Cryptocurrencies have certainly made a splash in 2017, as well as 2018, and 2019 is expected to be no different. These types of currencies made headlines all around the world when prices for the Bitcoin (for example) increased exponentially and then fell dramatically in April 2018.
Cryptocurrencies can certainly be a good investment if you are smart with your money and know when to buy and when to sell. There are a lot of different moving parts when it comes to cryptocurrencies and it is important you conduct proper research before investing.
As you probably witnessed in 2017 and 2018, things can change very fast in the world of cryptocurrencies and you have the potential to either make or lose a sizable chunk of money. Your success in cryptocurrency investment all comes down to your level of research and knowledge about the history of the currency you will be investing in.
The fact of the matter is that there are a large number of different cryptocurrencies out in the world, but certainly not all of them are worth your resources. It is important that you start off with getting a basic understanding of the top 10 cryptocurrencies, the advantages and disadvantages of each, then choosing the few that you want to research further.
The top 10 cryptocurrencies available for you to invest in:
Cryptocurrency #1: Bitcoin
Bitcoin is probably one of the most well known crypto currencies, and there is certainly a reason for that. Bitcoin was the first ever crypto currency, being created in 2008 and no one actually knows who created it! This crypto currency is based of ledger technology called “blockchain”.
According to Block8, bitcoin removes the need for institutions like credit card businesses and banks to become involved as intermediaries, when making payments over the internet. This means you can send a payment of a Bitcoin directly to someone. There was also a time where you could purchase a home with Bitcoins.
No one controls or even owns Bitcoin and no matter who you are you can take part in investing. Bitcoin boasts fast person to person transactions, low processing fees as well as worldwide payments. They take security very seriously and you should certainly read more about how you can secure your “digital wallet”.
One of the main disadvantages of Bitcoin, like almost all other cryptocurrencies, is that the price is quite volatile. If you choose to invest in Bitcoin, it should certainly be seen as a high risk asset and should be monitored very closely. If you are not one to take big risks when investing, then Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investment in general is probably not for you.
Due to the young economy, the price of Bitcoin can change dramatically and quickly. Therefore is it not recommended that you keep your savings with this crypto currency. As well as this, a Bitcoin payment cannot be reversed. So make sure you double check when making a transaction.
Even though Bitcoin is not an official currency, you may still have to pay taxes on the money you earn while investing. Different countries and governments have varying rules and regulations when it comes to this, so you’ll need to be aware of the laws in your home country.
There have been lots of improvements in Bitcoin over the past few years, but the crypto currency as a while is still experimental. Bitcoin themselves admit to growing pains, so it is recommended that you consult a technical expert before making any large investments.
While Bitcoin (and a lot of other cryptocurrencies) is a high risk investment, is can also be high reward, if you do your research and invest the right amount at the right time. As explained in the introduction, things change quickly in cryptocurrency, so you will always have to be on your toes.
Cryptocurrency #2: Ethereum
After Bitcoin, Ethereum is the second most valued cryptocurrency and it was established in 2015. There is more to Ethereum then just cryptocurrency, it is also a platform to assist the creation of decentralised apps. Ether is the actual cryptocurrency that is used here.
The reason for Ethereum and the applications created is to ensure that there is no censorship, downtime or external intrusion. The apps created are run through “blockchain” (as is the case with Bitcoin), which allows the developer to move funds, create markets, etc. without the need for a middle man.
One of the unique things about Ethereum is that you can create your own digital token, which has the ability to be used as a currency. You can also choose the limit of tokens you want to be in circulation; it can be a fixed amount or even fluctuate.
This platform is popular for building small contacts without the need for a third party. As well as this, the transaction speed is a lot faster than that of Bitcoin, only taking a few seconds, which means less waiting around for you!
If you want to get involved in Ethereum, there is only one coding language supported, Solidity. So if you do not know this language then it represents a significant barrier. As well as this, Ethereum is facing some issues of scalability, but they are currently investigating ways in which they can resolve this issue.
Cryptocurrency #3: Bitcoin Cash
As the name suggests, Bitcoin Cash originated from Bitcoin. Bitcoin forked into two, with the introduction of Bitcoin Cash in 2016. The reason that Bitcoin cash was created was to resolve some of the growing pain issues Bitcoin was facing, including transaction fees and scalability.
Bitcoin Cash works to fulfill the promise given by Bitcoin itself as a peer-to-peer electronic cash. They work to provide a reliable, fast service that offers low fees. To receive Bitcoin Cash, you will need to have a digital wallet. The good news is that most wallets are free to download and very easy to use.
The easiest way to obtain Bitcoin Cash is to work for or buy it. To purchase Bitcoin Cash you will need to sign up for the Bitcoin exchange and then deposit some funds. Bitcoin Cash is meant to be spent, so it should be nice to hear that transaction fees a low and the speed in which it take place is a lot faster than your standard Bitcoin.
Also, as a business you can accept Bitcoin Cash as payment. More and more business are using Bitcoin Cash because of those low transaction fees and fast payment. Businesses can also easily transfer the cryptocurrency into normal currency.
Cryptocurrency #4: Ripple
Ripple is slightly different to Bitcoin and Ethereum, as its primary focus is on solving issues in relation to international payment transfers. Established in 2012, the aim of Ripple is to ensure international transactions are inexpensive and fast.
Half of the cryptocurrency is owned by Ripple, which is very different to the way almost all of the other cryptocurrencies operate. Usually, not one single party owns a bulk of a currency.
One of the great advantages of this cryptocurrency is the speed of international transfers. Where your typical international transfer of funds can take up to a week to be finalised, a transfer of Ripple currency takes just a few seconds.
As well as this, if you compare the transaction fees of Ripple to other well-known crypto currencies, they are the lowest. The Ripple transaction fee is just $0.0004, with the next lowest fee being Bitcoin Cash at $0.26.
Ripple is also being used in the real world with ties to companies such as Santander as well as American Express. As a whole, Ripple is clear and easy to understand and they deliver targeted solutions to the issue of international payments.
However, compared to other cryptocurrencies, Ripple is quite centralised, whereas the whole purpose of cryptocurrencies was to decentralise. Financial institutions and banks are Ripple’s largest users.
Cryptocurrency #5: Litecoin
Litecoin is known as the little brother of Bitcoin. Created in 2011 by an ex-Google employee, it was built on the same blockchain as Bitcoin. The purpose of Litecoin was to improve the blockchain.
Litecoin acts in a very similar way to that of Bitcoin, i.e. it is a digital currency. It is also completely decentralised and there is no involvement from an outside third party, like a bank.
Even though it is not as big at Bitcoin, is has still been around for a while (in crypto currency terms) and therefore is certainly a currency you should consider investing in. Litecoin transactions are faster than Bitcoin, taking about 2.5 minutes and the fees are lower as well.
Litecoin, however, is very similar to other cryptocurrency brands out there, with nothing really to differentiate themselves. So you could be better off investing in another crypto currency brand that meets more of your individual needs.
Cryptocurrency #6: Stellar
Stellar was established in 2014, by the founder of Ripple, like with Bitcoin where it forked and created Bitcoin Cash, Ripple has also forked and created Stellar. The focus of Stellar is to ensure that making international payments as secure and quick as possible.
Stellar has also created the Stellar Development Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation that wants to provide low cost financial services to help fight against poverty as well as ensure each individual maximises their own potential.
One of the great benefits of Stellar is that it is even more decentralised then Ripples, as well as the fact it is a non-profit instills more trust into the brand. They even have partnerships with a number of different banks as well as organisations like IBM.
However, the competition in this type of cryptocurrency is quite fierce and you need to understand the potential impacts this could have on your investments. The international payments space in getting very crowded, very quickly.
Cryptocurrency #7: Cardano
Cardano was created by the co-founder of Ethereum in 2017. This crypto currency was also developed to act as a platform for decentralised apps as well as smart contracts. The main difference between Cardano and Ethereum is the technological advancements made by the Cardano team.
The blockchain technology used within Cardano is the most advanced generation so far. They boast that they are the first blockchain platform to evolve from a primarily scientific and research driven approach. Their team is filled with expert researchers and engineers that ensure they are always at the top of their game.
Cardano is also more scalable than that of their crypto currency counterpart, Ethereum. They have the ability to allow for over 250 transactions per second.
As well as this, Cardano is looking for ways to allow for interaction between different crypto currencies more seamlessly. However, there is a lot of competition in this area and it is still too soon to tell where they can be successful long term.
Cryptocurrency #8: NEO
NEO is a Chinese based crypto currency created in 2014, it was originally called AntShares until 2017 when it was rebranded. NEO is quite similar to Ethereum (therefore adding even more competition to the market), and many refer to NEO as the “Chinese Ethereum”.
This crypto currency is also a blockchain platform and helps with the development of launching ICOs as well as smart contracts. NEO is a non-profit organisation and works towards to digitisation of assets using smart contracts. By using a distributed network, NEO’s goal is to help create a Smart Economy.
Their developer community are all highly active and are all working with this ultimate goal in mind. As well as this, NEO has the ability to complete about 10,000 transactions per second, which is exponentially higher than that of Ethereum.
NEO also supports multiple programming languages, whereas Ethereum only supports the one. Probably most importantly, NEO seems to have the support of the Chinese government. We all know just how influential China is on the rest of the world, so when it’s own government supports this business, it can only mean good things!
Cryptocurrency #9: EOS
Even though there is yet to be an official platform for EOS, it is still widely known to be one of the most popular crypto currencies in the world. The EOS token was established through an ICO in 2017 and the platform was scheduled to be live in 2018. EOS is expected to be a main competitor of both Ethereum and NEO.
EOS is currently producing a platform for developers right around the world to build decentralised smart contracts and applications. They are aiming to vastly improve the technology currently available in this area today.
This crypto currency is also expected to be a lot more scalable than Ethereum due to the new technology being used, and they also support more than one coding language. However, the biggest issue is that the platform is still yet to be launched, so there is no way of knowing how it will perform once live.
Cryptocurrency #10: IOTA
IOTA was established in 2015 and is probably one of the most unique cryptocurrencies on this list as it is the only one to use “tangle” instead of blockchain technology. IOTA has a focus on ensuring the Internet-of-Things technology is a more secure, scalable and seamless place.
There is currently a $0 transaction fee of this cryptocurrency, which is probably one of the biggest advantages and there is also little to no scalability issues. However, IOTA is reliant on the Internet-of-Things industry being successful, and there has been a recent security issue found with tangle. This gives you something to think about before investing in IOTA.
Rebecca is a writer and an editor at ‘Best in Australia‘ who has written on a range of topics. She is enthusiastic and passionate with an interest in food, health, entertainment and politics. She is the editor responsible for our health section.