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2009 saw the first development of a cryptocurrency (Bitcoin), and since then the world of digital currency has never looked back. Cryptocurrencies differ from traditional currencies comes in the sense that they have no centralized authority. So, with traditional currencies, there are banks and other financial institutions that handle the recording of transactions. However, cryptocurrency transactions occur directly between the parties. Cryptocurrencies also have their own a digital ledger called the blockchain which records all these transactions. There are currently over 1300 cryptocurrencies available right now, so it can be very difficult determining which ones to invest in. Here are some of the best cryptocurrencies to take a look at:

 

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the current leader in the world of cryptocurrency. They use a blockchain that currently is strictly for peer-to-peer financial transactions which may change in the future. 2017 was a groundbreaking year for Bitcoin. Its value was at $900 at the start of the year, and it rapidly grew to $6,300 by October. Since then, it has even surpassed the $10,000 mark and is in a healthy direction to continue its growth in 2018. Many predict that it will be the biggest investment to make in 2018 and could be a major game changer in the financial world in the years to come. Its popularity has certainly put cryptocurrencies in the eyes of many, so it is very possible that it could reach mainstream status sooner rather than later.

 

Ethereum

Right there with Bitcoin in terms of importance and popularity is Ethereum. While it is not as popular just yet, it is certainly turning heads. Ethereum had a growth of 40x in the last two years. It allows for you to build fully-functional apps on the blockchain without a middleman.  For this reason, it will serve as a basis for an entire ecosystem of Decentralized Apps making it possible for more efficient cross-industry interactions. At the start of 2017, the cost of one Ether was about eight dollars. It has since reached over $400 and is still growing which is a 5,500% increase in the year. While it is currently second to Bitcoin, it is set to make some major strides in the coming years.

 

Ripple

Ripple is another digital currency looking to make a splash in the industry. While relatively new in terms of the attention it is receiving; it’s currently on an upward trend. Launched in 2012 to enable global financial transactions, Ripple’s goal has been to connect the thousands of different banking ledger systems into one consolidated system; doing so would reduce the need for banking institutions to park massive amounts of capital in order to facilitate transactions. The reason Ripple stands out from other cryptocurrencies is its use with well-known banks like Santander, Bank of America, and UBS. With a market cap of over $100 billion, the sky’s the limit for Ripple as they are setting themselves up to be major competition for the other heavy hitters.