source for anyone to see and work on in 2009.

Bitcoin was the first currency of its kind. Each transaction between Bitcoin users was designed in a peer-to-peer method, meaning that all transactions were direct and without an intermediary. Each transaction is then authenticated and verified multiple times by other computers on the network. The more time passes since the occurrence of the transaction, the more validated it becomes. It is estimated that once a transaction has been verified 6 times, its validity is equivalent to a 6 month old credit card transaction.

Because Bitcoin has no repository or single administrator, and since all of the code used for its own functionally is open source, it is considered to be a truly decentralized system. The Bitcoin community itself makes decisions on what needs to be implemented in the code and what needs to be rectified. In order for Bitcoin to work correctly, each version of the Bitcoin Core software has to be compatible with each other, so everyone has to make the decision regarding all updates to the software, otherwise those who do not agree with the update will not be able to be a part of the Bitcoin network. Since the computing power of the users on the network is needed to keep Bitcoin alive, it is in the developers’ interest to keep everyone happy with the decision that they make. Furthermore, since all of the code is open source, it is practically impossible to shift any power over Bitcoin to a single user or a group of users because this part of the code would be identified quickly and brought to light, making most of the users very unhappy with an attempt to centralize the currency.

Satoshi Nakamoto has claimed to be a man living in Japan who was born on the 5th April, 1975. However, Nakamoto has always been somewhat secretive about his identity. In fact, it is unclear to this day whether they are a real person or a pseudonym. Many people speculate that Nakamoto is actually a group of developers who worked together to jump start the Bitcoin project and then disbanded when it took off. Nakamoto worked on the Bitcoin system up until December of 2010, at which point he handed over the network alert key and the source code repository to Gavin Andresen while distributing some of the key domains linked to Bitcoin amongst notable members of the Bitcoin community. Afterwards, his involvement with the project ceased.

The father of Bitcoin was able to not only code an exceptionally well built system, but also found clever ways to ensure his work was validated and not misunderstood for some sort of a scheme by others. For example, Nakamoto left a message inside this first manually altered code. When the first block of Bitcoin was mined, it read ‘The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.’ This quote is the headline for The Times newspaper which was published on January 3rd, 2009. The clever use of this simple message is overlooked by many, and it dictates that the first block was mined no earlier than January 3rd, 2009. This is extremely important because the whole Bitcoin system is designed to run and validate itself from the previously mined blocks, so giving a valid timestamp which can be authenticated by a simple headline title to the first block was genius. Afterwards, all blocks used the previous block for reference.

It should also be noted that the timestamps on the subsequent blocks indicate that Nakamoto did not mine the first blocks in an attempt to keep them for himself and make profit this way. Yes, Nakamoto was awarded Bitcoins as he was the first and a sole miner for some time, but this continued only for about 10 days after the launch of the Bitcoin network. The only thing that Nakamoto used his Bitcoins for was a few test transactions. Starting from around mid-January of 2009, those Bitcoins were left unspent. Anyone can check the public log of Nakamoto’s Bitcoin address, which shows roughly 1 million Bitcoins. This amount of Bitcoins is roughly equal to about $2.8 billion USD. Needless to say, Nakamoto’s invention was a success.


Blockchain

This is all fun and peachy, but how exactly are all the transactions made by Bitcoin users kept in check? Well, luckily Satoshi Nakamoto thought of a rather ingenious way to handle transactions and making them all transparent at the same time.

Simply put, whenever a user sends a certain amount of Bitcoins to another user, a third user verifies this transaction and publicly notates it in a ledger which is accessible by anyone. This ledger is called the “blockchain.” As time goes on, more and more users see the transaction in the blockchain and are able to verify it again. The more times each transaction is verified, the more secured it becomes.

The idea behind the blockchain comes with two main principals. The first is easy to understand, make all the transactions public thus allowing complete transparency over all transactions and the ability to cross reference or double check each transaction if necessary. The second principal is somewhat more unique and isn’t realized by others. Recording each transaction in a public ledger also prevents this information from being duplicated. This way every transaction is unique in its own way, which successfully eliminates transaction fraud and other financial crimes. Oh, did we mention that verification of each transaction are done by other users on the Bitcoin network, and this can’t be compromised or corrupted by anything or anyone? Yep, it truly is that secure.

The beautiful part of a blockchain is that you aren’t limited to just using it with Bitcoin. In fact, many other online currencies and representations of digital value have started using blockchain as a method to prevent unfair transactions. The best part is that you don’t need to know anything about the way it works, simply plug it in and watch it do its magic. However, having a general understanding of the blockchain gives you the ability to fully comprehend the security and stability that blockchains bring to the table.

So how exactly does the blockchain function? It’s actually a lot simpler than you think. Whenever a transaction is authorized and added to the ledger, it is replicated amongst all the nodes on the network. This means that every computer that is connected to a network which is using a blockchain has a copy of this ledger stored on their machine. Every time another transaction occurs, it is updated. Because these ledgers are simultaneously being kept on multiple machines, messing with or editing them is pretty much impossible. Furthermore, because it is being replicated and updated on all machines, there is no single point of failure, meaning if something happens to one ledger, there are thousands of others that can verify the data and omit the faulty one.

This idea of all nodes controlling the blockchain is why it is truly decentralized. Effectively, every user connected to the network who is acting as a node through the software is an administrator of the blockchain. What does this mean in plain English? There is no single entity or group that controls the blockchain, and everyone is an equal admin of the public ledger.

Why is using blockchain and decentralizing a currency so important to its success? The answer to this question boils down to the ability to cut out the proverbial middle man responsible for verifying all transaction who in the real world charge the users for this action. What does this mean for the user? The transaction fees are set by the users. In theory, there doesn’t have to be a transaction fee at all to complete each transaction, but there is the matter of speed and how quickly you want your transaction to be added to the blockchain. If you need everything done now and want your transaction to be accelerated to the top of the list, then expect to pay a small amount for your transaction. The thing is, it doesn’t matter how much money you are sending in your transaction, low or high it is all equal to the roughly the same amount of data. Because of this, the fee will entirely be reflected only by how fast you want the transaction to be complete.

Each blockchain transaction can be coded with more conditions and information put into the transaction. Essentially, this gives the users an opportunity to generate what many call a Smart Contract. For example, let’s say you are starting a new business and are looking for a certain amount of investors with a promise of making money back within a period of time. With the help of a Smart Contract, you can code these conditions into the transaction and ensure that it will only proceed if you have enough investors. The beautiful part about these Smart Contracts is that they are transparent on the blockchain, meaning you can’t simply modify the transaction once the investors have paid their share and end up scheming them over. Once the transaction has been made, all of its conditions are set in stone.

Another thing that the blockchain can be used for is truly decentralized market systems which can use peer-to-peer payments without a middleman. One of the early examples of such a market is OpenBazaar. It is a completely free marketplace where you can Buy or Sell items without any fees or restrictions. The payment system is peer-to-peer and a blockchain is in use to verify all transactions. Simply download the software and look for items you wish to buy or post items you wish to sell; the rest is history as they say.

There is truly no limit to the blockchain. For instance, imagine using the blockchain to host every website on the internet. Instead of connecting to one specific host which has all the files stored on their computer, the blockchain can have the website stored on all computers at the same time. Doing this would greatly increase the speed of accessing the information or files stored on such a decentralized website. Imagine streaming videos or music through such a network. It could truly be an amazing sight.


Cryptocurrencies

While Bitcoin was one of the first currencies to hit the global network, it certainly isn’t the only one. Most of the digital currencies out there use some of the code found in Bitcoin, and nearly all of them use the blockchain. It’s simply too good of an invention not to take advantage of. But each currency has something unique to offer to its users. Some try to focus on even greater security, while others prioritize transfer speeds. No matter what your priorities are, we are certain there is a cryptocurrency out there for you. Let’s take a look at some of the major cryptocurrencies out there and see what they have to offer.

Litecoin

This cryptocurrency is one of the first ones to hit the market after the launch of Bitcoin. Technically, it is nearly identical to Bitcoin, but with one major difference. Instead of using SHA-256d as its hash algorithm, Litecoin uses Scrypt, created by Colin Percival and designed to make it extremely expensive to initiate large scale hardware attacks because of the amount of memory that is needed to decrypt a single key. Litecoin was released in 2011 and was founded by Charles Lee.

Namecoin

Also released in 2011 and very similar to Bitcoin, this cryptocurrency uses SHA-256d for its hash algorithm. The main difference between Bitcoin and Namecoin is the ability to store date within its own blockchain transaction database. This does propose a challenge when all the transactions are scaled; to solve this issue Namecoin uses a shared proof-of-work system. Namecoin can also act as a decentralized DNS. It was created by Vincent Durham.

Peercoin

Peercoin is another cryptocurrency which uses SHA-256d as its hash algorithm. Created around 2012, this cryptocurrency is one of the first to use both proof-of-work and proof-of-stake systems. The inventor of Peercoin, known as Sunny King, saw a flaw in the proof-of-work system because the rewards for mining are designed to decline over time. This reduction in rewards increases the risk of creating a monopoly when fewer miners are incentivized to continue mining or start mining, thus making the network vulnerable to a 51% share attack. The proof-of-stake system generates new coin depending on the existing wealth of each user, so if you control 1% of the Peercoin currency, each proof-of-stake block will generate an additional 1% of all proof-of-stake blocks. Incorporating a POS system makes it significantly more expensive to try and attain a monopoly over the currency.

Dogecoin

This cryptocurrency was initially created as a joke on December 8th, 2013. However, the meme based currency quickly generated a community and reached a value of $60 million USD by January 2014. Today, this currency is worth nearly $440 million USD. Although there aren’t many mainstream applications designed to use Dogecoin as a method of payment, many online users have been using this form of digital currency as a way to tip others for their creative content or services. Dogecoin is very popular amongst the social media networks. With the help of crowdfunding, the community managed to schedule a delivery of a gold coin which represents the official currency to reach the Moon’s surface by 2019. Created by Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus, Dogecoin uses Scrypt as a hash algorithm alongside a POW system to solidify all transactions.

Auroracoin

This form was an attempt at creating a decentralized digital currency system to replace the heavily restricted Icelandic currency known as krona. The use of Bitcoin in Iceland is also very restricted. This is part of the reason why Baldur Odinsson, a pseudonym of an unknown entity, created Auroracoin. This coin was launched in 2014 and uses Scrypt as a hash algorithm and POW for transaction authentication. The creator of Auroracoin attempted to boost the knowledge of Auroracoin amongst the general public and increase its network effect by distributing 50% of all generated Auroracoins to the population of Iceland. This action was dubbed the “airdrop.” The airdrop was delivered in three phases, after each phase the value of Auroracoin was drastically decreased and after the final stage all remaining Aurora coins were burned by sending them to a non-existing address labeled “AURburnAURburnAURburnAURburn7eS4Rf.” Since April of 2015 and the previous destruction of pre-mined Auroracoin, the value of each coin has stabilized and has been on the rise.

Dash

This is another open source cryptocurrency which introduces something new into the crypto world: instant transactions. Originally introduced to the cryptocurrency market as Darkcoin, this currency was renamed Dash on March 25th, 2015. Unlike other currencies, Dash uses X11 as a chain hashing algorithm for its proof-of-work system. It was one of the currencies which started with a set of pre-mined coins, estimated to be about 1.9 million coins which are equal to about a quarter of the current Dash coin supply. The developer of Dash faced his fair share of issues when working with Dash, one of which was known as an “instamine” error. After resolving the problem, the developer suggested a re-launch of the cryptocurrency but the community strongly insisted on leaving everything as it is and progressing with the development of the currency. At one point, Evan Duffield, the lead developer and creator of Dash, suggested that an airdrop of Dash was needed to broaden the initial distribution of the coin. This was also overwhelmingly rejected by the community. The Dash community is one of the most active around the cryptocurrency side of the internet, and the current capitalization of Dash is over $500 million USD.

As you can see, there are many different cryptocurrencies out there and each one of them offers something different. They were all created with certain criteria or functionality in mind, and many more developers continue generating new and improved functions amongst the existing cryptocurrencies, as well as generating new ones to satisfying the ever demanding users.


ICOs, Investments, and Profits

Before we can start talking about investing into cryptocurrencies and possibly making some profit along the way, we need to discus ICOs, not to be confused with IPOs.

Let’s get to the point, what in the world is an ICO? An Initial Coin Offering is a transaction type designed to help spur up and launch new cryptocurrencies and give them some traction. Essentially, it is a fundraising tool designed to boost the newly born currency into the online world. The idea is that you invest currently launched cryptocurrencies into the new currency you are favoring in an exchange for future cryptocoins of the freshly launched or to be launched currency. It’s somewhat simple: you give the launchers some Bitcoin or Ethereum and you get some of their future Unicorncoin, assuming those don’t exist yet.

In the fiat currency world, most financial institutions see these ICO transactions as “unregulated” investments of cryptocurrencies where users can make Bitcoin or other digital currencies. The key word here is unregulated. Unlike share or traditional IPOs, ICO coins, the representation of your investment into a certain digital currency startup, aren’t linked to any ownership rights and thus can be trade or exchanged at will. In the fiat world, this is a huge no-no.

So, let’s put everything on the table. ICOs are essentially coins which you get by supplying someone with currently successful crypto coins so that they have a chance to make new future proof and even more successful coins. It seems silly, but somehow these ICO transactions are actually making a huge buzz in the cryptocurrency world. It is estimated that nearly $240 million has already been invested into such ICOs, of which about $110 million was invested this year. Surely there is a reason for such a huge movement of money? We think that people are constantly searching for that new and shiny cryptocurrency that will inevitably become the world currency system, and perhaps this is the reason why investments into this research are so high. Some of you might say that the potential is already there via Bitcoin or some other already released currency, but the reality is that not everyone is on the same page. Those of us who are so called non-conformists might be looking for something special in other places.

Here is the problem with ICOs

As long as you paint a pretty picture and throw in enough cryptocurrency jargon at an unsuspecting investor, you are able to get away with keeping all the investments which were given to you to start the somewhat fictional currency and never be heard from again. Since anonymity is relatively easy to attain online and that’s exactly what most cryptocurrencies are about, accepting that 1 BTC payment request and never hearing from your so called “genius” developer is a very sound and scary possibility. Our suggestion is to be diligent and careful with your ventures. Double check everything, including dates, claims, and domain registration dates. If something seems odd or misaligned, run like you have never run before. With all this in mind, don’t assume all of these potential goldmines are deadly web traps. Many of these developers are actually looking for legitimate funding and they are in fact trying to make the new invention a success. Who knows, maybe you will find the diamond in the rough.

What about regulations and laws?

Isn’t there something out there in place to protect my potentially fake investment? Truth be told, you are sort of out of luck. You see, most of these ICO coin tokens are designed in a way that marks them as ‘software presale tokens.’ So essentially, your ICO coins are no different than a video game token that you bought before it launched. The main reason many developers choose to address their new currency in such a way is to avoid paying all the expenses that come alongside legal sales. In a similar matter, a developer of a newfound cryptocurrency might choose to say that his or her investors are ‘donating’ coins to their cause and what not. So while this is completely acceptable and falls under the same reasoning for why Bitcoin was invented in the first place, to decentralize and stop all the crazy fees that go into making these investments happen, it’s still relatively questionable.

If it is so risky to invest through the use of ICOs, then why is on the rise and why are so many people trying to make a profit this way? Many predict that the boom in ICO sales is primarily due to the huge amount of return that was made by the early Ethereum adopters, making ICOs seem pretty desirable.

So is everyone chasing a golden egg laying goose and getting scammed along the way? Not really. There is great potential for making some serious profit when investing with ICOs, but the lack of regulation and security is what we are worried about. Just because the system works doesn’t mean it is working the right way. Yes, in a certain alternative way ICOs are exactly what the whole cryptocurrency world is all about, but security is something that all cryptocurrencies focus on as well. We don’t see this same concept being implemented with ICOs.

The question remains, should you buy ICOs in an attempt to make profit? If you have an insane appetite for risk and aren’t afraid to lose any of your investing capital, then go ahead, you might come out on top. But when you take all the factors into account and think about the security aspect, or the lack thereof, then maybe you should put your money into someone else’s pocket for the time being, while ICO security is improved.


Selling, Buying, and Trading

First things first, buying and selling Bitcoin isn’t even remotely close to being the same as using the stock exchange to purchase or sell stocks. On the same note, it isn’t anything like FOREX and should never be considered the same thing.

Secondly, the factors involved with trading Bitcoin are completely different than those on a traditional exchange network. Fees, regulations, limitations…every single one of these points are completely different from using any other fiat currency or stock exchange system. Furthermore, all of these points have to be taken into account when deciding how much to buy or sell or when to buy or sell. Then there are the different ways you can purchase Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, and the multiple different ways you can sell that same currency. The only resemblance between fait currency exchange and cryptocurrency exchange is that just like choosing which software to use for trading stocks and fiat currencies, you will have to choose a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

If there isn’t a centralized exchange system or limitations and regulations fluctuate from one platform to another, then why would you choose to trade cryptocurrencies? One of the key reasons why people choose to trade Bitcoin over other currencies is due to its availability on the global scale. There is no timeframe during which Bitcoin can be traded, the market never closes and is always open to trading. Weekends don’t exist for Bitcoin, so you can trade any time of the day, during any day. Whatever is most convenient for you, wherever is most convenient for you, Bitcoin will be there for you to trade.

Another reason many choose Bitcoin over traditional stocks and fiat currencies is because of its fantastic volatility. To a long term investor, volatility might be a bad idea and promotes instability. However, day to day traders can benefit enormously with the amount of volatility which is seen in Bitcoin every day. We are all aware of the reason for this volatility as well, as all new currencies experience it. This is especially true when knowledge of the currency is low alongside the relatively low network effect. But this doesn’t mean the currency is bound to fail, and all it means is that Bitcoin needs more time to mature. For a day to day trader, those are golden words.

Something else that many have turned to Bitcoin because of is the ability to trade it with leverage. Certain platforms will give you leverage over your initial desired trading amount. For example, BitMEX offers up to 100x leverage for your trades. This means your investment of $20 can be leveraged as high as $2000. Keeping in mind that most of these platforms will have regulations and rules in place to protect their investment; it is still a somewhat heavenly environment for a trader when combining these leverages with the high volatility that Bitcoin goes through each day.

One of the most sought after reasons why so many traders are turning to Bitcoin is the fact that it’s a completely new median and is in most cases independent of the FOREX and other exchange systems. Furthermore, this currency also moves on a global scale, so it is somewhat isolated from localized risk. Events that impact the fluctuation of Bitcoin prices are usually easily traced and often predictable as long as common sense and some knowledge of economics are used. Those of who are first starting to trade Bitcoin won’t have to sift through enormous amounts of data to carefully analyze price movements of Bitcoin, in most cases you can see clear relationship between events related to Bitcoin and its value.

So what is the best way to trade Bitcoin?

Luckily, we have this wonderful and somewhat magical concept known as Contracts For Differences. All CFDs represent a contract between the trader and the exchange that is accepting or proposing the contract. It dictates that the difference between entry price and the exit price of each trade is in turn equal to the profit that the trader will make. Essentially, it’s both parties agreeing to simulate the use of actual assets. This allows the trader to use an exchange of choice for Bitcoin trading without actually owning any Bitcoin. CFDs offer flexibility, no matter if you are interested in going long or short term. The best part is that they can be entered into the exchange at any time on any day and be closed whenever you wish.

Generally, the fees related with trading through CFDs are usually very low when compared to other market trading methods. However, they are higher than if you were to trade direct Bitcoin instead of CFDs. Additionally, it is vital to understand that CFDs are perfectly suitable for a short term trader but are not a good choice for those seeking to make long term investments, because of the daily premium of 0.1% that most charge for using CFDs. Then there is the all-time hated “margin call.” This is a system put in place to prevent the client balances from going deep into negatives. Since Bitcoin offers high volatility and most exchanges give you high leverage, the possibility of negative balances is a real risk and a threat to the exchange. Lastly, CFDs require regulations and regulations come with fees. This is exactly why many Bitcoin exchanges choose to operate outside of the US, where these fees are astronomical.

If CFDs aren’t what you are looking for and you are more interested in a long term investment, then buying and holding onto your Bitcoin is probably a better choice for you. There are plenty of platforms which offer free wallets to hold your Bitcoin once a purchase is made. Generally, most platforms will let you use your Debit Card, Credit Card, Bank Account (this often takes a few days per transaction), and even PayPal. You will need to register on the platform of your choice, open and account, and fund it with one of the above options. From that point on you can make a purchase for the desired amount of BTC you wish as long as your account balance permits it.

Most of these platforms will also allow you to sell BTC back to customers who are looking to buy them. The concept is the same: find a buyer, sell your BTC, and withdraw your profits.

The beautiful part about trading Bitcoin is that there are limited rules and regulations set regarding cryptocurrencies around the world. This means that you aren’t limited by your government with your transactions. However, some countries have very strict rules when it comes to trading cryptocurrencies, such as Russia. If you reside in one of these countries make sure that you are operating within you legal parameters.


Final Words On CryptoCurrency

Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies are opening the doors to a new type of digital money, which we think has the potential to someday become a leading currency of the world. At the moment, even the oldest of cryptocurrencies are still maturing and only time will tell where this genius invention is heading. From what we can tell, there is plenty room for advancement. At the same time, Bitcoin has already revolutionized the digital world.

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