Looking for a Bitcoin Alternative? Here are 6 Coins to Consider

Last updated on August 22nd, 2016 at 12:08 am

Top Alternatives to Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the king of digital currencies, at least for the time being. There are several competing digital currencies, however, that could one day rival bitcoin.

Many of these currencies claim to offer certain technical advantages over bitcoin. Other currencies are taking a whole new angle on digital currencies, trying not just to offer an alternative to cash, but also to offer software development opportunities, social media platforms, and other services powered by the blockchain.

For now, bitcoin enjoys a huge lead over the competition, at least in terms of market cap. With a market cap of $10 billion dollars as of writing this article, bitcoin is about ten times as large as the closest competition. Still, one day Ethereum, Steem, Litecoin, or another contenders could steal the crown. That’s why we’re going to take a moment to go over bitcoin’s chief competitors.

The Challenger: Ethereum (& Ethereum Classic)

Ethereum has been gaining a lot of attention as of late. This public blockchain software aims to support a lot more than “just” a digital currency. Developers can actually code software, and then power that software through the public blockchain.

Individuals can then sell their processing power and be paid with “ether” -a digital currency somewhat akin to bitcoin- in exchange. Currently, etherium is the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

Following a hack back in July, Ethereum split into two competing currencies. The “new” Ethereum (just called Ethereum) undid the hack. “Classic” Ethereum maintained the hack. Now, the two Ethereums are competing against each other.

Ethereum itself has a market cap north of $1 billion dollars, and is the second largest digital currency, trailing only bitcoin. Ethereum classic has a market cap of just over $141 million, making it the fourth largest digital currency.

Click here to learn more about Ethereum

Ripple: Bitcoin rival or companion?

Ripple emerged in 2012 and is now a very popular online payment processing platform and digital currency. Perhaps the most important aspect of ripple is the fact that it allows for instant conversion into different currencies. You can even convert bitcoin to ripple, and vice-versa.

Ripple sees itself not as a competitor to bitcoin, but instead a compliment. By making currency conversions easy, ripple can give bitcoin users and others easy access to traditional currencies. OpenCoin, the company behind ripple, plans  to distribute 100 billion ripples, although only half will be put into circulation.

With a market cap of $220 million dollars, Ripple is the world’s third largest digital currency.

Click here to learn more about Ripple

Litecoin: Certainly Not a “Lite” Weight

Litecoin is one of the older alternative digital currencies out there, having emerged in 2011. Like bitcoin, there is no central authority, new coins are created through solving algorithms, and over time these algorithms are becoming more difficult to solve.

There are many important differences, however. Litecoin’s overall cap limit is set at 84 million, compared to bitcoin’s 21 million. The algorithms themselves are much easier to solve and can still be solved without special mining equipment. Further, litecoin blocks are created every 2.5 minutes, compared to bitcoin’s 10 minutes, making it possible to support far more transactions.

Currently, Litecoin is the world’s fourth largest digital currency, by market cap, weighing in at about $175 million.

Click here to learn more about Litecoin

Steem

Right behind Litecoin with a market cap of about $170 million is steem. Steemit is among the more interesting platforms out there. People can get paid, with steem, to write and curate articles. You can also rate and comment on articles, also getting steem.

The front page of Steemit, which looks somewhat like Reddit, is filled with a huge range of stories. Instead of mining bitcoins, or buying them, if you want to earn Steem, then you have to contribute to the community. Steem was launched just this year (2016) and yet has already secured a huge market cap. Don’t be surprised if this platform gains even more ground in the future.

Click here to learn more about Steem

Dash

Dash is based closely on bitcoin software. Basically, developers wanted to address some of the problems inherent in bitcoin, such as slow transaction processing times, and thus decided to create a new currency, simply entitled “dash”.

Like bitcoin, dash features advanced privacy features. Some would even say that dash offers improved privacy. Dash also offers instant transactions, whereas bitcoin transactions can take several minutes. Further, dash uses what it calls “Masternodes” to double check the blockchain and to ensure that it is not being unduly manipulated.

Fees are low, the system is global, and like bitcoin, dash is still P2P with no centralized authority. Given the technical advantages of this currency, it’s certainly worth a close watch.

Click here to learn more about Dash

Dogecoin

Dogecoin is the smallest digital currency on this list, with a market cap of only $25 million. Still, what dogecoin lacks in size, it makes up for with its relatively loyal fan base. Dogecoin gets its name and branding from the “doge” Internet meme, which featured a Shiba Inu dog. This clever branding has helped make dogecoin one of the more well-known bitcoin alternatives.

Dogecoin miners can process transactions in only about a minute. Further, unlike bitcoin and many other crypto-currencies, there is no limit to the number of dogecoins that can be mined. This lack of an upper limit, and ease of mining, however, means that individual dogecoins are not worth too much, with a hundred of them being worth only a few pennies.

Click here to learn more about Dogecoin

Conclusion: Bitcoin leads the race, but competition is tightening

Bitcoin isn’t going away anytime soon, and through the near future, it will most likely remain the premier global digital currency. Still, competitors for the best altcoin like ethereum and steem are offering very unique twists on digital currencies. Others, like Dash and Ethereum, may be more technically sound. As a result, these competing currencies may some day catch up to, or even surpass, bitcoin.

Besides the currencies mentioned in this article, there are several other worthy competitors. NEM, MaidSafeCoin, and NXT are just a few competing currencies that come to mind. In the future, the the digital currency environment is sure to evolve, so make sure you keep your eye on it.

Brian Booker

An international financial analyst and writer. He has consulted for the Malaysian government, various MNC's, and other organisations. He focuses on currencies, commodities, and emerging South East Asian markets.

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43 Comments on "Looking for a Bitcoin Alternative? Here are 6 Coins to Consider"

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Gavin
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Gavin

Has anyone here got an informed opinion about Electroneum?

Steven Hay
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Steven Hay
Hi Gavin, Electroneum is still in the ICO phase, which means it has a very long way to go before it could be considered a viable alternative even to Bitcoin alternatives, never mind Bitcoin. Nothing in the team or concept really jumps out at me. Seems like the standard ICO hype; heavy on promises and light on an actual use case. They imply that all the world’s smartphone users will adopt it just because it can be “mined” on a smartphone… I’m not convinced that people who weren’t into crypto before will be into this. Smartphone wallets have been around… Read more »
del
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del

hi, newbie here! im currently using bitpanda to buy but it only has 4 choices of companies and i want to invest in some of the smaller companies that i see on coinmarketcap.com, can you recommend another site so this is possible?

Zsofia Elek
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Zsofia Elek

Hi Del, you can use Changelly or Shapeshift, here you can read out review about them: https://99bitcoins.com/review-changelly-vs-shapeshift-the-instant-cryptocurrency-exchanges/

divinityrec1
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divinityrec1

From my study, i learnt that each coin has a purpose like doge and ripple are mainly for donations and siftings of prizes, steem are for compensating people that write articles only few of these top six coin can be used to make payment for real goods and services. but can you pls give me more insight on the coin to buy and hold for future profit just like bitcoin and ethereum…

Gavin
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Gavin

I am currently researching electroneum.
It is aimed at mobile phone users and has its own app on play store.
It launches on Nov 1St and eventually wants to work with online gaming and gambling developers. This COULD be huge. Let me know what you think.

Nishant Chauhan
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Nishant Chauhan

Is it good to invest in ripple, Steem or ethereum classic at the moment ?

Zsofia Elek
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Zsofia Elek

Hi Nishant, cryptocurrency investment is very tricky as it depends on several factors, like time horizon, risk attitude, amount of money. The best I can advise you is to make sure you understand the product you are investing in. Here you can read more about Bitcoin investments, it has some points what worth to note for altcoin investments as well: https://99bitcoins.com/should-i-invest-in-bitcoin-heres-what-you-need-to-know/

DEEPAK DANDRIYAL
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DEEPAK DANDRIYAL

What about factom digibyte & siacoin..

gerald
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gerald

what is the position of the billion coin among bitcoin competitors.

Ofir Beigel
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Ofir Beigel

I haven’t taken a deep look into it but I would personally not invest in it. Doesn’t seem like a real currency to me.

Sumeetranjan sahoo
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Sumeetranjan sahoo

What about tyro coin. please give a detailed study

Zsofia Elek
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Zsofia Elek

This is a fairly newly issued coin, we do not have any experience with it yet.

Jess
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Jess

What about thebillioncoin(TBC)..it’s taking the west African crypto market,,,pls,kindly look into it,and let me in on its propects

Ofir Beigel
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Ofir Beigel

Yes I know. It seems very shady to me. I will try to review it soon.

PRASAD SALUNKE
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PRASAD SALUNKE

Hello,
recently I heard about LCF COIN. Website is lcfhc.com. they are in pre-launch phase. They are offering 3000 LCF coins for every user after completing registration. What you advise on that?

Zsofia Elek
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Zsofia Elek

Haven’t heard about it but I would be very careful in where I invest my money. I suggest understanding exactly what the coins is about and deciding for yourself if it seems like a good investment. Never rely on other people’s opinions.

Matt
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Matt

What is your opinion now on Ripple since the article was written almost a year ago?

Ofir Beigel
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Ofir Beigel

Hey Matt.
I haven’t looked too much at Ripple lately so I can’t really say. The main thing that bothers me about it is that it’s not decentralized like Bitcoin.

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