If you have any passing interest in bitcoin, you'll know that the virtual-currency market has seen better days. The original blockchain-reward token fell worryingly below the $6,000 mark recently, setting fears about additional selloffs. That said, I believe the current juncture offers a shrewd opportunity to consider alternative cryptocurrencies to buy.
Undoubtedly, much of the volatility results from weak-hands unnecessarily panicking off perceived negative news. A few weeks ago, I mentioned the curious uproar over a relatively small South Korean exchange that cybercriminals hacked. I argued then that the central issue was not the integrity of the blockchain economy, but rather, a cyber attack not unlike what happened to Equifax Inc . (NYSE: EFX ).
However, jittery investors didn't want to research the nuances of the incident and therefore dumped out. Just recently, the Justice Department announced a major crackdown on dark-net criminals , seizing contraband and bitcoin. The implication, of course, was that bitcoin is nothing more than an off-the-books channel for illicit activities.
Another possible factor that sets-up a contrarian case for cryptocurrencies to buy is the World Cup. Although speculative, I find it interesting that since the tournament opener on June 14, bitcoin volume has slipped.
For instance, in the 15 days from June 14 through June 28, bitcoin's volume averaged a value of just under $4 billion. In the 15 days leading to the opener, bitcoin volume averaged over $4.8 billion. Also note that Japan is one of, if not the biggest , hub for bitcoin, and its team squeaked through to the elimination rounds.
Coincidence? Perhaps, but all these factors combined present compelling explanations for bitcoin's weak sentiment. However, this bearishness isn't likely to hold indefinitely. If you love bitcoin, great. But this is an ideal time to strike on other cryptocurrencies to buy.
Cryptocurrencies to Buy Instead of Bitcoin: Ethereum
Several crypto insiders often state that ethereum will one day, perhaps soon, overtake bitcoin. They cite that the ethereum blockchain platform covers a broad range of practical functions that go beyond facilitating payment transactions. This is the reason why major firms like Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC ) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT ) expressed interest in this blockchain.
Another impetus of higher ethereum prices is the blockchain network's transition towards a proof-of-stake mining protocol. This move distinguishes ethereum from bitcoin, which utilizes a proof-of-work system. What's the difference? Essentially, anybody that purchases the best computing devices can potentially achieve significant mining success.
Under a proof-of-stake system, though, interested miners must first "stake" their ethereum coins in a specialized digital wallet. If miners refuse to follow consensus rules, and act maliciously towards the ethereum network, their tokens risk administrative seizure.
Proof-of-stake proves that not all cryptocurrencies to buy are the same. Different networks and communities have different solutions for similar problems. As a result, if you're looking for an alternative crypto, ethereum is an easy no-brainer.
Cryptocurrencies to Buy Instead of Bitcoin: Litecoin
Marketed as the silver to bitcoin's gold, litecoin is historically the ultimate alternative-crypto coin, or altcoin. In the blockchain economy's early days, investors had only two choices: bitcoin or litecoin. And back then, people looked at litecoin with the same suspicious glance that today's litany of initial coin offerings illicit.
Of course, that was the forgotten past. Now, with bitcoin priced at four-digits, and probably back up to five-digits in the near future, litecoin is what I consider one of the practical cryptocurrencies to buy. For starters, we have its lower price point. From a mathematical perspective, its easier to break down what things cost in litecoin as opposed to bitcoin.
Buying lunch for a cost of 0.1 litecoin makes more sense to me than 0.00125 bitcoin.
The perennial number-two also features a very practical advantage: it's lightning quick . Litecoin can transact up to a maximum of 56 transactions per second, which is well ahead of bitcoin's 7 transactions. It's considerably quicker than ethereum as well, which clocks in at 15 transactions per second.
Cryptocurrencies to Buy Instead of Bitcoin: Bitcoin Cash
When bitcoin first started to gain some public engagement, the platform was a joy to use. Not only could you buy stuff with it (provided you could find businesses accepting the reward token), you could also pay people with it. At that time, transactions were anonymous, if only for the fact relatively few knew that bitcoin existed.
But as the original crypto grew in worldwide popularity and acceptance, bitcoin became a victim of its own success. Several years ago, transactions could occur in a reasonably short timeframe. Today, the network is so bogged down that some platforms offer faster transactional prioritization, for a fee.
Proponents realized that something had to be changed, but in the blockchain, such change requires consensus. Long story short, those who desired a faster bitcoin that could accommodate present demand decided to produce an offshoot cryptocurrency. Utilizing a procedure known as a " hard fork ," bitcoin cash was born.
Bitcoin cash is controversial to bitcoin-hardliners (yes, such people do exist!). But I've transacted before with bitcoin cash, and I have to give the hard-fork team credit: it really is smoking fast!
Cryptocurrencies to Buy Instead of Bitcoin: EOS
For the next three cryptocurrencies to buy, I'd like to dial up the speculation factor, beginning with EOS. Currently ranked fifth among all cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, EOS has been on a roll despite the broader market volatility. As it stands, EOS is worth more than the vaunted litecoin.
Still, if push comes to shove, I'd rather put my money into the latter alternative crypto. The reason is that litecoin has credibility, and that's not something that you can establish with merely deep pockets. Litecoin existed well before the altcoin emergence. Moreover, it features in several major cryptocurrency exchange, including the "bigliest" of them all, Coinbase.
But that could change, and possibly soon. Crypto community boards have circulated rumors that Coinbase will list EOS on its wallet and exchange services. I can't overstate how massive that would be. A substantial impediment towards an altcoin project's growth is lack of public integration. If Coinbase picks up EOS, though, it opens the altcoin to millions of prospective buyers.
Of course, the risk is that the rumors don't pan out, and you end up buying EOS at an unnecessarily higher premium. But the bull in me thinks it might be worth a calculated shot.
Cryptocurrencies to Buy Instead of Bitcoin: XRP
If you thought that bitcoin cash was controversial, you should see the message boards and daily infighting over XRP. Based on the ripple blockchain, XRP is colloquially known as the "banker's bitcoin." Ripple founders claim that having a relationship with the banks and major institutions is favorable for the blockchain technology's mainstream acceptance.
As you might imagine, several crypto advocates take a dim view on this reasoning. They view XRP as a cop-out, and ad hominem aside, they raise a strong technical perspective. Unlike the majority of cryptocurrencies to buy, XRP is based off a centralized blockchain network. This means that a centralized administrator oversees the operation of the Ripple blockchain.
The critics point out that it defeats the original purpose of bitcoin and the blockchain, which is to decentralize authority. According to these folks, what Ripple the organization is doing is providing the banking establishment with a more effective way of screwing over the little guy.
That might be the case, but you also can't deny that Ripple's push for mainstream legitimacy has paid off dividends. Powerful financial institutions to partner with Ripple include American Express Company (NYSE: AXP ) and Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (NYSE: SAN ).
Over the last several months, XRP steadily climbed the ranks of most valuable cryptocurrencies to buy. Currently, it's ranked number three behind ethereum.
Cryptocurrencies to Buy Instead of Bitcoin: DigiByte
As of this of writing, just under 1,600 cryptocurrencies trade hands across various international exchanges. Moreover, this figure is sure to rise as new ICOs flood the blockchain economy. It's no stretch to assume that most of these coins are junk coins: they're here today, and sometimes, they're gone today as well.
But if I had to pick which far-fetched altcoin could become "the next big thing" in crypto, I'd go with little-known digibyte. In late May, I featured digibyte as one of my top 20 cryptocurrencies to buy. Here's what I had to say at the time:
"Although ranked 52nd among all blockchain tokens, what impressed me about the digibyte coin was its development team . Not only do they have a slick, professional website, the programmers explain their project in human terms. And what makes digibyte tick? Simply, that with their advanced blockchain platform, they can facilitate lightning-quick transactions with unprecedented security. Eventually, the team aims to replace traditional payment-processing services."
Here's the kicker: at time of writing, digibyte made a strong move up eight places to 44th most valuable cryptocurrency. Prior to my write-up, digibyte was floating around at 58th place.
This is an altcoin that's been quietly making strides in the digital markets. While speculative, I'd keep a very close on it.
Cryptocurrencies to Buy Instead of Bitcoin: NEO
My last blockchain token on my cryptocurrencies to buy list is NEO. Like many investment options originating in China, I'm not sure if I can trust it at face-value, or if I should read between the lines. I'm reminded about short-seller Jim Chanos and his bearish take on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA ).
Then again, Chanos had to reverse course and cover his position, lest BABA stock sink him. Could NEO do the same for anyone who doubts it?
Within the blockchain community, proponents view NEO as China's ethereum . Like the previously mentioned altcoin, NEO offers multiple, practical functionality, making the platform attractive to businesses. That's a key reason why this coin could make future headlines.
But another reason is geopolitics . As you know, U.S.-China relations are slipping due to President Trump's tariffs. Accusations that China was stealing American intellectual property sparked the tariffs. The Asian powerhouse isn't going to take this lying down, potentially resulting in a technological cold war.
If so, NEO could benefit from a nationalistic surge. After all, China's home to nearly 1.4 billion people.
As of this writing, Josh Enomoto is long bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, bitcoin cash, XRP and digibyte.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.