Kayla Matthews

@KaylaEMatthews

10 Cryptocurrencies You Might Not Know About (But Definitely Should)

The cryptocurrency scene is quite popular these days, and for good reason.

As a whole, the technology offers more transparency, better security and much more controls than fiat currencies — plus, everything is decentralized instead of being controlled by a single entity or agency.

The first names that come to mind are Bitcoin, Etherium, Zcash, Monero and a few others. Bitcoin, however, has really taken the cake, primarily because it was one of the first and continues to be one of the most valuable out there.

But there are dozens, if not more, of cryptocurrencies on the market that aim to offer better privacy, anonymity or more reliable fungibility. Chances are, you know only a select few, unless you’re keyed in to regular updates from the crypto community.

Some of those currencies are incredibly promising — Monero, Aureus and Nano to name a few — while others are nothing more than joke currencies. Dogecoin is a great example for that.

Just to get you up to speed, here are a handful of cryptocurrencies that both show promise and should be on your radar, if they aren’t already. Investing in one of these platforms is sure to earn you a buck or two.

1. Monero

If privacy and anonymity are your concern, then Monero is your star child. Unlike similar cryptocurrencies, Monero makes it extremely difficult to see or understand what’s happening during a transaction, in an effort to protect everyone participating in the blockchain. It’s much harder to justify that someone is doing wrong simply because they’re cloaked, when everyone else is just as invisible.

This is one of the main qualms with Bitcoin and similar crypto. Monero eliminates that entirely by even masking the amount of currency transacted between parties.

It is so secure, in fact, that when a major darknet exchange market called Alphabay was seized and shutdown by law enforcement, they could not see how much Monero the site owner had at the time.

Monero also had a remarkably clean intro to the cryptosphere as there were no pre-mine or instamine programs active. Essentially, everyone started on an equal plane. Yet, due to its complicated cryptography structure — it relies on Ring signatures, Kovri and stealth addresses — the transaction sizes tend to be much larger than Bitcoin’s, up to 50 times bigger to be precise.

Even with the transaction fees as a downside, ultimate privacy is worth the hassle, especially in today’s world.

2. PIVX

PIVX is a crypto like any other, with exception to the fact that its one of the first to deploy Zercoin protocol. This offers better anonymity and privacy when compared to other proof of stake coins. The protocol is a recent deployment, however, and has caused a few issues.

The development team is currently working out the kinks, which is why it’s still included on this list. It won’t be long before everything is running smoothly again, and trading is that much more anonymous.

One of the bigger benefits of PIVX is that transactions occur incredibly fast, especially when compared to similar, protected crypto.

The coin market cap is also pretty low, making it a great time to invest before it volleys into the atmosphere. How likely is that to happen? Well, many investors and analysts believe that PIVX is headed for a great future. That should tell you a little something.

3. Zcash

Zcash is one of the more popular names on the market, but there are a couple of current drawbacks to this cryptocurrency. With regard to privacy and anonymity Zcash relies on the zk-SNARK protocol, which uses zero-knowledge proofs to keep everything private.

Unfortunately, the protocol has yet to be deployed, so Zcash is still operating on an open blockchain not unlike Bitcoin. Because of that — and the fact that you need decent hardware to take advantage of Zcash’s privacy feature — it’s not what we would consider a mainstream contender in the cryptosphere.

To offer a little more detail, when the developers do enable the protocol, you will need at least 4GB of RAM available in your machine to make use of the feature. That eliminates trading and mining for many low-end platforms right out of the gate.

That’s not to say the development team isn’t working on a way to reduce said resource requirements, but it’s not going to happen overnight.

4. Komodo

If you’re the type that loves to root for the underdog, Komodo is for you. Komodo also leverages the zk-SNARK protocol, as inherited from Zcash.

This is a simple way of saying the developers initially forked their platform off of Zcash, opting for an improved proof of algorithm for better security. Because of this, Komodo also shares a lot of the same limitations as Zcash for private transactions.

The developers are working to come up with a better solution for private transactions. Their ultimate goal is to become something totally different from Zcash. They are nearly there already, so it’s not a stretch to claim Komodo is set to go down as one of the greats.

The most promising aspect of this crypto is that it’s not meant solely for private transactions. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll notice a penchant for decentralized exchanges and cross chain atomic swaps. That makes it’s a great potential investment, for anyone who doesn’t like to put all their eggs in one basket.

5. Aureus

Most crypto-platforms are designed to follow a decentralized structure. Cryptocrest — the development team behind Aureus — is doing the complete opposite.

For their Aureus (AUR) cryptocurrency, they’ve established the first platform of its kind to be backed by a Bitcoin reserve.

The Aureus Bitcoin Trust or ABT, as it’s called, is backed by a total reserve of 15,000 Bitcoins and as a result, the system can dish out monthly dividends to token holders.

To reiterate, Aureus investors will receive monthly dividends in the form of Bitcoin — another immensely valuable crypto — making the currency one of the most lucrative in the short term, alongside offering a great future.

This allows investors to benefit through two varying channels: the Aureus network and related currency, as well as Bitcoin which they receive through dividends.

Aureus is a unique blockchain that operates on its own, yet it utilizes Bitcoin’s historic protocols. It also offers improved transaction speeds with much lower fees compared to its roots.

6. Verge

Verge doesn’t use cryptography to keep users anonymous. Instead, the platform utilizes Tor and I2P networks to handle transactions and reporting. The idea to use this style of protection came from the developers ideals to honor a truly “open” ledger so that users can verify and see all transaction-based activity.

Some other features include the VISP peer-to-peer messaging system, atomic swaps, faster sync support and wraith protocol opportunities for stealth addressing.

7. NAV Coin

Like Verge, NAV doesn’t rely on cryptography like most coins to remain private. Instead, it employs obfuscation techniques through what’s called a sub-blockchain that operates in parallel to the main blockchain. Think of it as an additional security layer creating excess noise.

The obfuscation is possible thanks to NavTech servers. Unfortunately, the security measures are not yet distributed enough to make a significant impact, which contributes to major centralization issues.

In its current setup, the centralized NavTech system can be attacked by outsiders to compromise and extract user information. That risk alone is enough to make NAV Coin fall short of the greats, at least in its current iteration.

The NAV development team is working on new ways to boost security, including by implementing node-based servers as opposed to the existing kind.

Even with its flaws, NAV Coin is still incredibly promising, even more so if the development team can find an enhanced security solution.

8. DASH

These days, you cannot have an anonymous crypto list without at least including Dash somewhere on it. It is one of the most popular and promising cryptocurrencies of the past couple of years, founded in 2017.

The reason why it’s lower on the list is due to its privacy structure. It’s called PrivateSend, and it simply obscures your funds and transactions through coin-mixing. Without leaving your wallet, the coins are meshed or “mixed” with the data of other users.

The Dash developers call this data “inputs,” which is mixed with a max of up to two other users. Sadly, parties could take advantage of meta-data to identify the true sender or receiver of transactions. It’s not completely secure — just more difficult to crack.

There’s also the drawback that the team implemented KYC/AML compliance throughout Dash’s entire blockchain. It’s not conducive to privacy and anonymity for its users.

In the end, Dash is seeing quite the adoption rates and growth which still posit the currency as promising in the modern cryptosphere.

9. Nano

Formerly known as RaiBlocks, Nano is a low-latency cryptocurrency with a trustless structure and laser-focus on efficiency. It’s touted by the development team as a “digital currency for the real world,” and is meant to be something you will one day pay for goods and services with.

Bitcoin falls short in this regard due to its complex structure. It is volatile, fees are often high and transfer speeds are slow, making it a risky form of payment for most businesses. Nano aims to change that by being more efficient on all fronts.

It features instant transactions, zero fees — yes, zero — and infinite scalability which means the network can continue growing with few to no speed-bumps.

10. Zcoin

Not to be confused with Zcash, Zcoin, or Zerocoin as its called, is another up-and-coming cryptographic platform. As you might have guessed, it uses the Zerocoin protocol which is built upon the support structure Bitcoin uses. The biggest difference is that the Zerocoin team aims to improve security across the board.

This is achieved by converting — or “minting” — a coin via the public ledger into a private coin. When you’re ready to spend money or make a transaction, the owner of the minted coin remains obfuscated.

Furthermore, this entire process can be utilized indefinitely, as many times as you like. The result is complete privacy from prying eyes.

The only issue with this platform is that a single group or team is responsible for the minting. If they are corrupt, they could essentially mint as many coins for themselves as they like.

Supposedly, this “trusted setup” will be disabled or removed at a later date. When that happens, Zcoin will be at the top of the list for pure and ultimate privacy.

Photo by David Shares

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