Bitcoin has seen a rise from a its inception in late 2008 to an all time high of ~$20,000 USD at Dec 2017 because of its potential for quick, easy, and secure global digital payments. It is on the path to disrupt the global cash system and digital remittance payments markets, as well as increasing utilization as a digital store of value.
Latest In Crypto’s full Bitcoin market assessment here with more information on the established success and future market opportunities for Bitcoin
There exist cryptocurrencies that are able to service the same global cash industries and payments markets without the same scalability drawbacks as Bitcoin, and it is possible that these can leapfrog Bitcoin in global adoption and price to be the ‘next Bitcoin’.
Here are 5 alternative cryptocurrencies that already have established experienced communities and developer teams, with near-zero transaction times and minimal to no fees.
Nano Currency (NANO)
Nano (NANO), previously known as Raiblocks (XRB), is a cryptocurrency that aiming to be the greatest option for the payments and transactions industry.
Nano uses a block-lattice architecture with each account having its own blockchain. Consensus is reached via delegated proof of stake voting and it is an open, permissionless consensus network. Similar to Bitcoin, it is fully distributed and decentralized as anyone can be a representative.
- 0 Transaction Fees: Due to the delegated proof of stake voting, transactions on the Nano network are completely fee-less, with no value subtracted from funds for any transactions
- <1 second fully-settled Transaction Times: The block-lattice architecture results in near instant transaction confirmation times
- Proven 1st Layer Scalability: Nano has tested and proven over 300 transactions per second
- Energy Efficient: The Nano network is 8,000,000x more efficient than Bitcoin
The Nano network is still early and growing in adoption, but the token is active and fully functional at this time for payments transactions (no further development necessary to take advantage of the above characteristics). There are a few hundred online nodes now, and the overall Nano ecosystem is growing with increasing on-ramps for obtaining Nano.
Nano is available to purchase at Binance, Kraken, or CoinEx
The full list of retail merchants who accept Nano available here
Ripple (XRP) is an open-source bank transfer platform launched in 2012 which connects banks, payment providers, and exchanges for quick and simple global transactions.
Ripple uses its Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA) instead of a blockchain, which has a decentralized network of servers running independently of one another in an open, permissionless consensus.
- Near zero Transaction Fees: $0.00001 USD transaction costs on the Ripple platform
- 4 second Average Transaction Times
- Currency Agnostic: The XRP blockchain can handle any currency or commodity
The platform is launched by an official Ripple organization so does have an element of centralization as the main organisation holds a majority of the XRP tokens, however since it is an official business it has greater credibility for banks and is not subject to as many regulation checks as other cryptocurrencies.
Ripple has more than 100 major international banks signed up to the platform, including Westpac, Union Credit, UBS, and Santander.
Ripple is available to purchase at Binance, Coinbase, or CEX.IO
A extensive list of Ripple’s partnerships here
Stellar Lumens (XLM)
Stellar Lumens (XLM) is an open-source development platform founded in 2014 which is a fork of Ripple (XRP) aiming to bridge people, payment systems, and banks to facilitate quick global asset and multi-currency transactions.
Stellar uses a decentralized network of servers running independently of one another, all in sync and reaching consensus under their open, permissionless Stellar Consensus Protocol instead of a blockchain.
- Near Zero Transaction Fees: 1 millionth of a dollar transaction fees allows Stellar to be perfect for additional micropayments use-cases
- 2–5 second fully-settled transaction times
- Ability to launch ICO’s on the Stellar blockchain: New Projects can launch on the platform to release their own token.
- Energy Efficient: Stellar Consensus Protocol is configurable, fast, and exponentially more efficient than Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work protocol
- Currency Agnostic: The Stellar blockchain can handle any currency or commodity
Stellar already has established high-profile partnerships, including working with IBM as part of their Hyperledger and WorldWire projects for cross-border payments and transactions between central banks.
Stellar is available to purchase at Binance, Poloniex, Bittrex, Kraken etc
Here is a list of projects built on Stellar
Monero (XMR) , founded in 2014, is a blockchain cryptocurrency that focuses on private and censorship-resistant transactions, with cryptography to hide sending and receiving addresses as well as transacted amounts.
Monero uses similar consensus protocols and Proof-of-Work algorithms to Bitcoin and therefore is trustless, secure, and fungible, however Monero’s transactions are additionally confidential and untraceable due to the additional privacy encryptions.
- Low Fees: Median fees for transactions are $0.0023 USD
- Reasonably long transaction times: Having a similar Proof-of-Work protocol to Bitcoin results in 26 minute averages for transactions to be fully confirmed and unlocked
- Private and Untraceable: addresses and transaction data are obscured
The Monero token has consistently been one of the leading cryptocurrencies since inception, and is a working protocol today with many retail merchants accepting the coin as currency.
Monero can be purchased at most reputable cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, Bittrex, Poloniex, or Kraken.
Full list of merchants accepting Monero here
IOTA (MIOTA) is an open-source and scalable distributed ledger protocol that aims to provide a platform for machine-to-machine payments for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
IOTA does not use a blockchain or miners, and instead uses a network inspired by IoT called the “Tangle” which is a quantum resistant Directed Acrylic Graph (DAG). The “Tangle” scales with the number of transactors, not from miners / stakers, so avoids centralization and has no scaling limitations as it gets faster with more users. This protocol is impossible to hack as each transaction requires at least two previous transactions in order to be validated.
From it’s inception, the Tangle was secured by a component known as the “Coordinator” that verified transactions, but they have outlined detailed plans to remove this Coordinator for a Coordicide protocol which will lead to transactions validated by users and IOTA becoming 100% decentralized, secure, and scalable for mass adoption.
The IOTA platform has the ability to support smart contracts and sharding.
- 0 Transaction Fees: No transaction fees are required as no blockchain or mining protocol is utilized
- 1.5 minute Average Transaction Confirmation Times: Tangle transaction data can be found here
- Infinitely Scalable: More users results in faster confirmations and transaction times
- Energy Efficient: Low computational power required to confirm transactions because of the tangle
The IOTA network is steadily growing, with Microsoft, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volkswagen being examples of major enterprises implementing IOTA technology for IoT devices.
IOTA is available to purchase at Binance, Bitfinex, or CoinEx.
Full list of IOTA partnerships here