One of the reasons why digital tokens became popular in the first place is the ease of use. You are able to go to a cryptocurrency exchange like this one and convert them, make transactions in just a few clicks, and there are no banks and other middlemen that can complicate the process. However, instant payments are not something synonymous to cryptos.
At the time Bitcoin appeared, nobody could predict that it would become massively popular, so nobody paid attention to instant payments. However, we are facing a different issue with Bitcoin nowadays, as it still cannot process too many payments.
But what is an instant payment? Does a payment count as instant if it takes a couple of minutes or not? After all, some payment methods may take days or even a week before the transactions are processed through them.
What are instant payments?
According to Wikipedia, instant payments are a type of transaction that happens instantly, contrary to the bank wire transfers that take up a couple of business days. Therefore, even if a payment takes up a couple of minutes or hours, we could still consider it “instant” up to a certain point. That way, Bitcoin can also be considered a type of instant payment option.
However, the problem with Bitcoin is that its price constantly changes – almost every second. We simply cannot afford to pay for something in Bitcoin and wait a couple of minutes, as a lot can change during that time period. That is the reason why many alternatives appeared, some of them focusing on being the instant payment methods that will make all transactions in the world happen in a couple of seconds or less. Let’s take a look at these alternatives and see whether some of them have a bright future.
Before we start talking about EOS, we need to introduce something called TPS – transactions per second. It’s pretty self-explanatory – TPS represents the number of transactions that can be processed during one second. EOS is one popular crypto that can surpass the TPS of Visa, which is currently 24,000 – EOS can go up to 50,000. The current market cap is $4.1 billion, with 906 million EOS currently in supply. You can get a single EOS token for approximately $5 right now.
The next crypto worth mentioning is XRP as it can also compete with Visa in the number of transactions processed. XRP was founded in 2012, and its primary task was to make the global transactions easy and cheap. At the moment, one Ripple token is worth $0.47, and there is a circulating supply of over 40 billion XRP. The total planned supply is 99 billion. On the other hand, the market cap of XRP is approximately $18.9 billion, and it is currently the second most popular cryptocurrency in the world (it has recently beaten Ethereum in this respect). In fact, it has excellent potential to be further upgraded and gain more investors and overall hype. Another exciting thing about XRP is that it doesn’t use blockchain technology like Bitcoin and many other cryptos do. Instead, it uses a system of distributed consensus ledger which comprises a network of servers that validate transactions.
Stellar Lumen (XLM) is pretty much up there with XRP, processing about 1,000 transactions per second. They work the same way and are often a subject to the comparison as both of them are big pretenders to the throne when it comes to instant payments. Stellar is currently ranked fifth, and its market cap is $4.6 billion, with a single unit of it being $0.24 now.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is very similar to Bitcoin as it separated from it in the past. That event is known in the crypto community as the hard fork. Many people did not pay a lot of attention to BCH for a long time, until December 2017, when all prices of cryptos skyrocketed. This brought Bitcoin Cash into light as one of the possible alternatives to Bitcoin.
Although not half as popular as Bitcoin, this cryptocurrency has a great potential to gain more popularity. One of the reasons for that is the recently introduced new technology that has made transactions much faster. As the recent stress test has shown, BCH can process up to 2 million transactions in a day. We know what you might think at the moment – “well, that’s just not enough!” Well, it is one of the fastest cryptos right now, and the numbers are pretty clear. However, it is yet another piece of evidence that cryptos are still in their early stage of development, together with blockchain tech. BCH is ranked fourth overall, with more than a $7 billion market cap and 17.4 million BCH in circulation.
Litecoin was one of the first cryptos to contrast Bitcoin regarding speed. At the moment, it can process up to 56 transactions per second, and if you compare it to Bitcoin with its 7 TPS, then it becomes clear that Litecoin has achieved its goal. A single piece of LTC is currently worth $43, and the coin has a market cap of $2.5 billion with more than 59 million LTC tokens in circulation.
Dash is just around the corner, and it tries hard to keep up with LTC. At the moment it can process up to 48 transactions per second, though it can be enabled to perform about 4,000 transactions per second as explained by Ryan Taylor. Although pretty fast, Dash is ranked 12 in the list of the most popular cryptos. The market cap for it is $1.1 billion at the moment, and a single piece of DASH is worth $137 right now.
As you can see, EOS, XRP and XLM are the ones doing pretty well when it comes to speed. Though already mentioned, Bitcoin has an average TPS of 7, which is pretty low compared to the cryptos presented above. However, the speed still doesn’t play a crucial role here. Several other cryptos are pretty fast but still not popular enough to be included in this article.
The current state of things suggests that Bitcoin is still unprecedented and will hold its #1 position for a long time. However, we saw above that there are some strong pretenders to the throne. The world of crypto is unpredictable and we cannot make the right guess on which cryptocurrency will take the lead regarding the instant payments.