Everyone’s heard of Bitcoin, but there are many viable alternatives out there you should be aware of. Today’s article covers some of the top altcoins in depth. We’ll also show you how to stay safe when using cryptocurrencies with a VPN, plus recommend a few of the most secure providers.
As the price for Bitcoin remains high, many people are turning to other forms of cryptocurrency for their regular needs. There are now a wide range of other cryptocurrencies available, known as altcoins, which generally work in the same way as Bitcoin but which are not as expensive to mine or to use. Investors are interested in these altcoins too, thinking that there is more potential for growth from lesser known cryptocurrencies which have not yet inflated in price the way that Bitcoin has.
So if you’re someone who is looking to purchase a bit of cryptocurrency for making purchases or sending to other people, then you might consider purchasing a currency other than Bitcoin. First, you need to consider the legal status of cryptocurrencies in your country – for example, in China the use of cryptocurrencies is restricted. But if your country has laws that accept cryptocurrencies, you can start looking around for an altcoin that would meet your needs. To help you with this, today we’re going to share our top Bitcoin alternatives to help you make the right decision regarding cryptocurrencies.
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Best Alternatives To Bitcoin
Whether you’re considering mining altcoins yourself, you are looking at options of cryptocurrencies to invest in, or you just want to purchase a little cryptocurrency of your own to make purchases, here are a few suggestions for the best alternatives to Bitcoin:
The second biggest cryptocurrency (behind Bitcoin) that’s been getting press recently is Ethereum. It became popular with home miners thanks to its less taxing requirements than Bitcoin, but its value has still risen steadily over the last year. It is a popular cryptocurrency too, with estimates saying that four times as many Ethereum transactions take place each day than Bitcoin transactions. This is partly due to the relative affordability of the coins, meaning that people who want to use cryptocurrencies for small transactions find management of the smaller value Ethereum coins easier to manage. There are also some technical advantages of Ethereum over Bitcoin, like more efficient handling of transactions, avoiding the scaling issues that Bitcoin has struggled with, and extra features like smart contracts which make it a great choice for business transactions.
Another affordable alternative to Bitcoin is Litecoin. The current price of one Litecoin is in the hundreds of dollars range, as opposed to the thousands of dollars that one Bitcoin costs. This makes Litecoin an attractive option for those who are starting out in cryptocurrencies and want to begin with a relatively easy currency to work with. It offers a potential investment opportunity too, as the price of Litecoin could continue to rise – though of course, as with any cryptocurrency investment, there’s no guarantee that this will happen. An advantage of Litecoin is that it has very low transaction fees, so if you need to move your Litecoins around a lot then you won’t have to spend a lot on transferring them. Litecoin is a solidly well-known and frequently used altcoin that is worth a look into.
Ripple is one of the largest cryptocurrencies as measured by market capitalization. Its positioning is to offer the ability to send money around the world by making use of the blockchain, so it has been popular with financial institutions which need to process their customers’ payments. The advantage for these institutions is lower transaction costs than would be incurred by making transfers in fiat currency. Ripple operates in a more centralised way than other cryptocurrencies, which could be an advantage if you prefer a streamlined system or a disadvantage if you care about the decentralization aspect of cryptocurrencies. Currently Ripple is supported by a variety of financial institutions like Santander, American Express, and ATB Financial.
Digital Cash, aka Dash, started off life being called Xcoin and then became Darkcoin before being renamed to Dash. As you can guess by this involved naming development, Dash is one of the older cryptocurrencies and has been around since 2014. Dash distinguishes itself with a strong focus on privacy and anonymity (hence the rather unfortunate “Darkcoin” name), with a features called PrivateSend that lets you keep your details private when sending money, so it’s the best cryptocurrency to use if you are concerned with anonymising your transactions. There is another unusual feature in the two-tiered system that Dash users: the miners sit on one tier, and they are overseen by a tier of volunteer masternodes who sign the transactions. Dash is currency very affordable and the transaction fees are low too.
Steem garnered a lot of attention at the beginning of the year when a report from the Weiss ratings agency came out and rated Steem as a highly favourable cryptocurrency, above Bitcoin and many other altcoins. Although the methods and findings of this report have been debated across the cryptocurrency community, it certainly caused a lot more people to look into Steem.
Steem is the cryptocurrency related the the Steemit social network and content creation platform, and was originally developed to let viewers tip content creators on the platform whose work they enjoyed. This unique approach of tying the cryptocurrency to a social network has helped to balance out the currency and is why it was given such a good rating by Weiss. However, this increased interest in Steem has already lead to a lot of speculation, so it’s probably not a good choice for investment but is an interesting example of how cryptocurrencies could operate in the future.
Finally, one cryptocurrency which is very interesting in IOTA. IOTA is notable because unlike Bitcoin and the other altcoins we’ve mentioned, it is not based on an underlying blockchain network. Instead, it uses a system called Tangle, which is a different form of distributed ledger. It aims specifically at Internet of Things to power its marketplace, so allowing items like your Smart Kettle to communicate with your Smart Fridge, and so far companies including Microsoft and Fujitsu have begun partnerships.
The advantage of making use of IoT devices is that transactions can become fast and, even better, free. IOTA makes major changes to the way we think of a cryptocurrency, as it requires no miners and makes use of already existing but unused IoT resources. However, note that there have been security concerns with the way that the Tangle is implemented and IOTA is still in very early stages, so for now it will likely remain of interest mostly to curious technology companies.
Keep Yourself Safe When Using Cryptocurrencies With A VPN
If you’re going to use cryptocurrencies, whether it is Bitcoin or an altcoin like the ones that we’ve talked about above, then it’s important to take steps to beef up your internet security. A good first step to keeping yourself safe is to use a VPN when making cryptocurrency transations. In fact, in general, you should be using a VPN for all your financial transactions including when you use online banking. Using a VPN will mean that the data that you send over the internet will be encrypted, so that other people cannot intercept or interfere with your transactions. This encryption will help to protect you from spyware or other malware that could target your financial transactions.
If you’re looking for a VPN, below we’ll recommend some top VPNs for cryptocurrency users.
The Top VPNs For Cryptocurrency Users
In order to select the best VPN for the needs of cryptocurrency users, we consider the following criteria:
- Exceptional security. When you’re working with cryptocurrency transactions, then security ought to be your top concern. We look for VPN providers who offer high security features like the use of 256-bit encryption and who have a no logging policy to protect your privacy.
- The option to pay using cryptocurrency. If you want to keep your internet activity truly private, then you should pay for your VPN subscription with cryptocurrency. If you use a credit card to pay for your VPN, this creates a link between your activities and your personal information. We looked for VPNs that accepted payment in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
- Fast connections. You don’t want your VPN to slow down your internet connection, so we look for VPNs who have fast connections available on their servers.
- Many servers located around the globe. In order to protect your identity, you use your VPN to connect to a server elsewhere in the world so you can route your traffic via that server. The more servers available, the more options that are open to you.
- Software available for a range of platforms. With one VPN subscription you can protect multiple different devices, like your phone, computer, tablet, and more, as long as your VPN provider makes software for the platforms that you use. We look for providers with a broad range of supported platforms to offer you maximum flexibility.
With all of these factors in mind, here are the VPNs that we recommend for cryptocurrency users:
ExpressVPN is a popular choice among power users thanks to its strengths across the board, in terms of speed, security, and ease of use. The key security features include the use of strong 256-bit encryption, and a company no logging policy so you can be sure that your internet use will never be recorded. In addition, there are extra security features available in the software like an optional kill switch which will cut off your connection whenever the VPN is not active, in order to prevent you from accidentally sending data over an unsecured connection.
There are a large number of servers available for your use, with a network of more than 3,000 servers in 94 different countries. Of particular note is that the connections are super fast – so much that you won’t even notice that they’re there. You can install ExpressVPN using the software which is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, and more, or you can make use of the browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple’s Safari browser. In order to protect your anonymity when purchasing your subscription, there is an option to let you pay using Bitcoin.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
- Unblocks US Netflix
- Fast serves with minimal speed loss
- OpenVPN, IPSec & IKEv2 Encryption
- Strict no-logging policy
- Live chat support available.
- Month-to-month plan has high cost.
NordVPN is perfect for serious cryptocurrency users, thanks to its exceptional level of security. It has the industry standard security features for a VPN, like strong 256-bit encryption and the essential no logging policy. But NordVPN also offers a unique security feature called double encryption to make your data even safer. Double encryption works as follows: on your device, your VPN software encrypts all of the data that is to be sent over the internet before passing this data to a first server, located elsewhere in the world. At this first server, the data is encrypted again and is sent to a second server. It is at this second server that the data is finally decrypted and sent on to its original destination. These two layers of encryption mean that it is practically impossible for anyone to crack the encryption and access your data.
In addition to this high level of security, NordVPN offers fast connections and access to a huge network of more than 5,400 servers in 59 countries, including special servers for features like anti DDoS, dedicated IP, double VPN, onion over VPN, and P2P. In the software you’ll find options for further security measures like the CyberSec security suite and DNS leak protection. The software can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS devices, and you can also use the VPN through browser extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers. You can pay for your NordVPN subscription with Bitcoin through the BitPay system in order to preserve your anonymity.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Servers optimized for unblocking Netflix
- Over 5,400 servers in 61 countries
- Allows multiple connections (6 devices)
- Based in Panama
- Great support (24/7 chat).
- They can take 30 days to process refunds.
If you are looking for a simple solution that will take care of all of your internet security issues in one bundle, then you should try PureVPN. When you purchase a subscription to PureVPN you’ll get access to a VPN that meets all of our security requirements, like using strong 256-bit encryption and having a no logging policy so your internet use won’t be recorded. This includes access to a server network of more than 2,000 servers in 140+ different countries, with fast connections that won’t slow you down. You can enable further security options like a dedicated IP, a kill switch, DDoS protection, and an NAT firewall.
But in addition to this VPN, you’ll also get access to a host of other security software, including anti malware and anti virus software to keep your computer free from unwanted programs, an anti spam filter to keep your email inbox free from junk, and an app filtering system for the mobile app that lets you choose which apps pass data through the VPN and which apps can pass data directly to your network. This makes PureVPN a great all in one security solution which you can install on Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, in addition to the browser extensions which are available for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.You can pay for your subscription using the CoinPayments system to keep yourself anonymous, as this lets you pay with either Bitcoin or a variety of altcoins like Ether, Litecoin, BitBean, CloakCoin, Dash, and LeoCoin.
Read our full PureVPN review.
With Bitcoin having blazed a trail for cryptocurrencies, the next generation of altcoins are becoming more and more attractive to both investors and users, not to mention miners. If you’re thinking about getting into cryptocurrencies but are wary of Bitcoin due to its high price and high transaction costs, then there are plenty of alternatives available for you to consider. We’ve shared our top Bitcoin alternatives to help you find the right altcoin for your needs, as well as to give interested readers an insight into the ever changing cryptocurrency market. If you use cryptocurrencies, don’t forget to keep your transactions safe by using a VPN when you go online. We’ve also recommended a few VPNs that you can use for protection of your cryptocurrency.
Have you tried out any altcoins this year, either for investing or transactions, or as a miner? Which altcoin have you found to be the best alternative to Bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.