1. Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment system.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property. This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middleman or counterparty risk.
3. Ripples (XRP)
Ripple connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporates via RippleNet to provide one frictionless experience to send money globally. Built on the most advanced blockchain technology that is scalable, secure and interoperates different networks. Ripples provides optional access to the world’s fastest and most scalable digital asset for payments, XRP. Banks, payment providers and digital asset exchanges process and provide liquidity for payments on RippleNet, creating new, competitive cross-border payments services for their customers.
4. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash brings sound money to the world, fulfilling the original promise of Bitcoin as “Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash”. Merchants and users are empowered with low fees and reliable confirmations. The future shines brightly with unrestricted growth, global adoption, permissionless innovation, and decentralized development. All Bitcoin holders as of block 478558 are also owners of Bitcoin Cash. All are welcome to join the Bitcoin Cash community as we move forward in creating sound money accessible to the whole world.
6. Litecoin (LTC)
Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet currency that enables instant payments to anyone in the world. It is based on the Bitcoin protocol but differs from Bitcoin in that it can be efficiently mined with consumer-grade hardware. Litecoin provides faster transaction confirmations (2.5 minutes on average) and uses a memory-hard, scrypt-based mining proof-of-work algorithm to target the regular computers with GPUs most people already have. The Litecoin network is scheduled to produce 84 million currency units. One of the aims of Litecoin was to provide a mining algorithm that could run at the same time, on the same hardware used to mine Bitcoins. With the rise of specialized ASICs for Bitcoin, Litecoin continues to satisfy these goals. It is unlikely for ASIC mining to be developed for Litecoin until the currency becomes more widely used.
8. Dash (DSH)
Dash is a cryptocurrency previously known as Darkcoin or XCoin. It uses a coin-mixing service called Darksend that prevents transactions from being traced and adds privacy to the network. Quick confirmation makes Dash payments an effective way to send money worldwide. Two-Tier network opens new possibilities to integrate various services unavailable for other currencies. At Dash’s core is a unique fully-incentivized peer-to-peer network. Miners are rewarded for securing the blockchain and masternodes are rewarded for validating, storing and serving the blockchain to users.
10. Stellar (XLM)
Lumens are the ‘native assets’ of the Stellar network. Stellar is a somewhat different blockchain protocol than other cryptocurrencies, and often . Like XRP, Lumens are digital tokens designed to help dissolve inefficiencies among financial institutions and consumers. Getting into the technology behind Stellar would take an article unto itself (like this piece in CoinCentral). In the meantime, the best way to start conceptualizing Stellar is to imagine how Venmo works today. You upload money and have access to it right away. When you transfer it, you do so easily and instantly (and pending it’s through your debit card, free). If Stellar succeeds, it will create a similar system, but on a global scale—and for larger bodies like banks and corporations.
9. Monero (XMR)
Monero is a secure, private, and untraceable cryptocurrency. It is open-source and accessible to all. With Monero, you are your own bank. Only you control and are responsible for your funds. Your accounts and transactions are kept private from prying eyes. Monero is a decentralized cryptocurrency, meaning it is secure digital cash operated by a network of users. Transactions are confirmed by distributed consensus and then immutably recorded on the blockchain. Third-parties do not need to be trusted to keep your Monero safe. Monero uses ring signatures, ring confidential transactions, and stealth addresses to obfuscate the origins, amounts, and destinations of all transactions. Monero provides all the benefits of a decentralized cryptocurrency, without any of the typical privacy concessions.