Many cryptocurrency experts argue that we are currently experiencing a bull market that is benefiting from a high amount of optimism about the future of cryptocurrencies and the potential applications of decentralized assets. The volatile nature of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, however, means that it’s likely we’ll experience more highs and lows in the months and years to come.
The vast amount of different altcoins and tokens that flood the cryptocurrency market today make it virtually impossible to give each option the time it deserves. In order to properly assess a cryptocurrency, it’s necessary to perform an analysis that incorporates all of the information currently available about it, along with a range of different fundamental and technical factors.
A fast way to sort through the long list of altcoins on the market today is by researching only the tokens that you deem worthy. In order to assess whether a cryptocurrency warrants further investigation, the primary question to ask is “what problem does it solve?”.
Using this method, we’ll take a look at the top 70 altcoins as listed by marketcap and briefly summarize the issues that they are attempting to provide a solution to.
Bitcoin is the largest and most successful cryptocurrency in the world, and aims to solve a large-scale problem- the world economy is to interconnected, and, over the long term, is unstable. Functioning as a long-term investment mechanism that is completely separate from fiat based systems, Bitcoin is a disconnected USD hedge that is becoming increasingly more effective in providing a solution to its target problem.
Ethereum attempts to redress three important issues over the short, medium, and long term. The short term goal of Ethereum is to create a platform through which ICO tokens can be issued and distribute them with smart contract. The medium term goals of Ethereum aim to provide an alternative to unwieldy and inefficient legal contracts. Finally, the long-term applications of Ethereum involve the management and regulation of complex AI systems.
Ripple aims to streamline and optimized the convoluted banking system. The current banking system as it exists today is spread across thousands of different disjointed ledger systems around the world. This system forces market makers to park immense amounts or reserve capital in order to facilitate payments, whereas if they were all on the same ledger system they wouldn’t have to. Ripple is focused on connecting all payment systems on the one ledger, providing banks with a secure blockchain system.
Litecoin was originally created to complement Bitcoin with a specialized focus on concentrated mining pools and speeding up transaction timings. Unlike Bitcoin, which functions as a secure form of holding and storing wealth, Litecoin is intended to revolutionize the process of transferring monetary value.
Ethereum classic holds to the adage that “code is law”, stating that Ethereum should not modify the network in order to facilitate the refund of losses to individuals who create faulty code. Ethereum Classic is immutable, and unless explicitly defined within contract codes, does not allow for reversals, undos, or opt-outs.
NEM focuses on the creation of tools and applications that leverage the functionality of decentralized coins. To the creators of NEM, simply creating a decentralized currency is not enough- it’s also essential to provide third-party developers with simple APIs that are 100% secure.
IOTA is a highly innovative distributed ledger technology platform that aims to function as the backbone of the Internet of Things. As a fairly derivative extension of blockchain technology, IOTA has no mining, no blocks, no transaction fees, and no difficulty. Instead, it aims to operate as a settlement layer that facilitates communication between disparate existing systems.
Dash has worked heavily toward solving some of the most common issues with Bitcoin, such as slow transactions, delivering enhanced financial privacy, and developing a decentralized governance system. Dash also focuses on enhancing the consumer friendliness of digital currency, and aims to create a built-in process that facilitates the development and marketing of consumer friendly goods and services.
The creators of Bitshares have created their solution to optimize asset trading. Currently, assets are traded on inefficient privatized platforms. From the perspective of Bitshares, assets should trade on one single ledger. Platforms such as Ethereum are too slow to handle extensive ICO capital fundraising, so a faster platform, such as Bitshares, is needed.
The Bitshares platform was originally designed to create digital assets that could be used to track assets such as gold and silver, but has grown into a decentralized exchange that offers users the ability to issue new assets on.
Stratis aims to make the blockchain more accessible to companies by delivering straightforward, simple integration with Microsoft’s .Net platform and it’s C# language. As a business-focused blockchain tech platform, Stratis has the ability to hook into business software in an elegant and simple manner.
Bitcoin is definitely a highly innovative way to transfer and hold monetary value, but it does allow anybody with access to your public address to see the funds that it stores. With Monero, however, the funds holders own are not associated with their public address, providing users with complete anonymity.
Like Monero, Zcash offers complete transaction anonymity, but also pioneers the use of “zero-knowledge proofs”, which allow for fully encrypted transactions to be confirmed as valid. This unique property enables the creation of entirely new classes of blockchain applications.
Initial coin offerings, or ICOs, are typically slow when launched on platforms such as Ethereum. Waves allows startups to launch their own ICOs in a matter of minutes on a faster, simpler, decentralized exchange with minimal fuss.
Golem claims to be building the world’s first global, open sourced decentralized supercomputer, accessible to everybody. By combining unused processing power sourced from everything to personal laptops to entire datacenters, Golem promises to provide users with the ability to make money by “renting” out the computing power of their hardware. While the Golem project is certainly hopeful, it’s still in early alpha stages.
Bytecoin is another cryptocurrency that aims to completely anonymize the transfer process, but provides the added benefit of customizable anonymity levels with regards to the financial details of a wallet.
Steem is a unique social networking that aims to provide content creators with reward in the form of cryptocurrency. Steemit, the website that drives steem, provides currency to content creators in the form of the eponymous steem tokens, which can then be traded on the crypto market.
Siacoin aims to address the problems presented by centralized computing and storage systems. These solutions are typically expensive and cumbersome- the Siacoin platform is dedicated to providing an end to end encrypted decentralized cloud.
There are many different altcoins that investors may want to diversify into, but identifying, investing in, and securing so many different assets is time consuming and difficult. Iconomi provides tokens that derive dividends in ETH form Iconomi, which functions as an index fund for digital assets.
BitConnect is a high-ranking crypto that promises to deliver a “self-regulated financial system”, functioning as an all-in-one Bitcoin and crypto community platform. BitConnect is currently a hot topic of debate amongst members of the crypto community, with many claiming that it is a “scam”. The BitConnect platform bears a striking resemblance to high yield investment programs, or HYIP, so exercise caution if choosing to invest.
Dogecoin is one of the earlier “joke” digital currencies, but due to the actions of an enthusiastic community, has expanded into more serious endeavours, even funding several charitable ventures in the developing world.
Stellar Lumens, like Ripple, aims to optimize the unwieldy banking system, but focuses more on the underbanked. Functioning as a derivative of Ripple, Stellar Lumens intends to connect payments, banks, and the underbanked while lowering banking costs.
Lisk is a new platform that intends to lower the difficulty of creating new blockchain applications. Lisk functions as a sidechain platform that provides users with the ability to easily create new applications and products.
Augur is a new and unique take on betting platforms. Traditional centralized betting platforms are open to manipulation, not to mention expensive and centralized. The Augur platform functions as a decentralized prediction market, and allows for real-money betting on outcomes.
AntShares is commonly referred to as “China’s Ethereum”, and aims to address the same issues as the Ethereum platform. Antshares is currently rebranding as Neo.
Ardor, like Lisk, is a sidechain platform, but refers to sidechains as “Child Chains”. Essentially, Ardor aims to streamline the process of creating applications on the blockchain.
In the same way that Bitcoin aims to revolutionize real-world money, GameCredits aims to revolutionize game currency. GameCredits wants all games to use the same currency, and make this currency transferable between all games.
Factom applies cryptocurrency encryption techniques to the storage of critical items. By functioning as a decentralized storage provider, Factom focuses on creating an audit trial for digital documents that deliver undisputable evidence.
LIke Ardor, Gnosis aims to provide gamblers with an alternative to easily-manipulated centralized betting platforms.
MaidSafeCoin is similar to Factom, providing for the storage of critical items on a decentralized blockchain ledger.
The issue that Decred aims to solve is the difficulty involved in solving the problems that face Bitcoin. From the perspective of the creators of Decred, governance should be built into the platform. Decred functions as a solution to these governance issues.
Nxt is yet another tool that can be used to create new blockchains, fostering innovation in the blockchain ecosystem.
Komodo aims to increased privacy and security levels in transactions on the blockchain, and also provides users with the ability to create more anonymous, privatized blockchain apps and smart contracts.
DigiByte functions as a transparent global ledger that is intended to address the growing issue of international cybersecurity, focusing on security-based blockchain applications.
Mobile devices and chat platforms are used to operate millions upon millions of transactions. Byteball is intended to provide chat bots that facilitate smart contracts and payments on these platforms.
DigixDAO addresses the trust issues presented by purchasing custodial gold. DigixDAO attempts to correct this issue by incorporating blockchain technology.
Basic Attention Token
The advertising industry is plagued by fraud. Most players in the advertising industry generate no profit, apart from ad publishers themselves. The Basic Attention Token not only transforms the way the advertising industry works, but also provides users with the ability to profit from time spend watching ads.
Veritaseum functions in essentially the same manner as Bitcoin, which makes it somewhat difficult to assess its value proposition. According to the Veritaseum website, the platform eliminates middlemen, gives currency holders full control at all times, and eliminates the need for trust between parties- all of which are provided by Bitcoin already. Assess carefully before investing.
The FirstBlood platform aims to optimize the static, centralized eSports world.
In a similar manner to GameCredits, MobileGo aims to centralize mobile app platforms and reward developers.
Tether is a relatively innovative cryptocurrency that is intended to function as a decentralized iteration of both USD and EUR in order to facilitate faster cryptocurrency trading.
Machine learning hedge funds have made a significant amount of progress in the stock market. The Numeraire solution is a decentralized effort that is designed to provide better outcomes by leveraging anonymized data sets.
Marketing and selling content in the creative industry can be difficult, especially in the online environment. The SingularDTV solution provides artists and individuals living in the creative industry with the ability to directly deliver their content in a P2P marketplace.
SysCoin is another platform that is designed to provide users with the ability to create more blockchain apps, delivering a decentralized marketplace.
BitcoinDark is a cryptocurrency that focuses on fulfilling the primary axioms of the blockchain. The BitcoinDark platform has recently rebranded to Komodo.
Pivx aims to solve the issues of anonymity in the blockchain, and aims to completely obfuscate financial data in all aspects.
Aragon intends to centralize company registration by registering on a decentralized ledger that incorporates a built in court system.
MCAP provides cryptocurrency investors with the ability to invest in multiple altcoins at once in a streamlined fashion, as well as delivering cloud mining services.
Emercoin maintains the idea that blockchain platforms should constantly be evolving, and deliver a continuous stream of new features through which transactions can occur for as many users as possible. The Emercoin platform incorporates many different functions, including innovative applications such as a decentralized torrent tracker.
Ubiq attempts to redress a number of issues with the smart contract platforms that are currently available, such as Ethereum.
Peercoin is built around the concept that proof of work systems are unstable over the long term, and that proof of stake systems are built to last.
Peerplays is yet another decentralized betting platform that aims to eliminate the risk of manipulation that centralized platforms are susceptible to.
Ark is designed to streamline and optimize the creation of new blockchains, responding to the consumer need for interconnected blockchains.
Lykke intends to address the difficulty experienced by traders attempting to both hold currencies and trade them on one screen. Lykke delivers a multi-asset trading application and exchange.
Round represents a concerted effort to decentralize inefficient eSports platforms.
Storjcoin X is an end-to-end decentralized private cloud that intends to deliver an alternative to expensive centralized solutions.
Cryptocurrency is experiencing widespread adoption worldwide, but has yet to hit the social media ecosystem. Reddcoin intends to provide social media users with the ability to transmit currency on social media platforms.
iExec, like Storjcoin X, is intended to provide individuals in need of low-cost cloud storage with a decentralized solution.
Asch is a Chinese blockchain solution that provides users with the ability to create sidechains and blockchain applications with a streamlined interface.
Melon is a decentralized fund management platform that provides consumers with the ability to easily invest in digital assets.
Creating decentralized autonomous organizations is a difficult process. Wings aims to provide users with a platform that streamlines the creation of DAOs and ICOs.
It’s possible that the future applications of quantum technology will create solutions that can threaten the security of cryptocurrencies. The Quantum Resistance Ledger aims to create a solution that is not susceptible to quantum attacks.
Nexus is an incredibly ambitious project that aims to distribute blockchain solutions via cube satellites in orbit.
Edgeless is yet another decentralized betting platform.
Domain names are an essential part of creating a website. As they are hosted by centralized platforms, they are susceptible to censorship. Namecoin is a blockchain-based domain solution that eliminates this issue.
Bitcoin is a powerful cryptocurrency, but is limited in the amount of assets that can be issued on top of it. Counterparty aims to provide users with the ability to issue assets and smart contracts on top of cryptocurrency.
Synereo resembles Steemit in that it provides content creators to receive remittance for their work with a decentralized peer-to-peer currency.
Verge is another digital currency that aims to completely anonymize the payment process.
Omni is another platform that is designed to provide asset issuance on top of cryptocurrency.
PRX, or Printerium, aims to apply blockchain technology to the 3D printing industry.