The surge of Bitcoin prices in 2017 did evoke a sense of curiosity mixed with regret around cryptocurrency. Curiosity with relation to what the mysterious range of virtual currencies were all about and regrets on why they had not thought of investing in it themselves.
Cryptocurrencies are digital assets that can be used as a medium of exchange. It works on the technology called the 'blockchain' that secures the currencies using cryptography so that additional units cannot be produced and there is a transparency in the transactions conducted with it.
Also Read: How Does Blockchain Technology Work?
Since 2009, when Bitcoin was launched, many of these cryptocurrencies that have been created. These are known as altcoins (alternates to bitcoin).
The top five cryptocurrencies as of today are:
Market Capital: $ 233,667,272,389
Price per Unit: $ 13,912.40
Volume Traded: $ 17,920,800,000
Bitcoin introduced the world to a possibility of digitalising currency. Created in 2009, by an untraceable man named Satoshi Nakamoto, it has been unbeatable in terms of market cap.
Also Read: How to Buy Bitcoins in India?
Market Capital: $ 121,065,615,311
Price per Unit: $ 1,249.28
Volume: $ 8,872,940,000
Ethereum is an open source software platform that helps developers to build and share decentralized applications. It is also based on blockchain. Unlike bitcoin, you cannot mine the currency for more of it. Miners earn ether (Ethereum's token) that are used to make payments on transactions and services within the Ethereum network.
Market Capital: $ 70,002,793,234
Price per Unit: $ 1.81
Volume: $ 4,642,360,000
Ripple is a payment protocol and exchange network company. Its currency is officially known as XRP and is issued by Ripple Labs.
Also Read: What is Cryptocurrency Ripple?
Towards the end of 2017, Ripple beat Bitcoin Cash to become the third cryptocurrency in terms of market cap.
Also Read: Cryptocurrency Ripple Reaches Record High
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Market Capital: $ 43,231,334,150
Price per Unit: $ 2,557.25
Volume: $ 2,581,910,000
The difference between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Classic is that it increases the block size from 1 MB to 8 MB and removes Seg Wit (Segregated Witness). The adjustment frees ups space in the blockchain, increasing the number of transactions. It was created in August 2017.
Also Read: What is Bitcoin Cash?
Market Capital: $ 19,042,655,498
Price per Unit: $0.734470
Volume: $ 250,868,000
Cardona beats Litecoin to join the top 5 league. This cryptocurrency is used to send and receive digital funds. It is also blockchain based and decentralized. It could be compared to Ripple as it is also a technological platform designed for financial services.