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Crypto….the final frontier. Like this article, I don’t know much about the final frontier. What I do know about is how to make the perfect chicken mayonnaise sandwich. Oh, and I know crypto. Kinda….but let’s get on with it.

The crypto space, to put it mildly, is like a 4 year old with ADHD after eating 2 kilograms of sugar. It’s fast, mostly unpredictable, unforgiving, volatile, and did I mention…fast? These are the hallmarks of what most would call an immature market, but one that’s also maturing at a rapid rate.

No market is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A week in the crypto market is quite honestly a month in the traditional markets.

That’s why it’s not safe out there, but with some help we can stop that 4 year old from repeatedly hitting you in your “bathing suit region” while periodically terrorising the dog, and manically laughing at your pleas for cessation.

Where do I start? That’s usually the hardest part.

But let’s make it easy. Let’s go through some of the main cryptos out there:

First things first… Let’s go through the Top 10 (yes I know there are 11, but you can’t do this without including Monero. Why? Because it’s my opinion piece – that’s why!) by market cap and give a very brief rundown on them along with my non-opinioned opinions.

BITCOIN is your safe haven. It’s not the greatest in tech, when compared to everything else going on in the space, but its got first mover advantage, and is considered the standard currency if looking at crypto as a market. There’s a rule about Bitcoin. Always have some…pretty easy rule hey?

ETHEREUM the best way to explain ETH is to think of it as a global super computer,designed to run decentralised applications. The Ethereum platform is also currently the platform of choice for ICOs. Dapps like Cryptokitties (like tamagotchis) that people can customise and trade for ETH are the most popular. These kittens, however, completely brought the whole Network to a standstill and all talks of scaling, are just that…talks, upon talks.

BITCOIN CASH… is much like Bitcoin, but with bigger blocks and headed by essentially the anti-christs of crypto, Roger Ver, Craig Wright and Jihan Wu (Bitmain guy). Stay away from Bitcoin Cash. I’ll do a separate article as to the reasons why in due course.

XRP (not Ripple, Ripple is a company)… was created to act as a bridging currency across distributed ledgers in the banking world. Really good tech, gets about the same amount of disgust as looking back at the Alistair Coetzee Springbok Coaching job. But the tech is good, and the use case is pretty intriguing, even if it goes against what all the Bitcoin maximalists believe. But with an actual company behind it (yes, now we can say Ripple) and various offshoots for commercialisation of the digital asset with Coil and Xpring, its creating an ecosystem for it to succeed…we said the same thing about Alistair though, didn’t we?

EOS is like Ethereum, except there are 21 “block producers” who vote on what happens. Like a Mini-me of Ethereum, except with 21 Vitaliks instead of 1, make of that as you will.

STELLAR… STELLA!!! (No not the wife-beating beer!) … instead, Stellar, in collaboration with IBM (right now it’s still quite loosely collaborated on, much like how a DJ collaborates with a dead musician) is trying to establish itself as an a) p2p payment platform and, b) supposedly, an app platform. The latter just being thrown around because it can be. It’s got good transaction speeds, and was thought of by the guy that brought us Mt.Gox and Edonkey Jed Mcaleb.

LITECOIN… like Bitcoin, only faster. Seen as the pure p2p type crypto because of its speed (not to mention the speed of which its creator Charlie Lee dumped his coins) there does seem to be some traction with Litecoin. Recently, rather than collaborating with banks, they just bought one instead.

TETHER… gotta print them all. The crypto version of the USD, supposedly backed by real USD. Kind of like an Ebucks with a 1:1 value. Its sole purpose is to allow traders and people to cash out against a “stablecoin”, so they can reinvest it again without being subject to market fluctuations…besides those of the USD. In short, it’s USD in digital form, that allows people to use it as USD without having to declare anything in USD. And they say Privacy coins are the problem 😉

CARDANO… Charles Hodgkinson, the co-creator/founder of Ethereum, is the face of this project. Supposedly designed to be the Utopian of crypto platforms, with everything peer reviewed, and checked against other peer reviews, and academics, and those academics peers, and their peers. It’s amazing to see how Utopian it has become. Now if they could ever get out of the consistent review phase, then they might actually get to make something…and it may actually be quite good.

IOTA the internet of things. The crypto for the internet of things, using something called tangle to tie them all in. And you can use IOTA as the token to pay for it or manage it. Sounds great doesn’t it? Except, there have been significant red flags from whether it’s even possible to recompile something simple like the wallet and get it to work (which many have tried, I don’t know if anyone has succeeded) I keep on telling myself that it’s a good buy, but then I end up reading some more horrible news about it. It keeps making me feel like it’s the one girl you always wanted to get with, but in hindsight, really glad you didn’t… except it makes you feel that way every few months or so.

MONERO think about digital cash. Like real cash. Untraceable, secure, and with obvious use cases. Used primarily on the dark web (because of its fungibility) its use cases will only grow as the need for privacy grows within the space. Between paying for illegal organ donations, or paying to overthrow a government, and somewhere in between paying for groceries, Monero still has a lot of room to grow, and is the standard when looking at privacy coin related transactions (don’t @me with Z-ksnarks are starks…not Tony. Privacy when non-standard isn’t privacy).

The above is just a brief, yes brief, overview of the top 10 (okay, okay, 11) coins by market cap. In the coming weeks, I will be deep diving on the above coins and discussing other tokens in the crypto space, with the ultimate goal of educating and sharing my opinionated opinions. And maybe – just maybe – one day, we will be just like those monkeys in A Space Odyssey, staring at the monolith, truly ready to transcend.

Clifford is Managing Director for prominent Johannesburg IT company LinkUp Business Solutions. Through his experience and skill in the IT industry, he has become increasingly knowledgeable in cryptoasset mining, and is now seen as a leading figure amongst miners in the Global Crypto community. His knowledge of cryptoasset mining has also given him a vast understanding of the many factors offered by each cryptoasset in the market.