The world of cryptocurrencies is constantly changing. While there are a several that never really take off and others that are just pure scams, there is always a few that offer something innovative and do stick around for the long term. Bitcoin is still the dominant currency in the digital currency space and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, but 2017 may be the year that one of the following lesser known cryptocurrencies, with improved privacy and security features, really take off:
Monero is a digital currency that specifically aims to promote the privacy of its users. For this reason, it was not based off of Bitcoin’s code, as many other popular cryptocurrencies have been. Instead, the developers of Monero based it off of the CryptoNote protocol, which prevents transactions from being followed through the blockchain. Monero was created in April 2014 and has seen a steady increase in adoption since then. It’s privacy features have made popular on the Dark Web, where many users prefer to remain anonymous.
Similar to Monero Zcash is another cryptocurrency that seeks to offer more privacy than Bitcoin. As an example, it not only hides the identities of the sender and recipient, but also the value of the transaction. In other words, it is virtually impossible to link this digital currency to its source on the blockchain. It uses zero-knowledge proofs that allow fully encrypted transactions to be confirmed as valid.
Not to be confused with Ethereum, Ethereum Classic is a separate blockchain that came into existence when Ethereum decided to hard-fork due to a hack of The DAO, an Ethereum funded organization. Members of the Ethereum community who rejected this fork, primarily on philosophical grounds, continued to support the old Ethereum blockchain and called it Ethereum classic. Ethereum Classic has generally traded at about 1/10th the price of Ethereum, and has stayed within the top ten most highly traded digital currencies since since it’s inception. With continued code changes Ethereum classic has further differentiated itself from Ethereum, but has generally taken a more cautious approach to change.
Steem is much more than a just a currency; it is also a blockchain-based social networking site (Steemit) that rewards users for posting and curating content that is valued by other users. Users are compensated for their contributions with Steem which can be easily converted to Bitcoin or other currencies when the user wants to cash out. It was launched in early 2016 and quickly rose in price in July of that year when payments on the website began to be made. For a while it was the third largest cryptocurrency by market Cap. The price has declined significantly since then, but the website still has a steady user base and it may be poised for a comeback.