There is no doubt that Bitcoin (BTC) is the poster child for cryptocurrency and blockchain. A trendsetter that ushered a wave of a decentralized network of trade for digital currencies, BTC inspired a growing number of spin-offs. It continues to be the top coin in terms of market capitalization, uses, and popularity.
In 2017, BTC’s value peaked at $19,000, but the following year, it plummeted to less than $6,000, sending traders and users into a seemingly endless frenzy since then. Volatility is perhaps the greatest weakness of altcoins (or its greatest strength, if you’re looking from a trader’s perspective). In BTC’s case, its value is highly influenced by negative news, primarily cybercriminals who have used cryptos’ anonymous and decentralized nature to their advantage.
If you’re feeling down because of BTC’s current bearish market, know that there are around 1,500 other alternatives that you can look into. Cryptocurrency is always expanding, and you might even bear witness to the next big thing if you only keep your eyes peeled.
To give you a head start, here’s a list of six altcoins and why you should keep an eye on them in the coming future:
1. Ethereum: Going beyond payment transactions
Founder: Vitalik Buterin
Market cap as of Feb 2019: $12.49 billion
In December 2014, Ethereum’s pre-sale was met with an overwhelming response, thus giving way to the era of ICOs. It was branded as a decentralized platform where smart contracts and distributed applications can be built and run without interruption, fraud, or control and interference from a third party so that it can be used to “codify, decentralize, secure, and trade just about anything.”
The apps use ether; these are sought after by developers who want to create their own crypto or other apps without having to build the blockchain, or by investors who want to purchase other digital currencies. Intel and Microsoft both expressed interest in ETH, and paired with a range of practical functions, ETH may overtake BTC.
2. Ripple: The Banker’s Bitcoin
Founders: Web developer Ryan Fugger, businessman Chris Larsen, and programmer Jed McCaleb
Market cap as of Feb 2019: $12.69 billion
Launched in 2012, Ripple offers cross-border payments in real time with transparency and low costs. Its coins, XRP, is based off a centralized blockchain with a centralized administrator overseeing the operation. According to its founders, “Ripple connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporates via RippleNet to provide one frictionless experience to send money globally.”
The XRP in circulation is at about 38.7 billion out of 100 billion. XRP was released all at once, which means there is no need to mine, reducing both the use of computing power and network latency. Ripple plans to distribute XRP primarily through business development deals and as incentives to liquidity providers. American Express and Banco Santander are looking to partner with Ripple.
3. Litecoin: The silver to Bitcoin’s gold
Founder: former Google engineer Charlie Lee
Market cap as of Feb 2019: $2.63 billion
Litecoin was one of the early cryptos to launch in 2011 following BTC’s release. It is based on an open source global payment network and uses “scrypt” as proof of work. Compared to BTC, it has a faster block generation rate, hence a faster transaction confirmation. LTC can transact up to a maximum of 56 transactions per second. It offers a lower price point and is more accessible to the people.
4. NEO: The Chinese Ethereum
Founders: Onchain CEO Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang
Market cap as of Feb 2019: $492.48 billion
NEO began in 2014 under the name AntShares, until founder Da Hongfei rebranded it. To date, it is the largest cryptocurrency to emerge from China. It earned the nickname “Chinese Ethereum” for using smart contracts, too.
NEO’s success can be attributed to its wide range of support for programming languages, including Go, Java, C++, and others. It also offers several practical functionalities. There are currently 65 million NEO coins in circulation out of 100 million coins.
5. Cardano: Sustainability, interoperability, and scalability
Founder: ETH co-founder Charles Hoskinson
Market cap as of Feb 2019: $1.16 billion
Charles Hoskinson launched Cardano in 2017. Being a co-founder of ETH, he adopted most of its benefits into ADA. But, beyond this, ADA also aims to solve common the common issues plaguing altcoins, including interoperability and scalability, and other matters related to international payments.
Many crypto evangelists believe that ADA is a real contender to ETH thanks to its “right team with dedication and money.” The blockchain network is backed by a “scientific philosophy” through peer-reviewed research. Cardano is also the first platform based on the Haskell code, which is an industrial product used for mission-critical systems.
6. DigiByte: The next big thing?
Founder: Jared Tate
Market cap as of May 2019: $165 million
DigiByte was one of the first blockchains in the market, launching in 2014 before the ICO era. Like BTC, it boasts of a three-layer network that separates smart contracts, processing, and decentralized apps. Aside from a secure and anonymous infrastructure, DGB claims to be faster, supporting 43,000 nodes. Some crypto evangelists like that DGB has a competent development team, with a website that can explain the project in simpler terms.
Making the Right Choice
The bear movement of BTC can benefit the other cryptocurrencies because investors would opt to put their money into lesser-known coins. In the long run, BTC slowing down may result in significant gains for other cryptos elsewhere. But how can you determine where to invest? George Tung, the co-founder of Cryptos R Us, suggests using a four-part screener.
- Who are the key people behind it?
You can start by knowing the people behind the coin and their track record. What were they doing prior to leading the company, and what makes them capable? Study the team, from the CEO down to the engineers.
- What is their “why”?
Many altcoins are circulating, but only a few have a real raison d’etre. Do you see the coins useful in the long run, or are they trying to solve a social predicament? For instance, some coins are trying to be more user-friendly so that crypto can be accessible to the mainstream market.
- What’s their progress?
You want to invest in a coin that is more stable in terms of functionality, though it’s not unusual for features to be updated or released later. The essential part is that it should be growing over time.
- What is the valuation?
Asses the coin’s pricing; a high price that is too good to be true may be an indication of a pump-and-dump tactic, which you need to stay away from.
Change is Constant
The only thing constant in life is change, and the same goes for the cryptocurrency market. But, even legal tenders are subject to volatility; and yet, people have learned to live and adapt to it. When it comes to investing in digital currencies, you’d also need to keep eyes open for any changes, as the crypto world continues to evolve.
You’d also want to support cryptocurrencies that aim for a positive social change. In the Philippines, up-and-coming digital currency Noah Coin is helping boost its tourism and economy by establishing assisted-living facilities, offering organic agriculture program for farmers, and making crypto payments possible on one of its world-famous tourist destinations.
Contact us today to find out more about the Noah Project!