Bitcoin (symbol:  XBT)

Pro:

  • Name recognition

  • On all digital currency exchanges

  • Storage of value

  • Largest community of miners securing the network

  • Open source

  • Oldest and most reviewed source code

  • Strong adoption by merchants

  • Limited number of coins make this currency inflation-proof

Con:

  • Individual coins are very expensive

  • Slow transaction times

  • Does not scale well for use as a currency (much in the same way you would not walk into Starbucks and buy a cup of coffee with gold bullion)

  • Creator is unknown and may never be known

  • Potentially non-fungible

Litecoin (symbol:  LTC)

Pro:

  • Second oldest digital currency

  • The original Bitcoin fork

  • Lower cost per coin

  • Greatly increased transaction times over Bitcoin

  • Large community of miners securing the network

  • Open Source

  • Development team more agile than Bitcoin and working to implement new technologies (contracts, confidentiality, off-chain transactions, etc.)

  • Greatly increased scalability over Bitcoin

  • Has a creator that can publicize and evangelize on behalf of the coin

  • Limited number of coins makes this currency inflation-proof

  • Tradeable on most exchanges

Con:

  • Name recognition not as good as Bitcoin

  • Merchant adoption not as good as Bitcoin

  • Scalability and transaction speeds not as good as other coins natively

  • Potentially non-fungible

Ethereum (symbol ETH)

Pro:

  • Created as a contracts platform

  • Includes a scripting language which allows for creating entire applications on the blockchain

  • Contracts-based blockchain technology used by hundreds of companies

  • Creator is known and can evangelize for the coin

  • Fast transaction times

  • Tradeable on most exchanges

Con:

  • Not intended as a digital currency

  • Scalability is reaching its limits

  • As coin usage scales beyond limits of miners, transactions will become slower

  • Not much merchant adoption as a currency

  • Infinite number of coins may devalue currency or allow for inflation

  • Potentially non-fungible if used as a currency

Dash (symbol DASH)

Pro:

  • Instantaneous transaction times

  • Full time development team

  • Development team fully funded by miner rewards

  • Two-tier blockchain system

  • Development team willing to change properties of the coin to allow it to scale larger if required

  • Creator is known and can evangelize on behalf of the coin

Con:

  • Originally created as a coin to be used for illicit activities ("Darkcoin")

  • Premined -- creators hold millions of coins and can dump on the market at any time to devalue the currency

  • Scalability only four times that of Bitcoin

  • Potentially non-fungible

  • Low exchange adoption

Monero (symbol XMR)

Pro:

  • All transactions are confidential

  • Fungible -- all coins are equal

  • Strong hashing algorithm (X11)

Con:

  • Does not have the name recognition of Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum

  • No substantial merchant adoption

  • Unlimited number of coins to be produced means currency can be devalued or subject to inflation.

  • Low exchange adoption

Bitcoin Cash (symbol BCH)

Pro:

  • Uses the Bitcoin name for name recognition

  • Increases Bitcoin block size for eight times the scalability of transactions

  • Bitcoin miners can switch between mining Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash using the same hardware

  • Lower price per coin allows for easier accessibility by the general public

  • Strong development team

  • Limited number of coins makes this currency inflation-proof

Con:

  • A recent fork of Bitcoin (August 2017), not enough time to gauge market acceptance

  • Almost no merchant adoption as a result of its recent creation

  • Creator is known but does not have a positive reputation in the cryptocurrency community.

  • The use of Bitcoin in the name has led to confusion between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash

  • Potentially non-fungible

  • Low exchange adoption

Dogecoin (symbol XDG)

Pro:

  • Name recognition -- one of the oldest cryptocurrencies

  • Fun community and development team

  • Strong crowdfunding

  • Incredibly low price per coin

  • Mostly used as an internet tipping system

  • Merge-mining with Litecoin means that the hashing power of the Litecoin network is used to secure Dogecoin

  • Present on most digital exchanges

Con:

  • Created as a digital currency joke

  • Unlimited number of coins to be produced means currency can be devalued or subject to inflation.

  • The number of coins in circulation has led to a depressed price per coin.

  • Almost no merchant adoption

  • Potentially non-fungible

  • Low exchange adoption

Ripple (symbol XRP)

Pro:

  • Primary purpose not as a digital currency, but as a payment protocol

  • Widely used for inter-bank transactions

  • Corporate support includes Deloitte, Mitsubishi Financial Group, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the Royal Bank of Canada, Santander, and Earthport (whose clients include Bank Of America and HSBC) among many others

  • Semi-private ledger - transaction information on the ledger remains public, while payment information is not

  • Believed to be fungible -- all coins are equal (not yet mathematically proven however)

  • Among the highest transactions per second settlement rates

  • Low per-coin price makes this currency accessible

Con:

  • Premined -- creators hold millions of coins and can dump on the market at any time to devalue the currency

  • Low merchant adoption as a currency

  • Low exchange adoption

Pros and Cons of Each Coin