In the last few months the cryptocurrency market has exploded. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple – these are the buzzwords on everyone’s lips, enigmatic currencies that are sure to make wealthy any and all who have the bravado and bravery to invest their money in them. But what is a cryptocurrency? Where did they come from? How is everyone getting so suddenly rich off of them and which are the best to invest in?
Bitcoin: The Origin
Bitcoin was launched in 2009 by an individual on the internet who goes by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, although his or her real identity is unknown. The idea behind it was to create a currency without a central authority that would enable peer-to-peer transactions, much like file sharing. No longer would currencies need banks, governments or any other central authorities to function or hold value. Satoshi succeeded, and Bitcoin soon exploded in popularity. While the cryptocurrency rose in value it didn’t enter the mainstream until 2017 when its value exploded, making each coin worth upwards of $16000. Since then a multitude of other, lesser known cryptocurrencies have materialized and the market for investing in them has started to boom, with millions of people entering the cryptocurrency game hoping to strike it rich.
And while it might seem that investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is a quick and easy way to make some money, plunging head on without any research is definitely not the most prudent way of approaching it. Rather, taking the time to research investment strategies around the cryptocurrency market is crucial to ensuring success while minimising the risks of losing huge amounts of capital. With that being said here are some of the other hottest cryptocurrencies to invest in right now:
Bitcoin’s little – but still immensely valuable – brother. It operates using the same basic principles as Bitcoin on the blockchain-based platform called Ethereum. While many people refer to the cryptocurrency as Ethereum, this is technically incorrect as the tradable tender itself is called ether. Developed in 2013 by a researcher and programmer called Vitalik Buterin, the currency and system went live in 2015 and since its inception has grown in value by over 13,000 percent.
The third largest player in the cryptocurrency market, Ripple is a currency exchange network that peddles a cryptocurrency called XRP, or ripples. A nascent version of the currency, and its first iteration was developed in 2004 by founder Ryan Fugger, a web developed who wanted to create a decentralized currency that would allow individuals to effectively create their own money. Unlike bitcoin, which uses a mining process and relies on blockchain ledgers, transactions on Ripple are verified by consensus among members of the network. Although the value of Ripple has fluctuated in recent months – especially during the cryptocurrency spike of December 2017 and its subsequent precipitative fall in value – the currency seems to be stable and gaining momentum and value, making it a favorite among investors.