Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and the first decentralized digital currency. This means the payment system works without a single administrator. The system is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users. The transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a block chain. Bitcoin was released as an open-source software in 2009. Bitcoins are created by a result of users mining. When a new block is found, miners are rewarded the newly created bitcoins and transaction fees. The bitcoin protocol states that the reward for adding a block will be halved every 210,000 blocks. Overtime, the reward will decrease to 0, and the limit of 21 million bitcoins will be reached. When this happens, the record of transactions will be rewarded by fees solely.
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts. Smart contracts are applications that run exactly as programmed without any chance of fraud, censorship or third-party interference. What makes Ethereum stand out to me is the ability to allow other tokens and smart contracts to be built using the custom built block chain.
Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet currency forked from Bitcoin that enables instant, near-zero cost transactions to anyone in the world. Improvements have been made to the Litecoin infrastructure including faster transactions, and lower fees. Litecoin is open source and fully decentralized.
The Internet of Things is the network of all items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that allow these items to interconnect and exchange data. IOTA enables every technological resource to be traded in an open market with zero fees. IOTA’s goal is to be the backbone of the Internet of Things. What’s interesting about IOTA is the Tangle ledger. Tangle is a newly blockless distributed ledger which is scalable. This allows zero-transaction fees, and on-demand trading.
Monero is a decentralized coin that is built around privacy and is completely untraceable. Transactions are verified by distributed consensus, and then immutably recorded on the block chain. With Monero, you are your own bank, and third-parties do not need to be trusted to keep your Monero safe. Transactions cannot be linked to a particular user.
Ripple connects banks and other payment providers via RippleNet to provide an infrastructure to send money globally. XRP is the digital asset of the Ripple network and has a transaction time of 4 seconds.
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