Cryptocurrency is essentially the digitized form of currency. Bitcoin is known as the first kind of cryptocurrency, and its rise in popularity has become one of the most common discussions amongst investors, technologists, and medias alike. This innovation of the blockchain technology that makes up Bitcoin is now changing the stock market — starting with the banking and financial industry. As of July 6, 2017, the price of a bitcoin is just a little under US$2,600.
Although it has disrupted the entire market and the way currency is viewed, Bitcoin’s true impact lies in the fact that it has inspired the creation of a new market of over 800 other cryptocurrencies and other assets for online trading. While Bitcoin’s current market capitalization as of July 6, 2017 is around $42 billion alone, the combination of all these new cryptocurrencies’ market capitalization is worth even more.
The Vast Universe of Cryptocurrency
For the first time, Bitcoin doesn’t make up an overwhelming majority of the cryptocurrency market. At a little less than half, about 41.6% of all coins and assets are from Bitcoin. The other 58.4% are made up of different “atlcoins” listed below.
One of the first altcoins, the LItecoin is actually very similar to Bitcoin. It was created in 2011, a little after Bitcoin’s first appearance. Since then, Litecoin has been competing tirelessly against Bitcoin, aiming to process blocks about four times faster than the cryptocurrency giant. This could lead to shorter transaction confirmation time.
As of July 6, 2017, a single litecoin is worth about US$51.37 and Litecoin’s market capitalization is worth around $2.6 billion.
This altcoin first made its appearance in 2015. Despite entering the market just two years ago, however, Ethereum currently holds the second highest coin by market capitalization, the first being Bitcoin.
Unlike Litecoin, Ethereum functions quite differently from Bitcoin. The altcoin allows its developers to build and decentralize its applications as well as enable smart contracts at the same time. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is created to be a payments protocol first. The coin used for the Ethereum network is called Ether.
Another interesting fact to take note of is that Ethereum actually split itself into two in 2016. Ethereum Classic is the result of that split — while it is based on Ethereum’s blockchain, Ethereum Classic has its own market capitalization.
As of July 6, 2017, a single Ether is worth US$270.88 and Ethereum has a market capitalization of about US$25.2 billion. Meanwhile, a single Ether from Ethereum Classic is worth US$17.88, and Ethereum Classic has a market capitalization of around US$1 billion.
Ripple (XRP) is actually the original currency of Ripple Protocol — a wider, open-source, and global exchange. The currency is already being used by banks like Santander (BME:$SAN), Bank of America Merrill-Lynch (NYSE:$BAC), UBS (VTX:$UBSG), and RBC (TSE:$RY). The purpose of Ripple (XRP) is different from Bitcon’s — Ripple (XRP) allows for payments to be settled between different currencies and payment systems.
As of July 6, 2017, a single Ripple (XRP) is worth US$0.25. The Ripple (XRP) has a current market capitalization of $9 billion.
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