Bitcoin isn’t the only crypto game in town.
Bitcoin (BTC) gets the lion’s share of cryptocurrency media coverage, and rightfully so. But in the years since the first Bitcoin transaction in 2009, thousands of additional cryptocurrencies have popped up, creating a confusing landscape for investors. Some of these altcoins feature major technical innovations that differentiate them from Bitcoin, while others have simply become popular digital currency brands and social media memes. Cryptocurrency investing remains an extremely speculative endeavor, but it can be very lucrative for investors willing to risk painful losses in the hopes of big payouts. Here are six of the best altcoins to buy today.
Ether is the largest and oldest Bitcoin alternative, and its blockchain was the first to introduce smart contracts, code designed to run decentralized applications, or dApps. There are currently 2,970 dApps running on the Ethereum network, according to the website State of the dApps. The Ethereum network is home to dApps for gaming, gambling, socializing, decentralized finance, or DeFi, and nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. Ether, the native token of the Ethereum network, has significantly outperformed Bitcoin in the past three years. Ethereum’s recent transition to proof-of-stake, or PoS, transaction verification has also made Ethereum a more environmentally friendly alternative to Bitcoin.
Ripple is a global, digital financial transaction network designed to facilitate transactions among banks and other financial institutions. Ripple is intended to be a faster, cheaper, more secure alternative to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or SWIFT, system for money transfers. XRP is the native cryptocurrency designed for use on the Ripple network and XRP Ledger blockchain. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Ripple in 2020, alleging it violated securities laws by selling $1.4 billion of XRP to investors. If Ripple ultimately wins the ongoing legal battle, it could be a major bullish catalyst.
Solana is a relative cryptocurrency newcomer, as it launched in March 2020. However, Solana has quickly amassed a large following and is now the sixth most valuable cryptocurrency in the world with a market capitalization of $31 billion. Like Ethereum, Solana supports dApps and NFTs, but it has far fewer total projects on its blockchain than Ethereum does. Solana’s unique combination of proof-of-history, or PoH, and PoS transaction verification gives it several advantages over Ethereum, including faster and cheaper transaction verification. Unfortunately, the Solana network has suffered several outages in 2022, including an 18-hour blackout in January 2022.
The Polkadot blockchain was launched in 2020 by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood. Polkadot operates a main network blockchain where transactions are permanently recorded. However, its unique feature is its parachains, user-created blockchains that can be customized while still benefiting from the same security measures as the main Polkadot chain. Users can customize different Polkadot parachains for different uses, but the network only requires enough computing resources to operate the main chain. Polkadot reportedly recognized an all-time high of more than 500 developer contributions per day in September 2022, suggesting interest in the project is gaining momentum.
If you’ve followed cryptocurrency news at all, you’re already well aware of Dogecoin. The cryptocurrency that was created in 2013 as a parody of Bitcoin has become one of the most popular and valuable digital currency brands in the world, thanks in large part to its viral Shiba Inu mascot. Dogecoin’s meteoric rise has been fueled by influential Tesla Inc. (TSLA) CEO and Dogecoin investor Elon Musk, who announced in January that customers can now buy Tesla merchandise using Dogecoin. Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban is also a Dogecoin supporter and has called it the “strongest” cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange.
Chainlink was developed in 2017 and is a blockchain abstraction layer that allows blockchains to securely interact with external data feeds, payment methods and events via a decentralized oracle network. Chainlink was one of the first blockchain networks to allow users to integrate off-chain data into smart contracts. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt joined the Chainlink team as an advisor in December 2021, lending additional credibility to the project. Chainlink is also one of the six trendiest cryptos on social media in recent weeks based on Reddit and Twitter mentions, according to Bank of America.
6 of the best altcoins to buy:
Ethereum (ETH) Ripple (XRP) Solana (SOL) Polkadot (DOT) Dogecoin (DOGE) Chainlink (LINK)
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Update 11/15/22: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.