Next week marks the tenth anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto releasing the inaugural Bitcoin whitepaper. With transactions worth $2 billion now carried out every single day in the cryptocurrency, Nakamoto’s Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System can be seen to have entirely revolutionized the global financial system.
Nakamoto — whose identity has never been revealed — published his white paper with the intention of creating a decentralized digital currency that was not reliant on a central bank or single administrator and that could be sent from user-to-user on a peer-to-peer network without the need for an intermediary.
Initially, Bitcoin was used on online black markets such as the Silk Road but its use soon spread, with programmer Laszlo Hanyecz completing the first commercial transaction using Bitcoin in 2010 when he bought two Papa John’s pizzas with 10,000 Bitcoin. It is now accepted by a host of major companies from tech-giants Microsoft to home retailer Overstock.
even launched a “Bitcoin Bucket”, where hungry consumers could purchase $20 worth of chicken tenders and waffle fries in Bitcoin. The deal ended up being so popular that KFC actually entirely sold out of their “Bitcoin Buckets”.
The cryptocurrency has also been endorsed by some of the world’s most successful businessmen and women.
“[Bitcoin] is a remarkable cryptographic achievement… The ability to create something which is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value… Lots of people will build businesses on top of that,” said Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of
His words were echoed by the Co-Founder of
Bill Gates, who stated that Bitcoin is “a technological tour de force.”
There is ₿16,858,762 of the cryptocurrency currently in circulation, worth an incredible $108,654,552,502 – more than the entire nominal GDP of Israel, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia. Up to 5.8 million people were also using a cryptocurrency wallet in 2017, according to research by the University of Cambridge, with the majority trading in Bitcoin.
The United States has long been seen as a cryptocurrency hub with some of the most successful digital currencies originating there, such as Ethereum,
, Dash and ZCash.
However, Europe is rapidly catching up; ICO fundraising in Europe has reached $4.1 billion so far this year, compared to $2.6 billion in the United States and $2.3 billion in Asia.
Governments in Europe have increasingly introduced “do-no-harm” regulation, such as in Gibraltar and Malta, which has attracted investors and entrepreneurs alike, while many states have granted tax exemptions on the capital gains from selling cryptocurrencies, such as in Germany or Switzerland. The continent also has near total internet coverage and bank account ownership, meaning that its population also has the necessary conditions to support fintech innovation and encourage co-operation, with crypto meet-up groups popular across Europe, such as P2P Ghent in Belgium, Bitcoin Bucharest in Romania and Coinscrum in the United Kingdom.
So, as Bitcoin celebrates a decade of success what are the emerging European cryptocurrencies that investors and entrepreneurs alike should be aware of?
Founded by Norwegian David Sønstebø and Italian blockchain-entrepreneur Dominik Schiener, MIOTA is a unique cryptocurrency designed for the Internet of Things. Rather than relying on a blockchain infrastructure to maintain its ledger, MIOTA transfers use a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG), known as the “Tangle”.
The advantage of using a “Tangle” is that it requires the sender in the transaction to both make and validate any payment, eliminating miners and thus producing an entirely decentralized system. This approach means that users can conduct transactions for free, making it ideal for SMEs or those unfamiliar with the cryptocurrency industry.
Its creators believe that MIOTA can be used to revolutionize the microtransaction industry, by offering feeless transactions but at the same time also increasing security by removing third-party gatekeepers.
MIOTA is firmly one to watch as its network speed increases as the number of people using its platform increases. Therefore, as the cryptocurrency grows in popularity it is set to only become more and more attractive to users.
You can currently purchase a MIOTA token for $0.49104.
For those that work within the fintech industry, seeing the LSK Token on this list should come as no surprise. Lisk — the Swiss-headquartered firm who launched the token — hit headlines after launching one of the most successful crowdfunding projects in history, raising over 14,000 Bitcoins worth of capital during its Initial Coin Offering.
Thanks to the positive media attention generated by its crowdfunding and strategic partnerships with major industry players like Microsoft, the LSK Token has skyrocketed in value. At the end of 2017, one token was worth $17 but it is predicted to surpass $100 by early 2018.
The firm launched a new mobile-friendly app in February of this year which has been praised for its easy-to-use nature, while its network is expected to scale further and the value of the LSK Token will increase, as it continues to work with blue-chip firms like Microsoft.
Liechtenstein-headquartered firm Aeternity has been touted as a successor to blockchain giant Ethereum, with the firm aiming to avoid the scalability problems that have hit its rival. Similarities between the two are inevitable with Bulgarian co-founder Yanislav Malahov closely involved in Ethereum’s launch and thus bringing a wealth of similar experience to Aeternity.
Aeternity aims to allow consumers to trade in cryptocurrency but on a quicker network than currently experienced with Ethereum and with accompanying lower fees. The company also hopes that its network will promote user-friendly innovation by not only allowing consumers to create decentralized applications on the network but also allowing other tokens to raise ICOs on its platform.
The firm held its ICO in May this year, raising roughly $70 million which went towards developing its own unique blockchain network. Miners using the platform vote to make decisions on how to adapt or develop Aeternity in response to market trends making it an uncustomarily democratic offering.
An Aeternity token can currently be purchased for $1.32, which marks a significant increase from October 2017 when it was valued at $0.28.