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New York (CNN Business) -
New York (CNN Business) -
Bitcoin and ethereum are the Coca-Cola and Pepsi of cryptocurrencies: their combined value of roughly $ 1 trillion accounts for nearly two-thirds of the $ 1.6 trillion total in digital currencies worldwide. world.
But just as some soda fans prefer Dr Pepper, there are plenty of other cryptocurrency alternatives too, over 10,000 of them, according to research site CoinMarketCap.
Many of these "altcoins" (alternative and more popular cryptocurrencies) have legitimate niche use cases for specific industries.
They are not cryptos that are started as a joke like the beloved dogecoin of Elon Musk and his canine cousin Shiba Inu.
A top performing cryptocurrency pair this year are two related tokens that are targeted at online content creators: Theta and Theta Fuel.
Theta has skyrocketed nearly 400% in 2021, while Theta Fuel is up a staggering 1,700%.
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Both run on a blockchain known as Theta Network and allow PC users with unused bandwidth to share video streams with others on the network.
They can mine coins.
Theta has impressive backers from the digital media world, including YouTube co-founder Steve Chen and Twitch co-founder Justin Kan who are his advisors.
Meanwhile, many other altcoins are garnering more attention in the cryptocurrency investing community, with many of them saying it is just the beginning.
These are still the early days of blockchain networks.
Many others are being built, ”said Greg King, founder and CEO of Osprey Funds, a company that invests in cryptocurrencies.
"Not everyone is trying to imitate bitcoin."
King said he is targeting two smaller coins: polkadot and algorand.
King described polkadot as an internet of blockchains that helps connect different networks and transfer currencies between them.
And he said that algorand is a greener "green" cryptocurrency than bitcoin, which has been criticized by many, including Elon Musk, for the enormous amount of energy used for "mining" the cryptocurrency on massive servers.
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Algorand is distributed in a more energy efficient way because it is part of a so-called proof-of-stake distribution that randomly selects blocks to distribute to users, rather than being a reward for people who extract large amounts of The currency.
King believes investors should focus more on crypto and tokens like these two, which have legitimate uses, and not get caught up in the hype and noise of things like dogecoin, which is up over 6,000% this year thanks in large part to Musk's tweets, despite being a joke.
"Meme currencies are a bit distracting, but I guess it's part of the libertarian side of crypto," King said, referring to the fact that people who are skeptical of government-backed currencies tend to flock to digital currencies. .
"There will be many tokens, ranging from silly to serious, and many in between," he said.
Michael Sikorsky, president of Copia Wealth Studios, agreed.
He said that his company owns ethereum and bitcoin, but that it also has several other altcoins that are less conventional.
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Sikorsky said that Copia Wealth Studios has positions in cardano and polygon, two other cryptocurrencies that are similar to algorand, in that they are not mined by power-hungry supercomputers.
"We are making our profits," Sikorsky said.
But he added that investors should be aware that these and other cryptos will remain volatile.
Therefore, altcoins are not for the faint of heart, but they are not going away either.
"This is becoming a real asset class," said Charlie Silver, CEO of Permission.io, which has a token called ASK that is aimed at e-commerce advertisers.
But he cautioned that “successful altcoins must have real utility.
Those that are just bets will not be good for the industry, "said Silver.
"But we see this as the next big wave of investment."