Bitcoin(BTC) being the first cryptocurrency to be released in 2019, ushered in a wave of about 4k+ other crypto platform into existence as of early 2021 according to reports by Statista and Investopedia. Built on a decentralized peer-to-peer network, but also has become the de facto standard for cryptocurrencies.
Even so, Bitcoin or BTC has remained the most popular crypto option accounting for 46.9% of the market with its total capitalization volume of 652.15 billion USD as of early July 2021.
However, Bitcoin is widely thought to have reached – or about to reach – its saturation point. In fact, out of the supply limit of 21 million BTC, Blockchain’s live graph shows that 18.745 million BTC are already mined and in circulation as of late June 2021.
What Are Cryptocurrencies?
Before we take a closer look at some of these alternatives to Bitcoin, let’s step back and briefly examine what we mean by terms like cryptocurrency and altcoin. A cryptocurrency, broadly defined, is virtual or digital money that takes the form of tokens or “coins.” While some cryptocurrencies have ventured into the physical world with credit cards or other projects, the large majority remain entirely intangible.
The “crypto” in cryptocurrencies refers to complicated cryptography that allows for the creation and processing of digital currencies and their transactions across decentralized systems. Alongside this important “crypto” feature of these currencies is a common commitment to decentralization; cryptocurrencies are typically developed as code by teams who build in mechanisms for issuance (often, although not always, through a process called “mining”) and other controls.
Cryptocurrencies are almost always designed to be free from government manipulation and control, although as they have grown more popular, this foundational aspect of the industry has come under fire. The cryptocurrencies modeled after Bitcoin are collectively called altcoins, and in some cases “shitcoins,” and have often tried to present themselves as modified or improved versions of Bitcoin. While some of these currencies may have some impressive features that Bitcoin does not, matching the level of security that Bitcoin’s networks achieve largely has yet to be seen by an altcoin.
Some of the afore mentioned and other reasons may make it imperative for you to seek other cryptocurrencies that have brighter futures in your investment prospecting.
The yet to be answered question remains, “what are the best alternatives to Bitcoin in the market right now?” Here are the 5 best options I could find and why I think they are the best:
1. Ethereum or Ether (ETH)
Ether or Ethereum (the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain) is one of the best alternatives to Bitcoin as we talk. First off, Ethereum is the most popular cryptocurrency blockchain after Bitcoin – judging by their respective market capitalizations.
For example, as I write this on the 27th day of September 2021, Bitcoin’s market capitalization stands at $819,491,232,017 while that of Ethereum is $362,078,523,418 according to the crypto authority CoinMarketCap.
You might think that the Ether figure is a far cry from the Bitcoin figure, but it also has the unique advantage of making the ether realm less saturated as we’re going to see.
Popularity matters because the crowd is hardly wrong as they say. But, as an investor, what should certainly matter to you more than market capitalization is the current price trend. In this sense, Ethereum is performing far ahead of BTC as I write this.
In the last 7 days, Ethereum has gained 7.40% to be priced at 2,133.57 USD while BTC has gained only 1.96% to be priced at 34,758.14 USD.
2. Cardano (ADA)
ADA is the cryptocurrency on the Cardano blockchain platform. Founded in 2015, ADA has spent barely half a decade in the market. But the cryptocurrency is already one of the most influential around.
Here are the specific reasons why ADA’s popularity is skyrocketing – and why I think it is one of the best alternatives to Bitcoin right now:
- Its consensus protocol is already ahead of most of the market. Most of the more popular cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin and Ethereum) are still guided by the extremely energy-intensive proof of work (PoW) consensus protocol. ADA has already adopted Proof of Stake (PoS). So, many prospectors are seeing ADA as a top next-gen cryptocurrency. This is in addition to the fact that it is actually saving a lot of transaction time and energy through its futuristic algorithm.
- Accordingly, ADA’s recent price gain is one of the most encouraging in the market. CoinMarketCap’s live stats show that the ADA token has gained 3.03% in the last 7 days to be priced at $2.24 as I write this.
- ADA has thrown up one of the best performances in the market in the few years it has been around. For instance, it rose to its current dollar value from $0.02 in 2017 — a whopping 7,400 percent appreciation in four years. It also rose in market capitalization from 9.8 billion USD in January 2021 to $42.50 billion in June 2021.
- The ADA platform still has a huge opportunity for growth. With the dollar value of the ADA token still relatively on the floor, the chances of it appreciating is far higher than the chances of depreciation. So, the investment prospect is much brighter than Bitcoin’s.
- Another reason I trust ADA as one of the best alternatives to Bitcoin is that it is backed by arguably the most solid experience in the crypto market today. It is a product of sustained peer-reviewed interdisciplinary research. Also, the initiator of the ADA project Charles Hoskinson is one of the founders of the Ethereum platform. So, ADA takes after and improves on Ethereum in many ways. It’s such that it has been nicknamed “the Ethereum killer”.
- Therefore, similar to Ethereum, ADA has known founders who can be held legally responsible.
- Similar to Ethereum too, ADA provides an added layer of legal protection by implementing the smart contract functionality.
- ADA is also working on implementing a more legally binding contract structure than the smart contract functionality it shares with Ethereum.
3. Tether (USDT)
Tether was one of the first and most popular of a group of so-called stablecoins, cryptocurrencies that aim to peg their market value to a currency or other external reference point to reduce volatility. Because most digital currencies, even major ones like Bitcoin, have experienced frequent periods of dramatic volatility, Tether and other stablecoins attempt to smooth out price fluctuations to attract users who may otherwise be cautious. Tether’s price is tied directly to the price of the U.S. dollar. The system allows users to more easily make transfers from other cryptocurrencies back to U.S. dollars in a more timely manner than actually converting to normal currency.
Launched in 2014, Tether describes itself as “a blockchain-enabled platform designed to facilitate the use of fiat currencies in a digital manner.” Effectively, this cryptocurrency allows individuals to utilize a blockchain network and related technologies to transact in traditional currencies while minimizing the volatility and complexity often associated with digital currencies. As of September 2021, Tether is the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, with a total market cap of $68.5 billion and a per-token value of (you guessed it!) $1.
4. Binance Coin (BNB)
Binance Coin is a utility cryptocurrency that operates as a payment method for the fees associated with trading on the Binance Exchange. Those who use the token as a means of payment for the exchange can trade at a discount. Binance Coin’s blockchain is also the platform that Binance’s decentralized exchange operates on. The Binance exchange was founded by Changpeng Zhao and is one of the most widely used exchanges in the world based on trading volumes.
Binance Coin was initially an ERC-20 token that operated on the Ethereum blockchain. It eventually had its own mainnet launch. The network uses a proof-of-stake consensus model. As of September 2021, Binance Coin has a $58,448,847,486 billion market capitalization with one BNB having a value of $347.63.
XRP’s recent performance has not been very impressive. Yet I think it is one of the best alternatives to Bitcoin right now for the following reasons.
- With a market capitalization of $44,676,723,951 billion, XRP ranks sixth on the chart.
- Although its price appreciation in the last one week has not been good (about 3.04%), its appreciation is not the same compared with most top cryptocurrencies that are struggling in the dungeons of depreciation these days.
- XRP still traded as much as $2,912,652,114 billion in the last 24 hours.
Despite the fact that over 4k crypto tokens are in the market currently, only these 5 have made it to the top! We have carefully selected them based on what current authoritative stats are saying.
As a result of using unbiased live reports, there are many crypto options I expected to make the list but couldn’t. While I’m honestly a bit disappointed at what I got at last (like you probably), I must say quite honestly that many of the items that made the list are pure discoveries to me. It shows that many new entrants in the market are giving the oldies a run for their money.
Stay with us, as we guide you through the cryptocurrency universe.