2020 will be remembered for many things in the years to come, but one of the things it may be remembered for – aside from the glaringly obvious issue – is as the year that cryptocurrency went mainstream. 2020 is the year that Facebook tried to create its own cryptocurrency – albeit not yet with any great success. 2020 is the year that cryptocurrency found itself being debated in the US Senate. As the world slowly moves away from cash – a process that’s being accelerated by the current global climate – cryptocurrency is beginning to look more and more like the way a lot of people will be paying for everyday items ten years from now.
Of the many and varied cryptocurrencies available, Bitcoin is the most ‘mainstream’ of them all. It’s possible to buy your goods using Bitcoin at several major online retailers. Several online slots websites like Dove Casino now also allow players to place their wagers using Bitcoin. In a few cases, it’s even possible to withdraw your winnings from those online slots using Bitcoin. There are obviously other measures we could look at to ascertain how widespread the usage of a cryptocurrency is, but we think that if we’ve reached a point where Bitcoin can pay for something as common and trivial as online slots, it’s ready to be used for anything.
Cryptocurrency isn’t all about Bitcoin, though. There are several other coins and currencies to consider, and some of them may one day go on to wrest away Bitcoin’s crown as King of the crypto world. We would name dozens, but here are just five that we believe are especially worthy of your attention if you’re considering dabbling in the crypto market.
Litecoin isn’t exactly a new kid on the block. It’s been around since 2011 and has spent much of that time flying below the radar despite some impressive return rates and performances during its nine years of existence to date. The most recent market capitalization figures available give it a figure of $8 billion. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. To give you a sense of how rapidly its value is increasing, the coin was worth four dollars at the start of 2017. By the end of the same year, it had reached $350. Like all cryptocurrencies, it’s been up and down a few times since then, but by the start of September 2020, it had settled at a value of $145, up from $120 at the start of the year. It’s stood the test of time, and it’s showing signs of becoming increasingly stable and dependable – which is exactly what you want in a crypto.
The name “DASH” might not mean a lot to you, but if you follow crypto, you may have come across it under one of its previous names. When it was born in 2014, it was called “Xcoin,” and attracted a lot of press attention. That name only lasted a few months before it changed to the cringeworthy “Darkcoin,” and then changed again in 2015 to become “DASH.” It’s stayed that way ever since. We mention DASH after Litecoin because Litecoin is actually where DASH came from – it was forked from Litecoin and struggled for two years before beginning to increase in value as of 2016. By the end of 2017, it hit a dizzying $1540. As if that weren’t enough to persuade you to take a closer look at it, it also masks the public address of the sender and receiver and processes transactions faster than Bitcoin. Those are two big advantages without any known drawbacks.
You’ve probably heard of Ethereum (and more on that later), but one of the key people involved in the creation of Etherum was Charles Hoskinson. In 2017 Charles abandoned his creation and founded Cardano. That alone ought to make it noteworthy – Charles clearly knows what he’s doing, and if he’s succeeded with one cryptocurrency, he can succeed with two. What might make it particularly attractive to long-term investors is its slow-but-solid growth. It was twenty cents per coin at launch, growing to $1.20 within its first three months. Those are small amounts, but it’s a return of 500% to investors. If you’d bought a lot of it at launch, you’d be delighted with your late Christmas bonus if you’d decided to sell it. One of Hoskinson’s aims is to reduce the international transfer time of Cardano down from the 2-3 days that are standard for crypto to a few short minutes. If he can do that, this currency ought to blow up fast.
NEO is the biggest cryptocurrency ever to come from China. It’s so similar to Ethereum that some investors refer to it as “Chinese Ethereum,” but that’s not totally fair. The currencies have a lot in common, but there’s enough that’s unique about NEO to make it distinct and desirable. For a start, Ethereum’s maximum transaction speed is fifteen per second. NEO can handle upward of ten thousand. It’s also open to almost any form of coding, whereas Ethereum is limited to Solidity. It might look, feel, and act like Ethereum, but it’s faster and more versatile. It’s also profitable. The coin is worth about $80 today – double its 2018 value, and massively higher than its value from 12 months earlier, which was just a few cents. NEO is thought to be backed by the Chinese government. Whether you view that as a positive or a negative is probably down to your politics.
There’s no way we could do an article about Bitcoin alternatives without mentioning Ethereum. It might have suffered from a spectacular nosedive in price in 2018, which damaged its reputation, but it’s recovered admirably since then and remains second only to Bitcoin in the crypto popularity stakes. Before the crash, it was worth $1389. By April 2018, it had fallen to $396. Today, it’s worth $650. All coins will rise and fall in value, but the ones that hold on and recover are the ones you should consider spending your money on. That makes Ethereum a solid bet. It’s resilient, it’s popular, and it’s starting to become accepted in most of the places Bitcoin is accepted. If there’s going to be another ‘breakout’ cryptocurrency, Ethereum is the one most likely to do it.
Please don’t make investment decisions without consulting a professional. We’re here to provide information only; we’re not your financial advisers, and we would never pretend to be! All we aim to do is make you aware of a few options, and we hope that this article has done exactly that.