Cryptocurrencies are gradually becoming a major part of the global financial ecosystem. The technology that is barely 10 years old has expanded so mightily that the highest decision making platforms are showing serious concerns of the impact that it could have on a global level.
Apart from functioning as financial instruments, cryptocurrencies operate on a layer of technology that solves specific problems, blockchain technology. This is the technology that determines the value implications of cryptocurrencies and how much adoption that they can receive.
Presently there is a long list of cryptocurrencies in existence, a few thousand of them actually. Although some of them tend to offer similar solutions in terms of financial settlements and payment systems, other exist around different areas of the industry where their impacts are also being felt significantly. Here are a few of them:
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that can be used for peer to peer transaction without the need for an intermediary, like a bank. It is a kind of electronic cash that is operated on a decentralized network that is also known as a bitcoin network.
It is the first cryptocurrency to come into existence and was created by a person or group with the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in the year 2009.
There can only be 21,000,000 Bitcoins in existence, and these will be generated over a period of time through computer processes called mining. This is the application of computational power by computer processors with specific algorithms to confirm transactions on the Bitcoin network. The process is a competitive one between participating computers, and the first to solve existing algorithmic problems are rewarded with new Bitcoins.
As at the time of writing, the price of one Bitcoin is $11,260. The daily trading volume stands at $24,928,411,989 while the market capitalization of the pioneer cryptocurrency is $200,425,732,749.
Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization. Despite coming alive several years after Bitcoin, with many other cryptocurrencies created before it, the decentralized applications platform shot to stardom within a short period of time.
Ethereum’s journey into existence started in 2013 when Vitalik Buterin published its whitepaper. Between that time and 2015, the project conducted an ICO that raised around $18.4 million and was launched.
Since after the Ethereum “testnet” was released in May 2015, the main “Frontier” and other stages has come to life. Summarily, apart from offering a decentralized financial system through the platform’s token, ETH, Ethereum is mainly a blockchain for developing decentralized applications (dApps). This is one of the fundamental factors behind Ethereum’s rapid growth and adoption level. Ever since, so many applications have been created on the Ethereum platform.
In June 2016, there was a breach on the Ethereum blockchain, with hackers making away with $50 million worth of ETH. This degenerated to an eventual hardfork that created a new chain that retained the Ethereum name and symbol, while the original chain became what is known today as Ethereum Classic, ETC.
As at the time of writing, the dollar price of Ethereum is $291. The cryptocurrency has a daily trading volume of $8,691,373,944, and a market capitalization of $31,152,084,397.
Tether is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency that is backed by fiat. This means that the amount in value of Tether coins in circulation at any given time is backed by an equivalent amount in US dollars, euros or Japanese yen deposited in designated bank accounts.
Tether is a stablecoin, which is a term used to describe any cryptocurrency that is pegged to a stable asset, in this case, fiat. Stablecoins are a new breed of cryptocurrencies that are aimed at stabilizing the digital currency ecosystem. This group of coins avoid the kind of huge swings in price that are usually noticed with traditional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Tether came into existence in July 2014 under the name RealCoin. By November of the same year, it was renamed Tether by the company that is responsible for maintaining the reserve amounts in fiat, Tether Ltd.
One Tether is priced at $1, and the daily circulation volume as at press time is $23,649,050,152 with a market capitalization of $3,665,910,621.
USPX is one of the newer cryptocurrency projects that is establishing itself within the industry. The project is championed by Elon Musk, the wealthiest South African citizen by net worth.
The coin is the tokenized version of the SpaceX project that allows anyone to buy into the project easily.
SpaceX started in 2002 as a project that manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The ultimate goal of the company is to enable humans to go ahead and live on other planets apart from earth.
The USPX coin exemplifies one of the fundamental benefits of blockchain technology, Tokenization. This allows existing tangible and intangible assets to be broken down into smaller pieces to enable more public inclusion.
USPX is allowing all classes of investors to own economic interest in Elon Musk’s multi billion dollar SpaceX.
Different coins have different characteristics and use cases. While they are all basically usable within their communities and particular networks, their value exchange capabilities also qualifies them as monetary assets and sometimes payment vehicles.
How to access these coins has been the challenge of most cryptocurrencies users. Even though they may be available on some popular platforms, the complexities involved in most cases does not encourage adoption.
This is the focus of the liquidity providing platform, Vertex.Market whose purpose is to make cryptocurrencies easily accessible to every user of the internet. Vertex is an peer-to-peer platform where all kinds of cryptocurrencies, even those that are yet to be listed, can be purchased using bank transfer.
Cryptocurrency adoption is essential towards the general development of the technology, and this can be made possible only when accessibility becomes as easy as possible.