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7 Altcoins You Should Be Aware Of

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The word altcoin describes every cryptocurrency that is not bitcoin. Altcoins are referred to as bitcoin alternatives because, at least to some extent, most altcoins aim to either replace or improve upon at least one bitcoin component. There are hundreds of altcoins (CoinMarketCap lists over 700 at the time this guide was written), and more appear each month. Most altcoins are little more than bitcoin clones, changing only minor characteristics such as its transactions speed, distribution method, or hashing algorithm. Most of these coins do not survive for very long. In this post, however, you will be introduced to seven altcoins you should be aware of as they have the potential to turn into major global cryptocurrencies.

Ethereum

What is EthereumEthereum is a blockchain-based platform that lets anyone build and use decentralized applications that run on blockchain technology. Unlike the Bitcoin protocol, Ethereum was designed to be adaptable and flexible. It is easy to create new applications on the Ethereum platform, and with the Homestead release, it is now safe for anyone to use those applications. Rather than give users a set of pre-defined operations (e.g. bitcoin transactions), Ethereum allows users to create their own operations of any complexity they wish as it is a programmable blockchain in the form of so-called “smart contracts”. In this way, it serves as a platform for many different types of decentralized blockchain applications. Ethereum’s cryptocurrency is called ether (ETH).

Steem

opportunity for African writersSteemIt is a social media platform where users get paid to post information online. It is powered by blockchain technology and rewards users that upload articles, images, commentary, and blogs while paying users for sourcing and up-voting popular content. The earlier a person up-votes a post that becomes popular, the more they are rewarded. Users are paid half in “Steem Power,” a vesting currency that supercharges voting power, and half with Steem Dollars (SBD), which can be exchanged for USD. SteemIt, therefore, creates a great opportunity for African writers to monetize their content.

Siacoin

SiacoinSia is a totally new approach to cloud storage platforms where you put data into cloud and still retain control. The token used in the smart contracts to pay the host is what is called the siacoin.  Both the host and the renter put siacons into the contract once the file is created.  The only time the host gets siacoins is if they have the data at the expiry of the contract. If you decide to put up your data on cloud, it is usually one company that will have control of all your data such as Dropbox. In the case of Sia, you are still able to have control over your own data. When you upload a file to Sia, it is encrypted and then uploaded to many hosts, of which none of these hosts can manipulate your data, tamper with your privacy, or hinder you from accessing your data at any given time. The smart contract protects renters by ensuring that no payment is made to the host until the renter’s data is stored.

Monero

MoneroMonero (XMR) is an open source secure, private and untraceable cryptocurrency created in April 2014. Unlike many cryptocurrencies that are derivatives of bitcoin, monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol and possesses significant algorithmic differences relating to blockchain infrastructure. With Monero, you are your own anonymous bank. Only you control and are responsible for your funds, and your accounts and transactions are kept private from prying eyes. Monero has become a very popular currency used in the dark web in the last 12 months.

Lisk

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Lisk is a blockchain application and sidechain platform that provides a full stack solution for the most widespread programming language in the world – JavaScript. Creating one of the best cryptocurrency user experiences with its easily controllable user interface and its integrated App Directory, Lisk is aiming to become the standard for blockchain apps and custom blockchains developed in JavaScript. Lisk (LSK) aims to be the first (successful) of its kind as a modular cryptocurrency. The idea is that every blockchain app is on its own sidechain, separate from the main blockchain. This should help with scalability issues that many cryptocurrencies are facing, such as bitcoin.

HEAT

HEAT

H.E.A.T. Ledger is an acronym for Heuristically Enhanced Asynchronous Transactions Ledger.  It is completely a new way of structuring cryptocurrency and a peer-to-peer decentralized asset ledger. It is optimized for speed and architected in enterprise friendly Java for custom private chains, HEAT slices the currently used blockchain database technology to modular components and provides flexible scalable server-side technology for corporate needs of any size.

The ledger is built on Java and based on NXT, HEAT is capable of handling over 1000 transactions per second while supporting “unlimited scaling.” A press release for the project stated that 20 second or lower blocks generation times, combined with both Proof of Stake and Proof of Work, are what make HEAT so fast.

DASH

DASHDash (which stands for ‘digital cash’) is an open source and privacy-centric digital currency that offers instant transactions. It allows you to keep your finances private as you make transactions without having to wait for your transaction to complete. The other advantage is that the transaction fees are much lower than banks or credit cards and are often even free. Payments are received instantly by the other party thanks to InstantX and the cryptocurrency uses a decentralized network, so no centralized third party to trust. Advanced encryption and a 2-tier network are implemented for complete security and it allows you t send money to anywhere in the world.

Alex Lielacher

The author Alex Lielacher

Alex is the founder and editor-in-chief at BitcoinAfrica.io. He is a former investment banker who has been following bitcoin and blockchain technology since 2011. Prior to launching BitcoinAfrica.io, he has been contributing to leading bitcoin publications such as Bitcoin Magazine, CryptoCoinNews, and BTCManager.