Here are seven of the best altcoins in 2021.
Bitcoin isn’t the only crypto game in town.
Bitcoin (ticker: BTC) gets the lion’s share of cryptocurrency media coverage, and rightfully so. But in the years since the first Bitcoin transaction in 2009, thousands of other cryptocurrencies have popped up, creating a confusing landscape for investors. Some of these altcoins include major technical innovations that differentiate them from Bitcoin, while others have simply become popular digital currency brands and social media memes. Cryptocurrency investing remains an extremely high-risk, speculative endeavor, but it can be lucrative for investors willing to risk painful losses in the hopes of big payouts. Here are seven of the best altcoins to buy.
The best altcoins to buy:
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Shiba Inu (SHIB)
- Stellar (XLM)
- Polkadot (DOT)
- Monero (XMR)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
If you’ve followed cryptocurrency news at all, you’re already well aware of Dogecoin. The cryptocurrency that was created in 2013 as a parody of Bitcoin has become one of the most popular and valuable digital currency brands in the world, thanks in large part to its cute-yet-hilarious Shiba Inu mascot. Dogecoin’s meteoric rise has been fueled by influential Tesla Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, who claims he has been working with Dogecoin developers to improve Dogecoin system efficiency. Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban is also a Dogecoin supporter, recently calling it the “strongest” cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange.
Shiba Inu (SHIB)
Like Dogecoin, Shiba Inu’s success is a testament to its branding, including its name and logo. Investors who missed out on the big Dogecoin rally have been treated to an encore performance by Shiba Inu in recent weeks. Since its creation in August 2020, the altcoin’s price has risen exponentially. Its developers have launched the ShibaSwap decentralized exchange, which provides financial services for its user community. Investors are even aggressively petitioning Robinhood Markets Inc. (HOOD) to list SHIB on its platform, which could be a tremendous near-term catalyst for the altcoin.
Stellar is a network developed by Stellar Development Foundation in 2014 for the purpose of connecting large banks, payment systems and financial institutions while facilitating large transactions instantly and at a low cost. Stellar’s cryptocurrency is actually called the Lumen, which trades under the symbol XLM. The Lumen’s price has skyrocketed in the past five years, bringing its market cap to more than $9 billion and making it one of the 25 most-valuable cryptocurrencies. For investors, the value of the Stellar network may lie largely in facilitating loans and remittances in underbanked, emerging market economies.
The Polkadot blockchain launched in 2020 and was developed by Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Gavin Wood. Polkadot operates a main network blockchain where transactions are permanent. However, its unique feature is that it also operates “parachains,” user-created blockchains that can be customized but still benefit from the same security measures as the main chain. In that sense, users can customize different parachains for different uses, but the network only requires enough computing resources to operate the main chain. Investors have high hopes for the Polkadot blockchain, and its namesake altcoin now has a more than $40 billion market cap.
One of the primary goals of Monero developers was to address Bitcoin’s privacy weaknesses. Bitcoin’s decentralized nature makes transactions only partially anonymous. The public has access to the amount of each Bitcoin transaction and a limited amount of data about both parties involved, which allows Bitcoins to be traced and potentially blacklisted by regulators if those coins are suspected of being involved with criminal activity. By contrast, Monero users can complete transactions without this type of data being publicly accessible on its blockchain. Crypto users value their privacy, which is one reason Monero has a more than $4 billion market cap.
Litecoin was created back in 2011 by former Google engineer Charlie Lee, who now works for Coinbase Global Inc. (COIN). Litecoin’s long history and high-profile developer give the crypto a degree of credibility relative to many of the newer altcoins. Lee essentially created Litecoin to be to Bitcoin what silver is to gold. The biggest advantage Litecoin has over Bitcoin is its faster block generation rate, which allows for shorter transaction confirmation times. Litecoin has gained more than 50% in 2021, but it has lost market share to more high-flying altcoins and even to Bitcoin itself, which has more than doubled this year.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash was created via a hard fork in the Bitcoin blockchain back in 2017 in an attempt to address Bitcoin’s transaction speed issues. The fork occurred when members of the Bitcoin community could not agree on a potential change to the size of Bitcoin blocks. Bitcoin Cash’s initial 8-megabyte block size was eight times larger than Bitcoin’s, a change that supporters believed would ultimately help Bitcoin Cash at scale. Bitcoin Cash expanded its block size again in 2018 to 32 MB, making the altcoin even more appealing to businesses processing large numbers of small transactions.