It’s safe to say these days that Bitcoin has solidified its position as the leading cryptocurrency option. In addition to being far and away the most well known digital currency, Bitcoin also experienced soaring value throughout 2016. Bitcoin even broke the $1000 barrier on January 1st of this year. And though it’s had some ups and downs since then, it’s trading at a higher value than many predicted.
But Bitcoin isn’t alone in the digital currency market. While it has streaked ahead as the biggest name, there are still several altcoin options that appear to have staying power on their own. Altcoins are defined as cryptocurrency options aside from Bitcoin and are all over the place. Plus, there always seem to be new ones springing up. Here’s a look at some of the most established altcoins that look poised to perform well in 2017.
Litecoin has effectively carved out a runner-up position to Bitcoin in the cryptocurrency market, despite a much lower value. Still, there are significant differences between the two. Litecoin is capped at 84 million units that can be mined, whereas Bitcoin’s cap is 21 million. This almost automatically ensures a lower value for individual Litecoins, though it has been argued that this may offer psychological benefits, as users can trade in whole units rather than tiny fractions. For instance, if you want to buy a cup of coffee with cryptocurrency and one Bitcoin is worth $1000 while one Litecoin is worth, say, $3.50, it seems more convenient to use the latter. In addition to a strong reputation and reliability, this is one reason that Litecoin looks to be the stiffest competition among altcoins.
Ethereum is proving to be an interesting alternative for a number of reasons. Some people predicted that it would actually outperform Bitcoin in 2016, and while it didn’t meet those expectations it did find a noticeable level of stability. It’s a little early in the cryptocurrency era to define sweeping patterns, but it looks as though stability has to come before significant value inflation. There are so many altcoins that it’s only logical that people need to see one stick around for a while before it can be viewed as more legitimate option. That’s just what Ethereum has become. Combine this with a high market cap and a close working relationship with Microsoft and it should continue performing well in the near future.
This one is a little less serious, but as altcoins go it seems to keep demanding some level of attention. Built less as an alternative to daily currency and more as a sort of internet token system, Dogecoin now has 106.6 billion units in circulation and always seems to generate some buzz. People seem to be attracted to the lighthearted nature of this particular altcoin project. Though its value is virtually negligible compared to Bitcoin or the U.S. dollar, it appears to have its own sort of staying power.
These are three of the altcoins that you’ll probably hear the most about over the course of this year. Ripple, Peercoin, and Neucoin could also make some noise, and as currency alternatives all three will likely wind up being stronger than Dogecoin. Even so, altcoins that will help to define this market alongside Bitcoin are likely those we mentioned here.