With Bitcoin soaring and setting several new all-time high records in 2017, the cryptocurrency market has gained a lot of attention in the media and general public. According to CNBC the largest US bitcoin exchange (Coinbase) added 100,000 new customers after CBOE Futures Exchange launched trading of bitcoin futures.
This exposure to the general public caused a massive increase in interest of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency space. If you are one of the billions of people on social media, chances are you saw a post about bitcoin from one of your friends or colleagues.
Thanks to Bitcoin, the other two cryptocurrencies available on Coinbase, Ethereum and Litecoin saw massive gains as well. According to coinmarketcap.com, the overall global market capitalization for cryptocurrencies went from $170 billion in September 2017 to $690 billion in mid-December 2017. This massive increase is a combination of institutional money and general public money coming into the market. One of the major sectors of the general public investors comes from the tech savvy Millennials. According to one article, one in three Millennials will own cryptocurrencies by the end of 2018.
One of the major reasons why Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum saw major increases in value, is due the fact that they are easily available to trade with fiat money in major exchanges around the world. For instance, in Coinbase, you can easily link your bank account or credit card to the site and purchase one of the three coins with the push of a button. For someone who is new to this field, which most people are at this point, is a major ease of use. However, if you want to buy one of the other cryptocurrencies you would need to first buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin, transfer to one of the other exchanges (Poloniex, Bittrex, Binance, and etc) and then purchase the cryptocurrency you are interested in.
As people get more familiarized with how cryptocurrencies work, they will surely want to participate in other promising projects that are in their early stages or have had major developments in the past few months.
I have noticed that most people who saw major gains in their cryptocurrency investments, want to apply those gains to other projects. Others who are completely new to this space, but want to participate with a small amount of money, are looking for something alot cheaper than the current price of Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin. This is on of the biggest reasons why I believe 2018 will be a big year for other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin being almost $20,000 a coin, makes it very hard for someone to purchase even one. People who are new to cryptocurrencies will look for promising projects that they can participate in without shilling out $20,000.
Institutions and hedge funds have also gotten involved in other cryptocurrencies with promising projects in the blockchain space. They see 2018 as a big year for increasing their investments into projects that are unique, have good development teams, and good community support, among other major factors. As more regulations come in, institutional money and investments will increase dramatically.
That being said, the cryptocurrency market in general continues to be volatile and risky. This is where a lot of research must be done before participating in any of these projects.
I am sure Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin will continue to do well but according to my research there are several great cryptocurrencies that are very undervalued and should have even greater success in 2018. The key to researching new projects with potential is looking into several factors, including, but not limited to, strong management and development team, passionate community of developers and supporters, community involvement, partnerships, market cap and number of coins available, realistic goals and roadmap, and proper use of blockchain technology. Based on my research, I have ranked the top five below. I will not go into too much detail for each one because I do not want this article to be too long but just a quick introduction of each one. Hopefully you will do your own detailed research.
- Cardano (http://www.cardanohub.org) — Cardano is a decentralised public blockchain and cryptocurrency project and is fully open source. Cardano is developing a smart contract platform which seeks to deliver more advanced features than any protocol previously developed. It is the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach. The development team consists of a large global collective of expert engineers and researchers. Seeing the explosive growth so far this year show this coin has some serious potential in 2018.
- NEO (neo.org) — The reason why I ranked this smart contract platform as the number one cryptocurrency for 2018 is because of several reasons including, upcoming NEO based ICOs, strong management team, an amazing global open community of developers (City of Zion), strategic partnerships with other companies, digital identity, and smart economy. NEO’s functionality is similar to Ethereum but is extremely undervalued in my opinion. NEO also supports many popular development languages such as Java, .NET, Python and others.
- OmiseGO (omisego.network) — This is one of the most promising projects in the entire crypto space. Omise is an already existing company in Asia with a strong team and advisors that include the founder Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin. They have several strong partnerships with major companies in Asia. Their promise is to unbank the banked.
- Golem (golem.network) — If the development team succeed in releasing a functional product as they have promised, Golem will truly be one of the best use cases for the blockchain technology. Golem is trying to create the first decentralized global super computer. Their mission is to use all the unused computing power around the world (including personal devices) to increase rendering efficiency that requires massive computing power to function (such as animation movies).
- Civic (civic.com) — With the major credit bureau hacks this year, Civic is trying to solve the identity security issue. They also have a functioning product (Civic App) that lets your identity be easily verified on the blockchain with a QR code. With a simple scan of a QR code, civil is removing the pain of user sign-ups/sign-ins. They already have several major partnerships that include wikiHow.com and many others.
As the interest grows in the cryptocurrency field and more everyday people get involved, it is obvious that this young market will face some trials and tribulations. At the end of the day it is everyone’s personal responsibility to do their due diligence and perform extensive research before participating in any of these projects.
No one can see the future but I personally believe that in the upcoming years, the blockchain technology will have a huge impact on several industries. Every time a new disruptive technology like blockchain comes in and tries to change the way we do things, it faces many difficulties. Twenty years ago, if somebody told you, “you can use a small personal device to connect to anyone in the world, take pictures, use live video, pay for groceries,” you would have laughed and told them they were crazy. We are facing the same kind of disrupting ideas when we talk about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Therefore, surely there will be a lot of naysayers in the beginning. But hopefully blockchain will be a part of our daily lives in the future. I personally hope these companies succeed and change the way we do things in my lifetime.
Disclaimer: Statements on this article represent author’s personal views and shall not be taken as investment advice. The information on this article is provided for discussion purposes only, and are not investing recommendations. Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy or sell assets, cryptocurrencies, or securities.