Bitcoin was the first ever successful model of ‘a new form of money’ and world’s first official cryptocurrency, which resulted in its increased popularity and astounding market capital. With the rise of Bitcoin’s popularity, so did the rise of Altcoins.
Altcoins are the alternative cryptocurrencies launched after the success of Bitcoin. “Altcoin” is a combination of two words: “alt” and “coin”; alt signifying ‘alternative’ and coin signifying (in essence) ‘cryptocurrency.’ Thus, together they imply a category of cryptocurrency that is alternative to the digital currency Bitcoin. (source)
Thanks to Bitcoin and its underpinning blockchain technology, there are now more than 4500 cryptocurrencies hovering in crypto sphere with new coins being introduced almost every day. Though, the pack of these crypto coins is led by Bitcoin, other well-positioned cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Ducatus are gaining some leverage in terms of transaction time, transaction fees, anonymity, security, and transparency. Let’s dwell deep into various aspects of these altcoins and how they offer value to the marketplace.
Ether, the second largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization is one of the most powerful contenders in the list of Bitcoin alternatives. It was first introduced in 2013, but launched in 2014 as a complete package with new features. Moreover, Ethereum was the first ever crowdfunding project that raised an astounding amount which helped Buterin and his team of 15 developers to revamp the concept decentralization with the introduction of Ethereum blockchain platform.
The brainchild of Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum, is a totally different blockchain. Ethereum did not only overcome the issues associated with Bitcoin, but also added a number of other functionalities which are said to open new doors for decentralized future. Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum blockchain works on a proof of stake consensus which requires less electrical power consumption during the mining while maintaining optimum security. What makes Ethereum interesting is its versatility. Ethereum is a lot more than just a cryptocurrency. In fact, it is the crypto platform which is being used to create new crypto tokens, creating smart contracts, and DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) & dApps (decentralized applications).
Ripple has cemented its name when it comes to trading and transferring value over a decentralized space. The Ripple project is older than Bitcoin. It has gone through several iterations, but the original implementation was created by the Canadian developer Ryan Fugger in 2004 when Fugger was searching for a way to allow communities to create a system of money out of chains of trust. For example, if Alice trusts Bob, and Bob trusts Candace, and Candace trusts Dave, then Alice can send money to Dave (whom she doesn’t know) by first transferring value to Bob, who transfers that same value to Candace, who takes that value and deposits it in Dave’s account. Using this concept, payments can “ripple” through the network via these chains of trust.
Fugger’s first iteration was a decentralized monetary system that allowed individuals and communities to set up their own money. Ripple has since grown to be a large venture-backed start-up. It has some of the biggest names in the investing world backing them, Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz just to name a few and as of 2016, Ripple had raised more than $93 million in venture funding.
Ripple’s technology did some new things. It didn’t have miners. Instead, it utilized a consensus algorithm that relied on trusted subnetworks to keep a broader decentralized network of validators in sync. Since there was no mining process, there were no means to distribute XRP. Instead, 100 billion units of XRP were created and initially held by Ripple Labs (at that time, OpenCoin). While there was, and still is, intent to distribute all this XRP to seed use, as of this writing, the majority of XRP is still under the control of Ripple Labs.
Though, the pack of these crypto coins is led by Bitcoin, other well-positioned cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Ducatus are gaining some leverage in terms of transaction time, transaction fees, anonymity, security, and transparency.
Litecoin (LTC), a younger brother of Bitcoin, was first created in 2011. Soon after realizing the power of Bitcoin and the enhancement it could bring to the financial sector, Charles Lee, an MIT graduate and software engineer at Google had created a successful variation of Bitcoin. Unlike Bitcoin, Litecoin is aiming to make the transaction four times faster with 2.5 seconds of block time which is important for merchants and consumers who are always in need of faster confirmation of payments. Moreover, Lee has also introduced a new form of hash function in PoW or Proof of Work consensus which is called block hashing algorithm – which is aimed to embrace the mining process by utilizing the graphical processing unit (GPU) instead of the central processing unit (CPU). The block hashing algorithm of Litecoin called scrypt revamps the whole mining process and also provides better decentralization.
Since Litecoin had surpassed Bitcoin in terms of block time, the total amount of LTC released also accelerated four times than that of BTC, which made Lee create a supply mechanism of Litecoin with the total of 84 million. Again, four times greater than Bitcoin’s supply mechanism.
Ducatus Coin is a fork of Litecoin. A major benefit of a Litecoin fork is that partner vendors are able to much more easily support the Ducatus Coin. There are many existing code libraries that allow e-commerce sites to support Litecoin on a plug-and-play basis, and since Ducatus uses nearly identical API, web stores and cryptocurrency exchanges will be able to very easily adapt those resources for use with Ducatus.
But beyond technical soundness, Ducatus has been developed as a commercial initiative with a truly global scope and this is different from almost every other legitimate cryptocurrency. The management believes that a project this large and this complex needs to be underpinned by a real company with a real management team and the traditional functions and capabilities of leading companies in all other sectors. As of this writing, Ducatus is probably the only crypto company in the world that has a network of existing functional bricks and mortar businesses where users can use their cryptocurrency in the same way as they use their more conventional dollars or euros, in exchange for real world goods and services. In fact, a Ducatus subsidiary, Ducatus Café, Singapore’s first cryptocurrency café, was featured in CNBC, Business Insider, Reuters and others when it opened in 2017.