It’s been a good year for bitcoin . The most popular cryptocurrency’s value has quadrupled since January 1st, bringing the digital token system into the spotlight and, for many, making good on its promises of riches. This may be a chance for investors to learn about an emerging market—and this doesn’t mean just bitcoin.

Bitcoin was the first decentralized cryptocurrency, a digital currency that uses encryption methods to regulate transactions and token creation, but it is far from the only one. Namecoin, Litecoin, Peercoin, and IOTA, among others, were early alternatives, each with different benefits and drawbacks. Since then crypto has been using the underlying encryption technique in more versatile ways. One of the most promising is Ethereum. 

Ethereum is relatively new, entering the market only two years ago, but crypto investors and enthusiasts recognized its potential quickly. Ethereum has become a leader in the field of altcoins, or alternatives to bitcoin, primarily because the company is taking advantage of the techniques used to decentralize currency by using them in other applications. These “Dapps,” or distributed apps, have remarkable potential and are already in use for crowdfunding and many other services that connect people globally. Ethereum’s nearly limitless potential with Dapps, along with its team’s foresight and business acumen, make it one of the best bets among alternative cryptocurrencies.

Ethereum’s broad application potential makes it very promising, but some altcoins are taking the opposite approach. Many see promising futures for companies specializing in particular services. One is Wagerr, a decentralized sports’ betting platform. Ripple is another, facilitating transactions of both crypto- and fiat currencies. Another company, called Matchpool, is even using the technology for love: they’ve created a dating platform. 

Whether you’ve been following cryptocurrency for years or are just getting interested in this budding market, know that you have options. It may be time to look beyond bitcoin.