The list of cryptocurrencies on CoinMarketCap just keeps on increasing…
At the time of writing this article, there are more than 860 cryptos listed on CoinMarketCap, with a total market cap of $145 billion. Out of this $145 billion, $79 billion is the market cap of the biggest cryptocurrency – Bitcoin.
The remaining $76 billion is shared by the remaining 860 altcoins (i.e. alternative cryptocurrencies).
Some people might think that Bitcoin is the only useful coin out there, simply because of how it’s dominating over 50% of the market.
But I would say this is not fair because of 3 reasons:
- Bitcoin is the worlds first cryptocurrencies and therefore, it has the “first mover’s” advantage.
- All/most altcoins/cryptocurrencies are addressing different problems and use cases that Bitcoin doesn’t aim to solve.
- The crypto market is a decentralized free market where no one has autonomous power. Bitcoin could drastically fall in price in an instant.
Crypto-projects are evaluated by market sentiments and the use cases the project is intending to solve.
I’m also not denying the existence of scams, and pump and dumps, and MLM coins, but the market will eventually filter these coins out.
So let’s look at some of the best cryptos with real, functional, and effective use cases.
Top 10 Cryptocurrencies With Practical Usecases
1. Bitcoin (Payments & Storer of Value)
Of course, I will start my list with the king of cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin.
Bitcoin has been effectively solving a real-world problem since it was born in 2009. It was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto and meant to be an alternative to the traditional banking system for the global masses.
Satoshi understood that central banks and governments have become insidious and inflationary. That’s why, through Bitcoin, he wanted to show us that decentralized trust could be created and we no longer needed to be at the mercy of centralized ledgers (banks, PayPal, etc.) that charge arbitrarily for the mere transfer of funds.
He also created Bitcoin to be a reliable store of value, just like how the value of gold can be preserved for ages.
And now, in 2017, Bitcoin’s 9408 full-running nodes are a testimony to the fact that Bitcoin is the decentralized powerhouse that it was designed to be. Since 2009, it has only become stronger and stronger.
I know some complaint about high Bitcoin transaction fees, but as it figures out how to effectively scale, that will go away.
Bitcoin has so far proudly lived the test of time and will continue to improve with second layer technologies.
2. Ethereum (Smart Contracts & DApps)
Ethereum entered the market in early 2014 with an announcement from its founder, Vitalik Buterin.
And after almost 3 years since Ethereum’s launch, I would say that it has been very successful in implementing its use case of smart contracts and DApps.
It’s 667 DApps – out of which some are running and some are in development – along with a total of 1727819 contracts that have already been deployed on Ethereum’s blockchain are a testimony to the fact that it is achieving its objective.
Even though we keep on hearing about Ethereum hacks, hard forks, and scaling issues, that doesn’t mean it has no practical use. I believe it will keep on doing well by solving and implementing its fundamental purpose.
The only thing that I think will come in its way is Ethereum’s inflationary coin supply. The founder doesn’t seem to care about it, and he has made it clear that Ethereum’s intended purpose is not just to be used merely as money (unlike Bitcoin).
3. Monero (Anonymous, Private & Fungible Digital Money)
Did you know that Bitcoin is not anonymous?
That’s right. It’s not. Everything exists on the public blockchain. This feature of Bitcoin makes it pseudo-anonymous and non-fungible. Noticing this, Monero (XMR) came into the market in 2014 with a practical idea of making truly anonymous, private, and fungible digital money.
And in 2017, Monero has been inching closer to its original goal as they have successfully tested and implemented stealth addresses, ring signatures, and ring CT-like technologies (see the Wiki page for more info). The only thing left is the implementation of permanent IP obfuscation, which I believe will be happening soon. But for now, as a workaround, you can use a Tor or onion network to acheive this objective.
And a Twitter comment by Riccardo Spagni (core developer of Monero) speaks volumes about Monero’s privacy. During the recent AlphaBay fiasco, investigators weren’t even able to find the amount of Monero funds that AlphaBay had accumulated.
But it needs to be noted that the features of privacy, anonymity, and fungibility are not only necessary for criminals. Even normal people like you and me need these things because, without them, it’s easy to be robbed or kidnapped.
That’s why the Monero currency has a practical use case which it is trying to implement.
4. Factom (Decentralized Notary)
Factom (FCT) entered the cryptocurrency market in late 2014. It intends to be the immutable universal record keeper of the world.
Factom’s founder Peter Kirby realized that Bitcoin’s blockchain, by design, has core constraints which don’t leave much scope for innovative solutions. But over the years, this very blockchain has proven to be the most trustable and immutable record of monetary transactions ever created.
Factom was designed to take advantage of that security and immutability.
Once something is recorded onto the Factom platform, it can’t be changed, and it becomes forever immutable as it becomes anchored to Bitcoin’s blockchain. This acts like a trustable record against which any digital artifact (documents, videos, or audios) can be verified, and original records are kept safe.
Factom uses SHA-256 hash, Bitcoin’s blockchain, and its own blockchain to achieve three things:
- “Proof of Existence”
- “Proof of Process”
- “Proof of Audit”
And this is what makes it the world’s most trusted decentralized notary.
So far, Factom has secured over 126,485,400 records, which is a testimony to its practicality.
See our exclusive guide on Factom for more info.
5. Dash (Digital Cash)
Dash was created three 18 January 2014 by its developer Evan Duffield. Dash was originally released as “XCoin” (XCO). In February 2014, the name was changed to “Darkcoin”. And on 25 March 2015, Darkcoin was rebranded as “Dash”.
Evan plans to make Dash easy to use as well as anonymous for privacy-centric users.
Dash aims to study the best practices of the fiat world and work backward in developing their products to be user-friendly for the people. So even though people are using the DASH crypto on the backend, they will have no problems interacting with it because of the familiar traditional banking UI.
Dash is a good investment because of the practical usages, features like InstantSend/PrivateSend, the strong foundation, and the remarkable work of their management team.
If you are not holding enough Dash in your portfolio, you should consider stocking up.
Our CEO, Harsh Agrawal, met the Dash director of finance, Ryan Taylor, at the Bitcoin Miami event. You can watch their discussion here.
6. Golem (Decentralized Supercomputers)
You can think of Golem as the Airbnb of computers.
It is the world’s first open-sourced and decentralized super-computer which is powered by its Ethereum-based, Golem cryptocurrency – GNT (Golem Network Tokens). GNT’s coin supply is fixed, which means as the project becomes more popular, the price of GNT will likely increase.
Golem’s “supercomputer” gets its power from both small personal laptops and giant data centers spread around the world. And as a user of Golem’s platform, you can run a website, do energy-intensive scientific calculations, run a long code, or do CGI rendering. You can even run miners using this computational resource and mine cryptocurrencies.
Golem supercomputers will run when the user pays GNT tokens. These tokens will be given to people who have rented out their extra computing power on the Golem network.
Golem has a long roadmap of around 4-5 years, which is pretty long in this fast-changing crypto world. But there is no exaggeration in saying that once the Golem platform is live, the GNT cryptocurrency will have tremendous value. See this article for their development roadmap.
7. Siacoin (Decentralized Cloud Storage)
If Golem is the Airbnb of computers, then Sia is the Airbnb of hard drives. They have a very viable use case and are trying to solve something that most of us everyday – cloud storage.
Sia allows its users to rent out their unused hard drive space, and hence, make money.
While Sia is a cloud storage platform like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Amazon Cloud, what sets Sia apart is that it is an open-source, blockchain-based, and decentralized cloud storage platform. In short, Sia is a decentralized cloud where data is stored on the blockchain.
Centralized storage services are prone to single points of failure and also the misuse of unencrypted data for higher business profits.
But there are huge challenges in the way decentralized data will be stored, and Sia has a long development roadmap.
The long-term goal of Sia is to compete with the major cloud storage platforms. But in the blockchain space, Sia also has direct competitors like Storj and MaidSafe… but Sia claims to be better with encryption and decentralization.
The Sia developer’s community is confident that they are making a highly competent product, and they don’t believe in mass marketing campaigns for promotion.
Sia’s use case is definitely practical, and it’s a crypto worth watching in the future.
8. IOTA (Internet Of Things)
IOTA is another cryptocurrency which claims to be the next generation of cryptocurrency. IOTA aims to be the most widely used cryptocurrency in this ever-growing internet world.
IOTA has the potential to change the way we do payments because it offers completely free transactions which are not possible with other cryptocurrencies.
It is also the first cryptocurrency without a blockchain; instead, it uses something called Tangle technology.
Expect a slow adoption rate for IOTA because it will only grow as more and more people start using IOT things and smartphones/smart devices.
9. Ripple (Bank’s Cryptocurrency)
Ripple is like a cryptocurrency for banks.
Ripple is a payment protocol that allows banks to send real-time international payments to each other without the need for a central counterparty or clearance hub.
It is designed in a way that it complies with all the banks and central banking institutions. Ripple can be implemented on top of swift infrastructure which all the banks currently have.
Ripple (XRP) is solving the valid problem of international remittances.
During its initial days, I was quite skeptical regarding Ripple, but it is definitely trying to solve some of the pain points of international banking.
Expect a huge growth of XRP because banks are hungry to adapt to blockchain tech, and Ripple provides a ready-made, plug and play solution for their problems.
And it’s happening… they have already started doing real-time payments with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
10. Civic (Universal Digital Identity)
Civic is on a mission to create a digital identity for everyone in a decentralized manner. These identities will be compliant with various rules and regulations of the governments around the world (like a digital ID number).
Civic uses the blockchain to secure data. This data is stringently verified by Civic or identity verifying partners and then attested and anchored to the blockchain in the form of un-decryptable data. This data is only exchanged between the user and the requestor of that data by using Civic tokens (CVC).
See this introductory video of Civic to understand more:
This way, you need not give your data again and again to various entities. Civic makes it easy and truly frictionless for users and identity requestors to verify data and prevent identity theft because it is all stored on the blockchain.
Civic is implementing a practical use case for identity verification, and I believe this project will further prove itself to be a valuable crypto-coin in the very near future.
Cryptocurrencies With Practical Use Cases
The number of cryptocurrencies will keep on increasing as the ecosystem matures. And only the future will tell which of these new currencies will be the most practical for the market.
For now, I have listed only those currencies which I strongly believe in. Needless to say, apart from these 10 currencies, there are more currencies that have practical use cases. But right now, these 10 are the most promising to me.
I will be updating this list again, so keep an eye on CoinSutra for all the latest crypto developments.
What cryptocurrency do you think is the most practical? Which one do you think has the best use case? Do let me know your thoughts/suggestions/questions in the comments section below.
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Here are a few suggested things to read next:
- Ethereum Cryptocurrency: Everything A Beginner Needs To Know
- Counterparty (XCP) Cryptocurrency: Everything You Need To Know
- Siacoin (SC) Cryptocurrency: An Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
Harsh Agrawal is the Crypto exchanges contributor for CoinSutra.
He has a background in both finance and technology and holds professional qualifications in Information technology.
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