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The Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to successfully record transactions on a secure, decentralized blockchain-based network. Launched in early 2009 by its pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency measured by market capitalization and amount of data stored on its blockchain. The Bitcoin software is free and available online to anyone who wants to run a Bitcoin node and store their own copy of the Bitcoin blockchain. As Bitcoin matures, engineers have designed additional protocols to improve the speed and privacy of Bitcoin transactions, including the Omni Layer, Lightning Network and Liquid Network. Only approximately 21 million bitcoins will ever be created. New coins are minted every 10 minutes by bitcoin miners who help to maintain the network by adding new transaction data to the blockchain.
The Dogecoin emerged in 2013 as a joke. It was created by Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus to satirize the growth of altcoins by making the doge internet meme into a cryptocurrency. While it was birthed as a joke, it actually led to some practicality as it’s large supply and low price facilitated efficient micro-tipping content on social media. It is a derivative of Luckycoin which forked from Litecoin and uses a Scrypt algorithm. Dogecoin has 1 minute block intervals making it faster than other blockchains. There is no cap to the supply of coins and thus the coin can inflate infinitely.
The Ether is the cryptocurrency built on top of the open source Ethereum blockchain, which runs smart contracts. The cryptocurrency acts as a fuel that allows smart contracts to run unlike bitcoin, which is meant to be a unit of currency on a peer-to-peer payment network. Ether’s supply is not capped like that of bitcoin and its supply schedule, often described as minimum necessary to secure the network, is determined by members of Ethereum’s community. A majority of decentralized applications are based on Ethereum and the cryptocurrency accounts for the highest percentage of the total funds staked in the DeFi projects. Ethereum is scheduled to make a transition to proof-of-stake mechanism from the current proof-of-work mechanism in the later half of 2020.
The XRP is known as a Real Time Gross Settlement System which is a ‘currency exchange and remittance network’ that independent servers validate. The currency traded is known as XRP and transfer times are immediate. XRP can be exchanged for most other currencies with its unique selling proposition being the avoidance of fees and wait times often associated with banks. It isn’t made up of a blockchain but rather a Hash Tree and its currency can’t be mined because there are a finite number of coins – 100 billion. XRP is popular with banks and institutions though the XRP token isn’t necessarily required for each transaction.
The Litecoin is a cryptocurrency launched in late 2011 by former Google and Coinbase engineer Charlie Lee. To create Litecoin, Lee copied the Bitcoin codebase, increased the total supply, and changed the speed at which new blocks are added to the blockchain. Only approximately 84 million litecoins will ever be created, quadruple the total bitcoin supply. Litecoin also creates new blocks every 2.5 minutes, four times faster than Bitcoin. The Litecoin investor and developer communities view the protocol as a complementary pseudo-testnet for Bitcoin and a “digital silver” to Bitcoin’s “digital gold”. The Litecoin foundation stewards the Litecoin project and finances Litecoin Core development.
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