Which Cryptocurrencies Have Ever Attained Unicorn Status?

Out of around 6,000 cryptocurrencies, there are only about 30 cryptocurrencies and altcoins that have ever attained the unicorn status, meaning by reaching a market cap of over $1 billion at one point in their time/history. Most of cryptocurrencies that have ever achieved that market capitalization of $1 billion and above attained that level during the 2017 crypto boom. However, given the high volatility in crypto market, not all have been able to maintain a $1 billion market capitalization.

What it means for a cryptocurrency project attaining unicorn status is that a lot of people are excited about that particular project and is in most cases a sign of good things about that particular project. However, in a volatile market that is changing drastically like crypto market, a unicorn status for venture capital-backed startups should not be taken as an assurance that it will be a successful one in the long run because a project could attain that status today and still close down after a while. But given the high value associated with unicorn status from traditional stock markets history, it is very good for a project's publicity. 

Here is a list of cryptocurrencies and altcoins that have attained a unicorn status so far.

Dogecoin

Dogecoin was forked from Litecoin in Dec 2015 and is based on the popular Shiba-Inu dog ‘Doge’ meme that was circulating the Internet at the time when it was launched. It was used as a tipping crypto on Reddit and Twitter to reward the creation or sharing of quality content.

According to data from CoinMarketCap, the cryptocurrency reached a market capitalization of $73 million in February of 2014 before dropping to $22 million 2 years later and then rising to cross the $1 billion mark during the 2017 end year crypto boom until January of 2018.

Its price shot more than 400 percent in January last year, which saw it reach a market capitalization above $1.5 billion during the same month.

DogeCoin currently has a market capitalization of $0.33 billion and a price of $0.002893 USD. Some of its strengths include lower transaction fees compared to Bitcoin and Litecoin, high trading volume, and is user-friendly to the extent that it acts as a gateway for newcomers to crypto.

The fact that it has infinite supply, its price remains relatively stable and this lowers transaction fees and which reason makes it more useful for traders seeking arbitrage opportunities in the market than other cryptocurrencies. Many traders also sell their Bitcoin into Dogecoin in order to then exchange crypto to fiat, given the low transaction fee and high liquidity of Dogecoin. The technology is also useful for those who are sending micropayments to recipients and tipping Reddit and Twitter users for creating content.

Dogecoin blockchain uses Scrypt Algorithm for supporting mining and processing transactions and this technology makes faster transaction speeds and is more accesible to new miners. The blockchain has a block time of 1 minute compared to 10 minutes in Bitcoin.

Nxt

According to data from CoinMarketCap, Nxt crypto now has a marketcap of $37,119,396 USD as of this writing but reached a marketcap of $1.72 billion and therefore attained a unicorn status during the end of 2017 crypto boom and on the  25th of December 2017.

Nxt is a crypto exchange platform that offers secure direct peer-to-peer trading with users being able to create their own tokens and crowdfund on the proof of Stake blockchain. It was the first project to operate with the proof of stake consensus mechanism.

In addition to being able to exchange crypto assets, users are able to store, publish and verify data on the Nxt blockchain. This is helpful for creating documents such as contracts, wills, deeds, and any other document that requires secure, verifiable creation. It also works as a messaging system through which users can send plain text or encrypted messages. This feature works hand-in-hand with the storage feature and allows users to store up to 1,000 bytes of data permanently or 42,000 bytes temporarily.

Nxt also features a voting system that utilizes Nxt coins or Nxt blockchain based assets and it helps eliminate voter fraud.

OmiseGo (OMG)

OmiseGo reached an unicorn status two years ago and became the first ERC20 token to achieve a $1 billion unicorn mark or status. The crypto achieved that mark in just months of going public. OMG raised $25 million in a 2017 ICO in which one OMG token was worth around $0.27.

The cryptocurrency ecosystem or platform whose creator company Omise is based in Thailand is a decentralized payment system used for exchanging assets and for settlement purposes. OmiseGo plans to be a go-to platform for easy and quick, low cost international payments in Asia and for banking the unbanked. This includes exchange of fiat and crypto as well as sending money locally and internationally and making payments.

It is also used by tens of thousands of merchants and retailers in Asia willing to accept cryptocurrency payments for their products and services, online and offline. OmiseGo is endorsed, for these and other purposes, by the Bank of Thailand and the Thai Ministry of Finance and the innovation (Omise) is already being utilized to facilitate payment and settlement with companies such as McDonalds Thailand, Alipay, Bose, Allianz, Burger King using Omise and also accepting Omise. Not all merchants who accept Omise can accept OmiseGo.

With it, third parties can develop and deploy payment solutions on using its blockchain

It is one of the first tokens to begin development on the Plasma Network, a smart contract network based on Ethereum network and which was developed by Vitalik Buterin, and which can run as a child chain of Ethereum. Plasma was designed to handle enterprise level scalability and can theoritically handle up to 1 million transactions per second, making it faster than even Visa that can process around 50,000 transactions per second.

Omise is also designed to support the SWIFT banking system. It has a mobile wallet and a Facebook chat-bot that enables payments through Facebook Messenger.

Omise, the company behind the innovation, was created in 2013 as an online payment gateway similar PayPal or Stripe. The innovation received $50 million funding from East Ventures, Ascend Group, SMDV, SMBC, SBI Investment, Krungsri Finnovate, Global Brain, Golden Gate Ventures and others. OmiseGo raised more than $100 million from pre-sale interest in 2017.

Prior to becoming a unicorn, the number of transactions on the network grew by 1000% from 2015-2016 and it attained an average of over 400 new merchant signups across multiple countries.

Besides, the project is advised by two of the Ethereum co-founders Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood.

Qtum

Qtum raised $15.6 million and alongside OmiseGo became the first ERC20 token to achieve the unicorn status 2 years ago at the same time with OmiseGo months after raising $15.6 million during ico. In January 2018, the cryptocurrency reached a market cap of over $4 billion and was, at that time, selling at $60. Today, Qtum has a market cap of $0.299 billion at a price of around $3.3.

Qtum is based on an infrastructure to help businesses build and deploy applications and services that use both Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains.

Qtum, which is based on both the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchain platforms was created by adding an account abstraction layer on top of a Bitcoin fork code in order to make possible sidechain integration with blockchain virtual machines like Ethereum Virtual Machine. Thus it combines best of both worlds by adding Bitcoin's value-storing capabilities to Ethereum's smart contract platform.

Its dual layer was once innovative and special to Qtum but is now a standard feature in today's blockchain market. The AI-powered smart contracts are also claimed to be quantum computing compliant/resistant. Qtum was created by a Singapore-based startup and was the first Proof-of-Stake blockchain network although the technology has since been replicated in other platforms as well.

Qtum has a partnership with Amazon Web Services and is listed on the AWS Marketplace. Amazon offers the Qtum blockchain to beef up its blockchain undertakings and compete with the likes of Microsoft Azure’s Blockchain as a Service marketplace.

BitShares

BitShares is a financial platform based on the Graphene blockchain and using smart contracts for financial transactions. The underlying asset is known as BTS and BitShares has demonstrated that it can handle more than 3400 transactions per second. It uses delegated Proof-of-stake consensus mechanism where users delegate their stake to elected witnesses who bundle transactions and attach a block to the blockchain. Further, the blockchain has a blocktime of between 1.5 and 3 seconds and the block reward is 1 BTS.

BitShares reached $1 billion market capitalization 2 years ago during the crypto boom of 2017 and 2018.

BitShares comprises of a dApp on which users can issue and trade tokens or create smart coins or crypto/altcoins whose value is pegged on the dollar or other real-world fiat and assets such as real estate. The main difference from other platforms that allow creation of crypto-assets that are also backed by real-world assets is that the digital assets have to be backed by twice amount or value of real world assets its worth. Further, BitShares allows the trading of all kinds of financial commodity from fiat currency, gold, silver, commercial oils and shares of companies.

Digital assets of value created on the platform are known as Bit-assets and pegging may create price-stable assets. An example is the BitUSD crypto asset created on the platform. There are also other options such as BitGold or BitOil that can be traded on this platform. The blockchain platform also offers advanced trading options such as margin-trading on a DEX where it is possible to lend, for trade, more assets than you own.

According to its website, BitShares has a block time of 3 seconds and on average in under 1.5 seconds, which makes it the fastest blockchain in terms of block confirmations. It also supports recurring payments, subscription payments, and allows users to authorize third parties to make withdrawals within certain limits. One of its main differentiating features is the human-readable account names used to replace the long crypto address codes that can be hard to remember and thus increasing possibility for making errors.

This is in addition to the fact that all crypto assets are backed up by twice the amount of assets it is worth.

The project was founded in 2013 and the first to implement dPoS invented by its founder Dan Larimer, who is also co-founder of EOS and Steem. Using dPOS means it cannot be mined except through taking where a user earns coins simply by holds some amount in the wallet.

Stratis

Stratis reached a $1 billion market capitalization in July 2017. The current market cap is $116 million at a price of $1.17. Stratis is a blockchain-as-a-service platform that lets users to develop, test and deploy dApps through a cloud-based application. Users are able to download a Stratis full node from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace as Stratis is a certified Microsoft partner.

Stratis provides functionality that lets enterprise users to build any application they like and deploy it on their own customized private blockchain, a side chain secured by the Stratis network. Being a cloud-based application, users would not need to maintain the network or clients themselves for storage, infrastructure, or platform needs.

The project is also partnering with Microsoft to let clients add projects built on the platform on their Microsoft Azure platform. It also features the Stratis Academy, which is a place for empowering developers and partners.

Hcash

Hcash is a decentralized open-source cross-platform, the latter meaning it allows adopters to exchange data and value across multiple blockchains. In addition to being a blockchain, it can work as a sidechain for both non-blockchain platforms/systems blockchain-based platforms/systems. In other words, it achieves interoperability between blockchains by acting as a side-chain for all other blockchains.

It employs Hive, which is a dual side-chain made of DAG and Blockchain systems to stream data and value across both blockchain and non-blockchain applications/systems. Transactions and transfers on the HChain are private through the use of the Zerp Knowledge Proof technology that ensures bi-directional protection.

The project utilizes Dead on Arrival (DOA) regulation where holders do dynamic voting in to decide how and what funds are used. The blockchain is also said to be quantum resistance. It also has a platform token called Hshare.

Users of the blockchain use Haven, which allows them to exchange digital assets between private and public addresses using individual H-cash enabled wallet or client boards.

It is also an Hybrid of PoS and PoW protocols: while PoS delivers great energy efficiency and power conservation during mining, PoW while power consuming for mining operations, provides the market with a decentralized form of digital asset.

The project headquarters is based in Melbourne, Australia, although it has substantial presence in China.

Waves

Waves, which was created in 2016, is a multi-functional blockhain platform that lets users create custom tokens that can be utility tokens, tokens representing real-world asset value (tokenized assets) or other types of tokens based on blockchain.

Further, the platform allows the transfer of value between these custom tokens and fiat and other blockchain assets. Waves comes integrated with fiat currency gateways such as EUR/USD/CNY right on the user's wallet. The platform can therefore be of help for companies that aim to raise funds through crowdfunding.

Token issuers can name their tokens, decide the number of tokens they want to issue, as well as decide the number of decimal fractions they want to keep on those tokens/altcoins. As such, it features WavesDEx decentralized exchange that enables users to trade BTC/ETH/etc in exchange for Waves and crypto to fiat and fiat to crypto conversions; smart contracts though not as complex as those on Ethereum; and tokenization functionality.

Waves blockchain is currently capable of performing hundreds of transactions per second following deployment of Waves-NG. Holders of LPOS cryptocurrencies are able to lease them to miners and earn interest.

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash entered the billionaires' cloud after hard forking from the Bitcoin Core late last year and at one point recorded a valuation of more than $10 billion. However, the current market capitalization,

Bitcoin Cash was forked in order to improve on the shortcomings of Bitcoin Core, at a time when Bitcoin transactions were getting slower and network was clogging and because of slower transaction confirmations, transactions were getting more costly. This exposed the scalability problem further although it had already been known. Bitcoin could handle, for instance, only 4.4 transactions per second.

The block size was set at 1MB to avoid spam transactions but as the network attracted more people, more transactions were not included in the filling up the now smaller 1 MB block that could contain fewer transactions that those needing to be confirmed. This caused backlog. It could then become a "replace-by-fee" system where miners would be paid to prioritize transactions if you needed them to be faster in being confirmed.

Because suggesting 2 MB increase of the block size meant not just the removal of much profits accruing to miners when transactions are paid for more money in order to be confirmed, there arose disagreements. For instance, it would also mean increased processing power that is required to mine as well, which would disadvantage small mining pools and favor large scale pools.

Ripple

In September, Ripple's explosive bull run culminated with a market cap of $19 billion in June and returned to that value September. In September, $19 billion market capitalization meant that Ripple (XRP) Ethereum’s $22 billion market cap.

Ripple is an open payment network that is popular for its low-cost and near-instant cross-border settlement and payment ideas. Already, it is facilitating payment and settlement for many banks and financial institutions today. It helps customers break free from high-cost-charging financial institutions such as banks, payment platforms such as PayPal and credit cards, and other financial systems that charge for currency exchange and restrict access with fees.

With Ripple, banks can use Ripple platforms and crypto to source for liquidity instantly from wherever network nodes have excess of liquidity while those providing liquidity can earn from that service. Secondly, XRP is being utilized to reduce foreign exchange costs.

Ripple uses Ripple Protocol built by Ripple Labs, a company founded by Chris Larsen and Jed MacCaleb. It now has offices in several countries including in San Francisco, New York, London, India, Luxembourg, Singapore, and Sydney. In addition to XRP cryptocurrency, Ripple system comprises of three elements namely xCurrent, xRapid, and xVia.

XRP works as a central currency to facilitate quick and faster cross-border transactions. For instance, if a bank wishes to settle USD for Euro from a different bank, the system converts USD to XRP and then the XRP is converted to Euro. The conversion doesn't add extra burden or time with the transaction taking only 5 seconds and costing a very small fraction of the current cost.

This allows banks to transact currency with promise for liquidity within seconds unlike in old system that takes several days to settle things.

IOTA

IOTA last year went up from August last year after announcement of partnerships with groups such as Imperial College London, Blockchain at Berkeley, and a non-profit organization helping refugees. On August 4, IOTA reached a market cap of $1 billion and then the raise started till it reached a market cap of $1.5 billion on 10 August 2017.

IOTA uses Tangle, a new type of distributed ledger based on a Directed Acryclic Graph (DAG), meaning there are no blocks, no chains and no miners on the platform. A graph is a structure of nodes connected to each other with edges. Directed means that the nodes are directional as in A-->B is not the same as B->A and acryclic means it is non-circular with moving from one node to node along the edges means you never encounter the same node twice.

On Tangle the connected nodes are transactional data and unlike in other blockchains where consensus is decoupled and requires miners, a transaction on Tangle must confirm two previous transactions -- resulting in a decentralized and self-regulating peer-to-peer network.

The blockchain aims at facilitating machine-to-machine transactions, IoT-device based connectivity and data exchange and communication, as well as enabling IoT economy.

Founded in December 2015, the crypto project raised around $500,000 worth of Bitcoin through a crowdsale ICO.

NEO

It is known as the Chinese Ethereum, was formerly known as AntShares, and was China's first open-source blockchain platform. During an August run, it crossed the $500 million threshold on August 3 and by August 6 it reached $750 million and then burst past $1 billion on August 9 and $1.4 billion by 10 August.

The cryptocurrency is indivisible meaning it cannot be divided into smaller shares as is the case for other tokens and crypto that can be split into smaller shares. A whole share is to be spent when trading with ths virtual cash.

EOS

EOS blockchain is a platform that facilitates development of decentralized apps (dApps) in a way Ethereum functions. It makes development of dApps much more easier by providing an operating-system-like set of services and functions that can be used by dApps. EOS has smart contract technologies with security, computing support, user authentication, cloud storage, and server hosting.

The platform can be used to develop dApps that can scale to thousands of transactions per second without compromise on accessibility experience to app developers, entreprenuers and users.

Not only does it allow creation of dApps on which you can create user accounts with different permission levels and own locally secured user data (these two come as a feature of the network) but also users of the created dApp can share database access between accounts and store user data on local machines off of the blockchain.

It provides a backup for the system just in-case the accounts are stolen. This makes it possible and easier to restore access to a compromised account and there are various methods of proving identity. Network nodes are able to verify the current state of the entire blockchains and therefore prevent fraud and confirm transactions.

Stellar

Stellar blockchain facilitates cross-asset transfers and payments in a quick, reliable and cheap way. On the Stellar blockchain, anchors, which act like banks and payment processors, bridge the gap between a given currency and Stellar network. Credit is issued to a user's account in exchange for a deposit and these credits can be sent and received between network users across the globe. Anchors then hold the money and honor withdrawals.

With Stellar's distributed exchange, users can do automatic conversion of credits into other currencies. For instance, a user is able to send EUR credits to a friend with their USD credit balance with the exchange automatically converting the currency at the lowest rate. The receiver can then withdraw using an anchor that supports EUR.

Stellar also serves as a smart contracts platform and these contracts use multi-sig verification for improved security for such things such as crowd-funding although these contracts are not Turing complete like those on Stellar platform.

Stellar utilizes Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) which employs a concept called Federated Byzantine Agreement instead of PBFT, which is a closed system of nodes where network validators are pre-determined by a company or group.

ZCash

ZCash (renamed from ZeroCoin) was designed as a privacy cryptocurrency to replace Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are meant to be public in transactions. Cryptocurrrencies are public in order for anyone to be able to verify the true state of the network and the lack of that privacy sometimes means lack of safety. This was the need for privacy coins and one of them is ZCash which forked from Bitcoin in 2016.

ZCash uses a protocol known as zk-SNARK protocol based on the Zero Knowledge Proofs cryptographic principle, which helps accomplish transaction without necessarily revealing the wallet address of the sender and receiver, as well as the amount that was transacted. It only reveals the time-stamp (date and time). However, it is an opt-in privacy for transactions.

Tether (USDT)

Tether is the stable coin whose value is pegged to the dollar on a 1:1 ratio. Tether uses Proof of Reserves protocol where fiat is supposed to back altcoins on a 1:1 ratio. Although there have been increased concerns about absence of those reserves backing the crypto coins in circulation.

The altcoin, which is based on Ethereum, is not mineable. Today, it is, however, supported on many wallets. The purpose of the stable coin is to facilitate storage and transfer of value without decrease/loss in value as would other cryptos in the crypto industry because these others are highly volatile. Tether issues assets on the Bitcoin blockchain through the Omni Layer Protocol and the same Omni later to mint Euro Tether tokens. It also issues Euro Tether and Dollar Tether ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain.

Tether reached a market cap of $1.8 billion last year.

Ardor

Ardor is a blockchain-as-a-service, which provides main businesses the main chain platform for security and decentralization while child chains on the same network can be applied for a variety of business applications. In other words, each of additional functionality is created using separate chains on top of the main chain. The first child chain on the network is called Ignis.

Child chains are developed quickly to custom use cases and to separate these application use cases from the infrastructure for security and decentralization. However, since the child chains are still on the same platform with the main chain, they utilize the same security, speed and decentralization features.

The blockchain was created by the same team that created Nxt blockchain and is therefore referred to as Nxt 2.0 and has reported similar problems reported in Nxt such as scalability difficulties, blockchain bloat and customization. Ardor was designed with a motive of solving problems with Nxt blockchain. The platform utilizes ARDR Tokens and their new transaction pruning system ensures that each of the nodes no longer needs to keep a complete copy of the blockchain transactions.

The blockchain has a system of bundlers in order to deal with the native token problem. These bundlers are the network nodes that accept payments in the child tokens and convert payments to ARDR to pay the miners. They act as an on-chain exchanges and this allows each child chain to pay in its own currency.

Lisk

Lisk, which was launched March 2016, is a Swiss-based dApp platform on which developers can use Sidechain Development Kit (SDK) written in Javascript which is the most commonly used coding language in the world. Developers can use side-chains technology to build own custom blockchains that have their native tokens connected to Lisk network and relying upon its stability. These custom blockchains created by developers can operate independently. This side-chaining makes the network flexible, fast and scalable.

That provides developers with flexibility in creating their own blockchain for their applications. The Javascript SDK is easy to use and therefore can attract many dApp developers. Developers do not need to create their blockchain from scratch. The main chain offers security and stability while others allow unlimited flexibility.

Lisk uses delegated proof of stake protocol (DPOS) and Game Proof Delegate which defines how node delegates can vote to forge blockchain with the number of delegates capped at 101 based on votes.

Populous

Populous is a is a p2p invoice financing blockchain platform that aims to make it easier for small and medium enterprises to participate in the present and future of invoice financing on blockchain. Populous makes it possible and easier for them to tackle problems related to cash flow difficulties, which are experienced by some SMEs according to research by Bacs Payment Scheme showing that invoice-related payments cost SMEs in the U.K. over 2 billion Pounds a year in fees and missed opportunities.

With Populous, an SME can sell their outstanding invoices for a discount and receive the needed cash flow now before the payment date on the invoice or before the invoice can mature. The buyer of the invoice becomes the owner for a fee or discount and receives the money back plus premiums when the customer supposed to pay the invoice pays it.

Populous has implemented a P2P auction system that brings together the sellers and buyers of invoice to exchange these invoices using smart contracts. Users start registering their company and after this the account is reviewed and approved by administrators. After this, they can then submit their first invoice and a minimum sales amount, and this step also requires approval by administrators.

Populous applies Altman Z-score to analyze the credit-worthiness of invoices in real time and this data and information is made available publicly -- the information contains information about the business such as creditors due in the coming year, cash on hand and value of the current debts.

The platform uses Poken, which is an ERC-20 token and pegged to fiat on a 1:1 ratio; as well as PPT tokens.

Bitcoin Gold

Bitcoin Gold was forked from Bitcoin in October 2017 and the developers envisioned at creating a better mining ecosystem where further decentralization would solve the rise of centralization of hash power which was occurring through the increase of ASIC mining operations on the Bitcoin network. Due to increased use of ASIC mining, it obviously became clear that in order to successfully confirm blocks, miners needed stronger hash power as difficulty went up.

The Bitcoin Gold fork was created in order to make Bitcoin Gold ASIC resistant and to facilitate movement to the Equihash consensus algorithm. In other words, it prohibits the use of ASIC chip mining and instead solo miners could also be part of the mining process by mining on their GPUs.

Further, not only did the team create a new wallet to improve on its security and also addressed the issue of transparency of the network by making Bitcoin Gold open-source software. Bitcoin Gold has already implemented Lightning Network. That means it is able to support near-instant transaction confirmations and to allow low-fee off-chain transactions and remove overburden on the main chain.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin was the first decentralized peer-to-peer electronic cash system that comprises of a blockchain system where transactions are recorded on a global public ledger and verifiable to not only those involved in the transaction but also to the public.

Bitcoin was created by Shatoshi Nakamoto to bring into sanity financial system where central bank and governments can not only control and censor participation, but dictate the economics of money and currency and where every single connection is a point of failure. Further, legacy financial systems are affected by inflation that has already spelt doom for most governments. So far, Bitcoin has opened doors for making reliable, fast and affordable transactions.

Although there have been many issues around Bitcoin as well as problems and difficulties including high fees, scalability and others, Bitcoin has birthed lots of financial freedom aspects and is referred to as the mother of all cryptocurrencies/altcoins now standing at over 6,000. Despite the scaling issues, the cryptocurrency is home to many innovative developers and has off-chain scaling solutions such as Lightning Network and SegWit, for instance.

Bitcoin has a block side of 1 MB and a block time of 10 minutes, and as the network expanded to attract more transactions, these statistics have been a source of controversy. Some forks have come up with increased block size that can pack in more transactions per block and lesser block confirmation time in order to avoid backlogs and delay of transactions, which is related to the cost of transactions. For instance Bitcoin Cash is a fork that delivers lower transaction fees, faster transaction times, and more block size at 8MB (now 32MB).

Ethereum

Ethereum is referred to as a distributed world computer now consisting of thousands of nodes distributed around the world. It features Turing-complete smart contract functionality. Proposed in late 2013, it uses blockchain to store and execute computer programs across an international network of distributed nodes and is the most established cryptocurrency outside of Bitcoin.

Ethereum allows developers to build decentralized apps (dApps) that utilize smart contracts – today, these dApps include on-chain digital assets (ERC-20 tokens), non-fungible assets, decentralized exchanges, on-chain identity and reputation systems, peer-to-peer gambling, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).

Through smart contracts, dApp users can exchange anything of value immutably, on a peer-to-peer basis, and with all the benefits of blockchain. Ethereum employs software called Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which is Turing complete software that executes scripts across a distributed network of computers. It allows developers to develop games, distributed registries, organizations, and many more.

Ethereum uses Proof of Work algorithm modified from Bitcoin but is moving to a Proof of Stake algorithm with time. Instead of the UTXO model of Bitcoin, Ethereum uses an account-based model: the platform employs two types of accounts; externally owned accounts and contract accounts. Externally owned accounts are user accounts that are controlled by private keys and do not contain any code, and can be used to create and sign transactions. The contract account is run by code and can receive messages that allow to store messages and code as well as to contact other contracts and externally owned accounts.

Ethereum, following the hacking of the Decentralized Autonomous Organization, split into two -- split into two chains named as Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. However, most of the businesses, developers, miners, and users came to favor the fork which retained the name Ethereum while the original chain was called Ethereum Classic. Otherwise, Ethereum has a block time of 12 seconds, utilizes Ethash Mining Algorithm (which uses DAG), static block reward of 3 ETH (which now has been halved since latest hard fork), and comprises of many proposed scaling solutions.

Ethereum Classic

Ethereum Classic is a hard fork of Ethereum created after the hack The DAO on Ethereum project. The hack caused a loss of over 6.2 million Ether and crippling decentralized application development, in addition to sharp disagreements that resulted in the hard fork. While Ethereum mining nodes were forked to return the stolen Ether, the minority hat continued to run the originally hacked ledger created Ethereum Classic.

Ethereum Classic has ETC cryptocurrency, which is mined using Proof-of-Work algorithm.

Ethereum Classic development team created the Classic Geth, which is a main client of the ETC blockchain and has continued own projects such as the Emerald Platform. Developers are able to utilize the Emerald Platform to develop • desktop, mobile, web and shell-scripting applications running on the Ethereum ETC blockchain. It also features a separate embeddable EVM that is compatible with other Ethereum-based blockchains and IoT. The team is also trying side chains as a way of scaling and to develop infrastructure with protocols to add scalability to bring ETC to IoT.

Monero

Monero is referred to as a private and untraceable digital currency whose network was designed from scratch to ensure privacy of transactions. It is based on a protocol known as CryptoNote protocol and uses a native crypto asset called XMR.

Not only is it difficult to link transactions, receiving and sending addresses to any specific user because they are obfuscated, but is also impossible for wallet providers and exchanges to blacklist XMR based on their transaction history.

Monero, which forked from Bytecoin's code in 2013 as BitMonero and later from BitMonero as Monero by 2014, employs Ring Signatures where transaction outputs are mixed with a group of others such that it cannot be found out who signed the actual transaction. It also hides the transaction source. Stealth Addresses cryptographic technique that disguises recipient addresses by using random one-time addresses.

CryptoNight is a PoW algorithm and Monero can be mined. Plus, unlike other privacy-focused coins/altcoins that requires opt-in into the privacy, Monero has its privacy feature as the default. In addition to developing scaling solutions to improve on speed, the team was also working on Kovri, a decentralized anonymity technology for routing.

Cardano

Cardano is a decentralized blockchain and cryptocurrency project that also utilizes smart contracts in helping build more advanced features than previous protocols. It comprises of ADA cryptocurrency as the platform crypto, Daedalus wallet which is envisioned to be able to store more crypto and altcoins than just ADA, and Project Icarus.

The latter was announced last year and is a fast and easy-to-use browser extension (Google extension) wallet that lets developers to create their own applications. Yoroi is also the third wallet on the Cardano mainnet, which was launched on October 2018.

Cardano, which launched mainnet in 2017, uses IELE smart contract execution or the IELE Virtual Machine developed with Runtime Verification and based on the K framework. The platform has released two testnets so far, the first being KEVM testnet and the second being the smart contract testnet for IELE Virtual Machine.

It also envisions developing side chains, smart contracts, Plutus and Marlowe programming languages, staking features and implementing PoS and Game Theory.

Not only do they have 10 research papers accepted to conferences, 5 research papers under review, and 4 technical reports produced, they also have independent third party audits done on a monthly basis. In addition to the Cardano Forum launched by the Cardano Foundation in 2017, Cardano provides a weekly technical update for the community.

David Kariuki

David Kariuki likes to regard himself as a freelance tech journalist who has written and writes widely about a variety of tech issues that affect our society daily, including cryptocurrencies (see cryptomorrow.com and coinpedia.org); climate change (cleanleap.com), OpenSim and virtual reality (see hypergridbusiness.com). He is currently pursuing a MSc in Environmental Management at Open University. He does write here not to offer any investment advise but with the intention of informing audience, and articles in here are of his own opinion. Anyone willing to use any opinion here as advise to invest in crypto should obviously take own responsibility and accountability of their losses (or benefits) thereof. You can reach me at eqariu@gmail.com or david@cryptomorrow.com

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