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Thanks to technological advancements, cryptocurrency has captured the attention of the world. It is slowly gaining popularity. At one time, there were very limited types of cryptocurrency. But today, there are a lot more in the market. The cryptocurrency market has grown exponentially in the past few years. Below are five of the oldest and most popular cryptocurrencies today:

  1. Bitcoin (BTC)

Market Capitalization (as of April 2018): $114,902,478,910

Bitcoin is the first and original cryptocurrency. It was released as open-source software in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, either a person or group of people. Bitcoin was the culmination and execution of the idea of a decentralized digital currency. Due to its popularity, Bitcoin is one of the most difficult cryptocurrencies to mine today. Although it was about to hit some rough edges in 2018, this digital cash was rising exponentially since its inception.

  1. Ethereum (ETH)

Market Capitalization (as of April 2018): $37,541,206,371

Just like bitcoin, Ethereum operates on blockchain technology; however, unlike Bitcoin, it is more than just a digital currency. It is a decentralized blockchain that runs smart contracts. Smart contracts are computer codes that facilitate the exchange of shares, property, content, money, etc.  After a cyber attack in 2016, Ethereum split itself up in two separate blockchain – Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Ethereum (ETH).

  1. Litecoin (LTC)

Market Capitalization (as of April 2018): $6,638,644,841

Created as an alternative to Bitcoin, Litecoin was launched in 2011 when mining for Bitcoin became extremely difficult. It is often referred to as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. It is based on a decentralized open source payment network and uses ‘scrypt’ as a proof-of-work algorithm, which is decoded by consumer-grade CPUs (unlike high-performance GPUs required to mine Bitcoin).

  1. Ripple (XRP)

Market Capitalization (as of April 2018): $19,101,856,438

While most cryptocurrencies cater to individual dealers and investors, Ripple is primarily made for digital asset exchanges, payment providers, and banks. Ripple does not have an intrinsic value of its own and serves more as a token to protect the RippleNet network against spam. Essentially, Ripple is a real-time global settlement network that offers safe cross-border payments with minimum cost and maximum transparency.

  1. Monero (XMR)

Market Capitalization (as of April 2018): $2,742,593,584

This open-source cryptocurrency is untraceable, private and secure. While it operates on a blockchain technology, it uses extra privacy features that make transactions completely untraceable, unlike Bitcoin. Monero uses a cryptographic technique called ring signatures to conceal all transactions destinations, origins, and amounts. This is especially useful today since we have read a lot of news connected to cyber attacks and hacks in the past few months itself.

The above are some of the most popular cryptocurrency types in the world. They are all different from each other and there are a lot more types of digital cash that exist. For investing in one of these, you will need to research thoroughly and weigh its pros and cons, since a lot of crypto-enthusiasts and analysts have said that 2018 will see the rise of digital coins.