Which Cryptocurrency Is Better Than Bitcoin? Top Contenders

Published: 2nd July, 2024 | Last Updated: 1st July, 2024

Markos Koemtzopoulos

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. But who are the top contenders that people seriously think could oust Bitcoin from the throne? In this post, I will walk you through the top cryptocurrencies with passionate communities that believe their coin is superior to Bitcoin.

Also see the difference between bitcoin and crypto.

Cryptocurrencies whose communities believe they are better than Bitcoin

1. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum

Ethereum was conceptualized by a then-17-year-old Canadian kid called Vitalik Buterin.

Vitalik came across Bitcoin and wanted to create a blockchain that would have a more general purpose.

Using smart contracts, developers can code apps on top of Ethereum. For example, you can have a lending app, a trading app, a supply chain management app, an insurance app, and so on. 

The Ethereum blockchain also allows people to issue their own digital assets in the form of ERC-20 tokens or ERC-721 NFTs (non-fungible tokens). 

Today, Ethereum makes up 15% of the total crypto market cap and is the second-largest cryptocurrency.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the launch of spot Ether ETFs in May this year.

This means that institutional investors will be able to purchase Ethereum as part of their investment portfolios.

Furthermore, the Ethereum network has created a large ecosystem of decentralized applications (dApps). At the time of writing, some of the largest dApps were built on top of Ethereum. Examples include:

  • Uniswap: a decentralized exchange
  • Compound and Aave: lending and borrowing apps
  • Curve: a decentralized exchange for stablecoins
  • Yearn Finance: An app that automatically diverts your stablecoins to the most profitable investment
  • Maker: which issues a collateralized stablecoin called DAI

2. Monero (XMR)

Monero

The main reason Bitcoin caught on as an idea is that there is a limited supply and that no central authority, such as a government or central bank, can control it.

Transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain are pseudonymous, meaning you will know the entire transaction history of a person if you are able tie their name to their public address. 

Monero is similar to Bitcoin in that it uses a proof of work algorithm.

However, it is less energy-intensive than Bitcoin, it has no hard cap, and transactions are anonymous.

This means no one can know where your Monero is and how much you own.

Monero fans believe that hiding transactions is key to individual rights and freedom. Governments, on the other hand, fear illicit activities such as money laundering and terrorist financing which is why they have banned centralized exchanges from offering it.

For this reason, it will be hard for you to find Monero in a centralized exchange. You will also be unable to find it on decentralized exchanges because most don’t feature the Monero blockchain.

However, you can still purchase Monero on a peer-to-peer platform. Also, there are many Monero wallets that allow you to swap other crypto coins for Monero.

See the best Monero wallets here.

3. Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV)

In the early days of crypto, there was a lot of discussion amongst the community about Bitcoin not fulfilling its original vision of being a medium of exchange.

For that to become a reality, many argued that Bitcoin needed to increase its transaction speed.

At some point, an Australian computer scientist called Craig Steven Wright claimed he was Satoshi Nakamoto, the person or group behind Bitcoin.

He was later pronounced to be a fraud in court.

However, Craig has a strong cult following and has launched Bitcoin Satoshi Vision or Bitcoin SV which is faster than Bitcoin.

4. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash was a similar effort by the Bitcoin community to make the Bitcoin blockchain faster.

They achieved this by making each block larger to fit more transactions.

Here, the intent was to make Bitcoin a medium of exchange equivalent to fiat currencies.

While there are still some Bitcoin Cash fans out there, the coin could not keep up with the growth of Bitcoin. 

5. Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance Coin, or BNB, was created by the Binance cryptocurrency exchange.

Initially launched as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, BNB later transitioned to its own blockchain, the Binance Chain.

BNB was initially used to pay for transaction fees on the Binance exchange at a discount, but its utility has since expanded significantly.

Additionally, Binance Coin is now used to pay for goods and services, trade for other cryptocurrencies, and participate in token sales on the Binance Launchpad.

The Binance ecosystem, which includes the Binance Smart Chain (BSC), has grown rapidly, supporting numerous decentralized applications (dApps), DeFi projects, and NFT platforms.

BNB’s versatility and integration into the Binance ecosystem make it a strong contender in the cryptocurrency space.

6. Dogecoin (DOGE)

Dogecoin

Dogecoin started as a joke, created by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer in 2013, to satirize the sudden explosion of altcoins by making the doge meme (featuring a Shiba Inu dog) its mascot.

Despite its origins, Dogecoin has developed a robust community and has gained significant attention, especially through endorsements and mentions by high-profile figures like Elon Musk.

Dogecoin operates on a proof-of-work consensus mechanism, similar to Bitcoin, but it uses the Scrypt algorithm, which makes it more accessible for miners with less powerful hardware.

One of Dogecoin’s key features is its high supply limit and fast block time, making transactions quick and with very low fees. This has made Dogecoin popular for microtransactions and tipping content creators online.

The community-driven nature of Dogecoin and its fun and approachable image has made it a favorite among new cryptocurrency users.

It has also been used for various charitable causes and crowdfunding efforts, further solidifying its place as a cryptocurrency with a social impact.

Furthermore, Dogecoin’s growth and popularity highlight the importance of community and social media influence in the cryptocurrency space, making it a unique contender in the list of cryptocurrencies that some believe could rival Bitcoin.

7. Shiba Inu (SHIB)

Shiba Inu is another cryptocurrency that has gained significant attention.

It is often referred to as a “meme coin” similar to Dogecoin. It was created in August 2020 by an anonymous person or group known as “Ryoshi.”

Named after the Shiba Inu dog breed, which is also the mascot of Dogecoin, SHIB has built a passionate community known as the “Shib Army.”

Unlike Dogecoin, which operates on its own blockchain, Shiba Inu is an ERC-20 token built on the Ethereum blockchain. This allows it to leverage Ethereum’s robust security and infrastructure while being part of the growing ecosystem of decentralized applications (dApps) and decentralized finance (DeFi) projects.

Shiba Inu’s developers have also introduced a decentralized exchange called ShibaSwap, which allows users to trade SHIB and other tokens, provide liquidity, and stake their tokens to earn rewards.

The project plans a broader ecosystem, including additional tokens such as LEASH and BONE, which serve different purposes within the Shiba Inu network.

The SHIB token gained significant traction in 2021, driven by social media buzz, endorsements from celebrities, and the broader popularity of meme coins.

Also, its community-driven approach and extensive use of social media have helped SHIB maintain its visibility in the crowded cryptocurrency market.

Shiba Inu’s rapid rise highlights the impact of community and social media in the crypto world. While its long-term viability as a Bitcoin competitor remains to be seen, its strong and active community ensures that it will remain a notable player in the cryptocurrency space.

8. Cardano (ADA)

Cardano, founded by Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, aims to provide a more secure and scalable blockchain that addresses the limitations of Ethereum and Bitcoin.

Launched in 2017, Cardano uses a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism called Ouroboros, which is designed to be more energy-efficient than Bitcoin’s proof-of-work algorithm.

Cardano’s development is guided by academic research and peer-reviewed scientific methods. This approach has led to a multi-layered architecture, separating the ledger of account values from the reasons why values are moved from one account to another. This separation enhances Cardano’s security and scalability.

Additionally, the Cardano platform supports smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps), much like Ethereum.

However, Cardano aims to improve upon Ethereum’s design by offering greater scalability, interoperability, and sustainability for decentralized networks and systems.

Cardano has also focused on real-world applications, particularly in developing countries.

For example, it has partnered with governments and institutions to create blockchain solutions for identity verification, supply chain management, and more.

9. Polkadot (DOT)

Polkadot, created by Dr Gavin Wood, another Ethereum co-founder, aims to enable different blockchains to interoperate seamlessly.

Launched in 2020, Polkadot addresses one of the major limitations of current blockchain technology: the inability of different blockchains to communicate with each other.

Polkadot’s unique architecture consists of a main relay chain and multiple parachains.

The relay chain is responsible for network security and consensus, while parachains can be customized for various use cases and can communicate with each other.

This setup allows for greater scalability and flexibility.

Polkadot’s interoperability feature is designed to facilitate the transfer of data and assets across different blockchains, enabling a new level of connectivity in the crypto ecosystem.

This makes Polkadot a strong contender for projects that require multiple blockchains to work together seamlessly.

The Polkadot network also includes a governance system that allows token holders to vote on protocol changes, ensuring that the development of the network is in the hands of its community.

10. Solana (SOL)

Solana

Solana is a high-performance blockchain that supports fast and secure decentralized applications (dApps) and crypto-currencies.

Launched in 2020 by Anatoly Yakovenko, Solana aims to provide scalability without sacrificing decentralization.

Solana’s key innovation is its proof-of-history (PoH) consensus mechanism, which timestamps transactions to prove they occurred in a specific sequence.

This allows for high throughput, with the network capable of processing thousands of transactions per second, significantly more than Bitcoin or Ethereum.

Solana’s ecosystem has grown rapidly, with numerous dApps, DeFi projects, and NFT platforms built on its blockchain.

Its speed and low transaction costs have made it an attractive platform for many crypto enthusiasts who are calling the Ethereum killer.

Furthermore, the Solana Foundation and its vibrant community continuously support and develop the network, aiming to make it a global hub for decentralized applications.

11. Bittensor (TAO)

TAO is a relatively new entrant in the cryptocurrency landscape. It brings a unique approach by focusing on the intersection of blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

Bittensor aims to create a decentralized neural network, leveraging blockchain technology to incentivize and coordinate the training of machine learning models. 

This innovative approach is designed to democratize AI, making it more accessible and efficient.

Key Features of Bittensor

  • Decentralized AI Training: Bittensor uses a decentralized network to train AI models. Participants can contribute their computing power to train models and, in return, earn TAO tokens. This decentralized approach contrasts with traditional AI training, which basically relies on centralized data centers and institutions.
  • Incentive Mechanism: The TAO token is used to reward contributors for their work in training AI models. This incentivizes participation and ensures a diverse and robust network of contributors.
  • Interoperability: Bittensor’s platform is designed to be interoperable with existing AI and machine learning frameworks. This allows developers to integrate their models and datasets easily, fostering a collaborative ecosystem.
  • Scalability: The network’s decentralized nature allows it to scale more efficiently than traditional centralized AI systems. By distributing the training process across many nodes, Bittensor can handle larger datasets and more complex models.
  • Security and Transparency: Utilizing blockchain technology ensures the training process is secure and transparent. All transactions and contributions are recorded on the blockchain, providing a clear audit trail and reducing the risk of fraud.

12. Tether (USDT)

USDT is a prominent stablecoin in the cryptocurrency market.

Each USDT is backed by a real dollar, so 1 USDT equals a US dollar. Stablecoins such as USDT play an essential part in the world of crypto as they allow people to switch between crypto and a fiat equivalent without relying on banks.

For example, Binance, which is the world’s largest exchange, does not accept US dollars, and you can only transact in USDT to buy crypto. 

13. USD Coin (USDC)

While USDT is the preferred stablecoin of crypto exchanges, USDC is the preferred currency of decentralized projects. Most dApps use USDC.

While smaller in market cap, USDC still has the potential to grow further.

14. XRP

XRP

XRP is the native cryptocurrency of the Ripple network, created by Ripple Labs Inc. in 2012. Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, XRP was designed primarily to facilitate fast and cost-effective international money transfers. Ripple aims to work with traditional financial institutions, including banks and payment providers, to improve the efficiency of cross-border transactions.

Key Features of XRP

  • Speed: One of XRP’s most significant advantages is its transaction speed. Transactions on the Ripple network can be settled in just a few seconds, much faster than Bitcoin or Ethereum. This speed makes XRP an attractive option for financial institutions that require quick settlement times.
  • Low Fees: XRP transactions basically have very low fees, often a fraction of a cent. This low cost benefits small and large transactions, making it an economical choice for transferring money across borders.
  • Scalability: The Ripple network can handle a high number of transactions per second (TPS), far exceeding the capabilities of Bitcoin and Ethereum. This scalability ensures that the network can support large volumes of transactions without slowing down.
  • Consensus Algorithm: Unlike Bitcoin’s proof-of-work or Ethereum’s proof-of-stake, Ripple uses a unique consensus algorithm known as the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA). This algorithm involves a network of independent validating servers that reach consensus on the order and outcome of XRP transactions.
  • Partnerships with Financial Institutions: Ripple has established partnerships with numerous banks and financial institutions worldwide. These partnerships aim to integrate Ripple’s technology into existing financial systems, enhancing the efficiency and reliability of cross-border payments.
  • Use Case: While many cryptocurrencies focus on decentralization and anonymity, Ripple primarily serves as a bridge currency for financial institutions, enabling seamless currency exchange and reducing the need for pre-funded accounts.

15. TRON (TRX)

TRX is a blockchain-based decentralized platform founded by Justin Sun in 2017.

TRON aims to build a free, global digital content entertainment system with distributed storage technology, allowing easy and cost-effective sharing of digital content.

Generally, its vision includes:

  • Enabling creators to directly reach consumers.
  • Eliminating the need for intermediaries.
  • Providing better incentives for creators.

Key Features of TRON

  • High Throughput: TRON’s blockchain can handle a high number of transactions per second (TPS). Its architecture allows for quick and efficient processing of transactions, which is crucial for its goal of supporting a large-scale digital entertainment ecosystem.
  • Low Fees: Transactions on the TRON network are basically very low-cost, making it economically viable for microtransactions, which are common in digital content distribution.
  • Scalability: TRON is designed to be highly scalable and capable of supporting a large number of users and applications. This scalability is essential for its ambitious goal of creating a global digital entertainment platform.
  • Decentralized Applications (dApps): TRON supports a robust ecosystem of dApps. Developers can create and deploy dApps on the TRON blockchain, leveraging its high-performance and low-cost transactions.
  • Smart Contracts: TRON supports the creation and execution of smart contracts, which are essential for building decentralized applications and services. This functionality enables a wide range of applications, from gaming to DeFi (decentralized finance).
  • TRC-20 and TRC-721 Tokens: Similar to Ethereum’s ERC-20 and ERC-721 standards, TRON has its own token standards for fungible and non-fungible tokens. This allows for the creation of various tokens and assets on the TRON blockchain.
  • Strong Community and Ecosystem: TRON has a vibrant and active community, with numerous developers and projects contributing to its ecosystem. The TRON Foundation actively supports and promotes projects within the TRON network.

16. TON (The Open Network)

TON is a blockchain project that was initially developed by the team behind Telegram Messenger. Though it faced legal challenges in the United States, leading to its official discontinuation by Telegram, the community picked up the open-source project and it now continues under new leadership. TON aims to address the scalability and speed limitations of existing blockchain platforms.

Key Features of TON (The Open Network)

  • Scalability: TON is highly scalable, supporting millions of transactions per second. It achieves this scalability through a multi-level structure that allows for the seamless addition of new blockchains, called “shards,” to the network.
  • Speed: TON utilizes a unique consensus mechanism that combines proof-of-stake (PoS) with Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT) to achieve fast transaction speeds. This makes it suitable for real-time applications.
  • Decentralized Services: TON is not just a cryptocurrency platform; it aims to provide a comprehensive ecosystem of decentralized services. These services include a distributed file storage system, a DNS service for decentralized internet domains, and a platform for running dApps.

17. Avalanche (AVAX)

Avalanche (AVAX)

Avalanche is a highly scalable, open-source platform for launching decentralized applications (dApps) and enterprise blockchain deployments in a highly customizable, interoperable ecosystem. Developed by Ava Labs and launched in September 2020, Avalanche aims to address some of the major limitations of older blockchain platforms, such as scalability, speed, and decentralization.

Key Features of Avalanche (AVAX)

  • High Throughput: Avalanche can process thousands of transactions per second (TPS), making it one of the fastest blockchain platforms. It achieves this high throughput through its novel consensus protocol, which is designed to be fast and scalable.
  • Low Latency: The Avalanche network finalizes transations in less than a second. This low latency is crucial for applications that require near-instantaneous confirmation times.
  • Interoperability: Avalanche is interoperable with other blockchain platforms. It supports the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), meaning developers can easily port their Ethereum dApps to Avalanche with minimal changes.
  • Customizable Blockchains: Avalanche allows users to create customizable blockchains, known as subnets. These can be tailored to specific applications or use cases. These subnets can operate with their own rules and parameters, offering flexibility and control.
  • Energy Efficiency: Avalanche uses a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. This is significantly more energy-efficient than the proof-of-work (PoW) algorithms used by Bitcoin and Ethereum. This makes Avalanche a more sustainable option for blockchain applications.
  • Decentralized Finance (DeFi): Avalanche has quickly become a hub for DeFi applications, offering a fast, low-cost, and secure environment for building financial services. Many popular DeFi projects have integrated with Avalanche, providing users access to a wide range of financial products.

Reasons People Are Against Bitcoin

  • Up until recently, the Bitcoin blockchain was only good for Bitcoin. There was nothing else it could do. However, with the advent of ordinals and runes, people are experimenting with building apps on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. This is desirable because Bitcoin is considered one of the most secure networks. 
  • Environmental impact: Bitcoin consumes the same amount of energy as the Phillippines. The counterargument here is that 50% of this is from renewable energy sources. 
  • The calculations that everyone performs on Bitcoin are wasteful. There are other blockchains that take advantage of participants’ computing power to do something useful with it, such as Bittensor TAO.
Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

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