The choice is a good thing. Options beget freedom and we all like that. Alternatives are especially important when we talk about decentralized technology and blockchain projects. 2017 saw a huge bull run on the cryptocurrency market so the number of projects skyrocketed.
That now makes many investors wonder if such a huge variety of cryptocurrencies is just creating confusion. This is particularly true for investors and observers who don’t know the cryptographic technology in depth.
In this blog, we’ll show you four distinct blockchain projects that have clear goals and we’ll explain to you what they can contribute to the digital assets market and to the technology world. These four projects are Tron, Ethereum, Ripple, and Apollo. And this is based on what Forbes experts believe, not just us.
Tron is a platform in which you can do everything you can do in Ethereum, except it’s more scalable and costs are way cheaper. So it’s like Ethereum, only without the problems that have been plaguing it recently.
It’s a very young platform as it went independent only about half a year ago. Tron has naturally benefited by Ethereum’s disadvantages. There is a lot of competition among both platforms (and among their leaders, Vitalik Buterin and Justin Sun) but this is not a bad thing, it could turn out to be a good thing for the cryptosphere as a whole in the long run.
Similar as both projects are, Tron offers 2,000 TPS of throughput. Additionally, executing transactions on smart contracts are free of charge, which is a stark contrast with Ethereum in which the gas price has been an issue for months.
Tron is getting ready for an airdrop as part of Project Atlas (which is the way in which Tron will absorb the BitTorrent network into its platform and blockchain). According to Justin Sun, Tron’s CEO and founder, this airdrop will,
“distribute tokens to users in Q1 of 2019. This will be the biggest platform for blockchain with over a hundred million users. The first step in building Project Atlas was to make BitTorrent Speed, which was built in less than 6 months”
And that’s just the beginning as Mr. Sun has more ambitious plans for the way in which BitTorrent and Tron will take off together in this new year: “Our next steps in 2019 would be Project Atlas, DApps, community, and tech support. In particular, support is very important to us as TRON is community oriented and consumer-focused. BitTorrent Web is another step towards more user acquisition, and thus user empowerment. Lastly, we’re looking at a partnership with established companies, such as Swisscom and Oracle to accelerate the decentralization of the Internet”.
Tron’s protocol includes TPOS. That’s the way in which the network reaches consensus. There are 27 super representatives who take turns to produce blocks for the chain, and those 27 nodes are elected by TRX account holders. A little like in Ripple, this compromises decentralization but it boosts scalability.
Another plan for Tron in the near future is to provide a privacy layer for token holders.
But Tron’s most important goal is to decentralize the web in full. Tron wants for content creators to offer their work to end-users autonomously without central authorities such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft or Youtube so that they can monetize their content directly. It’s incredibly ambitious, but owning the BitTorrent network is certainly a step in the right direction.
Ethereum is the most well-established project in the list. It’s a programmable blockchain platform that’s been around for about three and a half years. Ethereum’s idea is to have a decentralized network that features a programmable layer that is useful for more than just a coin (smart contracts and decentralized applications).
It’s had its share of problems since it came online. A DAO hack created a hard fork which challenged the project’s position in the cryptosphere. But Ethereum managed to recover its place as the world’s second cryptocurrency by market capitalization recently (after losing it to Ripple for a few weeks) which comes to show that the project is backed by a strong community.
Further evidence for this is in the sheer number of Solidity programmers (Ethereum’s native programming language) active in the community. The platforms utility is potentiated by the wide spectrum of tools available and by the way in which the platform is maintained and documented.
But there are issues around Ethereum. Scalability is something of a problem that plagues the platform which could become a significant obstacle for Ethereum to consolidate its position as the world’s second most important cryptocurrency. Ethereum’s fans remain optimistic about the project’s future, but in a very cautious way.
Ethereum was a pioneering project in that it was the first blockchain that featured things other than just a cryptocurrency. Since Ethereum, many other smart contract platforms have been created, but it was Ethereum that started it all.
Many important projects that are now independent (such as Tron or EOS) came to life as Ethereum-based technologies and coins. That’s why, even with all the challenges it faces, Ethereum remains the standard for second-generation blockchains.
If the project’s leadership manages to work around the platform’s current issues (mainly, low speed and high cost) Ethereum will remain a solid project for many years to come.
While Ethereum wants to be the most versatile blockchain network in the world, Ripple aims to be a one-trick-pony. Ripple only wants to solve a single problem, but it wants to solve it better than anybody else in the world. That problem is the transfer of value across borders in real-time and at a very low price.
The platform’s users are not average people like you and me but institutional clients like banks, remittance services, and other financial institutions which can use Ripple’s software to eliminate the friction present in the currently available technologies (the SWIFT system, mainly). This value amongst banks and remittances is transferred using Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency.
Also unlike Ethereum, Ripple is quite scalable and that’s one of its main selling points. The network is expected to allow for 50,000 transactions per second. But you have to pay a price for such speeds in the way of reduced decentralization. Ripple’s network has only 55 validators, and each of them has to be “part of an interconnected web of validators who each trust a specific set of validators not to collude”.
A frequent criticism about Ripple is the control the private company has over most of the XRP tokens, which were all pre-mined before the project went online. Ripple releases a billion tokens monthly from an Escrow account through a smart contract. This will remain in place for 55 months in other to ensure the coin’s supply without the company having any undue influence over the coin’s price.
Ripple has been unpopular at times because it wants to help the world’s banks instead of destroying them. But it’s found real use cases, it’s secured many important strategic partnerships and it’s making more progress than any other coin in crypto.
Apollo is this list’s new kid on the block. Apollo includes all of the features that you can find in Ripple, Ethereum and Tron, and then some more. It started as a fork from the NXT platform (and not Ethereum, as in Tron’s case).
It stands apart from the other three projects because it privileges privacy and every user’s control over their own data. It features multiple privacy layers for one-to-one transactions which include IP Masking, integrated coin shuffling, and high scalability. The project’s newest update (Hermes 1.0) incorporates 2-second block speeds, which is the fastest block production in crypto.
This project is very much in development still, probably more than other projects, because its core features are still being built. There’s consistency in the development process, and it includes many interesting features such as a decentralized marketplace in which users can list and sell goods worldwide. The point is to avoid regulation through decentralization.
The project’s Director of Business Development is quite optimistic about Apollo’s future:
“The Apollo Foundation has launched the first all-in-one cryptocurrency focused on integrating every useful feature from mainstream cryptocurrencies and combining those with unmatched privacy and is now the fastest, most private and most feature-rich cryptocurrency on the market. Because of recent breakthroughs such as it’s Updater, which updates the blockchain using a transaction, Adaptive Block Generation and it’s two-second blocks, there is a case that could be made that Apollo is also the most advanced cryptocurrency.”
The key point in Apollo is privacy. It guarantees deregulation in a way that no government in the world will be able to control it. But it also has fintech aims, since it promises to make the platform easily available to those users who are currently excluded by the traditional financial system. This means that people who do not own a bank account will be able to profit from the platform’s services to ensure some financial services.
Apollo is not exactly the best-documented project in crypto but it seems that 2020 will be the year in which it will incorporate smart contracts. We still don’t know what programming languages will be supported and how those contracts will be made. Time will tell.
A new bull run will come into the cryptocurrency market sooner or later. Keep an eye out for these four projects because they could lead the way when the bulls arrive.
Image courtesy of PixaBay.