New cryptocurrencies appear every day. At the moment, there are over 200 of them and the number increases almost exponentially.  With this many coins, it is hard to find those that have any potential. Simply, numbers are overwhelming and do not allow for a clear view on the entire ecosystem. With this in mind, we decided to pinpoint several altcoins that show promise, at least, in our opinion. Furthermore, our hope is to provide users with tools that will help them wade trough the altcoin forest.

Tools

Several websites offer altcoin comparison charts. One of the most popular ones is Coinmarketcap.com. Although it gives valuable info about relative value of different cryptocurrencies, it does not provide a clear picture of all the altcoins available. Market cap represents the value per altcoin multiplied with the amount of coins on the market. The figure produced gives an idea of how valuable each coin is. Unfortunately, the website does not account for the popularity of altcoins or their usage. Furthermore, when looking at the values presented, one should look for amount of money traded, and the shape of the graph. For example if the graph is comprised from almost unbroken geometrical lines, this indicates small volume traded, and suggests that any price jump is most likely short term in nature.  Additionally, inspecting Bitcointalk thread gives a better overview of the market and enables users to understand how popular each currency is. Furthermore, analyzing relevant subreddit can be useful. There are many factors determining the price of altcoins, but the rule of thumb is that the more popular the coin is, the price will be higher.

Altcoins

Blackcoin

One of the first POS coins on the market. Instead on relying on standard Proof of Work in order to authenticate transaction blocks, Blackcoin uses Proof of Stake. Subsequently, users do not depend on miners providing network security, but can provide it themselves by keeping the wallet open.  Additionally, BlackHalo is a feature of Blackcoin, providing unbreakable contracts between parties. It is an innovative concept that might revolutionize the way we trade.

BitShares

According to BitShares, cryptocurrencies can be viewed as shares in businesses with an eye toward maximizing profits by producing the most value possible at the least possible cost.   These businesses have come to be known as Decentralized Autonomous Companies (DACs). BitShares is a step further toward creating decentralized companies with greater accountability thanks to the blockchain.

Darkcoin

Proponents of Bitcoin often focused on its anonymity. After the closure of Silk Road, it became clear that Bitcoin is not as anonymous as it was perceived. Darkcoin tries to restore anonymity and provide a reliable service to the users. By implementing DarkSend, innovation in the protocol that mixes coins and enables anonymity, Darkcoin became one of the rare truly anonymous solutions available.

Namecoin

Namecoin developers were interested in building a general data-value store. Namecoin leverages Bitcoin’s monetary-value store but focuses more on additional information which can be stored, such as a domain name system or an identification/authorization database. It is yet another potential use of Bitcoin protocol that might have wide application in the future.

Ripple

In Ripple, users make payments between themselves by using cryptographically signed transactions denominated in either Ripple’s internal currency named XRP or in arbitrary other assets (including real-world assets such as dollars, gold, air miles etc.). Therefore users and merchants can make transactions quickly and without effort. The Ripple system connects many major players in the finance world and creates a viable ecosystem.

Conclusion

There are many other currencies out there. When we look in the past and see the situation on the market for PC’s in the 1980s, it reminds of the current cryptocurrency market. Many competitors tried to sell their own PC brand, but in the end Apple and Microsoft won the market. Maybe in the next several years we see something similar happening in the crypto world. Until then, we should keep our eyes open, so that we don’t miss new Microsoft.