When you look at cryptocurrencies trading at only a few dollars -- or even a few cents -- a token, it's hard to imagine them becoming the next Bitcoin (BTC 1.23%). After all, that cryptocurrency star recently surpassed $60,000 a coin. But it's important to remember where Bitcoin started. The world's first cryptocurrency was only worth only about eight cents when it debuted in 2010.

That means it's entirely possible newer players with low valuations today may follow a similar path. Of course, not all of them will. So, it's important to carefully consider the features of each before making this sort of bet. Right now, I think one cryptocurrency has a particularly good chance of becoming the next Bitcoin. Let's find out which one -- and why.

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An experienced founder

I'm talking about Cardano (ADA 1.20%), the cryptocurrency created by Charles Hoskinson. He's also a co-founder of bigger player Ethereum. This is definitely a good sign. That's because it equals credibility and experience in the field. We could imagine Hoskinson taking what he learned in the Ethereum project and bringing those valuable lessons to the table when working on Cardano.

So, what is Cardano? It's a blockchain network featuring its own coin called "ADA." Cardano can handle smart contracts, or contracts that self-execute when certain conditions are met.

And, importantly, Cardano can securely store information for many uses. For instance, in healthcare, it can track the origins of pharmaceutical products -- making it harder for counterfeit medication to make it into your medicine cabinet. Or it can be used in agriculture to trace the origin and quality of products. In finance, Cardano aims to be a decentralized system that could bring banking to people everywhere in the world. This variety of uses could make Cardano a go-to platform for many industries years down the road.

There are a few more points that make Cardano particularly interesting -- and that may lead to a significant increase in its value down the road. First is transaction speed. Cardano really can win here. One of the disadvantages of Bitcoin is the number of transactions per second -- only about 30. By comparison, Cardano can process 250 transactions per second. And it's working on increasing that even further.

An eco-friendly option

Another plus is Cardano's eco-friendly profile. This crypto player uses the equivalent of two power plants in energy per year. That may seem like a lot, but it's actually very little compared to crypto leader Bitcoin. During the same period of time, Bitcoin uses more energy than the Netherlands to power its operations.

Finally, two other elements may drive Cardano's success. And that has to do with the research and quality behind the platform. Cardano uses peer review throughout its development process. This means academic peers must review any changes to the Cardano platform -- and give the OK -- before these changes are applied.

And speaking of the development process, it's ongoing. The platform's developers have launched a five-phase program to take Cardano to the highest level. The ultimate goal? For Cardano to become 100% self-sustaining.

So, Cardano may be on its way to becoming all that Bitcoin is -- but better. Today, Cardano trades for about $1.80. The idea of a $60,000 price may seem far off from such a starting point. But Bitcoin proved such a path is possible.

This doesn't mean Cardano will reach $60,000, but it may gain considerably from today's level. And considering all of the advantages Cardano offers, this young cryptocurrency may have a good shot at becoming following in Bitcoin's upward footsteps.