January 3, 2018 / 6:38 PM / 10 months ago

Bitcoin may be king, but Ripple dark horse in crypto race

(Reuters) - Bitcoin was the star of the white-knuckle ride that cryptocurrencies offered in 2017 but lesser-known names, such as Ripple and Ethereum, are seen gaining prominence in 2018.

The logo of blockchain company Ripple is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

While bitcoin jumped more than 1,200 percent last year, Ripple, created by the founder of bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, surged 35,000 percent in the same period.

That means $100 invested in Ripple in January 2017 would have grown to about $35,000 at the start of this year.

To be sure, bitcoin is still the biggest cryptocurrency by far - with market value exceeding $250 billion - and is expected to keep that mantle in the months to come.

Here is a list of the top 10 cryptocurrencies - including bitcoin - and how they performed in 2017:

Ripple (XRP):

Launched in 2012, Ripple had a market cap of $91.79 billion as of Tuesday, second after Bitcoin. It is used by companies such as UBS (UBSG.S) and Santander (SAN.MC) as payment technology. In November 2017, American Express Co (AXP.N) also launched an instant blockchain-based payment system using Ripple.

Percentage gain in 2017: About 35,000 percent

Trading price as of Wednesday: $2.73

NEM (XEM):

Launched in 2015, NEM is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency platform. It is used in a commercial blockchain called Mijin, tested mainly in Japan, by financial institutions and private companies.

Percentage gain in 2017: About 29,000 percent

Trading price as of Wednesday: $1.27

Stellar (XLM):

Released in early 2014, Stellar comes in at number three in terms of percentage growth in 2017. In October 2017, Stellar and IBM entered into a deal aimed at improving the speed of global payments.

Percentage gain in 2017: Close to 14,000 percent

Trading price as of Wednesday: About $0.76

Dash (DASH):

Originally launched as XCoin in early 2014, Dash got its name in March 2015. It offers instant transactions. Transactions done with Dash get confirmed in seconds, whereas Bitcoin transaction can take up to 10 minutes to confirm.

Percentage gain in 2017: About 9,300 percent

Trading price as of Wednesday: $1,162.84

Ethereum (ETH):

Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum’s main aim is to operate ‘smart contacts’, instead of acting as a form of money. Smart contracts are scripts of code that can be deployed in Ethereum blockchain.

Percentage gain in 2017: About 9,200 percent

Trading price as of Wednesday: $879.91

Litecoin (LTC):

Introduced in October 2011, Litecoin is very similar to bitcoin. It is number six in terms of market cap, according to coinmarketcap.

Percentage gain in 2017: About 4,800 percent

Trading price as of Wednesday: $250.31

Cardano (ADA):

Cardano was founded in 2014 and began trading on Bittrex exchange in October 2017. Within three months, it has garnered a market cap of over $18.6 billion, to secure itself at the fifth position (in terms of market cap).

Percentage gain in 2017: Close to 3,000 percent

Trading price as of Wednesday: About $0.99

Bitcoin (BTC):

Invented by an unknown person/group called Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was released in January 2009. Bitcoins are created by mining and was the first decentralised cryptocurency.

Percentage gain in 2017: Over 1,200 percent

Trading price as of Wednesday: $15,003.90

Bitcoin Cash (BCH):

Born from bitcoin itself, Bitcoin Cash is a segregated version of bitcoin that was released on Aug. 1, 2017. Bitcoin Cash was branched out to increase the blocksize limit to 8 MB and allow faster transactions.

Percentage gain in 2017: Over 500 percent

Trading price as of Wednesday: $2,748.33

IOTA (MIOTA):

IOTA was introduced in June 2016 and started trading on Bitfinex in June 2017. With a market cap of about $11.19 billion, it is ranked ninth, according to coinmarketcap.

Percentage gain in 2017: Over 450 percent

Trading price as of Wednesday: $4.03

(For a graphic on Cryptomania, click reut.rs/2CLOAJk)

(Information compiled from Thomson Reuters data, company websites, Coinmarketcap.com)

Compiled by Pallavi Dewan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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