There are thousands of cryptocurrencies out there with lots of new ones being launched everyday, however the major and most widely used cryptocurrencies that achieve the most volume in the cryptocurrency market include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin. and Ripple.
Bitcoin was created in 2009, by a person (or group of persons) by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. This virtual currency aims, as explained in another article, to allow users to carry out monetary transactions through the internet.
The peculiarity of Bitcoin is that it is a cryptocurrency, so it works through a peer-to-peer network (of computers) in a secure way (thanks to cryptography) and completely decentralized in the sense where no company, bank or government can control the cryptocurrency in question. Bitcoin is considered the mother and benchmark of crypto-currencies, it is also the one that garners the most volume among all the crypto-currencies in circulation. Bitcoin is limited to 21 million units.
Ethereum was created in 2014 by Vitalik Butterin, it is a cryptocurrency which is therefore also decentralized and which works thanks to the Ethereum Blockchain. Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum cryptocurrency provides what is called the smart contract, which is a program that will follow all the steps of a contract and once they are validated, then the transaction will be completed.
Litecoin is a kind of complement to Bitcoin, created in 2011 to help it face transaction delays. Where Bitcoin takes around 10 minutes to process a transaction, Litecoin completes it in around 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Litecoin comes from the code of Bitcoin but was not created with the aim of competing with Bitcoin but rather to act as an alternative payment solution. With Litecoin, the confirmation time is 4 times faster than for Bitcoin and its capitalization is also four times greater, up to 84 million Litecoin can be issued on the market.
Ripple technology began to emerge in 2004 by Ryan Fugger, long before Bitcoin, but was picked up in 2011 by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaled (also creator of the cryptocurrency StellarLumens). Ripple’s objective is to facilitate interbank exchanges and exchanges between people who own digital currencies, in other words Ripple technology seeks to reduce transaction times and costs.
These are the main crypto-currencies, others are also widely used, such as Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic and newer coins like Binance Coin (BNB), CAKE, ADA, Doge and several others, all available for trading on many decentralized exchanges.