All news sources today are discussing cryptocurrencies, fluctuations of Bitcoin rate are discussed as actively as the dollar rate in the 90’s. Why did this topic become interesting to everyone and what do you need to know in order to understand what is it about?
Everything at once as it happens for the first time. Even the Hollywood stars once appeared in the movies for the first time in their lives and, believe me, it was not always a mind-blowing debut. The same thing happened with cryptocurrencies. Just at some point a certain number of people decided that Bitcoin is still a currency, even though it is electronic.
Really, why not? In different periods of development of human history, feathers of birds, shells, huge stones, and various metals acted as means of indirect exchange. In order to become a currency, items had to satisfy a certain set of criteria: ease of movement in space, divisibility, wear resistance, and constant value. Bitcoin satisfies these conditions, clearly not worse than most of the fiat currencies.
Before moving on to the stated topic, it is worthwhile to say a few words about why cryptocurrencies originated at all. First of all, it happened due to embitterment of the traditional banking system, which is more and more like a greedy pawnbroker than a convenient service. Cryptocurrencies are an attempt to get rid of mediators in financial relations while simultaneously bringing them to a new level of speed and security.
Why have the cryptocurrencies still have yet to acquire a complete and unconditional victory? Firstly, because of their short period of existence, and secondly, no matter how strange it may sound, because of the rapid growth of interest in them. Everybody will agree that it is very difficult to use something as a means of settlement, the value of which is constantly increasing at a high pace.
The problem could be solved with a help of the so-called stable coins, tied to either the value of the currency or the raw materials (oil or gold), but they have not yet been widely disseminated. Why? At least, due their creators, in an attempt to tie the value of coins to anything, violated the principle of distribution and independence. Is there at least one reason to trust a project that issues coins, aquires a certain amount of gold in order to raise money and, frankly speaking, puts it in the safe of the project manager? Of course, not. However, all of the above does not negate the fact that the number of stable coins is gradually growing and they do not stop trying to find the right recipe for combining the distribution and stability. There are projects tied to the dollar, to oil, to gold (OneGram) and even to computing power (SONM). Though there is reason to believe that the most promising is integration of blockchain into the real estate sphere.
At this point, the opening speech can be considered complete. Now we turn to the main cryptocurrencies of our time and, of course, start with Bitcoin. We will discuss it more than all the alternatives, because it was the first, and so far has no competitors in popularity, in terms of capitalization, or at a exchange rate. Even despite the fact that Bitcoin has a number of obvious drawbacks: it is very difficult to mine, it requires a lot of storage space, it is slow, heavily scalable, it provides expensive transactions, and cryptography is vulnerable. Again, it is completely unclear what will happen after the maximum number of Bitcoin (21 million) is mined. At the moment there are almost 17 million of them. Seems like the day X will come in the middle of next year and the most likely the scenario will be the launch of a new version of the Bitcoin network. Who will still need an old one and how will its rate react?
While Bitcoin is preparing for the most important event in its period of existence, dozens of other ambitious projects continue to grow and tirelessly develop, the main one being Ethereum. Yes, it inherited almost all Bitcoin drawbacks, but at the same time, it still surpasses it in many ways, such as the speed of updating and the possibility of creating smart contracts, which makes the currency extremely popular in carrying out numerous ICO.
Next in line, Ripple. This project is interesting in its idea. Its developers have set out to create a new payment system capable of working with all currencies of the world. The project was interesting to the banking community, with its support, while depriving a number of advantages to classical cryptocurrency. Ripple is not decentralized and its operations are not 100 percent transparent, which for the banking sector, in principle, is the norm.
Following, Litecoin. In fact, this is a complete analog of Bitcoin, in which they conducted a very serious work on the errors. It is practically in all respects better than the original version, but it has one significant drawback: it was the second one and on this alone can not be considered more serious than the investment diversification tool.
Next, Ethereum Classic was created after the Ethereum hardfork, in the moment it costs even more than the ETH, but does not have the same credibility.
Moreover, Dash and NEM. The first one states full decentralization and anonymity of Transactions as its main advantage, the second is mainly traded in Japan, where cryptocurrencies have already been legalized.
Moving to, IOTA. It is considered to be a cryptocurrency innovation in the world, although it appeared five years ago. Frankly speaking, it is rather difficult to say why now it has received an avalanche-like growth in demand, but the fact remains the same: IOTA occupies strong positions in the TOP-10 world’s cryptocurrency.
Monero. This project is not limited in terms of emissions, but transactions take up even more space than Bitcoin ones. In addition, this project clearly traces back to Russia, which for a number of investors may be the reason for the refusal of working with it.
Next, EOS. Its developers have created a new programming language, and now on its basis a new operating system is created. The goal of the project is incredibly ambitious – to transfer all databases, as well as all network programming to blockchain.
BitShares. A very useful tool that allows you to forget about the large losses during conversion. In fact, BitShares is used as the currency for collecting commissions for a transaction in fiat currency.
On to, Waves. A very ambitious project with extremely aggressive marketing, physically a platform for crowdfunding, but nevertheless, deprived of guarantees for a promising future.
Following, Bancor. This is the exchange based on Ethereum platform, where everything is regulated by smart contracts. The uniqueness of Bancor lies in the fact that it introduced derivatives into the blockchain, which nobody did before it.
Additionally, Decred. Fast, cheap in transactions, and loved by miners.
Final on the list, Aragon. An attempt to build an effective business on unsteady soil of predicting events. No one can say for now, what will come out of it, but if, after all, Netflix managed to do it, then why is Aragon not able to?