The year 2016 has been kind of interesting for both established and newer cryptocurrencies so far. Market action has been plentiful, and will continue this trend for the foreseeable future. Now that the first half of the year is behind us, it is time to look at the popular coins have been doing so far. We will touch upon four different categories, all of which have their specific traits and benefits.

The “Old Guard” Of Major Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin is, and perhaps always will be, the primary cryptocurrency everybody is looking into these days. Over the course of the past seven years, there have been significant ups and downs across the trading markets for Bitcoin. But the year 2016 has proven to be quite positive so far. Over the course of the previous 180 days, Bitcoin has seen a price increase of over 47%, according to WorldCoinIndex.  In fact, is we look at the 365-day margin, the Bitcoin price increased by 150%. A very solid investment to say the least. All of these changes result in the Bitcoin market cap sitting at over US$10.5bn.

Litecoin, the first “alternative cryptocurrency” in history, has been doing quite well in its own regard. Albeit there are no significant developmental changes on the horizon, Litecoin still has its use. Moreover, there is a strong and passionate community behind this altcoin. Similar to Bitcoin, Litecoin has seen a price increased during the first months of 2016. Albeit this is “only” a 16% rise, it goes to show there is still a high demand for Litecoin. WorldCoinIndex puts the market cap for this coin at US$187.86 million.

Ripple is a bit of an odd creature on this list, as it is not a traditional cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or Litecoin. However, the team has seen its success in the financial world so far. With a market cap of US$225.47m, Ripple is “more valuable” than Litecoin right now. The 9% increase in value during 2016 may have something to do with that, though.

Syscoin and New Economy Movement [NEM] are often overlooked as viable cryptocurrencies these days. Both of these altcoins bring attractive traits and technological advancements to the table, which may be integrated into Bitcoin at some point. Syscoin has seen a spectacular 1,800% increase in value so far, yet hardly anyone took notice of this feat. NEM, on the other hand, did even better with a 6,837% increase in value.

New Contenders Arrive On The Scene

There are four major new cryptocurrencies which managed to gain significant traction over the past year. Ethereum, Lisk, DAO [the token]and Factom are all on everybody’s radar as we speak. Most traders have been paying attention to Ethereum, resulting in a 1,212% price increase in 2016. The market cap of Ethereum sits around US$1 Billion, according to WCI.

The DAO is a project based on the Ethereum protocol, and it has seen its share of controversy already. Assailants managed to steal some of its funds, even though they could not spend it. For now, one DAO token is worth US$0.0955, albeit that value may go up or down in the coming months. The project’s market cap has shrunk to US$112.11m due to all of these issues.

Factom has been around for quite some time, and the project is gaining more recognition all over the world. Its Factoid token has seen a value increase of 161% over the past six months. Lisk, while relatively new to the world of cryptocurrency, made an immediate impact. The LSK tokens are valued at US$0.032 each, which is a lot higher compared to the majority of altcoins and tokens in existence right now.

The Anonymity Masters – Digital Cash and Monero

Many people assume Bitcoin is an anonymous cryptocurrency, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Digital Cash, on the other hand, is a project focused on anonymity and privacy. In fact, the project has been around for a few years now. One DASH is worth US$7.06 at the time of writing, an increase of 107% throughout the first two quarters of 2016

Monero is an underappreciated alternative currency which focuses primarily on providing anonymity to its users. The improved features and active development has not gone by completely unnoticed, though. The year 2016 could be the year of Monero, with a 192% price increase during the first six months.

Blockchain Storage Tokens Gain Popularity

The blockchain is very versatile, and its functionality transcends the realm of finance. Several projects are focusing on using this technology for file sharing, data storage, and record keeping. Siacoin is one of those projects, albeit more people will have heard of  Maidsafe and Storj over the past few years.

That being said, all three of these projects have seen a positive value evolution throughout the first half of 2016. Siacoin noted a 3,519.% value increase, putting its market cap at US$11m. Maidsafe, while more popular in name, “only” increased by 407% during the past six months. Last but not least, there is Storj, with a 599% increase this year. All in all, there is a growing demand for blockchain-based storage solutions. These three projects are worth keeping an eye on.

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