Which Cryptocurrency Is the Fastest?
If cryptocurrencies are ever going to become actual currencies, we’ll need to be able to move coins around pretty quickly. A few minutes' delay might be fine if you're sending money to a friend, but nobody wants to wait ten minutes for a coffee purchase to go through. And of course, there are a variety of commercial applications where high-speed transaction confirmations might be necessary.
When discussing crypto, "fast" is a relative term, and every coin is a bit different. What we're talking about here is average block time, or average ledger close time in the case of Ripple and Stellar (which don't use blocks). Block time (or ledger close time) is essentially the time it takes to create and solidify a block on the coin's blockchain (or its ledger). Depending on the coin in question, your transaction might go through before the block has been completed, but it will generally appear as "pending" until the block your transaction is on has been created, confirmed, and has become an immutable part of the blockchain.
So what’s the fastest crypto out there? It’s tough to say with total precision, since processing times/block times can vary minute-to-minute based on network congestion, but general averages as of October 9, 2018 still paint a pretty clear picture:
Ripple: 3.5 seconds (source)
Stellar: 5 seconds (source)
Ethereum: 10.6 seconds (source)
Monero: 2 minutes (source)
Litecoin: 2.3 minutes (source)
Bitcoin Cash: 10.3 minutes (source)
Bitcoin: 10.6 minutes (source)
Of course, there are plenty of other coins that are not included here. We couldn't find reliable, recent block time data for Cardano and EOS, for example, which are currently top ten coins on CoinMarketCap. And it's worth remembering that you may have needs for a coin's other features that are more important than speed. If you're trying to make an anonymous transaction, for example, privacy-focused Monero would be your best choice among the coins on this list, even though it's not one of the fastest. And of course, if you're just trying to invest in a digital asset for long-term holding, many people would suggest you buy Bitcoin. The fact that Bitcoin is slower than many of its counterparts doesn't matter if you're just planning to buy the coins and hold them for long periods.
If you’re aiming for speed, though, the chart makes it pretty clear where you ought to look.