The first and largest Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin was invented in 2008 and released as open source software in 2009. There are no physical bitcoins, only balances kept on a public ledger that everyone has transparent access to. 

-As the earliest cryptocurrency to meet widespread popularity and success, Bitcoin has inspired a host of other projects in the blockchain space

- Has become and incredible store of value

- There is a set cap for a total supply of 21 Million Bitcoin

Launched in 2015, Ethereum is an open-source, blockchain-based, decentralized software platform used for its own cryptocurrency, ether. Ethereum is the most actively used blockchain in the world.

-Ether has more of a functional purpose within the market than Bitcoin.

-There’s no total set cap for a total supply of ETH. They have limited the yearly supply to 18 million a year. At the moment, around 114 Million ETH are circulating. 

Tether is a controversial cryptocurrency with tokens issued by Tether Limited. It formerly claimed that each token was backed by one United States dollar, but on 14 March 2019 changed the backing to include loans to affiliate companies.

XRP is a digital asset built for payments released in 2012. It is the native digital asset on the XRP Ledger—an open-source, permissionless and decentralized blockchain technology that can settle transactions in 3-5 seconds.
Currently experiencing major issues within the US as the SEC are investigating. Many exchanges to delist XRP throughout January 2021

Litecoin was an early bitcoin spinoff of altcoin, Starting in October 2011, in technical details, Litecoin is nearly identical to Bitcoin except a lot faster. There is a current cap of 84 million coins and it has recently made a return to the top 5 cryptocurrencies

Polkadot was a coin that was created by one of the Ethereum team as a solution to what he foresaw held Ether back. Launced in 2017, at the heart of Polkadot is the concept of “parachains,” which are blockchains that run parallel to each other. Offering a higher transaction throughput than Ethereum because of more sophisticated design.