Note: In most cases, you’ll have a hard time trading anything other than Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum for actual fiat (fiat being the centrally issued money of nations). You can trade most coins at online cryptocurrency exchanges, and you can use some coins to buy certain things online, but converting an altcoin into fiat currency means converting to a major coin first (BTC or ETH generally). A coin having a theoretical value in USD doesn’t mean that anyone is going to give you USD or pay that rate for your coins. This is more like selling penny stocks or trading one baseball card for another than actually having money on hand. So, keep that and the volatility of the markets and coins in mind when investing.
The Litecoin blockchain is a fork from the Bitcoin chain. It was initially launched in 2011 when its founder, Charlie Lee, was still working for Google. Well-known as a cryptocurrency expert, Charlie Lee is backed by a strong development team who appear to be achieving what they set out to do. They have recently achieved a very notable accomplishment with the first successful atomic swap.
Ripple: Similarly to Bitcoin and Ethereum, Ripple is a decentralized payment system based on open-source. In fact, the project came years before its competitors, specifically in 2004 at the hands of Ryan Fugger. However, it was not until 2016 when he obtained the license to operate it. Unlike the previous ones, Ripple does not have mining operations nor will new currencies be created in the future. It is the third largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization.
The first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It used SHA-256, a cryptographic hash function, as its proof-of-work scheme. In April 2011, Namecoin was created as an attempt at forming a decentralized DNS, which would make internet censorship very difficult. Soon after, in October 2011, Litecoin was released. It was the first successful cryptocurrency to use scrypt as its hash function instead of SHA-256. Another notable cryptocurrency, Peercoin was the first to use a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid.