Here's our quick get-started guide to learning the basics of the cryptocurrencies now offered on tastytrade. Find out which ones can help you diversify, expand, or even hedge your current portfolio. Happy trading!
Launched in 2017 as ETHLend (rebranded to Aave in 2018 and was launched on the Ethereum mainnet in 2020)
Created by Stani Kulechov
Aave is a peer-to-contract borrowing and lending platform that runs on the Ethereum network. Rather than matching a lender and borrower like in peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-contract allows users to interact with a pool of funds to borrow or lend cryptocurrencies. This speeds up the process and allows for the platform to be decentralized and anonymous. Lenders provide liquidity by depositing cryptocurrencies into a pool of funds. Borrowers can then borrow funds from this pool by providing a greater amount of collateral than the funds they are borrowing. There are no fixed time periods to pay back the loans, but Aave can liquidate loans in the case of price fluctuations. Each cryptocurrency pool has a unique liquidation threshold that is based on the price movements of the underlying assets. AAVE is the token that powers the governance for the platform, allowing token holders to vote on changes to the Aave platform
BASIC ATTENTION TOKEN (BAT)
Launched in 2018
Created by Brendan Eich
The Basic Attention Token (BAT) was created in an effort to improve the security, fairness, and efficiency of digital advertising through the use of blockchain technology. BAT is a blockchain-based system for tracking media consumers' time and attention on websites using the Brave web browser. Built on Ethereum, its goal is to efficiently distribute advertising money between advertisers, publishers, and readers of online marketing content and ads. The objective is for readers to experience fewer ads that are more well-tailored to their interests while at the same time not giving up their data privacy rights. The exchange rate for BAT is set at 6,400 BAT per ETH, meaning that as the price of Ethereum climbs or falls, the price of BAT will be adjusted proportionally as well.
Introduced in 2009
Created by Satoshi Nakamoto
The world’s first successful cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that you can buy, sell and exchange directly, without an intermediary like a bank. There is a finite supply, only 21 million bitcoins can be produced. The Bitcoin blockchain is a full record of the network’s history validated by individuals running the Bitcoin software (nodes). This ensures that unlike most digital data, which can be freely copied and modified, bitcoins cannot be. Because bitcoins are scarce, divisible and transferable, bitcoins are used as money.
BITCOIN CASH (BCH)
Established by miners in 2017
Bitcoin Cash was started by bitcoin miners and developers concerned with the future of the cryptocurrency and its ability to scale effectively. In August 2017, some miners and developers initiated what is known as a hard fork, effectively creating a new currency: BCH. BCH has its own blockchain and specifications, including one very important distinction from bitcoin. BCH has implemented an increased block size to accelerate the verification process, with an adjustable level of difficulty to ensure the chain’s survival and transaction verification speed, regardless of the number of miners supporting it. Bitcoin Cash is thus able to process transactions faster than the Bitcoin network, meaning that wait times are shorter and transaction processing fees tend to be lower.
Launched in 2017
Created by Charles Hoskinson
Cardano is a proof-of-stake blockchain platform created to overcome the issues faced by many cryptocurrencies, which are scalability, interoperability, and sustainability. Cardano divides the validation work into epochs, or slots, to allow the proof-of-stake model to scale linearly with the number of users. Cardano uses a protocol to allow for interoperability, meaning it can communicate and share information easily with other blockchains. In order to keep the network self-sustainable, Cardano established a treasury that uses transaction fees to pay developers who make contributions to the network. Cardano is the blockchain that accomplishes all of this, while ADA is the token that carries value and is used on the network. ADA can be used to conduct peer-to-peer transfers, but more importantly, it can be used for staking as well as governance of the Cardano network. Users who choose to stake their ADA can be rewarded with additional ADA token rewards. Users may choose between establishing an ADA stake in an existing stake pool operated by other users, or they could establish an ADA stake by creating their own stake pool.
Introduced in 2017
Created by Steve Ellis, Ari Juels, and Sergey Nazarov
LINK is a cryptocurrency that powers the Chainlink protocol. The LINK Network is a fully decentralized Oracle network that provides smart contracts to enable the sending of payments from the contract to bank accounts and payment networks. LINK also connects smart contracts to the data sources and APIs they need to function easily. Chainlink’s technology claims to solve one of the biggest challenges for the practical implementation of smart contracts – connecting blockchains to real world data – such as price feeds or delivery confirmations – through so-called oracles blockchain connectivity. If Chainlink is able to do so, it can potentially boost the market for decentralized apps (dApps). As of today, the most developed Chainlink functionality includes aggregate price feeds for crypto and fiat currencies.
Launched in 2018
Created by Robert Leshner and Geoffrey Hayes- 2017
Compound is a decentralized protocol running on the Ethereum network that allows users to both lend and borrow cryptocurrencies in a similar manner to traditional money markets, all without a centralized financial service provider. Compound users supply their idle crypto assets to a liquidity pool and receive interest from borrowers. The borrowers also supply their own crypto assets to Compound to act as collateral, but cannot borrow more than they supply. This means that if they default, the only party at a loss is the borrower. Interest rewards are also accrued in COMP tokens. Compound has no fixed terms, so users can lend or borrow crypto assets whenever they choose, whether that length of time is 10 minutes or 10 years. Applications can also be built on the Compound network which can then be integrated into the interest rate market. COMP is the native Ethereum token for Compound and all changes made to the Compound protocol originate from the holders of COMP.
Launched in 2013
Created by Bill Markus and Jackson Palmer
Dogecoin is an open-source cryptocurrency that was created to be a light-heartened alternative to Bitcoin.It started as a joke between the developers who were experimenting with blockchain and mining. Dogecoin is based off of the same technology that Litecoin uses, but differs because it has an unlimited supply. While many other cryptocurrencies are deflationary due to their limited supply, the lack of a cap on the number of Dogecoins means that it is an inflationary cryptocurrency. For this reason, the primary use case for Dogecoin is transactional, whether that’s sending money directly to other users or purchasing goods. It has received a lot of attention from entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Elon Musk.
Launched in 2020
Created by Benjamin and Lucian Mincu, and Lucian Todea
Elrond is a blockchain protocol created to offer extremely fast transaction speeds, while maintaining security and allowing for scalability. Rather than the traditional Proof of Work (PoW) that Bitcoin uses, or the Proof of Stake (PoS) that Ethereum uses, Elrond uses Adaptive State Sharding and Secure Proof of Stake (SPoS). Sharding breaks up a blockchain into multiple pieces so that transactions can be divided across multiple shards and processed in parallel, rather than one at a time like traditional blockchains. SPoS is the governance mechanism that ensures the distributed network running the blockchain remains in sync and that all transactions are accounted for. EGLD is the native token that users receive for verifying transactions and staking their tokens. The Elrond network provides a platform for developers to deploy smart contracts and decentralized applications, and EGLD acts as the unit of value that enables these activities and incentivizes the users of the network.
ENJIN COIN (ENJ)
Introduced in 2018
Created by Enjin co-founders Maxim Blagov and Witek Radomski
ENJ is an Ethereum token that aims to “make it easy for individuals, businesses, and brands to use non-fungible tokens (NFTs).” ENJ is used to directly back the value of NFTs minted within the Enjin ecosystem. It was the first gaming cryptocurrency to be whitelisted for use in Japan. Enjin’s platform is designed to tokenize in-game items, trade among players, and more.
Introduced in 2018
Created by Dan Larimer
EOS is a blockchain-based platform intended to run decentralized applications and smart contracts. Unlike most other blockchain systems, EOS nodes are bound to the rules and mandates of a "constitution" that each node digitally signs and records on the blockchain. Like many smart-contract platforms, EOS utilizes two tokens, EOS and EOS.IO. A developer simply needs to hold EOS coins, instead of spending them, to be eligible to use network resources and to build and run dApps.
Launched in 2015. Created by Vitalik Buterin
The decentralized Ethereum network makes it possible to create and run applications, smart contracts and other transactions on the network. Ethereum is different from Bitcoin in that the network can perform computations as part of the mining process. You can use Ether as a digital currency in financial transactions, as an investment, or as a store of value. Ethereum is the blockchain network on which Ether is held and exchanged. Perhaps one of the most intriguing use cases involving Ether and Ethereum are self-executing contracts, or so-called smart contracts. Like any other contract, two parties make an agreement about the delivery of goods or services in the future. Unlike conventional contracts, lawyers aren’t necessary: The parties code the contract on the Ethereum blockchain, and once the conditions of the contract are met, it self-executes and delivers Ether to the appropriate party.
Launched in 2017. Founded by Loi Luu, Victor Tran and Yaron Velner a Thailand-based payments processor
The Kyber Network is a protocol that aims to make swapping digital assets and cryptocurrencies simple and efficient. The Kyber protocol aggregates liquidity from a wide range of reserves, powering instant and secure token exchange in any decentralized application.
There are two types of users on the network: makers and takers. Makers create liquidity by holding their tokens, and takers are the end users that are requesting the swap of tokens. Daaps (decentralized applications) can connect to the Kyber network in order to accept any token from users, but only receive the token they want. KNC is used to facilitate and pay fees for the transactions on the Kyber network.
Introduced in 2011
Created by Charlie Lee
Litecoin can produce a greater number of coins than Bitcoin and its transaction speed is faster. Was intended to be a “light version of Bitcoin.” Litecoin distribution can accommodate 84 million coins compared to Bitcoin’s 21 million. Litecoin was founded with the goal of prioritizing transaction speed, and that has proven an advantage as it has grown in popularity. As of March 2021, the total value of all bitcoins in circulation is around $1 trillion, making its market cap more than 70 times larger than Litecoin, which has a total value of $13.7 billion.
MakerDAO was formed in 2014 by Danish entrepreneur Rune Christensen
Maker is an Ethereum token that describes itself as “a utility token, governance token, and recapitalization resource of the Maker system.” The purpose of the Maker system is to generate another Ethereum token, called Dai, that seeks to trade on exchanges at a value of exactly US$1.00. MakerDAO works through a process that is called “overcollateralization”, where assets supplied by users are locked up in smart contracts as collateral in exchange for newly created DAI tokens. DAI is an ERC-20 token, which means it runs on the Ethereum blockchain. It is designed to maintain a stable value of one US dollar. The MakerDAO DeFi lending platform works via a collection of smart contracts that allow users to supply and borrow cryptocurrencies without a centralized loan provider.
Users create DAI by depositing some of their crypto into a smart contract on the platform. Once DAI is created, it functions as a token on the Ethereum blockchain that can be transferred between wallets to facilitate the transfer of value like any other cryptocurrency. DAI is useful as a medium for transfers because each token always aims to be worth one U.S. dollar — which means the value won’t swing wildly during the duration of the transaction. This type of stable cryptocurrency is known as a stablecoin. Funds deposited to create DAI can be instantly re-acquired by paying off the DAI loan plus any fees
OMG NETWORK (OMG)
Introduced in 2013 rebranded as OMG Network in June 2020
Created by Omise Go Pte Ltd., a subsidiary of Omise, a Thailand-based payments processor
The OMG Network is a decentralized exchange, a liquidity provider mechanism, a messaging network, and a blockchain gateway with digital assets. The platform earned a reputation for its alternative financial and digital commerce tools. These systems work together to enable cross-chain asset transfers without the need for a crypto exchange.OMG allows users to transfer coins from one blockchain to another without using a traditional exchange. It also allows funds to be transferred between blockchains and traditional payment providers like VISA and SWIFT.The goal of the OMG Network is to create a product that equally benefits those who use traditional banking services and people who lack access to banking services simultaneously.
PAX GOLD (PAXG)
Introduced in 2019
Created by Paxos Trust Company, a regulated financial institution that digitizes and mobilizes assets
PAX Gold is an asset-backed token where one token represents one fine troy ounce of a London Good Delivery gold bar, stored in professional vault facilities. Anyone who owns PAXG has ownership rights to that gold under the custody of Paxos Trust Company. Since PAXG represents physical gold, its value is tied directly to the real-time market value of that physical gold. PAXG gives customers the benefits of actual physical ownership of specific gold bars with the speed and mobility of a digital asset. Customers are able to have fractional ownership of physical bars.
Introduced in 2020
Created by Gavin Wood
Polkadot is a “multi-chain” network that aims to connect different specialized blockchains into a single unified network. Blockchains that connect with Polkadot work in parallel as so-called “parachains”. Its ultimate aim is to act as a framework for all blockchains that opt-in, a bit like how HTML allows sites, browsers, and servers to interact with each other. The two issues blockchain-based systems most need to solve are scalability—the number of transactions per second the network can handle—and governance: how the community manages protocol upgrades and changes. Polkadot aims to solve both of these problems. DOT, the internal token of the Polkadot network allows holders to vote on potential code changes, which then automatically upgrade across the network if a consensus is reached.
Created by Jaynti Kanani, Sandeep Nailwal and Anurag Arjun
Polygon is a layer 2 scaling solution built on the Ethereum blockchain created to remedy the scalability and transaction cost issues that Ethereum faces. Polygon operates as a sidechain to Ethereum to group up transactions, process them all together, and send them to the Ethereum mainchain. So instead of Ethereum only being able to handle 15-30 transactions per second, Polygon can process more than 60,000 transactions per second. Polygon attracts developers to its platform through its user-friendly and flexible tools, all in the hope of scaling Ethereum. As a result, more than 3,000 decentralized apps (dapps) now reside on the Polygon network. The token for the Polygon network is known as MATIC, which is what the network was formerly known as. There is a maximum supply of 10 billion MATIC tokens, with all of the tokens set to release by December 2022. To sum up Polygon simply, it is like Ethereum but with extremely cheap gas fees.
SHIBA INU (SHIB)
Launched in 2020
Created by Ryoshi
Shiba Inu is a token on the Ethereum blockchain, and was designed to be an experiment to see if a cryptocurrency project could be run 100% by its community. When SHIB was created in 2020, half of the tokens were given to Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum. He donated $1 billion worth of the tokens to India’s COVID Relief Fund and “burned” the remainder. While SHIB began as a “meme coin”, it has evolved into a complex ecosystem that consists of a decentralized exchange called ShibaSwap, and two other tokens called LEASH and BONE. ShibaSwap allows users to swap their SHIB for other cryptocurrencies without an intermediary, while also providing liquidity to other users of the platform. BONE is given as a reward to those who provide liquidity on the ShibaSwap exchange. BONE is the governance token and allows the community to make decisions on the future of the project.
Launched in 2019
Created by Raj Gokal and Anatoly Yakovenko
Solana is a proof-of-history blockchain platform whose purpose is to make cryptocurrency networks faster and more scalable. The dominant players in cryptocurrency, Bitcoin and Ethereum, operate on a proof-of-work platform to validate their transactions, which means computers compete against each other to solve a mathematical “puzzle” to update the blockchain. Conversely, newer crypto coins like Cardano operate a proof-of-stake platform to validate transactions. Instead of pitting computers against each other to solve a puzzle the fastest, proof-of-stake has a network of validators who each have contributed their own “stake” to the project to validate transactions and update the blockchain. Solana’s proof-of-history is similar to proofof-stake, but Solana utilizes timestamps attached to blocks so that validators can make sure the updates are sequenced properly. This differentiator means Solana can handle 50,000 transactions per second compared to Ethereum’s rate of 15-20 transactions per second. Additionally, the average cost for a Solana transaction is $0.00025, compared to Ethereum where transactional costs can exceed $20. Similar to Ethereum, there are many applications that can operate on the Solana platform due to its smart contracts, speed, and fees. The SOL token can be used to transfer value from one user to another, earn rewards while supporting the network, and allows users to select a validator to delegate the tokens to.
Introduced in 2015
Created by Jed McCaleb
Stellar is a decentralized computer network that operates using blockchain technology. On the Stellar network, you can trade its form of currency, which is called lumens (XLM). Stellar was designed to reduce transaction costs and serve as a bridge between fiat, digital or other currencies. The purpose of Stellar is to connect financial institutions via the blockchain and provide cheap transactions in developing markets. While Stellar and XLM coexist in the same system, they are technically two different things. Stellar is the foundation of the blockchain network, whereas lumens are traded on the network. According to Stellar’s website, there are currently 50 billion lumens in circulation. Stellar will not produce any more lumens, so you cannot mine them.
Introduced in 2014
Created by Arthur and Kathleen Breitman
Tezos is a cryptocurrency and decentralized computing platform. Tezos wanted to create a blockchain governance system that could upgrade itself through XTZ token voting. XTZ token stakeholders lock their funds in special smart contracts, which allows them to vote. This process is called “baking”. Tezos holders who stake their tokens can receive Tezos tokens as a reward for creating and verifying blocks. The main benefit of Tezos is that it is self-updating which means divergent upgrades, or hard forks, can be avoided. XTZ stakeholders have the power to vote on the rules of the network, with the software automatically initiating the update. Bakers maintain the network by adding new blocks, but stakeholders can also opt to delegate their tokens to other bakers. Tezos has pure on-chain, streamlined governance. You can bake from your Tezos wallet or delegate your XTZ tokens through an exchange.
Launched in 2018
Created by Hayden Adams
Uniswap is the most popular decentralized exchange for trading cryptocurrencies on the Ethereum platform. Uniswap’s main goal is providing liquidity for traders in the DeFi space. Uniswap aims to be a decentralized exchange where anyone can participate in the liquidity providing process, and it doesn’t restrict who can access the exchange. Uniswap achieves this goal through an Automated Market Maker (AMM) providing liquidity for the numerous assets on the exchange. Rather than submitting buy and sell orders like a traditional exchange, Uniswap has liquidity pools for various assets, where each asset is valued relative to another. If a user wants to purchase a certain asset, then they must swap another asset to conduct this transaction. Users can become liquidity providers and earn transaction fee rewards for users interacting with the pool.
The UNI token was released in 2020 and acts as a governance token, meaning that each holder is allowed to vote on development decisions. Since UNI was not intended to be transactional, the price of the coin represents how valuable people believe Uniswap will be in the future and how much they would pay in order to be part of the governing body.
Introduced in 2017
Created by 0x Labs
0x (ZRX) is an open protocol, utility token for decentralized peer-to-peer exchange of Ethereum tokens. ZRX tokens can be used to vote on updates to the 0x protocol itself (decentralized governance), and are required to pay the fees for decentralized trades made using the protocol. 0x provides the infrastructure for developers to build their own custom trading apps with a wide variety of user-facing applications. 0x is a protocol that facilitates the peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange of Ethereum-based assets. Some examples of the types of things that can be built on 0x include: An ebay-style marketplace for digital goods, a market making or arbitrage trading bot, or a DeFi protocol that needs liquidity and exchange to function (e.g., a derivatives, lending, or options protocol). In addition, 0x can also be integrated into any existing application where exchange is a feature, not the core purpose of the application such as Games with in-game currencies or items, Digital wallets whose users want to exchange tokens, and Portfolio management platforms.
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