By Natalie Lord
There are more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies in circulation, so it’s not surprising that deciding which one to invest in can prove a conundrum. Each cryptocurrency has different traits and different intentions in usage. We identify the top tier cryptocurrencies that have occupied the lion’s share of the crypto market for the past couple of years and unveil them over the next few weeks.
This is the original poster child of cryptocurrencies and continues to remain resolutely high ranking. There are almost 17 million Bitcoin tokens in circulation, against a present capped limit of 21 million. At its peak, Bitcoin’s market capitalisation hit a record high of more than US$200 billion.
Bitcoin is an obvious choice for investors and has performed solidly this year. The coin increased in value from US$3,862 to US$5,412 per coin from January 1st to May 1st of 2019.
Judging by its track record, Bitcoin’s price is likely to grow steadily. It has increased its utility significantly over the past few years and a considerable number of ecommerce shops, retail outlets and even restaurants around the world now accept payment in Bitcoin. It’s also regarded as a store of value for many in the crypto industry.
The disadvantages of the currency are that it has exhibited extreme volatility historically, suffers from slow speeds, high energy usage and higher transaction fees. Some believe in the longer term this will limit its growth, but that remains to be seen.
An offshoot of the original Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash launched in the summer of 2017 and has fast become one of the most traded cryptocurrencies in the crypto space. It was developed using modified code from Bitcoin that enabled larger block sizes resulting in better scalability, faster processing speeds and consequently faster transaction times. The downside is that it is more memory intensive.
There are currently about the same about of Bitcoin Cash tokens in circulation as there are Bitcoin tokens, but with the advantages Bitcoin Cash offers over Bitcoin, it has fast gathered an enthusiastic following. Bitcoin Cash is currently the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.
Like Bitcoin, Litecoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that is often referred to as Bitcoin’s little brother. Investors in Litecoin look to have a bright future, with long-term investors having received returns of more than twenty times what they originally put in.
The advantage of Litecoin is that it boasts a faster transaction time than Bitcoin. This is because it uses a different algorithm to add transactions to the blockchain. It also benefits from faster transactions speeds to enhance scalability, as well as a significantly higher token limit of 84 million. The disadvantage is that it’s more memory intensive.
So there we have three of the top ranking cryptocurrencies, the industry favourites so to speak. Next week we’ll look at Dogecoin, Ethereum and BAT and see how they measure up.