Bitcoin is certainly the biggest game in town when it comes to digital currency, but it is certainly not the only one and may not always be the biggest. So which is the best digital currency to buy? Should you buy bitcoin or one of the alternatives – sometimes called ‘altcoins’?

Of course I cannot answer those questions for you, but I can provide you with some relevant information to help make the decision for yourself.

I have to add a big fat disclaimer here: this section is entirely subjective based on the writer’s own opinions: if you want to get a more unbiased perspective you can find a list of all the main options on coinmarketcap.com, which also provides some links to help you to research them yourself.

There are so many of these coins out there, some of which were only ever intended for specific niche uses or communities, that I cannot possible write about them all. But what I can do is to pick out a few of them which I think may be of interest to beginners and general users and share some of

their most interesting features to you. For the purposes of this article I have focused on the use of these coins purely as a digital currency, for sending money to friends and family, buying things over the internet, storing your savings and so on; that means I have largely ignored exotic features like asset exchanges, built-in crowdfunding technologies, data storage, and so on. If you are primarily looking for an investment then you may like to consider some of these type of ‘feature coins’ as well as the ones listed below.

NameNotable Features or BenefitsLinks
Bitcoin

  • The original ,the biggest, and some would say the best.

  • Offers a large number of options for wallets and other financial services as well as a lot of merchants willing to take BTC as payment.

  • Well tested, and offering the highest level of security and reliability.

    Bitcoin.org
    Bytecoin

    • The lowest possible fees (hundredths of a penny per transaction).

    • You can 'mine' it easily from any computer using the standard wallet - you won't get rich but you can still get a meaningful amount over time for making your contribution to supporting the network.

    • Additional features like sending to human-readable names instead of complex addresses in the works.

    • Financial privacy with anonymous payments.

    Bytecoin.org
    Bitshares

    • Send to human-readable names rather than awkward addresses.

    • Features pegged digital currencies like BitUSD so you don't need to worry about a volatile price if you don't want to.

    • Familiar features like subscription payments supported.

    • Decentralized governance so that coin holders can vote on future developments.

    Bitshares.org
    Dash

    • Anonymous, private payments.

    • Decentralized governance for voting on future developments.

    • Instant payment confirmations.

    Dashpay.io