6 important cryptocurrencies of today
Today, cryptocurrency has become a global phenomenon. There’s at least some news each day on cryptocurrency. Many people are awe by it, some fear it, and others are confusing about what it is. Nonetheless, it is gaining traction, and governments are realising that it’s important. But, beyond the talks and news reports, most people are unaware of what a cryptocurrency is. When talking about cryptocurrency, many people associate it with bitcoins. Yes, bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency. But, bitcoin was not invented to become one. It is term as an electronic cash system, which is decentralising. And, cryptocurrency is not limited to that.
A cryptocurrency is nothing but a virtual currency. Unlike the regular paper currency, these digital currencies are not tangible. They are simply a set of entries in an electronic database that no one can change without fulfilling certain requirements. They are mined (created in normal terms) electronically and used electronically. Today, there are a number of virtual currencies invent at different times to make transacting easier for people. Here is a top cryptocurrency list as of today.
Everyone’s heard of bitcoins. Since it is the primary reason behind everyone talking about cryptocurrency, it had to be on the top of the list. Bitcoin is the first usable cryptocurrency and is based on a technology called blockchain. The blockchain is a vast public distributed ledger where transactions are recorded and stored in the form of blocks. The system is decentralised, which means no government or authority controls it. And, the verified transactions cannot be reverse nor delete. This digital system or bitcoins was design to eliminate intermediaries and frauds and facilitate speedy transactions. It started at US$1.00, and since then its prices have been soaring. In fact, the currency almost touched the US$14K mark in December 2017. While it is yet not legal in many countries, it is here to stay, at least for now.
Created by Charlie Lee, an MIT graduate, and a former Google engineer, Litecoin was launching in 2011. It is one among the first cryptocurrencies that came after bitcoin and was often referred to as the silver to bitcoin’s gold. Today, its value may not be as high as the other digital currencies, but is still an important one to be considered. Litecoin is similar to bitcoin in most ways. It is based on an open source global payment network and uses an auditing system called ‘scrypt’. There are also certain differences between the two digital currencies. Litecoin has a faster block generation rate and quick confirmation system as compared to bitcoin.
The next on the top cryptocurrency list is Ethereum. Launched in 2015, Ethereum is the brainchild of Vitalik Buterin and is the second most important cryptocurrencies of today. Currently, the value of Ethereum is around US$748. This virtual currency also works on the blockchain, but with some differences. Its blockchain not only verifies accounts but also runs smart contracts and decentralised applications without the intervention of a third party. It not only processes transactions, but also contracts and programs. The developers have split Ethereum into Ethereum and Ethereum Classic following the hacking of one of the smart contracts based on Ethereum.
Released in 2012, Ripple is a global settlement network that enables its clients to carry out cross-border transactions instantly and at a low cost. What makes it different from bitcoins and other digital currencies is that the verification system doesn’t need mining. XRP is the native currency of the Ripple network. While users of Ripple are not requiring using XRP as a medium of exchange, each account must have some reserve of this currency. Ripple developers believe that value distribution can promote certain good market behaviours. And, thus, currently the developers distribute XRP only at will. Because of its nature, many people don’t consider Ripple as a cryptocurrency. But, banks and financial institutions (being Ripple’s clients) seem to like it.
One of the new kids on the block, Zcash is a cryptocurrency based on a decentralised and open source network. It was launching in 2016. Unlike bitcoin, which offers a standard format of transacting, Zcash offers the option of shield transactions to its users. This feature allows some content to be encrypted using an advanced technique called a zk-SNARK. With this enhance privacy feature can hide details like the sender, recipient, and the amount when the transactions are record on the blockchain. No doubt, its developers define Zcash as the https of money.
Dash, a portmanteau of Digital Cash, was developed by Evan Duffield. It was launched in 2014 and was originally called darkcoin. The currency was developed with the motive to improve bitcoin and has a unique functionality. The system works on a decentralised mastercode platform, which makes transactions almost untraceable. It’s unique and improved features like InstaSend and PrivateSend, which allows instant transactions and private activity, has helped the currency gain appreciation from people since its launch. You can mine Dash using CPU and GPU. It is among the widely accept currencies in the world with several merchants accepting it as payment.
So, here was the top cryptocurrency list as of today. While these were some, there are many more that are already develop, and one can expect more innovation in the future. For now, they are anticipating as the money of the future, but how these fare, let’s wait and watch.
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