The first cryptocurrency to truly capture the public's imagination was launched in 2009 by an individual or group known under the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. Again there's another article talking through all the history and tech here. Bitcoin's enforced scarcity, wide user base, first-mover advantage and established reputation have helped to make it the consistently highest-valued cryptocurrency. Its reputation has also allowed it to gain significant acceptance among retailers. While Bitcoin has consistently been the most valuable and respected of the cryptocurrencies, its price is still extremely volatile. The price per Bitcoin has fallen from over $1,200 to around $225 in the beginning of this year, and this means it is about 18 times more volatile than the U.S. dollar.
Litecoin, launched in the year 2011, was among the initial cryptocurrencies following bitcoin Litecoin is probably the second most important digital coin. It had the third-highest market cap as of June 2015 and was often referred to as ‘silver to Bitcoin’s gold.’ It was created by Charlie Lee, an MIT graduate, and former Google engineer. Litecoin is based on an open source global payment network that is not controlled by any central authority and uses "scrypt" as a proof of work, which can be decoded with the help of CPUs of consumer grade. While inspired by, and in most regards technically nearly identical to Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin has some technical improvements over Bitcoin and most other major cryptocurrencies. One of Litecoin's main innovations is the increased rate at which information is added to its ledger. With a new block of transactions verified and posted roughly every two minutes, Litecoin transactions can be processed more quickly. Other than developers, there are a growing number of merchants who accept Litecoin. Because of its age and reputation, Litecoin is accepted by many independent businesses in a variety of categories including electronics, gaming, advertising, hosting and apparel. Still, because its innovations are minor and it lacks first-mover advantage, widespread acceptance has been slow.
Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that enables Smart Contracts and Distributed Applications (ĐApps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party. During 2014, Ethereum had launched a pre-sale for ether which had received an overwhelming response. The applications on Ethereum are run on its platform-specific cryptographic token, ether. Ether is like a vehicle for moving around on the Ethereum platform and is sought by most developers looking to develop and run applications inside Ethereum. According to Ethereum, it can be used to “codify, decentralized, secure and trade just about anything.” Following the attack on the DAO in 2016, Ethereum was split into Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). Ethereum (ETH) has a market capitalization of $4.46 billion, second after Bitcoin among all cryptocurrencies.
Three more cryptocurrencies in the next article here.
New cryptocurrencies are emerging almost daily, and many interested parties are wondering whether central banks should issue their own versions. But what might central bank cryptocurrencies (CBCCs) look like and would they be useful? I'm exploring this and more in the next few articles. Stay tuned.