Eli5 bitcoin

15,800 by the last Wednesday of 2017. Editor’s note: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrency markets are extremely risky and no one should invest more in any token than they can afford to lose. Zero-eli5 bitcoin proofs may be the future of private trade.

Zcash is being developed by a startup, not a strictly grassroots community like its rival monero. It is much cheaper than bitcoin or ether, which makes it very attractive for cryptocurrency newbies. Monero is quickly gaining notoriety thanks to a Christmas merchandise sale with dozens of popular musicans, including Mariah Carey and Toby Keith, plus its popularity among a few high-profile sex workers. It’s a great use case for cryptocurrency. IO and Synapse plan to launch their own Ethereum-based tokens for an initial coin offering in early 2018. I see a lot of possible promise for Ripple.

One rising cryptocurrency stands out in particular because it is the only rising token that isn’t a blockchain technology like bitcoin. IOTA doesn’t use blocks, it doesn’t have a chain, and it doesn’t have miners, per say. Over time, there are also going to be variance, not replacements, concerning what blockchain is. Instead of the standard open source blockchain network, IOTA relies on a new type of network inspired by Internet of Things technologies. The really short version of how this is different is  a blockchain network spreads the data out across all the tokens in network, which makes it slow but almost impossible to hack.

The nonprofit IOTA Foundation currently orchestrates a lot of this coordination as the network develops. As such, there is widespread debate about whether IOTA is a centralized system. The same token would have cost less than a dollar until November when IOTA started surging. One of the factors influencing this surge was growing interest from traditional investors and tech giants. Most of the above-mentioned tokens are already among the top 20 cryptocurrencies in several global markets and exchanges.

Hundreds of new tokens and cryptocurrency projects also emerged over the past year, some of which explored new solutions to the core problems underlying nascent digital currencies. The more broad space of stable coins is really interesting. They offer a very differentiated value proposition compared to other tokens. I’m very curious to see how those end up working out in the long run.