The big movers these days are the platform based cryptocurrencies. They are one of the three main types of cryptocurrency, divided by purpose.
Crypto is headed into three main directions.
We have the currency based coins such as Bitcoin, Ripple, and NEM. Their main purpose is to serve as a store of value and means of transactions. The future of these in terms of adoption and use cases is more ambiguous in my opinion and is yet to be decided.
Secondly, we have the application based cryptocurrencies. These include projects like TenX and PIVX for example. The TenX token serves as a means to aid the process of using the application, connected to the debit card they provide. It solves a specific problem.
Thirdly, there are the platform based cryptocurrencies.
They provide means for other technologies to be built on top of them. Smart contracts on Ethereum are one example. You get to build a program that runs on Ethereum’s blockchain and this program serves a specific purpose. ICOs make use of such programs. The smart contract receives ETH at the time of the ICO and distributes the appropriate amounts of newly created tokens to the contributors, without the need of human interference. One can basically build any kind of decentralized application (DAPP) and make use of the distributed network to host it.
Recently, if involved in the crypto world, one can easily sense the growing hype around Ethereum. Influential figures like Olaf Carlson-Wee, CEO of hedge fund Polychain Capital predict it to dethrone Bitcoin as a market leader in 2018. In the recent market slump Ethereum was probably the least affected cryptocurrency. Its value has tripled in the last months and the market seems to refuse to let it go any lower. It has a large growing community of supporters and the Ethereum Foundation keeps working hard issuing regular updates to make it better with completing Casper as the next checkpoint on the road.
At the same time Ethereum is faced with serious scaling issues. With its value rising, the transaction fees keep getting more and more expensive. Reputable tech entrepreneurs and developers start to question the advantages of using the Ethereum blockchain for their projects. Svetlin Nakov, co-founder and core developer of the LockChain project, for example, has repeatedly expressed concern about the speed and costs of putting a Bookings-like hotel and travel platform on the Ethereum blockchain. They start looking for cheaper alternatives like ETC and NEO.
There are many platforms that promise more scalable and cheaper solutions. It is worth saying a few words about NEO, Cardano (ADA) and EOS.
NEO is the Chinese equivalent of Ethereum. One of its major selling points is the fact that the programming languages it uses are better known and there already are developers prepared to build applications on it. It has a very strong community in China and it seems like it has close ties with the Chinese government, a fact that many consider as a great advantage. It already hosts a decent number of ICOs and its value has grown exponentially in recent months.
Founded by the former Chief Executive officer of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson Cardano (ADA) is one of the most promising platforms on the market now. It claims to beat ETH in speed, security, and scalability. It is built in layers that allow easier maintenance and has a team of global academics and engineers that really stands out. It also has the advantage of the late start that can meet the needs of regulators that came on stage relatively recently.
EOS is a blockchain consensus operating system which provides databases, account permissions, scheduling, authentication, and internet-application communication to app developers. It claims to make possible the development of decentralized applications by businesses, letting them focus more on the business itself, rather than worrying about the technical part in the interaction with the platform. Basically, user friendly Ethereum.
At the end of the day, it is all about scalability, speed and user friendliness. Ethereum has the lead but it all depends on who is going to solve these problems best. No matter the stage of their development these platforms have the largest potential to reach mass adoption and expand in value.