A primer to top coins of 2018 – Hacker Noon

Cryptocurrencies in a nutshell

We are building an investment management platform at https://coinium.app and I am getting more technical in my analysis of the cryptocurrency space. Wanted to share some information I have gathered about the top coins.

Below you can find the technical problems each coin is trying to solve, their capabilities and market capitalizations.

Bitcoin (BTC)
Market cap: $113 billion

Cool art from Phneep.

The original document stated that bitcoin is a “peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

The bitcoin network can only handle 7 transactions a section. That means only 7 people worldwide can buy or sell using bitcoin every second. For comparison Visa handles 24,000 transactions a second.

Bitcoin wallets are tied to address hashes (random sequences of letters). Once the owner of a wallet is identified, all of their previous transactions and all of their future transactions are visible to anyone who downloads bitcoin’s ledger. This history can never be deleted or changed.

Ethereum (ETH)
Market cap: $48 billion

Ether is backed by a blockchain, much like bitcoin, but the technology is slightly different and aimed at a specific use case: smart contracts.

Take a trade finance deal, for example. This relies on each party in the deal having a paper or digital copy of the contract and needing to update it individually. It’s cumbersome and prone to error.

But a smart contract is one that is written in code into a blockchain. Once the terms of the contract are met by each party, a deal will be executed.

Bitcoin creates 12.5 new bitcoins every 10min (or 75/hr) while Ethereum creates 3 new ether every 15 seconds (or 720/hr).

Bitcoin and Ethereum also cost their transactions in different ways. In Ethereum, it is called Gas, and the costing of transactions depends on their storage needs, complexity and bandwidth usage. In Bitcoin, the transactions are limited by the block size and they compete equally with each other.

Ethereum features its own Turing complete internal code, which means that anything can be calculated with enough computing power and enough time. Bitcoin does not have this capability.

Ripple (XRP)
Market cap: $19 billion

Ripple markets itself as a cross-border payments solution for large financial institutions based on blockchain technology.

A headache for banks is high-volume, but low-value, transactions — the kind that Facebook might pay out to app makers, for example. These can often be expensive and unprofitable for the banks because it takes a lot of effort to move the money and the percentage cut won’t be as high as for a larger transaction.

Ripple is trying to solve this problem via its technology.

The Ripple digital currency, known as XRP, can be used by enterprise to get instant liquidity needed in a high-value transaction, without having to pay fees.

XRP acts as a bridge between fiat currencies during a transaction. Ripple said transactions in XRP can be settled in four seconds, faster than any major cryptocurrency right now.

EOS
Market cap: $8 billion

Pros: Scalable and programable. A.k.a. ‘The Ethereum Killer’

The developers behind EOS claim that the EOS blockchain is fully programmable, will eliminate transaction fees and have the ability to process millions of transactions a second.

Litecoin (LTC)
Market cap: $5 billion

Litecoin transactions take just over two minutes to go through.

Litecoin is targeted more towards payments, faster transactions and lower fees compared to Bitcoin.

Cardano (ADA)
Market cap: $4.2 billion

It is the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach. The development team consists of a large global collective of expert engineers and researchers.
Uses the first provably secure proof of stake algorithm.

Stellar (XLM)
Market cap: $4 billion

Pros: Insanely scalable. Great partnerships. Clear use case.

Stellar Lumens is the newer, 100% decentralized version of Ripple.

It can handle 1000 transactions per second without breaking a sweat, and transfer millions of dollars for a few pennies.

IOTA
Market cap: $3.2 billion

IOTA is a scalable, decentralized, feeless, modular, open-source distributed ledger protocol that goes ‘beyond blockchain’ through its core invention of the blockless ‘Tangle’. The IOTA Tangle is a quantum-resistant Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG). IOTA has no fees to transact and no scaling limitations; network transaction speed grows with activity. IOTA grows via transactors, not miners / stakers, thus avoiding centralization.

IOTA is aiming to be the backbone of the emerging machine-to-machine (m2m) economy of the Internet-of-Things (IoT), data integrity, micro-/nano- payments, and other cases where a scalable decentralized system adds value.

TRON (TRX)
Market cap: $2.6 billion

TRON is an ambitious project dedicated to building the infrastructure for a truly decentralized Internet. TRX consistently handles 2,000 transactions per second.
Tron is a representative of the Web 4.0 Ecosystem. More than 100,000 users from more than 100 countries have become part of this network with ever expanding boundaries.

TRON Protocol and the TVM allow anyone to develop DAPPs for themselves or their communities, with smart contracts making decentralized crowdfunding and token issuance easy.

NEO
Market cap: $2.4 billion

NEO is a non-profit community-based blockchain project that utilizes blockchain technology and digital identity to digitize assets, to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts, and to realize a “smart economy” with a distributed network.

NEO has been created to shift the traditional economy into the new era of the “Smart Economy”. The Neo project defines Smart Economy as a combination of Digital Assets, Digital Identity and Smart Contracts.

Monero (XMR)
Market cap: $2.3 billion

Monero is an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that focuses on privacy and decentralization.
Monero is a secure, private and untraceable currency system. Monero uses a special kind of cryptography to ensure that all of its transactions remain 100% unlinkable and untraceable.

In Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. you just have one public key and one private key. However, in a system like Monero, it is not quite as simple as that:

View Keys: Monero has a public view key and a private view key.

The public view key is used to generate the one-time stealth public address where the funds will be sent to the receiver. (more on this later).
The private view key is used by the receiver to scan the blockchain to find the funds sent to them.

RaiBlocks (NANO)
Market cap: $360 million

Pros: Insanely scalable. Instant transactions. Zero Fees.

Raiblocks is an even newer coin — emerging only in the last few months. It uses a new form of architecture based on directed acyclic graphs that only a few cryptocurrencies have adopted. This makes it infinitely more scalable than blockchain applications. Their approach to development is to do ‘one thing well’. In this case they aim to be what bitcoin was meant to be: an instant and zero fee way of sending currency around the globe.

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You are more than welcome to join us!

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