With the new year quickly approaching, it is time to take a look at a few of the many altcoins that were developed over the past year. As most cryptocurrency fanatics have noticed, the development of altcoins has slowed down quite a bit over the past few months, and the coins developed throughout 2014 may very well be some of the last altcoins developed.

Fibre

Fibre is a currency that uses the unique NIST5 mining algorithm. The Fibre network is unique because it allows anonymous transactions through the tor network if the user chooses a Fibredark wallet, standard Fibre wallets perform normal transactions without the use of tor proxies. The Fibre team is one of nine working together on the recently released Blocknet project. The Fibre wallet is a very elegant one that deserves a look from any fan of nice looking GUI wallets.

Shadowcash

While there has certainly been no shortage this month of highly privatized, anonymous altcoins, I decided to add Shadowcash to the list because of their devotion to the project and the cryptocurrency community as a whole. The Shadowcash team has made a conscious effort to add to their coin, and their wallet, as well as communicate with their supporters. It is because of this and their wallet remaining a powerful yet easy to use tool that I decided they would make a good addition to this list.

UCICOIN

The UCICOIN team is making leaps and bounds in bringing traditional stock investors onto the cryptocurrency scene and vice versa. UCICOINS can currently be exchanged for shares of two companies. This is just an example of the power that cryptocurrency can have on Wall Street. Many believe in the ability of cryptocurrency to represent shares or other valuable assets, and this is exactly the way to do it. Using cryptocurrency could cripple modern-day stockbrokers and online exchanges like E-trade and Fidelity by allowing investors to interact and buy shares directly from the company in the form of a cryptocurrency created specifically to represent that company’s shares.

Viacoin

I felt like Viacoin should make this list because of their efforts in promoting open source programmers to be able to experiment freely with blockchain software. By allowing anyone to build applications over the blockchain easily, Viacoin supports individuals as well as businesses to transact more independently without needing support from third parties like banks and stock brokers. This is a huge plus in the decentralized cryptocurrency world, which has earned Viacoin its spot on this list.

Greenbacks

I decided to add Greenbacks to this list because of their effort to integrate cryptocurrencies with traditional money amongst average consumers. Along with several other projects, the Greenbacks team is working on a startup company called Greenbacks, Inc. This company will be developing payment systems that allow for payments using Bitcoin, Greenbacks, and traditional currencies as well, all with one plastic card that uses QR codes instead of magnetic strips.

Counterparty

Counterparty is another powerful blockchain-based project helping to decentralize the world. Offering a full range of financial tools to everyone for next to nothing, Counterparty is reducing dependency on the banks and other massive financial institutions currently controlling most of the economy. Counterparty uses Bitcoin’s already incredibly secure blockchain to provide people with the ability to write financial contracts onto the blockchain, escrow, and create their own unique altcoin for their business without the need for a third party. Another great project for financial independence, so I made sure to put it on this list.

Maidsafecoin

Maidsafecoin is the cryptocurrency that will be used to support the Maidsafe project for a completely decentralized internet. The coin will use a unique proof of resources algorithm that will pay individuals to help host this new decentralized network. Once this decentralized internet is a reality, it will make any kind of censorship or regulation very difficult, a big win for privacy and freedom of speech advocates. Certainly it will take a bit more time for this project to be fully up and running, however it is probably the biggest development in computer software technology since Bitcoin itself.

Blackcoin

Blackcoin gets a spot on the list for its effort in promoting proof of stake. Proof of stake is an excellent alternative to proof of work. Not to say that proof of work is bad, but if every Bitcoin sidechain in the future, as well as every altcoin, used proof of work, the energy consumed from mining would be astronomical. Proof of stake helps the cryptocurrency community immensely by providing a much more energy conservative minting and confirming option over proof-of-work mining.

Darkcoin

Darkcoin is recognized for being the first coin to offer anonymous transaction through a mixing protocol to cloud the details of each transaction. There have been many newer coins to pick up on this concept and offer the private transaction capability of Darkcoin. However, Darkcoin remains one of the highest valued, and most used of these anonymous coins. For several months, there have been posts and articles about Darkcoin’s wide acceptance throughout the black market darknet or deep web sites. And while the use for the coin may not always be tasteful, the fact that it is being used means it does have a use, and thus, the value.

Monero

Monero is a cryptocurrency that uses a different code base than that of Bitcoin, called CryptoNote. The CryptoNote technology is, according to the Monero site, capable of a higher level of anonymity than any altcoin using the Bitcoin code base. Monero was launched in April of 2014, and to this day retains a USD value on Poloniex. It shows a slightly stable chart for the past three or four months, although it has dropped significantly since its release.

While there were certainly quite a few other coins worth mentioning from this year, these are without a doubt some of the best coins from 2014. It has been a good year for new and innovative cryptocurrencies. However, it is coming to an end. Soon it will be time to see what the year 2015 has in store for us. Meanwhile, you can check all the alcoins available on CEX.IO.