After a six year meteoric climb in value and visibility of Bitcoin, the once vague and foggy world of cryptocurrency burst into the mainstream.
About 30 ICOs, or Initial Coin Offerings are launched every day, and as of 2017 over $3 billion was invested into the ICO market.
The opportunity for return has led to massive growth in cryptocurrency investment. Hundreds of cryptocurrencies exist and are traded everyday, some more than others.
As the first decentralized digital currency, Bitcoin has become synonymous with cryptocurrency as a whole. This coin has proven to be an incredibly resistant store of value, and remains the most desired as the father of all cryptocurrency.
In late 2017, Bitcoin developed its new branch Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin Cash functions much in the same way as its predecessor, but allows for faster processing times.
Ether is the next most widely-recognized token. Ether is the cryptocurrency of smart-contract platform Ethereum. Ethereum is widely favored as a development platform, and utilizes a completely different software than Bitcoin. Ethereum and Bitcoin are both giants in the field of cryptocurrency, but because of this different core software, they are not in direct competition with one another.
Litecoin actually predates Ethereum, it was introduced just two years after Bitcoin’s historic launch. Litecoin was designed to complement Bitcoin rather than compete with it, and many investors regard it as the “silver” to Bitcoin’s “gold.
Ripple shows tremendous potential in revolutionizing mainstream financial institutions. Ripple itself is a real-time payment system, the digital asset or token of this network is XRP. So when you buy Ripple, you are purchasing XRP. XRP is the favorite of many investors who expect to see Ripple embraced by the banking system as a way to make digital payments safer.