I am so late to the cryptocurrency game. I’ve heard murmurings for some time now that this is what we should be investing in but I’ve never really looked into it. Mainly because I don’t really understand it. The closest I got was listening to The Missing Cryptoqueen podcast about the fraudulent Ruja Ignatova and her scandalous pyramid scheme (basically the main message here is that, whatever you do, DO NOT invest in OneCoin). Then my friends started investing, and my family, and I started to get a bit of FOMO.

What is Dogecoin? What apps can you invest on? Do the people who mine cryptocurrency wear hard hats? So many legitimate questions. While this article is hardly going to enlighten you on the minefield that is digital finance, it might give you a step in the right direction. But be warned: I am no finance expert. I struggle to pay my £10 giff gaff phone bill every month, so definitely don’t take this writing as actual insight.

Also Elon Musk has just sent the whole industry into a downward spiral with a tweet about how bad cryptocurrency is for the environment and how it won’t be accepted at Tesla anymore (more than a quarter of a trillion dollars was wiped from the global market after he said that). Yes, it seems the entire industry is based on the opinions of one man. And then China announced measures to block cryptocurrencies from being used as a form of payment in the country…. so….. good luck!

Fans of Dogecoin include rapper Snoop Dogg and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons.

1. Dogecoin: the joke coin

Dogecoin was originally created as a joke. Yup, that’s right. It started off as a meme and ended up as a front-runner in the crypto game. Which gives you an insight into just how new and unpredictable this whole industry is. Oh, and the face of the coin is a Japanase hunting dog, a Shiba Inu. Back in 2014, it was used to raise $50,000 for the Jamaican Bobsled Team, who had qualified for the Sochi Winter Olympics but couldn’t afford to go. Basically Cool Runnings all over again.

Fans of Dogecoin include Elon Musk, rapper Snoop Dogg, and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons. Although we can now rule out Elon Musk as a fan, as Tesla is no longer excepting bitcoin payments until mining can be made more sustainable.

2. Tether: the ‘stable’ coin

Rumour has it that Tether is one of the better cryptocurrencies. It’s got a large trading volume, which mean more traders are inclined to use it. It’s dubbed a ‘stablecoin’ because the cryptocoins in circulation track the price of traditional currencies, like the dollar… although we’re not sure how stable any of them actually are.

It’s also had its fair share of controversies. A couple of years ago Tether’s parent company was accused of hiding an $850 million loss. Sure.

Website: www.tether.to

3. Ethereum: the popular coin

Ethereum sounds a bit like a magical elixir. I definitely wouldn’t be surprised to see it sitting next to a polyjuice potion or in a spell book in the Restricted Section at Hogwarts library. But I digress.

After Bitcoin, Ethereum is probably the most popular cryptocurrency. Its blockchain is basically a public ledger where all transactions are verified and recorded and everyone in the Ethereum network holds an identical copy of this ledger. The important bit is that it’s not operated or managed by any centralised entity, but by all of the distributed ledger holders.

It provides a fair amount of volatility, which means you can make a quick profit in quite a short space of time. But it also means that you can make quite a substantial loss too…

4. Cosmos: a proof-of-stake coin

Cosmos is a cryptocurrency that is designed to “create an Internet of Blockchains, a network of blockchains able to communicate with each other in a decentralised way.”

Cosmos is a proof-of-stake chain (as opposed to a proof-of-work coin). This basically means that a person can mine according to how many coins they hold. So the more coins you have, the more mining power you have. How do you mine for coins? Don’t ask us such silly questions (I obviously have no idea). Apparently, it also has a very low carbon footprint compared to other networks, which can only be a good thing. 

If you like Star Trek, maybe this one’s for you. The coin has planets on the design…

If you like Star Trek, maybe Cosmos is the one for you. The coin has planets on the design...

5. Tron: reap your rewards

The Tron! What a name. It sounds like an extremely super-powered Transformer. Alas, it’s just a cryptocurrency. And a pretty volatile one at that. You can make some pretty quick money on this one, but what goes up, must come down as they say. So place your bets.

You can also receive rewards, basically a passive income, by participating in the Tron network using the voting system. A side note – Tron has also been accused of plagiarism and of having very poor security.

6. EOS: a tricky ride

Not to be confused with Ios the Greek island, where I went to celebrate passing my GCSEs with a ‘Tequila Hammer’ – a drink where you take a tequila shot wearing a helmet and are then hit on the head with a hammer. Anyway…

This one has high volatility, so there’s the potential for high earnings. But only a potential.

The logo looks very similar to Tron. Very confusing.

Website: www.eos.io

7. Polkadot: it’s called ‘polkadot’, what’s not to love!?

This one’s a popular one. And you can see why. Everyone loves polkadots. Ever since that teeny weeny yellow polkadot bikini song came out, it’s done wonders for polkadot PR the world over. But obviously we’re not talking about teeny, weeny, yellow polkadot bikinis. We’re talking about cryptocurrency (see I told you I’d be useless at this).

It’s another proof-of-stake coin and is designed to decentralise the internet. The security is also meant to be top notch. Plus, it was founded in 2016 by Peter Czaban, Robert Habermeier, and Gavin Wood, who also co-founded Ethereum. So you’re in pretty good hands.

Website: www.polkadot.network

Obviously we're not talking about teeny, weeny, yellow polkadot bikinis. We're talking about cryptocurrency...

8. Cardano: the ‘environmentally-friendly’ one

Cardano is another proof-of-stake coin, which values the percentage of coins a miner holds rather than the processing power they possess. They’ve dubbed themselves “the most environmentally sustainable” cryptocurrency, claiming that its network uses less energy than 0.01 per cent of BitCoin’s network. Following Elon’s tweets, it seems to be pretty much the only coin that hasn’t taken a battering.

Plus, it sounds like an expensive Italian red wine.

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