Most Popular Cryptocurrencies
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Most Popular Cryptocurrencies

Explore the world of cryptocurrencies with our guide to the 12 most popular types. From pioneering Bitcoin to innovative Ethereum and meme-inspired Dogecoin, each offers unique features and opportunities. Whether you're an experienced investor or a curious beginner, discover the diverse cryptocurrency market with us.

Are you fascinated by the world of cryptocurrencies beyond just Bitcoin? If so, you're in for a treat! While Bitcoin might steal the spotlight, cryptocurrencies are vast and diverse, with numerous alternatives, often referred to as " altcoins."

Whether you're a seasoned investor or a curious beginner, understanding the landscape of cryptocurrencies beyond Bitcoin can be enlightening and potentially lucrative.

In this guide, we'll explore the 12 most popular types of cryptocurrencies, shedding light on their unique features, applications, and market dynamics.

1. Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin (BTC) is a digital currency that operates without a central authority. It was introduced in a 2008 whitepaper by someone named Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity remains unknown. The currency went live in January 2009.

Being peer-to-peer, Bitcoin enables direct transactions between users without intermediaries. Satoshi Nakamoto's goal, as stated in the whitepaper, was to facilitate online payments directly between parties, bypassing the need for financial institutions.

While ideas for decentralized electronic currencies existed before Bitcoin, it holds the distinction of being the first to be implemented and used.

Bitcoin's standout feature is being the first-ever cryptocurrency on the market. This led to a worldwide community and kickstarted a whole new industry with millions of people who create, invest in, trade, and use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies every day.

Bitcoin's arrival paved the way for thousands of similar projects. The entire cryptocurrency market, now worth over $2 trillion, follows Bitcoin's idea: money that can be sent and received by anyone, anywhere without banks or financial companies.

Even though other cryptocurrencies have emerged, Bitcoin remains the biggest player. In 2021, its value hit a record high of $69,000 pushing its market cap well above $1 trillion.

2. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum (ETH) is a decentralized blockchain system with its own digital currency called Ether. It serves as a platform for various other cryptocurrencies and for executing smart contracts without a central authority.

Vitalik Buterin introduced Ethereum in a 2013 paper. Funding for the project was secured through an online public crowd sale in 2014, raising $18.3 million in Bitcoin. The price of Ether during the initial offering was $0.311, with over 60 million Ether sold. Considering the current value of Ether, this translates to an impressive annual return on investment of over 270%.

The Ethereum blockchain officially launched on July 30, 2015, known as "Frontier." Since then, there have been several updates, including "Constantinople" in 2019, "Istanbul" later that same year, "Muir Glacier" and "Berlin" in 2020, and the most recent "London" hard fork in 2021.

Ethereum aims to be a global platform for decentralized applications, enabling users worldwide to create and run software that is resistant to censorship, downtime, and fraud.

Ethereum introduced the idea of smart contract platforms on the blockchain. Smart contracts are computer programs that automatically carry out actions needed to fulfill agreements between parties online. They aim to reduce the reliance on trusted middlemen, cutting transaction costs and enhancing reliability.

Ethereum's key innovation was creating a platform for executing smart contracts using the blockchain, which strengthens the advantages of smart contract technology.

Co-founder Gavin Wood described Ethereum's blockchain as a "single computer for the entire planet," capable of making any program more secure, resistant to censorship, and less susceptible to fraud by running it on a globally distributed network of public nodes.

Besides smart contracts, Ethereum's blockchain can host other cryptocurrencies known as "tokens" using its ERC-20 compatibility standard. This has become the primary use for the Ethereum platform, with over 280,000 ERC-20 tokens launched so far.

Some of these tokens, like USDT, LINK, and BNB, rank among the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. Recently, the rise of Play2Earn games has sparked increased interest in the ETH to PHP price.

3. Tether (USDT)

Introduced in 2014, Tether (USDT) is a digital platform that aims to make using regular money online easier. It's built on blockchain technology, which makes traditional currencies work in a modern way. Tether stands out by allowing people to use regular money on the blockchain without dealing with the ups and downs usually linked with digital currencies.

Being the first platform of its kind, Tether has simplified cross-border transactions for everyone by making them more accessible and stable.

USDT's standout feature is its guarantee by Tether to always stay equal to the value of one U.S. dollar. When Tether creates new USDT tokens, it sets aside the same amount of actual dollars in its reserves, ensuring each USDT is fully backed by real money.

Yet, doubts have surfaced over the years about Tether's claims regarding its dollar reserves. Sometimes, these doubts have caused USDT's value to drop, hitting as low as $0.88 at one point. Many are worried because Tether's reserves have never undergone a full audit by an independent third party.

4. Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance, launched in July 2017, is the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume. It aims to make cryptocurrency trading a big part of global finance. The name "Binance" comes from "Binary Finance," symbolizing the new way of doing finance.

Besides being the biggest exchange, Binance offers a whole range of services for its users. These include Binance Chain, Binance Smart Chain, Binance Academy, Trust Wallet, and Research projects. All these use blockchain technology to bring modern finance to everyone. BNB plays a vital role in many of Binance's projects.

Binance is a special network of decentralized, blockchain-based systems. It has become the top crypto exchange in many countries, and its other projects are also getting a lot of attention.

One big advantage of Binance is its focus on growing and improving. Although it started as just a crypto exchange in 2017, Binance now offers a wide range of services. The company wants to be the main provider of infrastructure for the whole blockchain world.

After introducing BNB, the exchange has seen a lot more interest from investors. The value of BNB rose significantly in early 2021, catching the eye of investors.

Changes like BEP-95 have made BNB even more valuable by making it scarcer. With this change, fees on Binance Smart Chain have become even lower, as some of the fees are destroyed to make the network more decentralized. This idea was inspired by Ethereum's EIP-1559.

These improvements have helped Binance deal with problems on BSC, like a big hack of Pancake Bunny and some hacks of Cream Finance. Even with these issues, people keep using Binance because of its low fees and the many interesting coins available there.

5. Solana (SOL)

Solana (SOL) is an open-source project that relies on blockchain technology to offer decentralized finance solutions. It started in 2017 but officially launched in March 2020 by the Solana Foundation, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Solana aims to make it easier to create decentralized apps (DApps) by improving scalability. It does this through a unique hybrid consensus model called proof-of-history (PoH) combined with proof-of-stake (PoS).

This innovative approach has attracted both small traders and big institutions to Solana. The Solana Foundation is committed to making decentralized finance more accessible to everyone.

Solana stands out in the world of cryptocurrencies because of its super-fast processing times. Thanks to its hybrid protocol, transactions and smart contracts are confirmed quickly. This speed has caught the attention of big institutions.

The Solana protocol is designed for both regular users and big businesses. It promises low fees and taxes, along with fast transactions and scalability.

While praised for its speed and performance, Solana has faced challenges such as repeated outages that have affected its price and ambitions.

6. XRP (XRP)

Introduced in 2021, the XRP (XRP) Ledger (XRPL) is an open-source, decentralized technology that anyone can use without needing permission. It offers many advantages, including low costs (just $0.0002 to make a transaction), fast speed (transactions settle in 3-5 seconds), and scalability (handling up to 1,500 transactions per second). Additionally, it's environmentally friendly, being carbon-neutral and energy-efficient.

The XRP Ledger is also home to the first decentralized exchange (DEX) and allows for custom token creation right within the protocol. Since 2012, it has been running smoothly, having completed 70 million ledger closures.

The XRP Ledger offers many ways to use it, especially for payments like small payments, DeFi, and soon, NFTs. It was started in 2012 and is useful for businesses and developers who work with Python, Java, and JavaScript. On the XRP website, developers can find tutorials to help them learn how to use different coding languages, make apps, manage accounts, and more.

In addition to its own coin, XRP, developers use the XRP Ledger to make solutions for problems like sending money and making assets digital. Right now, the main ways people use the XRP Ledger are for payments, making tokens, DeFi, CBDCs, and stablecoins.

7. USD Coin (USDC)

USD Coin USDC is a stablecoin tied to the value of the U.S. dollar at a 1:1 ratio. This means every unit of USDC in circulation is backed by $1 held in reserve, mostly in cash and short-term U.S. Treasury bonds. The Centre consortium, which manages USDC, ensures it is issued by regulated financial institutions.

Launched in September 2018, USDC aims to be "digital money for the digital age," catering to a world where cashless transactions are increasingly common.

USDC has various uses. Besides providing stability for cryptocurrency traders during market fluctuations, it allows businesses to accept payments in digital assets. It also aims to revolutionize sectors like decentralized finance and gaming.

The ultimate goal is to establish an ecosystem where USDC is widely accepted by wallets, exchanges, service providers, and decentralized applications (dApps).

The stablecoin market has gotten more crowded lately, but USDC has worked hard to stand out from the competition.

One way it does this is by being transparent. It promises users that they can always exchange 1 USDC for $1. To make sure this happens, a big accounting firm checks the amount of money held in reserve matches the number of tokens in circulation.

Circle and Coinbase, the companies behind USDC, have made sure to follow all the rules. This has made it easier for them to expand internationally and given the stablecoin a solid foundation.

Unlike USDT, which has been investigated several times, USDC has never been accused of wrongdoing. That's why USDC has been slowly gaining on USDT’s marketcap.

8. Cardano (ADA)

Cardano (ADA) is a special kind of blockchain platform that uses proof-of-stake. It aims to help people who want to make positive changes in the world.

The project's goal is to shift power from big, unaccountable groups to regular people. This would make society safer, more honest, and fairer.

Founded in 2017, Cardano is named after famous thinkers from history: Gerolamo Cardano and Ada Lovelace. The native token, ADA, lets owners help run the network by voting on changes.

Cardano's team believes their technology can be used for many purposes. For example, it can help make decentralized apps and smart contracts in a flexible way.

In August 2021, Charles Hoskinson announced the Alonzo hard fork, which made Cardano's price shoot up by 116% in a month. The Alonzo hard fork, launched on Sept. 12, 2021, brought smart contracts to Cardano. Within 24 hours, over 100 smart contracts were already in use.

People use Cardano for different purposes. For instance, some agricultural companies use it to track fresh food from the farm to the store. Others use it to store educational records safely or fight against fake products.

Cardano is a big blockchain that uses a different way of agreeing on transactions called proof-of-stake. This method uses less energy compared to Bitcoin's proof-of-work.

Cardano is proud of its process. Before any new technology is used, it goes through a review by experts to make sure it's good. This makes the blockchain strong and reliable because problems can be found and fixed early.

9. Avalanche (AVAX)

Avalanche (AVAX) is a blockchain platform that hosts decentralized apps and custom blockchains. It's seen as a competitor to Ethereum and aims to become the top choice for smart contracts. Avalanche can handle up to 6,500 transactions per second without losing scalability.

This is because of Avalanche's special setup. It has three blockchains: X-Chain, C-Chain, and P-Chain. Each one has its job, which is different from how Bitcoin and Ethereum work, where all transactions are checked by all nodes. Avalanche uses different ways for its blockchains to agree on transactions based on what they're used for.

Since launching in 2020, Avalanche has been building its own ecosystem of apps and DeFi. It's also attracting projects from Ethereum, like SushiSwap and TrueUSD. Plus, Avalanche is making it easier for its ecosystem to work with Ethereum through things like bridges.

Avalanche aims to tackle the problem known as the blockchain trilemma, which says that blockchains struggle to be decentralized, secure, and scalable all at once. This often leads to high fees, like what we see on Ethereum.

To fix this, Avalanche created three different blockchains that can work together.

The Exchange Chain (X-Chain) is where you can make and trade AVAX tokens and other assets. These tokens follow rules, like the ones used for ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum. It uses the Avalanche way of agreeing on transactions.

The Contract Chain (C-Chain) is where smart contracts and apps live. It has its own special way of working, similar to Ethereum's system. This lets developers make apps that are like ones made for Ethereum. It also uses the Avalanche way of agreeing on transactions.

The Platform Chain (P-Chain) is in charge of validators, who make sure everything is working right. It also helps with making new parts of the network called subnets. Subnets are groups of validators. Each subnet can help with many blockchains, but each blockchain can only be helped by one subnet. It also uses the Avalanche way of agreeing on transactions.

Having these separate jobs helps Avalanche handle more transactions without giving up on being decentralized. For example, if a private blockchain on Avalanche wants its validators to be spread out in different places or follow certain rules, it can do that.

This also makes it easier for other blockchains to connect with Avalanche. Plus, the different ways each blockchain agrees on transactions help make everything work faster.

10. Dogecoin (DOGE)

Dogecoin (DOGE) is a digital currency that started as a joke, inspired by the "doge" meme. It has a Shiba Inu dog on its logo. It was made by Billy Markus from Portland, Oregon, and Jackson Palmer from Sydney, Australia, in December 2013.

They wanted to create a fun cryptocurrency that would be liked by more people than just Bitcoin fans because it was based on a popular meme about a dog.

Dogecoin owes much of its popularity to Elon Musk. Musk started talking about Dogecoin in early 2021 by posting memes and tweets about it. This got a lot of people excited about Dogecoin, and its price skyrocketed.

11. Tron (TRX)

TRON (TRX) is a decentralized operating system based on blockchain. It was created by the Tron Foundation and started in 2017. At first, TRX tokens were on Ethereum, but later got their own network.

The main idea behind TRON is to give digital content makers more control. TRON wants to let people who like the content pay the creators directly, without a middleman like YouTube or Facebook.

The goal is to make a decentralized web and give developers a way to make dApps, similar to Ethereum. Anyone can make dApps on TRON, share content, and get paid for it. Another advantage of TRON is that there are no fees for transactions, making it easier for people to share content.

TRON also shares its roadmap, showcasing its plans for the future.

12. Chainlink (LINK)

Chainlink (LINK), founded in 2017, acts like a bridge for smart contracts on blockchains. It connects them to the outside world securely. This means smart contracts can use information from the real world to work better.

Chainlink works through a decentralized network called an oracle network. It's made up of different people and groups like data providers, node operators, and developers. They all work together to make sure the network runs smoothly.

Chainlink was one of the first networks to bring off-chain data into smart contracts. It's a big deal in the data world, with lots of trusted partners. Because it can use off-chain data, Chainlink has gotten attention from many trusted data providers like Brave New Coin, Alpha Vantage, and Huobi.

These providers can sell their data directly to Chainlink, making money from it.

Since Chainlink is decentralized, anyone can join as a node operator. These operators help run the important data infrastructure needed for blockchains to work well.

Chainlink has numerous node operators working together to power various oracle networks. These networks, like the Price Feed oracle, are already being used by big DeFi apps like Synthetix (SNX), Aave (AAVE), and Compound (COMP), securing billions of dollars in value.

Bottom Line

The world of cryptocurrencies is a dynamic and ever-evolving landscape, brimming with innovation and opportunity. Whether you're drawn to the stability of stablecoins, the scalability of blockchain platforms, or the charm of meme coins, there's something for everyone in the vast realm of digital currencies.

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