“Digital Gold, the best hedge against inflation and asset for transfer value securely and reliably. “
The coin that started it all. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and first use of a “blockchain” anywhere. It’s purpose is to transfer and store value, and is often used as a hedge against inflation. While many find Bitcoin boring now due to the significant innovation underway in the cryptosphere, Bitcoin is still the most important cryptocurrency for its history, security, and robustness.
“Private and anonymous money.”
Monero is a very straightforward cryptocurrency with a simple purpose. Anonymous transfer of value. While there is a blockchain, all the transactions and accounts are anonymous and even account balances and transfer values are hidden. Many people associate Monero with the Darkweb and as such with drugs and other nefarious purposes. However, many security and privacy advocates believe financial privacy matter greatly. Some of the primary reasons for this are:
- No targeted advertisements
- Less likely to be a target of robbery when wealth is unknown
- Discriminated for your purchases (politics, philosophy)
“Enterprise payment settlement network.”
Ripple has the intention of winning the payments and settlements competition by working directly with banks and institutions. It aims to be the newer and better version of SWIFT. It is significantly more centralized than most other blockchain/protocols, however that doesn’t seem to matter as the “XRP army”, its large group of loyal followers is aggressive and unfazed by criticism.
“A natively proof-of-stake blockchain for layered money and smart contracts.”
Cardano was created by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson and is developed using strict peer-reviewed research. This has slowed down development significantly however it has a very strong community of holders and investors, similar to XRP. The Cardano Foundation has also garnered many partnerships along the way.
“Digital version of the US dollar.”
A centralized but very efficient and useful digital token. It allows for the quick and easy on and off-ramps from crypto into a US-dollar backed hedge during times of volatility. It allows traders to easily lock-in profits on trades or cash out temporarily without needing a bank.
“A decentralized blockchain middleman”
While this may sound contradictory at first, Polkadot is working to solve the problem of blockchains not being able to interact with one another. For example, Solana can’t natively speak to the Ethereum blockchain and thus assets and value cannot cross chains. Polkadot is tackling this problem so that there may be blockchain interoperability.
“An advanced blockchain platform that promises extreme scaling capabilities and fast confirmation times.”
Avalanche is a new platform developed by Ava Labs that allows anyone to easily produce their own multi-functional blockchains & decentralized applications (dApps). It is an Ethereum competitor designed to address some of the limitations of older blockchain platforms, including slow transaction speeds, centralization, and scalability. Avalanche launched its mainnet in September 2020, just two months after raising $42 million in a token sale—which sold out in less than five hours.
“Decentralized trading exchange.”
Uniswap is like Coinbase but without the company holding your assets when you trade (custodial). Uniswap is built on Ethereum and uses smart contracts to allow users to trade different coins straight from their own wallets without giving up control of their coins (non-custodial trading). This is a significant technological advancement in crypto as many of the highest risk activity in this industry revolves around companies or organizations holding crypto on behalf of users (hacks and scams).
The two biggest downsides to any decentralized exchange (DEX), is that liquidity is often lower and its more expensive. However these things are expected to improve and its up to the user to decide which trade-offs they will make.
“Layer 2 solution for Ethereum.”
Polygon is the most popular layer-2 solution for Ethereum. The issues of high fees and been really hurting projects launching on Etherreum as for many, it has become unaffordable. Polygon is akin in many ways to the Lightning Network for Bitcoin. It has a native coin, Matic is the which is used to pay fees on the network. Several Ethereum applications have already moved there.
“The world computer; programmable contracts and money.”
Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap and was created with the intention of offering developers full blockchain programmability. Bitcoin is quite limited in its ability to add features, but this is desirable for an asset that’s purpose is the transfer and storage of value. Money should be basic and simple in design. The vision for Ethereum is decentralized computation without bounds. The way you can think about Ethereum is being a world computer where anyone can build and deploy software in a decentralized and unstoppable way (as the code lives on the blockchain and can accessed by anyone).
Ethereum already of thousands of applications running on it with millions of daily users. The vast majority of DeFi (decentralized finance) and NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) are created and live on Ethereum. Some of these include UniSwap, Aave, Curve Finance, OpenSea, and Axie Infinity.
“External data oracles for smart contracts.”
Chainlink is a very interesting coin and is considered a “Blue Chip” cryptocurrencies because of its clear business model and integration within the industry. One of the biggest problems in crypto is that blockchain and code can’t easily or reliably access data from the real world. For example, the current weather, sports games results, or prices and outcomes. Chainlink bridges this gap by using “Data Oracles” that collect this type of real-world data and provide it in a form which blockchains, smart contracts, or protocols can use it reliably use it for decision making or other action.
A simple of example would be a betting smart contract built on Ethereum requires the results of a hockey game being played as two participants are betting on it. The smart contract would select a Chainlink node operator to provide the results that the contract would know who to pay out when the game is over. Without a service like Chainlink getting real world data into a blockchain or smart contract would be near impossible.
“Blockchain specifically design for cheap, high-frequency volume.”
A premium Ethereum contenders, launched in 2020 and offering the highest layer-1 throughput of 50,000 transactions per second. Though it is a more centralized solution than Ethereum and some other chains, It has the support of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX exchange, which typically bodes well for a project. Its ecosystem has grown significantly as of late due to the cheap fees and fast transactions while Ethereum is experiencing significant network congestion and extremely expensive transacting.
Doge is a inflationary coin created with the intent to be fun and accessible to everyone. It’s a fork of the bitcoin code with changes alowing faster blocktimes and infinite coin issuance. Its mostly traded as a meme and for fun but recent interest form Elon Musk has made other look to it as an investment. The code is not well-maintained, at least it hadn’t been for many years, this may change, but Dogecoin remains highly speculative and not a sound long term investment.
“Blockchain for stablecoins and synthetic assets that has significant adoption in Asia.”
Terra is as a digital, decentralized financial institution. It has its own kind of central reserve. Its customers can earn interest on their assets, spend them through its payment system, and even invest in synthetic stocks. One of its major advantages is its significant adoption and infrastructure in certain markets. A payments platform known as ‘Chai’ is allowing around 2.3 million users to transact the Korean Won stablecoin (KRT) with thousands of merchants, including Nike Korea.
“The internet of blockchains.”
Cosmos is a competitor to solutions like Polkadot. Its founders have dubbed it the “internet of blockchains” because its aim is to solve the problem of interoperability between blockchains. It focuses on developer adoption by providing them a great amount of tools to quickly build and deploy their own blockchains. Atom is blockchains native coin powering the platform. Terra and Crypto.com and blockchains built on top of it.
“The Bitcoin testnet; the Digital silver to Bitcoin’s digital gold.”
Based on Bitcoin’s codebase (a code fork), the code differs by having faster blocktimes and 4x the supply of coins (84 million). It’s been around since 2011 and is mostly seen as a younger brother to Bitcoin and a testnet, meaning features for Bitcoin could be added on the blockchain first and observed for issues prior to adding on Bitcoin.