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When most people think of a cryptocurrency, the first thing to come to mind is probably Bitcoin. However, Bitcoin is just one of many. Unlike traditional currencies like dollars and euros, which have a fixed value regardless of how and where you use them, different types of cryptocurrencies and tokens perform differently and are designed to solve various issues and problems in the digital world.

A dollar or euro has the same value whether you use it to buy a shirt at Target or a book on Amazon, but the different cryptocurrencies are designed to offer users specific features, like the ability to purchase goods and beyond bitcoin seven of the top trending cryptocurrencies anonymously, or to facilitate a particular action, like raising money online.

The current cryptocurrency marketplace has been likened to a "Wild West", with massive daily fluctuations. It is still in the infancy stage and is likely to continue to grow apace with technological developments and consumer appetite for more decentralised and democratic systems. The cryptocurrency market is developing at a rapid pace and trends come and go. Nevertheless, there are several major trends in the cryptocurrency market that are important to be aware of:.

Although cryptocurrencies have different applications, in general, they have several characteristics in common:. With over cryptocurrencies and new cryptocurrencies coming on a daily basis, it might be difficult to see which cryptocurrencies are most remarkable at this moment.

There is a handful of up and coming cryptocurrencies that are currently garnering more attention for a number of factors like individual features, trading volume, and market capitalisation. Please note that this is by no means an investment advice and that investing in cryptocurrencies comes with very high risks. Always do your research before deciding to buy a certain cryptocurrency.

Here are seven of the most promising cryptocurrencies, in no particular order:. Ripple has been developed by OpenCoin and it is a real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange and remittance network. It has the following distinctive characteristics:. Similar to Bitcoin, Zcash is an open source cryptocurrency that offers selective transparency for transactions.

However, it goes further than Bitcoin concerning privacy as it has the option to make certain features of a transaction such as a sender, recipient, and the amount of the transaction completely private. It is a truly anonymous cryptocurrency. Monero's main claim to fame is the privacy and un-traceability factor: Litecoin is also an open source cryptocurrency that beyond bitcoin seven of the top trending cryptocurrencies low-cost merchant-to-merchant global payments with faster transaction confirmations.

In addition, some difference to Bitcoin include:. At the time of writing, ETH has been the second-most-valuable cryptocurrency since their launch only briefly being take-over last weekend by Bitcoin Cash.

It controls for fraud, censorship, downtime, and third-party interference with running applications. In addition, some key characteristics are:. IOTA is a completely different cryptocurrency than the above mentioned as it does not use a blockchain, but instead uses a Directed Acyclic Graph, called Tangle.

It is developed especially for Industry 4. As such, it offers the following characteristics:. ICOs are an emerging platform for technology companies to raise digital "cash" for their companies. Despite the volatility and exponentially higher risk involved in investing in cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings than in traditional stocks and IPOs, the ICO market has already seen billions of dollars worth of trading volume, with no signs of slowing down.

Although it is still early, traditional Silicon Valley venture capitalists are jumping on board and beginning to sing the technology's praises for its potential to disrupt and democratise the traditional funding model. Beyond bitcoin seven of the top trending cryptocurrencies are two types of initial coin offerings: A new cryptocurrency ICO is used to develop a new cryptocurrency with unique features and selling points from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently beyond bitcoin seven of the top trending cryptocurrencies the market.

A New Crypto Project uses the crowdfunding model to raise equity without using venture capital and circumventing the traditional IPO model to go public and raise capital. Rather than selling shares like a traditional startup does during an IPO, crypto equity projects sell crypto tokens. Investors acquire crypto tokens through Bitcoin or Ethereum transactions for example and offer purchasers a voting stakes in the enterprise's future development, which differentiates it from a traditional "donation" with straightforward crowdfunding.

Just like investing in a promising beyond bitcoin seven of the top trending cryptocurrencies, investors in an ICO are investing in an idea, with no guarantee that the currency or project will get off the ground or become profitable in the future. The guidelines and operating procedures for Initial Coin Offerings are still in the early development phase and do not fall into neat categories like a traditional stock purchase or a straightforward crowdfunding or venture funding model.

As market cap and trade volume continues to rise, and cryptocurrencies become more mainstream as they are adopted by enterprise businesses and service providers, it will become increasingly difficult for doubters to dismiss them as a flash in the pan.

It seems that ICOs are here to stay as startups have discovered this lucrative way of raising money. Cryptocurrencies will fundamentally change how we perform transactions online and build decentralised projects and services. Five Cryptocurrency Trends The cryptocurrency market is developing at a rapid pace and trends come and go.

Nevertheless, there are several major trends in the cryptocurrency market that are important to be aware of: Emerging cryptocurrencies like Dash and LiteCoin are rising in market cap and prominence to challenge Bitcoin's dominance. The continued battle between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cashwhich heated up last weekend after the cancellation of Segwit2X. ICO's continue to grow as an alternative to traditional venture capital, as is beyond bitcoin seven of the top trending cryptocurrencies number of ICO scams that aim to steal money from investors.

Commonalities among Cryptocurrencies Although cryptocurrencies have different applications, in general, they have several characteristics in common: Seven of the Most Promising Cryptocurrencies of the Moment That Are Not Bitcoin With over cryptocurrencies and new cryptocurrencies coming on a daily basis, it might be difficult to see which cryptocurrencies are most remarkable at this moment.

Here are seven of the most promising cryptocurrencies, in no particular order: Ripple XRP Ripple has been developed by OpenCoin and it is a real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange and remittance network. It has the following distinctive characteristics: It differs from other cryptocurrencies in that it does not rely on mining for transactional confirmation; It offers real-time instant payments across global networks and real-time traceability of funds; Boasts greater transparency and lower costs; Requires less computing power; It is used by banks, payment providers and digital asset exchanges.

Zcash ZEC Similar to Bitcoin, Zcash is an open source cryptocurrency that offers selective transparency for transactions. Advanced new cryptographic techniques: Monero XMR Monero's main claim to fame is the privacy and un-traceability factor: Stealth addresses to prevent transactions being linked back to you; Ring signatures that ensure sets of digital fingerprints that are added to each transaction to make it un-traceable; Built-in scalability; as the number of transactions grows, the size of the blocks automatically adjusts.

Litecoin LTC Litecoin is also an open source cryptocurrency that offers low-cost merchant-to-merchant global payments with faster transaction confirmations. In addition, some difference to Bitcoin include: It has a coin limit of 84 million coins instead of 21 million bitcoins; The mean block time is 2,5 minutes instead of 10 minutes; A different Proof of Work mechanism that uses the scrypt algorithm instead of the SHA algorithm.

In addition, some key characteristics are: The protocol is built to enable flexibility; It will adopt a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism instead of a Proof of Work mechanism in the near-future; Instead of rewarding miners for validating blocks, as is the case with Bitcoin, validators earn a transaction fee paid for by the party initiating the transaction called gas. As such, it offers the following characteristics: Infinite scalability as it does not use blocks or miners, but every party that wants to perform a transaction has to validate two transactions; No transactions fees, enabling nano-transactions among connected devices; Proof of Work consensus mechanism, but one that beyond bitcoin seven of the top trending cryptocurrencies minimum computing power and can be performed by connected devices; Completely decentralised, compared to the semi-decentralised networks such as Bitcoin.

Looking Ahead As market cap and trade volume continues to rise, and cryptocurrencies become more mainstream as they are adopted by enterprise businesses and service providers, it will become increasingly difficult for doubters to dismiss them beyond bitcoin seven of the top trending cryptocurrencies a flash in the pan.

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You'll have heard all about bitcoin, but it's far from the only example of a cryptocurrency, digital mediums of exchange based on cryptography that feature a secure, distributed ledger known as a blockchain. The system isn't working. At the foundation of this is payments; I need to send money to you, and it's going to go through a bank, with all the dysfunctions of the banking system. So you need a separate system. The result has been a slew of so-called initial coin offerings, many of them out of Hong Kong.

Most, says Wang, are worthless, adding that 90 percent of ICOs are scams. But, human nature being what it is, there are still plenty of people interested in putting money into a Ponzi scheme as long as they can assure themselves they're high enough on the chain.

Fortunately, not all cryptocurrencies are disreputable. The best-known platform other than Bitcoin is Ethereum. Also based on blockchain, it features currency tokens called Ether. Where Bitcoin mining—the process of creating the currency by solving preposterously complex calculations — is intensely hardware- and energy-intensive, Ethereum allows the money-creation process to be scripted.

Litecoin, for example, is almost identical to Bitcoin, but processes transactions much faster. It features so-called zero-knowledge proofs, meaning that if you can prove that a transfer happened, then it happened. A year ago everyone thought anonymous coins were for drug runners.

The Ripple protocol, for example, features a cryptocurrency called XRP, but also supports a range of other units of value, from currencies to commodities.

Transactions are verified based on networks of trust relationships between participants. It has support from banks, who use it as a settlement network, allowing their various systems to talk to each other. Each was created by a so-called hard fork from the original Bitcoin and Ethereum on a different blockchain, after users disagreed about the technical characteristics of the currency.

In each case, one version is likely to win out; good luck predicting which. See more wealth management stories on Hong Kong Tatler. Hong Kong Tatler Javascript is disable! Please enable Javascript and refresh to access the site.