The creator of Bitcoin is anonymous. He goes by the nickname of "Satoshi Nakamoto". However, there's no evidence that anyone with this name exists.
Its value went from around 13 dollars in January of 2013 to over 1,000 dollars in October of 2013. The overall trend has been rising prices.
Ethereum is an extremely secure platform. Ether has protections in place that many other cryptocurrencies don't have. Distributed applications ensure that Ethereum can't be run if there is interference from a third party. There also are strong protections against fraud.
Litecoin is fully decentralized. Consumer grade computer processors are often used to authorize transactions, but there also are large-scale Litecoin mining operations. People are rewarded in Litecoin for authorizing transactions. The global payment network of Litecoin is open source.
Zcash is exceptionally secure. If you were to compare the security of Bitcoin and Zcash by using a familiar cyber-security analogy, Bitcoin would be HTTP and Zcash would be https. Not only are Zcash transactions secure, but the company's servers are designed to be safe from hackers.
Ripple was founded in 2012. The company created a cryptocurrency called XRP. The way that Ripple works is different than many cryptocurrencies. It's a real-time global settlement network, and it offers certainty of payments. The current market capitalization of Ripple is 1.26 billion.