The best cryptocurrencies… the mere thought of such a list is enough to make many of the best investors snicker and then dismiss the topic altogether.
Bitcoin is just one of many cryptocurrencies in existence. CoinGecko lists more than 8,000 individual tokens on its site—though it’s not clear how many of those are still active.
The Bitcoin alternatives are called altcoins. Some are more useful than others. But which are the best?
Here’s our list of the top 10 cryptocurrency coins in 2020.
1. Bitcoin (BTC)
The world’s most famous crypto coin, Bitcoin, was launched in early 2009. It is the most widely adopted token in the real-world and has provided the basis for many cryptocurrency forks.
Bitcoin is expensive. It hit an all-time high of $20,000 in 2018 and has spent much of 2020 valued between $8,000 and $10,000.
You can buy Bitcoin on an exchange or mine it on your computer. You could even try and mine Bitcoin on your Android. If you decide to mine on a computer, you will need one of the best mining GPUs to make a serious profit.
Once you have some Bitcoin, make sure you store it in a secure offline cold wallet. Just beware of the common Bitcoin scams before you start using it.
Want to explore Bitcoin storage solutions in more detail? Check out our crypto wallets guide.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world.
There are some crucial differences between Ethereum and Bitcoin. The most significant difference is the use of smart contracts.
Although Bitcoin can theoretically host simple smart contracts, Ethereum was designed specifically for the purpose. It was designed using ERC token standards.
Smart contracts mean Ethereum has a lot of real-world uses, including hosting decentralized apps (DApps).
To learn more, check out the best Ethereum tutorials on the web.
3. Binance Coin (BNB)
Binance Coin is the in-house token of the Binance crypto exchange. It provides reduced trading fees on the Binance platform but also has several uses outside the exchange.
Binance itself is hugely popular. It is one of the world’s best crypto exchanges thanks to its easy-to-use app and widespread support of tokens. The only downside it is the KYC process, meaning you’ll have to get verified on Binance to be able to use the app.
(Note: Users in the US will need to use the separate Binance US due to government regulations. Check out some of the best crypto exchanges for Americans for alternatives.)
4. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash is one of the most well-known Bitcoin forks. It was designed to fix some of Bitcoin’s scalability issues.
Significantly, it increased the number of transactions per second from seven to 70. Still nowhere near Visa’s 24,000, but a step in the right direction.
5. Litecoin (LTC)
The next crypto coin on our list is Litecoin. Litecoin is one of the older crypto coins—the first block was mined in October 2011.
The token aims to provide a faster and cheaper alternative to Bitcoin (though it’s still not one of the fastest crypto networks).
6. Ripple (XRP)
Ripple provides three core services: a real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), a currency exchange, and a remittance network.
Uniquely, Ripple is fungible with everything. As such, it can act as a mediator between two assets that wouldn’t usually have an exchange rate.
Like Bitcoin, it’s also possible to spend Ripple in the real-world economy.
7. Monero (XMR)
Monero is one of the world’s best private cryptocurrencies. It uses the CryptoNight proof-of-work algorithm, ring signatures, stealth addresses, and Ring Confidential Transactions to ensure that nobody observing the Monero blockchain will know where tokens are sent or how much is stored in individual wallets.
8. Cardano (ADA)
Cardano works in a similar way to Ethereum. The blockchain is designed to host smart contracts, with a specific focus on financial contracts.
9. NEO (NEO)
NEO is China’s first public blockchain. Originally called Antshares, it rebranded in 2017.
The coin wants to be at the heart of a new global “smart economy.” To that end, NEO has three core components: digital assets, digital identity, and smart contracts.
10. NEM (XEM)
NEM is a smart asset blockchain. It scales to 4,000 transactions per second and has zero inflation. The project is based out of Singapore.
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