Altcoins besides Bitcoin

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Curious about the next big cryptocurrency? This article provides a list of the 17 most promising altcoins besides Bitcoin based upon trading volumes and popularity.

Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency that came into existence back in 2009. Fast forward today, this digital coin has shown immense growth and has a huge fan base all around the globe. Not surprisingly, after the introduction of the ‘King of Crypto’ many new altcoins besides Bitcoin are trying to conquer this very young industry.

Moreover, according to CoinGecko, there are more than 8000(!) coins in existence. Additionally, these tokens are active in several industries, and every day new initiatives are being launched. So, if you are wondering ”which cryptocurrency should I invest in” it could be a real bummer to find out! First of all, these Bitcoin alternatives are called altcoins and some are more successful than others. Below I will give you a list of the most promising altcoins in 2020 and including a summary and links to related resources on my site.

Most Promising Altcoins Besides Bitcoin in 2021

1. Ethereum

Ethereum is the first altcoin besides Bitcoin

Ethereum was launched back in 2015 as the first decentralized world computer. The founder of this ambitious blockchain project is Vitalik Buterin hardly 20 years old at that time. In contrary to Bitcoin, which only can be used as a transfer of value, Ethereum wants to go beyond that by tokenizing almost anything and bringing it on-chain. In addition, there are many uses cases possible on this platform, however, the key difference between Ethereum and Bitcoin is the introduction of smart contracts.

Although Bitcoin and Ethereum have many differences, it still uses a cryptocurrency called Ether(ETH) to transfer value within this blockchain network. Also, the transfer of value happens to be peer-to-peer just like Bitcoin and every transaction can be tracked and traced on a block explorer. At the moment Ethereum is the second-largest altcoin in the world even though its total market cap is roughly 1/10 of the total market value of the Bitcoin network. All in all, crypto insiders believe that this huge gap will soon be filled because of the many developments and high user adoption rates. So, will Ethereum experience the same growth as Bitcoin? Currently, the odds for Ethereum are in their favor!

2. XRP

XRP is another altcoin besides Bitcoin that has been there for a while. Additionally, it was created in 2012 and is the only cryptocurrency on the list that is owned by a single company(Ripple). First and foremost XRP was being introduced to make borderless payments almost instant. Secondly, available on a global scale and replaces the US dollar as the world’s primary digital payment tool.

The main difference between Bitcoin and XRP is that XRP doesn’t use a decentralized blockchain network. Instead, all XRP tokens are pre-mined(contrary to all other cryptocurrencies) and in full control of a single authority. Therefore, many insiders say that XRP isn’t a real cryptocurrency and represents more the digital variant of the USD dollar.

Nonetheless, this coin has been around as long as cryptocurrencies exist. Also, many cryptocurrency exchanges have listed XRP from the beginning. As a result, this altcoin has a stable position in the top 5 of all existing cryptocurrencies.

3. Litecoin

Litecoin logo

Litecoin got famous for being called the ‘Silver’ of cryptocurrencies where Bitcoin holds the ‘Gold’ position. Also, Litecoin is another altcoin besides Bitcoin that was created in the early days. Moreover, in 2011 Charly Lee a former developer of the famous Coinbase exchange decided to create a similar cryptocurrency although this one should be faster.

Compared to Bitcoin, Litecoin fees and transaction times are much more efficient. This is due to the way in which Litecoin was developed with the Scrypt algorithm.

Thus, the main idea behind Litecoin was to create a digital currency that can be used to make transactions. In particular, transactions are in a cheaper and faster way than using the Bitcoin network. Over time, Litecoin expanded its use cases and it eventually became to be known as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. All in all, not more than 84 million coins will be ever mined or created in existence.

4. Polkadot

The Polkadot(DOT) cryptocurrency made its birth out of an ICO sale back in 2017. At that time the ICO was very successful and within three days all tokens were sold were they raised $145 million in ETH. Furthermore, ICO investors were obligated to hold on to their DOT tokens for 2 years.

Additionally, Polkadot witnessed massive growth and in 2020 it became one of the biggest projects in the world by entering the top 10 of all cryptos.

Polkadot(DOT) currently ranked at 5th position on Coinmarketcap

Polkadot was launched with a mission to transform the internet into a better one called: Web3. In addition, Web3 represents a fully decentralized web and is censorship-resistant. Polkadot will be the center of the future internet – digital world, internet of things, and web decentralization.

In general, the Polkadot network is much more than just a single cryptocurrency. Additionally, it’s a network that uses a smart contract protocol just like Ethereum. On their website the team of Polkadot states about their cryptocurrency:

‘Polkadot is a shared multichain network, which means it can process many transactions on different chains in parallel, eliminating the bottlenecks that existed on older networks that processed transactions one by one.’

All in all, the Polkadot Network can co-exist besides Ethereum and functions as a bridge between other blockchain networks. In light of being a brand new protocol, many blockchain developers have already started with building new projects on Polkadot.

5. Solana

Solana is a very young blockchain network that aims at becoming a global network that is fast, censorship-resistant, secure, and can scale easily. The project was launched in March 2020 by a group of Swiss investors out of the tech industry. Since then it has worked as one of the most revolutionizing projects in the cryptocurrency market.

Solana started as an open-source project that banks on blockchain technology’s permissionless nature. Meaning, it is designed to add value to the financial world by providing decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions.

What makes Solana(SOL) special?

Firstly, Solana is known in the cryptocurrency space because of the incredibly short processing times the blockchain offers. Also, Solana’s hybrid protocol(PoH) allows for significantly decreased validation times for both transaction and smart contract execution. With lightning-fast processing times, Solana has attracted a lot of institutional interest as well.

Finally, the Solana protocol is intended to serve both small-time users and enterprise customers alike. One of Solana’s main promises to customers is that they will not be surprised by increased fees and taxes.

The protocol is designed in such a way as to have low transaction costs while still guaranteeing scalability and fast processing.

6. Cardano

Cardano altcoin besides Bitcoin

Next on the list of altcoins besides Bitcoin is Cardano(ADA). Cardano can be compared with Ethereum, although this platform doesn’t use smart contracts instead it allows for complex programmable transfers of value. Moreover, this concept was founded by Charles Hoskinson who was also one of the early founders of Ethereum back in 2015. In addition, Hoskinson claims that Cardano is the first blockchain platform that is based upon scientific research and is also built on Haskell which is a complex blockchain programming language.

In particular, this decentralized blockchain network uses smart programmable algorithms that are very secure and have very advanced features(compared with Ethereum). At present, this blockchain project is still in the works and has big plans for 2020. All in all, Cardano will use a democratic governance system that allows the project to evolve over time, and fund itself sustainably through a treasury system. Cardano also notes that it will combine users’ need for privacy with regulation so that Cardano’s style of regulated computing will foster greater financial inclusion.

7. Avalanche

Avalanche is a very young blockchain network that aims at becoming a global network that is fast, censorship-resistant, secure, and can scale easily. The project was launched in September 2020 by a team of developers at Ava Labs out of an investment round where they raised $60 million in token sales. Since then it has worked as one of the most revolutionizing projects in the decentralized finance (DeFi) market.

Avalanche started as an open-source project that banks on blockchain technology’s permissionless nature. Meaning, it is designed to add value to the financial world by providing decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions.

What makes Avalanche(AVAX) special?

Avalanche validator node

First of all, the Avalanche network is very scalable, meaning it’s very easy for millions of users to handle transactions without being bothered by high waiting times or delays. For instance, where the Ethereum network handles about 14 tx/sec at max, the Avalanche network can do this at about 4500 tx/sec and every single transaction will be finalized within 3 seconds.

Besides being highly scalable, Avalanche is also built to tackle another major problem facing blockchain-based systems today: interoperability. Moreover, it achieves this by enabling blockchains both within a subnet and between subnets to communicate with one another, allowing them to complement one another and support cross-chain value transfers.

Finally, the open network structure. While many Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchains only allow a select number of validators to participate in achieving consensus, Avalanche staking allows anybody to earn passive income for at least 2,000 AVAX to participate.

8. Binance Coin

Another famous cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin is Binance Coin(BNB). Binance Coin is the native token of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange which has a leading position in the world based upon 24 hours trading volume. Besides, the Binance trading platform was launched in 2017 and witnessed massive growth and popularity among cryptocurrency traders. Especially, the altcoin boom in 2017 helped them a lot to become the nr 1 altcoin trading exchange that it is nowadays.

In the first place, Binance Coin being an ERC-20 token gives users of the platform a proper discount(25%) on trading fees. Therefore to get this discount, cryptocurrency traders of the platform just need to hold a portion of BNB tokens in their wallets. So Binance Coin is just a vehicle to get a trading discount on Binance? The answer is no, there a many more possible use cases for this coin and this is why Binance coin has many benefits.

Eventually, this platform being lead by Changpeng Zhao is continuously expanding and offering new services to its users which keeps the demand for BNB very high.

Chainlink cryptocurrency

Chainlink (LINK) is considered to be one of the most revolutionary digital assets in the cryptocurrency market. Especially, after the incredible bull run, it has experienced over the last year(2019). Moreover, this altcoin besides Bitcoin has a unique use case within the entire Ethereum blockchain ecosystem. In particular, this project is trying to become a bridge between the outside(real) world and the Ethereum blockchain network by handling IoT data off-chain and in a decentralized way. As a result, the entire ecosystem remains fully decentralized and prevents data manipulation from single entities.

Chainlink has already signed several partnerships with a large number of companies in the market. This shows that the Chainlink networks are certainly useful and have been embraced by large companies around the world.

One of the most important partnerships was made with Google Cloud. Chainlink provided its oracle services through is nodes and it allowed Google to build hybrid blockchain cloud applications with Ethereum and also Google Cloud. Finally, this very promising altcoin will continue to rise and a big chance it will challenge the top-7 position among cryptocurrencies.

10. Tezos

Next on the list of cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin is Tezos(XTZ). First of all, this blockchain project has some interesting founders who got their roots in the traditional finance world. Moreover, both founders(Arthur and Kathleen Breitman) are a couple that makes this the first blockchain love story! Anyway, back to the technology then.. Tezos is a blockchain platform that was launched to the market a few years ago. In addition to that, it allows companies and developers to run decentralized applications (dApps). Moreover, users can also run their own smart contracts in a similar way they can do with other blockchain platforms in the market.

One of the main characteristics of the Tezos network is related to the way in which it is governed. Blockchain networks are generally decentralized in the crypto market, however, it is not easy to create an effective governance system.

Tezos works with an on-chain governance solution that allows the network to progress and its participants to decide which are the main features they want to add, change, or delete from the Tezos ecosystem. In this way, the popular measures will be approved and the unpopular solutions and proposals will be rejected through a decentralized voting system.

11. Coin

CRO altcoin besides Bitcoin is a brand new(founded in 2018) cryptocurrency exchange with its headquarters based in Hong Kong. Also, they are the founder of this sexy domain name and are currently the fastest-growing cryptocurrency platform of 2020. Furthermore, it’s fully engineered to provide users new and improved trading functions to ensure that they get the best trading experience. Also, this ultra-modern exchange is made up of a robust crypto-trading network fuelled by the platform’s native token, coin (CRO).

One of the features of this blockchain platform is its native token CRO that functions as the blood and veins of the entire ecosystem. Another option users of the platform have besides trading is the option to order a metal crypto debit card(MCO) and download a wallet for mobile phones. Also, we wrote an exclusive review of and the additional features customers have at this fast-growing platform.

12. EOS

Launched in June of 2018, EOS was created by cryptocurrency pioneer Dan Larimer. This altcoin besides Bitcoin has its primary focus on nr. 2 in the list which is Ethereum. Just like Ethereum, this decentralized platform is using smart contracts and decentralized applications.

In particular, the EOSIO blockchain is a decentralized system that is powered by its native cryptocurrency, EOS, and supports decentralized applications (DApps) on its platform. Its native EOS tokens are often used for business purposes and can be used for staking to generate passive income. Also, EOS tokens help to fund DApps in the EOS ecosystem.

All in all, this decentralized blockchain platform remains one of the bigger competitors of Ethereum and therefore has the potential to grow in the next ‘blockchain boom’.

13. Stellar

Stellar XLM altcoin

Launched back in 2014, this blockchain project is being part of the veterans in the list like XRP and Litecoin. Nonetheless, this decentralized blockchain network still has the main focus on scalability and high transaction throughput. Moreover, this cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin is specialized in the cross-asset transfer of value and at very low costs. As a result, ordinary people can use financial services on a global scale at very low costs.

The native digital currency of the Stellar network is known as Lumens (XLM). Every Stellar account is required to hold a small number of Lumens to act as a barrier against spamming the Stellar payments system. Through the use of Lumens, a user can send any currency that they own to anyone else in a different currency.

14. Monero

Monero was launched in April 2014 and is also a veteran among existing cryptocurrency projects. Therefore, this altcoin besides Bitcoin has a solid user base and a strong community with fans all over the world. Particularly, Monero(XMR) is a secure, private, and untraceable digital currency. Bitcoin, for example, uses an open blockchain where every transaction can be tracked and traced until the beginning.

Monero, on the other hand, is using a special technique called ‘ring signatures’ that hides the original initiator of a single transaction on-chain. This way, every user of the network remains anonymous and also transactions are very secure. Because this blockchain network is very secure and anonymous, criminals favor this network for their activities. Unfortunately, this lacks the reputation of this promising cryptocurrency.

Finally, the development of this cryptocurrency is completely donation-based and community-driven.

15. Vechain

Vechain altcoin

VeChain was created in 2015 by a Chinese entrepreneur called Sunny Lu and has been growing ever since. Moreover, VeChain(VET) is one of the Blockchain projects out there which got huge support from the Chinese government and big global companies. Back in 2016, it was just another project living on the Ethereum Blockchain with VEN as ERC20 token. Also, in 2018, the company launched a fully autonomous Blockchain called VeChainThor and moved away from Ethereum.

In contrary to its bigger brother Ethereum which is fully public, VeChain can be seen as a private blockchain company. Meaning, VeChain offers a ‘Blockchain-as-a-Service’ solution aimed at global enterprises. As a result, this project is backed by some serious enterprises in the world that altogether funded about $180 million. A few examples of the bigger companies working on this Blockchain are PWC, Walmart China, DNV TL, and the City of Shanghai.

All in all, this very promising blockchain project offers a solution for the global supply chain networks. As a result of that, it has the potential to grow very fast in the years to come.

16. NEO

Next on the list of promising altcoins besides Bitcoin is NEO. Moreover, NEO was launched in 2017 and marketed as ‘The Ethereum of China’ aimed at becoming one of the main competitors of Ethereum. In the first place, the project started as ‘Antshares’ in 2014 but was rebranded to NEO in June 2017. NEO was founded by two rounds of crowd sales; the first was in October 2015 were 17.5 million NEO tokens were sold for $550.000. The second round followed quickly, which contained 22.5 million tokens and was worth 4.5 million US dollars.

The main objectives of this decentralized blockchain network are digital assets, digital identity, and smart contracts. Another difference with Ethereum is the programming language used on the blockchain. Instead of Solidity which is Ethereum is using, this network favors more traditional languages like C# and Javascript. Mostly, because this project has proper funding from the Chinese government it will remain high on the list of bigger blockchain projects in the world. More info on NEO can be found in the article I wrote ‘Should I invest in NEO Cryptocurrency?’

17. Ethereum Classic

ETC token logo

Last but not least, I want to mention Ethereum Classic(ETC) as a promising cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin. Ethereum Classic is the original chain Ethereum started working on until, in 2016, the ‘hard-fork event happened. After that, the Ethereum Classic team members decided to stick to the principles of Satoshi; the founder of blockchain technology. In general, these principles include:

  • Decentralization – The Ethereum Classic network is designed in a decentralized way. The major reason for this is that decentralized networks are more secure and stable compared to the centralized variant.
  • Immutability – Ethereum Classic maintains an immutable global blockchain. Additionally, it is preventing any possibility of fraud, censorship, or unjust interference by any actor.
  • Adaptability – ETC is based upon open-source software and also open for continuous improvement and adaptability. Adaptability is essential to the future viability of any technology.

Although many crypto-insiders thought Ethereum Classic would die surely and slowly after the split-up, so far it has remained one of the biggest and growing altcoins in the world.


The list above represents the most promising altcoins besides Bitcoin in terms of market share and trading volumes. Furthermore, this list was being set up to give an answer to the question “which cryptocurrency should I invest in”. Additionally, starting investors in this brand new asset class should have a better view of the massive possibilities in this market. Of course, many more opportunities exist in this very volatile but exciting industry. For more information, check out my guide on investing in altcoins or how to start a Bitcoin investment.

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Jelmer Steenhuis
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Jelmer Steenhuis

Online entrepreneur at uDigitize
Crypto believer and 'Hodler' of Bitcoin since the early days. Spreading the word about this exciting new technology..
Jelmer Steenhuis
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