The year 2009 is earmarked as a banner year where an alternative concept to money was introduced. Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the first electronic currency known as Bitcoin. Bitcoin uses cryptology to ensure the security of peer-to-peer transactions. This kind of currency is also referred to as a cryptocurrency.
The first of its kind, Bitcoin is built on the features of a decentralized consensus network with all Bitcoin transactions recorded permanently on a ledger called a blockchain. From its inception in 2009, Bitcoin is slowly getting into the mainstream of e-commerce with over 100,000 merchants accepting bitcoin payments from about 4 million or so users. Today, there are more than 700 other cryptocurrencies with their own special features providing users an alternative to Bitcoin. Here is a short list of some of the more popular “altcoins” (alternative cryptocurrencies) to Bitcoin:
Launched in October 2011, Litecoin is an altcoin that is the most similar to Bitcoin. It is a popular cryptocurrency used to purchase goods and services because it claims to be cheaper and faster than Bitcoin. Users claim that Litecoin is best for moving smaller amounts between wallets quickly. Beginners to cryptocurrencies will not be intimidated by using Litecoin.
The Ether cryptocurrency has the unique feature of “peer-to-peer smart contacts.” This feature enables users to create crowdsourcing and crowdfunding platforms. This feature makes the altcoin popular among developers but unpopular among online merchants.
Monero is another altcoin that boasts of an ultra-secure privacy protocol using its ring signature technology. It is popular among users who value security and privacy. Its unique cryptology ensures users that transactions are untraceable.
Ripple is basically an altcoin that can facilitate real-time gross settlement systems, currency exchanges, and remittances. A number of banks have already integrated the Ripple altcoin into their system as an added service to existing customers for cheaper and faster processing of on-demand global payments. Google Ventures is one of the many venture capital investors of Ripple.
As e-commerce becomes a regular part of our daily lives, the growth potential for Bitcoin and other altcoins, especially regarding its usage, acceptance, and overall value, is assured. Bitcoin tested the waters and proved the idea workable for other cryptocurrencies to prosper.