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Compare bitcoin alternatives: 10 top competitors

10 bitcoin competitors and how they compare to the world’s biggest crypto.

Updated

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Bitcoin (BTC) is the Goliath of cryptocurrency. With the largest market cap and highest level of mainstream recognition of any digital currency, this peer-to-peer electronic cash allows you to send and receive payments without going through a middle man such as your bank.

However, while bitcoin may be the best-known crypto, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best. There are many other currencies with similar and even superior features to bitcoin, so let’s take a closer look at 10 leading bitcoin alternatives.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

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At a glance: 10 bitcoin alternatives

Name Product Ticker symbol Use Year released
Litecoin
LTC
Digital Asset
2011
XRP
XRP
XRP
Cross-border Payments
2012
Bitcoin Cash
BCH
Digital Asset
2017
Monero
XMR
Private currency
2014
Zcash
ZEC
Digital Asset
2016
Dash
DASH
Digital Asset
2014
Nano
NANO
Digital Asset
2015
Bytecoin
BCN
Digital Asset
2012
Bitcoin Gold
BTG
Digital Asset
2017
Ethereum
ETH
Smart contract platform and protocol-level blockchain
2015
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An in-depth look into 10 bitcoin alternatives

1. Litecoin (LTC)

Created as “the silver to bitcoin’s gold” by Google programmer Charlie Lee, Litecoin was launched in October 2011. Though also a peer-to-peer payment currency, Litecoin was designed to offer a few key benefits over bitcoin, including reduced transaction fees and faster payment processing.

Litecoin was actually one of the first forks of bitcoin, and through the use of a different mining algorithm (Scrypt instead of SHA-256) was designed to be accessible to a wider range of miners. The aim was to avoid the mining centralisation plaguing bitcoin, but the subsequent development of sophisticated mining technology targeting the Scrypt algorithm has since put Litecoin mining well beyond the reach of everyday PC users.

That said, Litecoin’s faster processing times and lower fees make it for useful for everyday transactions than bitcoin. However, it can’t match bitcoin as a store of value, and will probably never be able to achieve the same iconic status and mainstream recognition that the world’s first digital currency enjoys.

To decide whether to buy BTC or LTC, you might want to check out our feature by feature breakdown of bitcoin vs litecoin.

How to buy Litecoin Learn more about Litecoin

Where to buy Litecoin

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
BPAY,Cash,POLi,PayID
AUD

196
cryptocurrencies

CoinSpot is an Australian exchange that lets you easily buy, sell and trade more than 150 cryptos.
Bank transfer,POLi,Osko,PayID
AUD

177
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell a wide range of cryptocurrencies at competitive rates on this Australian exchange.
Bank transfer,BPAY,Cash,Cryptocurrency,PayID
AUD, GBP

13
cryptocurrencies

Get a free Swipe (EFTPOS) Card from CoinJar, valued at $29.
Simply tap on “Card” within the CoinJar app bottom menu to order the free Swipe (EFTPOS) Card. CoinJar offers a simple way to buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrency with AUD. Enjoy free and instant deposits, fees start from 0.1% and withdrawals are free to your bank account.
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2. Ripple (XRP)


Built with the aim of offering instant, reliable and affordable international payments, Ripple provides a global settlement network designed to transform cross-border transactions.

The current infrastructure for global payments is dated. Not only do transactions take days to complete, but exchange rates and fees charged by banks and other middlemen mean that sending money overseas is an expensive process.

Ripple’s global network, known as RippleNet, is designed to connect the different payment networks of banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporate institutions to provide more efficient transactions.

XRP is the digital currency used to facilitate transactions on RippleNet. Unlike bitcoin and several other coins in this list, Ripple’s consensus mechanism doesn’t support mining. However, it does allow payments to be settled in less than 5 seconds, and for a minimum transaction cost of 0.00001 XRP. And while bitcoin’s network tops out at around 7 transactions per second, Ripple’s network can handle 1,500 transactions per second.

How to buy Ripple Learn more about Ripple

Where to buy Ripple

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
BPAY,Cash,POLi,PayID
AUD

196
cryptocurrencies

CoinSpot is an Australian exchange that lets you easily buy, sell and trade more than 150 cryptos.
Bank transfer,POLi,Osko,PayID
AUD

177
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell a wide range of cryptocurrencies at competitive rates on this Australian exchange.
Bank transfer,BPAY,Cash,Cryptocurrency,PayID
AUD, GBP

13
cryptocurrencies

Get a free Swipe (EFTPOS) Card from CoinJar, valued at $29.
Simply tap on “Card” within the CoinJar app bottom menu to order the free Swipe (EFTPOS) Card. CoinJar offers a simple way to buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrency with AUD. Enjoy free and instant deposits, fees start from 0.1% and withdrawals are free to your bank account.
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3. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)


Despite its position at the top of the cryptocurrency tree, bitcoin has its shortcomings – as more people use it, the more its network struggles to keep up, resulting in transactions that are slow and expensive. Throughout 2017 there was heated debate amongst the bitcoin community about how best to overcome this problem, with some wanting to increase the size of blocks in the blockchain and others keen to keep the existing block size and restructure how data is stored within those blocks.

Unable to reach consensus, the minority that wanted to increase the size of blocks hard forked away from the bitcoin blockchain on 1 August 2017, creating Bitcoin Cash. This new currency offers an 8MB block size compared to bitcoin’s 1MB, with transactions confirmed in minutes and for a much lower cost than bitcoin transfers.

Though many in the crypto community remain sceptical of this and all other hard forks, Bitcoin Cash has since cemented its position among the top five cryptocurrencies by market cap. While it’s nowhere near as well-known or esteemed as its bigger brother, it’s much more useful for day-to-day transactions.

How to buy Bitcoin Cash Learn more about Bitcoin Cash

Where to buy Bitcoin Cash

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
BPAY,Cash,POLi,PayID
AUD

196
cryptocurrencies

CoinSpot is an Australian exchange that lets you easily buy, sell and trade more than 150 cryptos.
Bank transfer,POLi,Osko,PayID
AUD

177
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell a wide range of cryptocurrencies at competitive rates on this Australian exchange.
Bank transfer,POLi
AUD

49
cryptocurrencies

Easy Crypto is a simple way to buy and sell a range of cryptocurrencies, straight to and from your own crypto wallet.
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4. Monero (XMR)


If you value your privacy when transacting online, Monero is designed with you in mind. Launched in April 2014, this peer-to-peer currency is designed to provide anonymous and untraceable transactions.

Through the use of several privacy-focused technologies, Monero allows holders to send and receive funds without the origin, amount or destination of a transaction being visible to anyone else. Meanwhile, although bitcoin is commonly perceived as allowing private transactions, it’s possible for payments sent through the bitcoin network to be de-anonymised.

This means that while individual bitcoins can be tainted through their association with previous transactions, for example if they were stolen from an exchange, each XMR is essentially the same as the next.

Another key difference between bitcoin and Monero is that while the former is battling mining centralisation, Monero’s CryptoNight algorithm is designed to suit mining by ordinary CPUs and GPUs. In fact, Monero was even hard forked in April 2018 to prevent expensive ASIC machines mining the network.

How to buy Monero Learn more about Monero

Where to buy Monero

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Credit card,Cryptocurrency,Debit card,Osko,PayID
USD, AUD, GBP, CAD, EUR, CNY, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH & 23+ more

204
cryptocurrencies

Trade an extensive range of reputable coins on this world-renowned exchange, popular for its high liquidity and multi-language support.

US residents: As of September 2019, US-based users can only trade USD on the American dollar onramp of Binance, Binance.US.
UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading services, Binance offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
Electronic Funds Transfer,Wire transfer,Osko,PayID,Ethana Custody
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD

43
cryptocurrencies

Buy, sell and trade a range of digital currencies on this high-liquidity exchange – suitable for beginners right through to advanced traders.

UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading, Kraken offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
Credit card,Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, GBP, HUF, ILS & 20+ more

115
cryptocurrencies

Trade various coins through a global crypto to crypto exchange based in the US.
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5. Zcash (ZEC)


Another privacy-focused coin, Zcash uses zero-knowledge cryptography to allow anonymous transactions. Initially released in October 2016, Zcash can trace its origins back to a project called ZeroCoin, which was actually originally designed to improve anonymity for bitcoin users.

A fork of bitcoin, Zcash extends the bitcoin protocol to let users choose between sending “transparent” and “shielded” transactions. If you choose the shielded option, the sender, amount and recipient of a transaction are all hidden.

Just like bitcoin, Zcash has a maximum supply of 21 million coins. It’s also a proof of work cryptocurrency that can be mined, although its Equihash algorithm is designed to provide resistance to ASIC mining technology.

How to buy Zcash Learn more about Zcash

Where to buy Zcash

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
BPAY,Cash,POLi,PayID
AUD

196
cryptocurrencies

CoinSpot is an Australian exchange that lets you easily buy, sell and trade more than 150 cryptos.
Bank transfer,POLi,Osko,PayID
AUD

177
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell a wide range of cryptocurrencies at competitive rates on this Australian exchange.
Interac e-Transfer,Wire transfer,Credit or Debit Card,SEPA,EFT
USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, JPY, AED

24
cryptocurrencies

Canadian-founded Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange available in 193 countries.