The Bitcoin alternatives to pay attention to in 2018 – and one to avoid

Bitcoin has turned many pauper into a prince over the years, but the soaring value of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency means many punters are now looking for alternatives. But should you buy Rippe (XRP), Litecoin or Ethereum? Recent data from two popular digital currency tracking sites can help you decide. As can insider warnings…

The biggest rising crypto-star of 2017 was XRP aka Ripple, according to data from CoinMarketCap. It started 2017 worth a measly $0.0065 per coin (unit?), but was valued at $2.47 by the end of the year –a Herculean 37,000% increase.

It also enjoys the second largest market capitalisation behind Bitcoin and is now valued at $142bn overall. Bitcoin tots up a $251.4bn market cap, by way of comparison.

Ethereum and Litecoin also performed exceptionally well in 2017.

Figures from Coinbase show that Ethereum, which is currently hovering just shy of the $1000 mark at time of publication, surged by over 9240% last year. Its market cap now sits at around $100.6bn.

Litecoin ($13.2bn market cap), for its part, grew by more than 5195% year-on-year, and was hovering just over $245 on the morning of Friday, January 5

To put this all into context, a single Bitcoin will set you back some $15,550 today.

These are the cryptocurrency world’s three fastest risers, and those wanting to dabble without could do worse than to snap up a few still-affordable XRPs. Litecoin and Ethereum are arguably bigger names and will set you back more, but if Bitcoin’s rise and rise is anything to go by, they could still be far from their ceiling and also represent good alternatives to consider.

However, know that the value of digital currencies are subject to major fluctuations – far more pronounced than physical monies – and high-profile cryptocurrencies have been known to completely crash in the past.

Like any ‘investment’, a certain amount of risk is involved and you should only part with what you can afford to lose.

Bitcoin alternatives to consider avoiding

Which brings us to…our one you might want to avoid.

Dogecoin was originally devised as a Bitcoin piss-take, but humorously intended or not, its value has soared over the years, with the cryptocurrency enjoying a market cap well in excess of $1.5bn when at the time of our last update.

However, its creator says he is ‘worried’ about the future of the digital currency and believes that the current crypto-bubble will “inevitably” burst.

Taking to Twitter, Jackson Palmer wrote:

“I haven’t held a substantial amount of dogecoin since early-2015 so the market cap doesn’t mean a lot to me – it does however act as a barometer for crypto mania and speculation…I have a lot of faith in the dogecoin core development team to keep the software stable and and secure, but I think it says a lot about the state of the cryptocurrency space in general that a currency with a dog on it which hasn’t released a software update in over 2 years has a $1B+ market cap…I think it’s relatively safe to label the current market as a ‘bubble’, although it’s hard to predict how much it’ll inflate and for how long before it inevitably bursts.”

He adds: “My one hope is that when that does happen and people lose large sums of money, the negativity in the market doesn’t stifle technological innovation or interest in digital currency from the mainstream.”

That’s not to say you shouldn’t dabble in cryptocurrency investment; just that, as we’ve already said, there’s a hefty amount of uncertainty involved.

The new Gold Rush this may well be – but as with the one of yesteryear, there’ll be plenty of Fool’s Gold doing the rounds alongside the real deal.

Got any hot tips for Bitcoin alternatives?  Tweet them to the author @scavgourmet or contact us @TrustedReviews.