Looking for the Next Ethereum? 2 Cryptocurrencies to Buy Now – The Motley Fool

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Since its launch in July 2015, Ethereum (ETH 2.58%) has been one of the best financial assets any investor could have owned, as the token’s price has skyrocketed 53,000% over its roughly eight-year history (as of Sept. 27). The road hasn’t been a smooth one, as the past couple years have shown, but it’s hard to deny the rapid rise of this digital asset. 
While Ethereum might be on your radar as a potential buying opportunity today, especially since it’s currently 67% below its peak price, it’s worthwhile to consider two smaller cryptocurrencies to invest in. 
What makes Ethereum different from Bitcoin, the world’s oldest and most valuable cryptocurrency network, is that it was the first blockchain to introduce smart contracts. These are software programs that automatically run when the stakeholders satisfy their ends of a particular agreement. Smart contracts are an innovative feature that underpin the promise that cryptocurrency could disrupt numerous industries by eliminating the need for middlemen. 
This adds tremendous functionality to the Ethereum network, leading some to call it the world’s biggest decentralized computing platform. In fact, Ethereum has become the undisputed leader in terms of decentralized applications, including for things like non-fungible tokens and decentralized finance protocols. 
Ethereum’s development pipeline is also indicative of the sheer number of computer programmers working on its advancement. An upgrade called the Merge transitioned the network to a proof-of-stake consensus system, which is more energy-efficient and an update that could set the blockchain up for better scalability. There are many more phases left on the horizon. 
It might seem like a no-brainer decision to buy this crypto right now, but investors might want to look at these so-called “Ethereum killers.” 
As the seventh-most-valuable cryptocurrency, Cardano (ADA 2.77%) immediately comes to mind as a formidable rival to Ethereum’s dominance. Cardano was launched in 2017 by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson, and its token has climbed in value by 874% during that time. 
What makes Cardano unique is not that it also enables the implementation of smart contracts or that it runs a PoS consensus mechanism, but it’s the blockchain’s unique development approach. While many cryptos adopt the Silicon Valley mindset of “go fast and break things,” Cardano instead emphasizes being cautious and thoughtful when introducing changes to the network. 
The current stage of development is known as Basho, which focuses on things like scaling and interoperability. This is the fourth of five parts, with the last stage focused on governance. Cardano relies on top researchers, computer scientists, and other academics from leading universities across the globe to help push it forward. 
Cardano already has proven its ability to launch real-world enterprise-level solutions using its innovations. For example, it can better handle KYC/AML checks in the financial services industry. And it can help track supply chains in the agricultural sector. 
As long as Cardano continues making progress on improving the network with new tech features, while also boosting utility in various industry settings, there’s certainly the potential for its token to rise in value. 
Solana (SOL 4.48%) was launched in 2020 by ex-Qualcomm engineer Anatoly Yakovenko. Its token has skyrocketed 1,890% since its founding, a wonderful gain. Currently, Solana carries a market cap of $7.8 billion, making it the ninth-most-valuable cryptocurrency in the world. 
Like Ethereum and Cardano, Solana also possesses functionality for smart contracts. And in addition to operating a PoS system, this blockchain also runs something known as proof-of-history (PoH). PoH basically eliminates the need to add timestamps to the data included in blocks, which can speed up transaction throughout. Solana is actually known as being the fastest crypto network, with a theoretical capacity to process 50,000 transactions per second (TPS). For comparison’s sake, Ethereum can only handle less than 15 TPS right now. 
Naturally, this makes Solana a prime candidate to disrupt one of the most lucrative areas within the overall financial services space, and that’s payments. In early 2022, Solana Pay was introduced. This innovative service allows a merchant and consumer to transact with each other directly, with instant settlement and virtually no fees. For businesses that run on thin margins, getting rid of the need to process costly credit card payments can lead to savings that flow straight to the bottom line. 
Of course, this puts Solana in direct competition with the likes of Visa and Mastercard. Even so, it’s easy to get excited about the potential. 
Neil Patel and his clients have positions in Bitcoin. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Bitcoin, Cardano, Ethereum, Mastercard, Qualcomm, Solana, and Visa. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2025 $370 calls on Mastercard and short January 2025 $380 calls on Mastercard. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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