In the last few months, the world has seen the greatest boom in cryptocurrencies. Moreover, the price of Bitcoin increased more than it ever has before. But did you know that Bitcoin is not the most traded cryptocurrency? Yes, you heard it right. According to the 2021 Statista report, the most traded cryptocurrency in the whole world is Tether (based on one-day trading volume). Further, you might have never heard of it.
That’s why we have developed today’s article that runs down the top 10 most important and highly traded cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. Before jumping into that, let’s first discuss what exactly a cryptocurrency is.
What is Cryptocurrency?
By definition, cryptocurrency is digital or virtual money that comes in the form of virtual coins or tokens. However, some of the cryptocurrencies also have a physical form, but most of them are still exclusively virtual and will remain as such. The most important thing about the concept of all cryptocurrencies is decentralization. In simple words, it means that there is no single centralized authority that controls the cryptocurrency system.
Most people think of Bitcoin whenever they hear the word cryptocurrency. But the fact of the matter is that there are also some cryptocurrencies that offer more impressive and advanced features that even Bitcoin doesn’t have.
Below is the list of 10 of the most important cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. Here are some key points about cryptocurrency.
- Cryptocurrency is the type of virtual money that exists on a decentralized or distributed network in the form of coins or tokens.
- Cryptocurrency is believed to be the currency of the future
- Some of the new cryptocurrencies offer better functionality compared to Bitcoin
1. ETH – Ethereum
Basically, Ethereum itself is not just a cryptocurrency. In fact, it’s a decentralized platform that offers decentralized applications and smart contracts. It also has its own cryptocurrency called Ether, which is used as the standard currency on this platform if you want to make transactions. It’s undoubtedly the first and the best alternative to Bitcoin. Ether works like a vehicle that moves around the whole platforms and allows people to carry out transactions.
Ethereum was launched back in 2015, and in that short period of time, it has secured its position as the second-best and second-largest cryptocurrency in the world. However, it’s still a ways back compared to Bitcoin when it comes to the value and market cap. That’s because it’s estimated that the market cap is about 19 percent of the size of the Bitcoin market cap.
The Ethereum platform claims that people can use it to trade anything, secure, decentralized, and codify as desired. Recently it has been announced that the officials at Ethereum are planning to shift its consensus algorithm to a proof of stake model from a proof of work model.
This will help the platform in so many different ways. Not only will it provide the users with a faster transaction speed, but it will also help the platform to consume substantially less energy. That’s because the proof of stake algorithm allows the users to contribute their Ether to the platform. It allows the network to process all the occurring transactions by securing the network. This algorithm is a good alternative to the proof of work algorithm of Bitcoin that rewards the miners with more Bitcoins on processing the transactions.
2. USDC – USD Coin
USDC or USD Coin is a comparatively new cryptocurrency, and unlike most of the players, it’s a stable coin. It was launched back in September 2018, and it’s attached to the US dollar. Just like some other cryptocurrencies such as TUSD (TrueUSD) or USDT (Tether), it’s yet another alternate cryptocurrency to USD. It was developed with the purpose to facilitate users’ ability to tokenize US dollars on the online public blockchains. Moreover, you can convert your USD coins to US dollars anytime you want. It allows the users to move their US dollars within minutes around the world on any blockchain by providing the cryptocurrencies the always needed stability.
USD Coin brings countless new opportunities for risk hedging, lending, trading, and much more. The current market capitalization of USDC is well over six billion US dollars.
3. BCH – Bitcoin Cash
Bitcoin Cash is one of the most successful cryptocurrencies. Basically, it’s the original Bitcoin’s hard fork (a hard fork takes place during a split between miners and developers) and offers some better features as compared to the original Bitcoin.
Sometimes because of the conflict among miners and developers, the cryptocurrency is split. In such a case, the original cryptocurrency remains the same, but the new version has some changes compared to the original one.
Bitcoin Cash is the result of one of such splitting situations and was launched back in 2017. Bitcoin Cash increased the size of the blocks (from one MB to eight MB) to deal with the scalability problem, which was the main factor why it was created. The size was increased to make sure that a single (but larger) block can have higher transaction speed and hold more transactions easily. BCH also offers a low transaction fee as compared to Bitcoin and resides in the list of top 10 cryptocurrencies in the whole world. According to the January 2021 stats, the market capitalization of Bitcoin Cash was about 9 billion US dollars.
4. LTC – Litecoin
Litecoin is one of the first cryptocurrencies that was launched after Bitcoin in 2011, following the same footsteps. It’s an open-source payment network that follows the same decentralized concept, and it’s also known as “silver to Bitcoin’s gold.”
Just like most cryptocurrencies, you can mine Litecoin using a consumer-grade CPU because it doesn’t need industrial-grade power. It uses “Scrypt” as its proof of work system and offers functionality that is very similar to Bitcoin in multiple ways. It offers a quicker confirmation time on transactions because its block generation rate is considered very fast.
Other than developers and people who dedicatedly deal in cryptocurrencies, many online stores also accept Litecoin. Currently it is ranked as the sixth-largest cryptocurrency on the planet.
5. DAI – Dai
Just like USDC, Dai is yet another Stablecoin that was developed by MKR (MakerDao). It also has the same one-to-one ratio with the US dollar, and the idea is to always keep this ratio the same until it’s taken out of circulation. It retains its stable value in a rather interesting and clever way as it shifts according to the changes happening in the market. Then, it maintains its stable price accordingly. This process is carried out on the Maker network along with smart contracts, MKR tokens, and some other stabilization methods.
The DAI project runs entirely on the Ethereum blockchain network, which means that it cannot be censored or shut down by any external force or institution.
6. ADA – Cardano
This cryptocurrency was developed on the basis of research by crypto experts, mathematicians, and engineers. It uses a secure proof of stake protocol, which is called Ouroboros. The unique thing about this project is that it was launched after extensive research work, so much so that the researchers of this project have published over 90 research papers on blockchain protocol.
That’s why Cardano stands out among most cryptocurrencies with proof of work algorithms. Some crypto experts also consider Cardano as Ethereum Killer because its blockchain is much more capable. The reason why it’s still not skyrocketing is that it’s still in the early stages, and it needs more time to offer better decentralized financial applications. That’s because the platform aims to be the best in the whole world, and for that, it’s also developing solutions such as legal contract trading, voter fraud, chain interoperability, and more. Currently, the market cap of Cardano is about 10 billion US dollars.
7. DOT – Polkadot
Polkadot is yet another cryptocurrency based on proof of stake algorithm, and it was created by one of Ethereum’s core founders. It aims to offer blockchain interoperability. The protocol of this cryptocurrency is specially developed to connect permission-less and permission-granted blockchains. It is also designed to connect to oracles in order to enable the whole system to work collaboratively under a single umbrella.
The core component of Polkadot is a relay chain that makes varying networks interoperable. The functionality of Polkadot goes one step further as compared to Ethereum as it allows the developers to come up with their own blockchain. It also will use the same security protocol that the platform already offers. That feature is not possible with Ethereum, as the developers also need to have their own security as well. This feature of Polkadot is called shared security. The current market cap of Polkadot is about 11 billion US dollars according to starts from January 2021.
8. USDT – Tether
Tether is one of the earliest Stablecoins. As such, it doesn’t face many fluctuations, and it allows users to convert from other cryptocurrencies easily. It was launched back in 2014 as a blockchain-enabled network, and it was specially designed to allow people to use fiat currencies digitally.
Tether allows the users to make transactions in standard currencies by using a blockchain platform and several related technologies. That way, users don’t need to face any complexity or volatility that usually is the case with most cryptocurrencies. The current market capitalization of Tether is a staggering 30 billion US dollars. That makes it the most traded cryptocurrency (considering daily traded volume) in the whole world.
9. XLM – Stellar
Stellar is specially designed to offer enterprise solutions on an open blockchain network. For that matter, it aims to connect different financial firms to make transactions in a large number. What makes it stand out from the traditional method is that it can carry out a huge number of transactions almost instantaneously, while cost not even a fractional amount of money. This particular functionality offering doesn’t really mean that Stellar is not open to anything else other than enterprise solutions. In fact, anyone can use it as it’s an open blockchain platform.
The native cryptocurrency of Stellar is XLM (Lumens), and if you want to make transactions on this network, you need to hold Lumens. The current market capitalization of Lumens is well over 6 billion US dollars, and just like most of the cryptocurrencies, it’s still increasing.
10. LINK – Chainlink
Chainlink is yet another decentralized network, but it’s based on an oracle that aims to fill the gap between the smart contracts and the outside data. That’s because the blockchain platforms can’t connect to any outside application securely, and Chainlink makes it possible. It has its own cryptocurrency, which is known as LINK that currently values about 30 US dollars. In order to make transactions on Chainlink, LINK is used, and you need to hold them to do so.
The Chainlink blog of explains several use cases regarding this system, such as monitoring illegal siphoning or illegal water supplies. In order to monitor such happenings, sensors can be used. Chainlink oracle has the capacity to monitor this data, and it can also store it in a smart contract. The current market capitalization of Chainlink is about 8.6 billion US dollars
These were the ten most important cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin that you need to know. That’s because many financial experts and crypto critics suggest that it’s the currency of the future, and it seems true enough at it is spreading and increasing its value dramatically. That’s why many online platforms (such as lighting-geek) that are running on a centralized concept have also started accepting money in cryptocurrency.