A List of the Best Bitcoin Alternatives
Let’s look at some of the top cryptocurrencies that aren’t Bitcoin. Longstanding popular alternatives to Bitcoin including ETH, ETC, XRP, XLM, LTC, XMR, ZEC, NEO, and DASH. New top coins include BCH, EOS, ADA, IOTA, TRON, and ZRX.
NOTE: “Longstanding” for crypto means since at least 2015. “New” means the coin came out in 2017 – 2018. The oldest crypto Bitcoin (BTC) was created in 2010, so the whole space is new in that sense.
The above coins all have a solid chance at staying around long term in my opinion (each for different reasons), all have use cases, and all are in the top 20 by market cap here in August 2018 and have generally been top coins since shortly after their release.
If I was going to go a little further down the list I might start adding in BNB, NEM, LSK, OMG, BTG, NANO, MKR, BAT, SC, REP, DODGE, and more. If I were just going based on tech, popularity, or longevity I might add in KMD for tech, or XVG for popularity, or XCP for longevity… but look, we have to cut the list off somewhere, right? 🙂
TIP: There are some seriously cool projects with smaller market caps, for example RHOC. That said, I generally consider the market to be right, especially over time. That is to say, those projects that float to the top of the market cap list and sustain a top spot are generally the best projects.
NOTE: I can’t see into the future, I will however come back and update this list as new coins come onto the scene or if and when old coins fade away.
A List of My Picks for Top Coins, Descriptions, and “Why”
So with that information you should be able to understand generally why I chose the list above. That said, I will quickly offer specifics below:
Ethereum – ETH: Top alt that isn’t Bitcoin, around since 2015, essentially the first and most popular distributed computing system. About half of other coins run on Ethereum. That said, needs to solve a range of issues including scalability issues. Luckily ETH like every other coin runs on software and software can be upgraded.
Ethereum Classic – ETC: This was the original Ethereum before ETH split off. ETC supporters wouldn’t roll back a major hack, ETH supporters wanted to. The chain split. ETC is like a way cheaper and immutable Ethereum.
Ripple – XRP: A super fast coin attached to the Ripple project which is a centrally managed platform for payments. This long standing contender to the crypto throne since 2012, it is the top alt that isn’t ETH. It is a little corporate, but undeniably a top coin. Purists hate it, but the market loves it… and it is way, way, way faster than BTC and ETH for payments.
Stellar – XLM: Like a decentralized XRP, but with an open source platform for building out custom tokens like Ethereum. Has been around since 2014.
Litecoin – LTC: Used to be the top alt before Ethereum came along and rained on its parade. It is the silver to Bitcoin’s gold, not to be confused with Bitcoin Gold. This simple transfer coin is like a faster and cheaper to use Bitcoin, but as such its been knocked out of the top spot by more interesting projects like Ethereum over time.
Monero – XMR: One of the most popular longstanding privacy coins.
Zcash – ZEC: Also one of the most popular longstanding privacy coins. XMR is a little more popular, ZEC is closer to mainstream adoption with it being eyed by Coinbase and Gemini.
Neo – NEO: An Ethereum competitor that was one of the first popular distributed computing systems to market alongside Ethereum.
Dash – DASH: Used to be Dark cash, got rebranded to Dash. It is an interesting simple payment coin with master nodes and a cool team and community.
Bitcoin Cash – BCH: Bitcoin Cash is a Bitcoin fork that functions a lot like Litecoin and has strong backing by some of cryptos biggest players. It started due to an ideological split in the Bitcoin community over scaling issues in 2017 and has since become one of the top cryptos.
EOS – EOS: The darling ICO of 2017 that has a cult like following and preforms heart magic. All of that aside, they also have an interesting platform called Block.one. Their Ethereum looking logo is your first hint they are an Ethereum competitor.
Cardano – ADA: Some old Ethereum devs decided to create the most exciting project of 2017, they are called by many names, but the gist is team IOHK built the Cardano platform, which houses the cryptocurrency token ADA. IOHK is shooting for the moon, if they deliver they might have the best product on the market. “IF.”
IOTA – IOTA: A platform that uses a blockchain alternative and constantly gets flak for it. Still has real potential and a large following. It is an interesting project that’ll add a lot to the space if it can prove itself over time.
TRON – TRON: Started as an Ethereum ICO, became its own network. Now it has to prove itself. Has some cool DApps, lots of potential.
Zero-x (0x) – ZRX: An Ethereum-based platform that can be used to create Decentralize Exchanges. Yes please.
Ok, now real quick:
BNB because it’s Binance’s popular token, NEM because it is quick and cheap, LSK a popular blockchain building platform, OMG solid Ethereum competitor, BTG (or any Bitcoin fork listed on exchanges) because it is Bitcoin with a few tweaks, NANO quick, speedy, and interesting project, XVG quick privacy coin with longevity, MKR Ethereum-based project attached to a decentralized stable coin, BAT Ethereum -based advertising token, SC digital cloud token, REP cool forecasting platform built on Ethereum, DODGE if Bitcoin was a joke it would be Dodge (somehow this joke keeps running and doge retains value despite itself).
So here is the deal, I’ve been in the space for long enough to know the story behind the top coins, thus above I could confidently write a best of crypto list for 2018 (obviously I’ll need to update this moving forward). However, in general all you need to know to create your own list is this:
- Coins that have been in the top 20 – 30 by market cap on Coinmarketcap.com for the past few months, unless they are brand new, are generally the coins that belong there. The market sometimes gets it wrong in the short term, with coins launching to the top of the pack as they “pump,” but over time the market tends to get it right (and the cream of the crop tends to float to the top).
- Coins that have been in the top 20 – 30 for years are generally by far the best choices. So BTC, ETH, XRP, XLM, LTC, XMR, ZEC, and DASH, while maybe not always the most exciting in terms of price, speed, or technology, should always be your bread and butter. Further, BTC is king crypto, ETH is king alt, and XRP is maybe a bit of a mix of those two with some other qualities. If you have to only get three coins, those are probably your three.
- Some of the coins that will see the biggest gains over time are not the best alternatives when it comes to tech or performance over time or safety, they are random cheap alts that might get pumped once or twice in their life. So if you are a speculator you’ll really want to check out a longer list of coins.
- Some of the coins that will do the best over time might not be on the top of the list yet, they might be coins with excellent technology that are under appreciated. Again, the market doesn’t tend to get things wrong over time, but it can in the short term. So keep an eye on new coins with exciting tech that solve longstanding problems in the crypto space (problems generally include factors such as scalability and privacy).
- Always pay attention to the news, if a coin is getting listed on a major exchange like Coinbase, or if a coin like XRP will be adopted as a trading pair on some major exchanges, or if an update has improved a coin’s system (like if Ethereum gets its long awaited upgrades) then the whole game can change.
- Consider the health of the overall market and technical analysis. The best coin in the world can be a giant trap in the wrong market (not only can coins go down 90%+, in the worst of times, with low volume coins, that can happen in the course of moments in crypto), the worst coin can be the score of the lifetime right before a bull market.