In late December of 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a lawsuit against Ripple Labs, creator of the XRP cryptocurrency. Naming the current and former CEOs, Brad Garlinghouse and Christian Larsen respectively, as the perpetrators of an illegal sales of unregistered securities. Garlinghouse reiterated his belief that XRP is a currency, and made clear his intentions to challenge the accusations in court. The outcome of said case could have far-reaching repercussions for the industry as a whole.

The concept of cryptocurrency occupies a strange space within the legal framework of the United States. While most proponents consider it a…

There Are No Good Billionaires: A Lesson I learned from Howard Schultz

I live in the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York. I wouldn’t describe my home as ‘remote,’ but it is a thirty minute drive to the nearest city. We make the trek several times a week for groceries, shopping, to visit my parents — and to stop at Starbucks. I’m a voracious coffee drinker and my daughter loves cake pops. So Starbucks has always been a staple of our trips into town. Unfortunately, that will no longer be true.

I was under the mistaken impression that the CEO…

Most cryptocurrencies offer their users some degree of privacy and anonymity. While a wallet address can sometimes be tracked, and transactions can be monitored, the user still has to be positively linked to the wallet. Monero avoids all of this by creating a completely private, secure and obfuscated blockchain. One of their main goals is to prevent tracking users through transactions or wallet addresses, and they’ve fairly well accomplished that.

In active, real-world usability, one cryptocurrency is queen to Bitcoin’s king. Dash, previously Darkcoin and XCoin, has integrated their currency with online merchants in a one-by-one crawl towards acceptance. This “Boutique” approach may be a work intensive way of going about usability, but it has some advantages over the lofty universality that other cryptocurrencies are working towards. Namely, Dash can actually be used right now.


It has been a long and bitter fight, wresting control of music creation from draconian music labels and uncaring corporations. The turn of the millennium saw peer to peer networking storm onto the scene, and subsequently get snuffed out by a strong bout of technophobia. It would be years before streaming digital music services became the norm, starting with iTunes before expanding into dozens of platforms. None of these advances have changed the inherent dynamic within music –you needed at least an agent and probably a full label backing your music in order to get listed, noticed and distributed.


Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing up primers for the top 10 cryptocurrencies under Bitcoin, based on market cap. Now that those are finished, I’m putting them together here in a single, easily referenced archive. I hope you find this information useful, and I intend to keep putting these primers out I am slowly working my way down the list of top cryptocurrencies.

An Ethereum Primer

Ethereum is the undisputed #2 in the cryptocurrency field, with some expecting it to overtake Bitcoin in the near future. Their ERC-20 smart contract standard is used by many of top altcoins.

A NEO Primer

NEO is a…

From the time that the first blockchain was created, it was inevitable that someone would try to create a successor. Easily the most prevalent of the would-be replacements is IOTA’s Tangle network. The IOTA Foundation imagines a world where the entirety of the Internet of Things runs using the using their network. In theory, IoT devices will require a currency for micro-transactions related to data — ‘purchasing’ premium, up to date and relevant data for display.

There are myriad options for structure in a cryptocurrency’s development team. A few of the previous primers have covered blockchain companies, non-profits and even technocratic councils made up of research scientists. NEM is something of an outlier, coalescing out of the Bitcoin Talk Forums from a grassroots campaign to fork the NXT cryptocurrency. The new team decided against that fork, and instead created the codebase that would eventually become NEM.

As we go through the list, we’re starting to get out of the digital currency assets and into the more conceptual product cryptocurrencies. The top contender in this market, at the moment, is the EOS Blockchain. Operated by an offshore company titled, the EOS cryptocurrency is designed from the ground up as a platform for decentralized applications, or dApps within the cryptosphere. They’ve adopted the ERC-20 standard protocol, while adding their own spin to it for their specific needs.

There is a commonality among almost all of the top cryptocurrencies; they are intended to be used as a digital currency. While this may sound obvious, many of the altcoins within the system are actually designed to run proprietary systems or decentralized applications — basically any of the ERC20 standard tokens. In a market as volatile as the cryptocurrency ecosystem, no one should be surprised when a newcomer suddenly rises to the top. Even then, it’s quite the accomplishment that Stellar Lumens have seized the market cap that they are enjoying today.


I am a freelance technical writer in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. Sometimes I also like to dabble in fiction or opinion pieces.

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