• This is a post detailing the key cryptocurrency development trends that are emerging or have emerged over the last few weeks
  • The transaction volume on the Ethereum Blockchain surpassed 1 million daily transactions in December 2017
  • EOS is the third most popular DApp platform after Ethereum and Tron
  • Tether has gained increased popularity as investors found it to be a safe haven during crypto winter

With over 2000+ cryptocurrencies in the market, it can be a daunting task to keep up with all the moving trends. Bitcoin has been a trendsetter while other cryptocurrencies rally behind it in an age of decentralized peer to peer networks. 

Even though Bitcoin has seized the center-stage as the de-facto standard among public blockchain networks, it can be argued that the top 10 altcoins have contributed immensely in developing an infrastructure that not only matches the Bitcoin network but also brings a lot of improvement to the existing network. 

This article is a close attempt to dissect the development trends in the top cryptocurrencies and their prospects. 

Ethereum (ETH)

cryptocurrency development trends

Ethereum had its presales in July 2014, raising around 31,591 Bitcoins. The Ethereum network was launched in 2015 and has since become incredibly popular, mainly because of two factors; the smart contract technology and the amazing tools it has given for blockchain developers to build decentralized applications (DApps) using its network.

This network has seen significant use cases especially in banking and financial contracts, escrows, ICO fundraising, identity management, etc. Ethereum network’s block time is around 10 to 20 seconds with transaction volumes surpassing 1 million in December 2017. 

In a move to improve the network, it has rolled out many upgrades in the recent past. The Casper FFG Testnet was launched on 31st December 2017. This was the first move into the ‘Proof of Stake’ domain led to Ethereum Constantinople/St. Petersburg hard fork on 28th February 2019. The public Testnet for Ethereum 2.0’s Proof of Stake beacon chain was later released to the community. 

Of late, the focus has shifted to improving the scalability of Ethereum network. The Istanbul hard fork and Muir Glacier upgrades were launched to address these challenges. Even though Ethereum ranks as one of the largest DeFi application platforms, the community still believes a lot of work can be done to improve the ETH network protocol. 

Ripple (XRP)

Ripple is the 2nd largest altcoin by market cap and has gained noticeable attention in the recent past. This is a real-time global settlement network that offers instant, certain and low-cost international payments. Having launched in 2012, Ripple enables banks to settle cross-border payments in real-time with end-to-end transparency at significantly lower costs. 

The network boasts of a transaction speed of 5 seconds and doesn’t require mining. By this, it reduces the usage of computing power and minimizes network latency. 

Ripple has a lot of innovations under its name. Recently they had to fuse their three services: xRapid, xVia, and xCurrent into a single network consortium – the RippleNet. RippleNet is more than just a suite of software, it brings all three products under one ecosystem.

They recently launched Xpring in October 2019. The Xpring SDK now supports reliable transaction submission on XRP devnet and testnet, making it easier for developers to submit and verify transactions on the XRP ledger. These products put together bring a lot of improvement to the Ripple network. 

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

Bitcoin Cash was initially a hard fork of Bitcoin that happened on August 1st, 2017. The hard fork increased the block size to 8mb to help with scaling the underlying technology of Bitcoin. However, on November 16th, 2018, BCH again had a hard fork that split the blockchain into Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin ABC. 

BCHABC  has since become the dominant chain with more hash-power and majority of nodes in the network. Since the split, BCHABC has undergone some upgrades to galvanize the BCH roadmap that aims to scale peer-to-peer electronic cash to the masses.

The developers handling the BCHABC upgrades have succeeded in raising the block size to 32MB. Additionally, it has re-enabled the Satoshi opcodes, added Canonical Transaction Ordering (CTOR), the foundations of Schnorr signature support and improved the smart contract capabilities. 

In light of the recent upgrade of the network’s consensus rules, the community is looking forward to an improved network consensus, adaptive block size, and scalable token economy. 

Bitcoin SV (BSV)

Bitcoin SV is the result of half of the hard fork from the original Bitcoin Cash. According to their website, the Bitcoin SV project is primarily backed by CoinGeek Mining with development work by nChain.

Even though there is a lot of controversy trailing the Bitcoin SV foundation, the project has gone ahead to gain considerable recognition and support from the blockchain community. In the planned BSV version 0.2.0, the initial impact of the upgrade would lead to the scaling of the Test Network. 

The new protocol’s specifications will allow block sizes upto 10GB in size, which is comparably massive. However, the foundation stated that the upgrade will start “small” by issuing new blocks of 128MB.

The version 1.0.0 of the Bitcoin SV Node was released on 15th January 2020. According to the Bitcoin SV website, This upgrade implements the Genesis upgrade which will activate on the 4th of February as a required upgrade. This stable release has undergone extensive QA testing and has had two beta releases prior to launching.

Bitcoin SV project is on a mission to restore what was the original Bitcoin protocol, building a stable and scalable network protocol that best fit blockchain future market trends.  

Tether (USDT)

It’s not surprising that Tether has seized one of the top 5 spots in the most popular altcoins. Tether started gaining popularity during the 2018 crypto winter as it became a safe haven for most cryptocurrency traders. 

Tether (USDT) is issued on the Omni, TRON, and ETH blockchains. Its value mirrors the value of the U.S. dollar. The idea behind Tether was to create a stable cryptocurrency that can be spent as digital dollars. Coins that fulfill this function of being a stable dollar replacement are labeled as “stable coins.” 

According to their website, Tether transforms cash into digital currency to tie or “tether” the value of the coin to the price of national currencies such as the US dollar, the Pound, and the Yen. There is no independent upgrade with regard to Tether, it is much associated with the issuing blockchain.  

Cryptocurrency Development Trends Conclusion

Litecoin, EOS, Binance Coin, Cardano, and Ethereum Classic occupied the 6th to 10th positions among the most popular altcoins by market cap. They have gained increasing popularity over recent years, mainly because of their innovative technology. 

Binance Chain has ranked among the top developing platforms in recent times with a lot of crypto projects moving over to the chain, while EOS has retained the spot as the most popular DApp platform after Ethereum and TRON. 

Litecoin, on the other hand, has served as an alternative to Bitcoin. While it shares vital features of Bitcoin, it has also improved upon the technology aspects by bringing in faster transaction speeds, large block sizes and smaller blog times.  

Anyone familiar with Ripple must also be familiar with Cardano as they both attempt to solve the same problem in the payment sector. The Cardano network allows complex programmable transfers of value in a secure and scalable fashion. 

Ethereum Classic remains a continuation of the original Ethereum blockchain, since its inception in 2015 as a result of a fork in the ETH network.