Oct 22, 2021 10:39 AM EDT
In today's digital world, more and more people are investing in cryptocurrencies. These digital tokens have exploded into popularity over the past few years, and have grown to the point that there are now nearly over 6,000 of them, according to Statista. This is a far cry from the mere handful of digital coins that began to emerge late in the 2000s. That said, only about 20 cryptocurrencies dominate the market, and navigating this world of the virtual coin can be confusing. It is often difficult to distinguish between which currencies are worth the money and which ones aren't stable or valuable enough to consider.
Ultimately it is up to each individual to do the requisite research to determine cryptocurrencies' value. But here are several that are at least worth a second look:
While the most popular cryptocurrency is undoubtedly Bitcoin, its well-known counterpart Ethereum has proven to be a real competitor in the space. Since its creation in 2015, Ethereum is perhaps the only other form of cryptocurrency that's widely regarded as a blue-chip asset. Its growing market share has also slowly been nudging up against that of Bitcoin. At the beginning of the year, Bitcoin made up 71% of the market to Ethereum's 11%. Now, Bitcoin is at 45% while Ethereum has grown to 18%. If you're on the lookout for a great Bitcoin alternative, this cryptocurrency may be one to consider.
If you're looking for an alternative that is a little bit more fundamentally different from the rest, Tether may interest you. That's because it is a stablecoin, which is a type of cryptocurrency that follows the value of a specific fiat currency. In the case of Tether, that fiat currency is the U.S. dollar (hence the "USDT" ticker). Theoretically, this gives Tether more stability and consistency when compared to other cryptocurrencies. So, if you're intrigued by the idea of a more stable cryptocurrency that is less volatile than its counterparts, this might be the best one for you.
Known far and wide as the first cryptocurrency to come into existence, Bitcoin (BTC) was worth close to nothing when it launched. However, it has since grown to an astonishing market cap of over $240 billion. The invention of BTC marked the creation of an entirely new currency market, not to mention it paved the way for countless blockchain applications to come. Bitcoin itself became valuable both for speculation and as a scarce resource. And today, this cryptocurrency is also accepted as a means of payment by most merchants. It is frankly difficult to overstate the impact it has had on the modern financial world.
Solana (SOL) is a relatively new cryptocurrency that rose from obscurity in 2021. It initially had a 0.01% market share, but in the past month has become one of the top-10 cryptocurrencies by market cap. Solana is now a leader in decentralized finance applications (often referred to as "DeFi") and is extremely popular due to its use of the Rust programming language. It also has advantages over its similar most similar counterpart in Ethereum: Networks run at much faster speeds, and have lower transaction fees as well. If you haven't been able to get on board with ETH (or you feel you've missed the boat), then it may be wise to jump on the SOL train now.
Ripple Labs produced its native cryptocurrency Ripple (XRP) for its own products that are used to settle payments, asset exchanges, and remittance systems. XRP is pre-mined, following a less complicated method than that which Bitcoin popularized for sourcing cryptocurrencies. XRP can be used on the Ripple network to clear the way for exchange of fiat currencies, and major cryptocurrencies as well. If you believe in the value of this sort of function, as well as the importance of the cross-border payments industry, then XRP is worth a look. In 2017, it was only worth about $0.006. As of September this year, it has risen to a price of $0.94.
Cryptocurrencies may be new, and can certainly seem intimidating, but they are here to stay. They've taken hold as speculative assets and functional currencies; they've opened the door to new applications involving financial exchange; they have even given rise to new trends in video games, and could as MoneyTimes put it "redefine" sports betting. And even these examples merely scratch the surface of cryptos' impact.
Given all of this, it's most definitely a good idea to keep tabs on which cryptocurrencies are most worthwhile.
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