Cryptocurrencies have suffered a bit of a setback through the first half of 2018. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise—exuberance is often followed by pessimism, which in turn can cause the market to overcorrect. In any case, Bitcoin has lost half its peak value, and many other cryptocurrencies have suffered similar declines.
Are these marked declines a sign of serious trouble for cryptocurrencies, or do they present an opportunity to pick up cryptocoins on the cheap? No matter what anyone tells you, there’s no certain answer. However, Bitcoin has suffered similar declines in the past, and more money is pouring into cryptocurrencies than ever before. VC companies invested nearly a billion in cryptocurrencies in 2017, yet despite crypto price declines, there’s evidence that cash flows are increasing.
Given the above and more, there are plenty of reasons to be upbeat regarding cryptocurrencies, and it may indeed be a great time to pick up coins on the cheap. So, let’s take a look at some of the most promising coins to look out for in 2018.
We’re not going to go over Bitcoin, not because its prospects are dim— they’re not—but because it’s already so well covered and followed.
QTUM is a platform which is aiming to make it easier for organizations to work with blockchain technology.
The foundation of QTUM code is built on Bitcoin’s blockchain with extra layers that allows ETH smart contracts to run on top of it. This way, QTUM combines the user friendly and efficient Ethereum with the more reliable and secure Bitcoin blockchain. Its goal is to make it easier – especially for businesses – to build their own smart contracts and make the shift to a reliance on blockchain technology.
Qtum currently has a marketcap of over $1.5 billion USD.
Will any cryptocurrency supplant Bitcoin as the top dog? This is questionable, but if another coin ever takes the throne, don’t be surprised if it’s Ethereum. Bitcoin is, more or less, a distributed accounting ledger. Like most modern fiat currencies, Bitcoin’s primary value is an exchange of value.
Ethereum is different in that it has intrinsic “use value” because it coordinates the use and application of computing resources around the world, apart from its value as an exchange medium. Ethereum is already being leveraged by other digital coins as well. For example, Oyster (discussed later) uses Ethereum.
With a marketcap north of $70 billion USD, Ethereum trails only Bitcoin and its $150 billion marketcap.
Iota is another interesting “use value” currency. Founded by a team of mathematicians, developers, and entrepreneurs, Iota wants to not only become a key exchange currency, but also a way to collect and buy data set transfers. The “Internet of Things” is quickly proliferating, with an increasing number of devices being plugged into the web.
Iota aims to simplify transactions and payment processing between sensor-equipped devices. Iota scraps miners, blocks, and chains used by typical cryptocurrencies. Instead, it uses mathematical algorithms called directed acyclic graphs to dramatically lower transaction costs even compared to other cryptocurrencies. This method also maximizes transaction speeds.
Iota currently has a marketcap of about $5.5 billion USD.
Bitcoin opened up the cryptocurrency trading world. However, the cryptocurrency is not without its critics. Bitcoin has been criticized for high transaction costs, scalability issues, and high energy consumption. RaiBlocks aims to address those issues, among others.
Like Iota, Raiblocks uses directed acyclic graph. Unlike Bitcoin, miners aren’t needed to add transactions. Instead, owners can add transactions to their own account chain, using a system called block-lattice architecture. Raiblocks claims to offer “feeless, instantaneous transactions, as well as unlimited scalability.”
Using the above system, Raiblocks has processed over 4 million transactions. Raiblocks trades under NANO and is currently valued at about $1 billion.
Coins with use value outside of transactions are particularly interesting, especially for newer currencies. Bitcoin and a few other coins already offer great benefits for conducting financial transactions, so that market is crowded and competitive. Oyster offers a unique solution for keeping the internet an open and free place.
How? Oyster allows websites to work with their visitors and supporters by enabling them to donate CPU and GPU resources. These resources could then be used to power the website. Distributed storage space is also be made available.
Oyster has a marketcap of just $55 million. This makes it a speculative buy, but where there is risk, there is opportunity.
Power Ledger ($POWR)
Power Ledger allows people to sell and trade renewable energy. This Australian originated currency is based upon blockchain and enables businesses and consumers to sell excess renewable energy. In exchange, sellers are paid in $POWR.
Power Ledger’s success or failure will likely depend on how well it can build relationships with major renewable energy firms. Encouragingly, the company has already been forging partnerships with such firms, such as Greenwood Energy. (GET DIFFERENT).
Despite being a niche currency, POWR is already valued at nearly $200 million.
Stellar seeks to revolutionize the digital payments industry by dramatically lowering costs. Trillions of dollars in digital payments are processed each year, so the market size is incomprehensibly high. If Stellar can deliver on its aim of lowering payment processing costs, and is adopted by more and more online vendors, it could become a hot commodity.
Yet Stellar isn’t out only to produce profits. In fact, the primary aim of this cryptocurrency is to assist “unbankable” people, who are left out in the cold as far as traditional financial institutions/services. Stellar hopes to provide people in regions where access to traditional banks and the like is supbar.
People are buying into Stellar’s mission, with XLM already being worth nearly $7 billion.
Conclusion: There are plenty of opportunities
We didn’t highlight every promising cryptocoin available.
There are many options and it’s hard to keep track of them all. Further, new coins are constantly entering the market through Initial Coin Offerings. While ICOs come with certain inherent risks (i.e. scams), some also afford high-reward opportunities. Those investors who identify the next hot coin before it even gains market traction could reel in some tremendous profits.