Bitcoin currently trades around $11,115 – an impressively high trading price from its trading price of $967 at about this time in 2017. However, there's no denying the fact that people who bought Bitcoin when it was $1000 had better odds of profit than people buying the cryptocurrency now at $11,000.

In fact, Bitcoin's price has soared more than 4,600% in the last three years. In simple words, if you are just starting to invest in Bitcoin, you are probably already late to the party and the ship has sailed. In addition, Bitcoin's trading price suggests that many retail investors won't be able to afford a full unit of the cryptocurrency.

If you are just waking up to smell the coffee on cryptocurrencies, it might interest you to know that Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency there is in the market. This piece provides insight on two budding cryptocurrencies that have the potential to deliver exponential gains on par with Bitcoin's performance.

Meet Ripple (XRP) the darling of traditional financial institution

Ripple is fundamentally a cryptocurrency  focused on becoming the world's enterprise-level blockchain solution for managing global payments. Banks traditionally use the SWIFT network to process global payments, which is still stuck at the technology level of yesteryears. Current global payments are slow – taking between 3 to 5 days to settle. The current payment system is expensive with as much as $1.6 trillion being paid in transaction costs annually. The worst part is that the current payment system has too many fail points (such as a missing/wrong number) through which a payment transaction could fail.

Ripple is creating a practical solution that helps traditional financial institutions and exchange currency transfer anywhere in the world speedily, efficiently, and at a cheaper cost. Ripple is not targeting retail money transfers; rather, its attention is to collaborate with large financial institutions in order to ride on their existing market presence to redefine money transfers.

Ripple's performance is interesting in the last couple of months. The cryptocurrency made a high of $3.44 earlier this year after news started emerging of the big name financial institutions implementing its protocol. However, its price has since dropped down to around $1.27 after some speculative traders took profits off the table. However, the fact that Ripple has a first-mover advantage in solving the payments problem and the fact that it is adopting a collaborative stance with traditional financial institutions suggests that we haven’t even begin to scratch the surface of possibilities with the cryptocurrency.

Meet Litecoin (LTC), if Bitcoin is Gold, this is Silver

If you've heard about Bitcoin, you've technically met Litecoin. Litecoin bills itself as the cryptocurrency that "enables instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world".  One of the main reasons behind the popularity of Bitcoin is that it is an open-source, decentralized, and anti-inflationary payment system.

The problem however is that transaction costs on the Bitcoin factor into the speed at which payments are confirmed on the blockchain; hence, you'll need to pay more in transaction costs to ensure speedy confirmation of your transaction. Bitcoin transaction costs could be as high as $10, which might sound outrageous when you are trying to buy coffee with Bitcoin.

Litecoin seeks to solve the limitations of Bitcoin by engendering faster transaction confirmation at the fraction of the comparable cost on the Bitcoin network. Interestingly, Litecoin is created on the same blockchain technology that powers Bitcoin and its implementation of SegWit and atomic swaps has helped it avoid scaling problems facing Bitcoin. In essence, Litecoin is technically a cheaper and more practical variant of Bitcoin.

The best part is that users can easily conduct Bitcoin to Litecoin swaps using a smartphone without technically buying/selling either currency. Litecoin is currently trading around $178.33 down from the high of $311 that it posted earlier in January 2018.

Final words

Cryptocurrency is here to stay and it would be myopic to ignore the latent potential of cryptocurrency to disrupt the payments industry. Bitcoin is shaping up to become a store of value and its transactional purpose might never be realized. Ripple mentioned above is a cryptocurrency payment solution targeted at the enterprise segment of payments. Litecoin is a cryptocurrency payment solution targeted at the retail peer-to-peer segment of the payments industry.