From scalability solutions to regulations, ICO scams to media frenzy – The start of the year has been crazy for cryptocurrencies to say the least, and according to analysts, could be a very important year too.
Here are our top picks for the cryptocurrencies of 2018.
1. Bitcoin (BTC)
Average Price: $7,053.90
Market Cap: $119,548,439,115
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, building a payment method which allows to transact directly, thereby eliminating the need of financial institutions.
Although the end of 2017 saw a massive crash for Bitcoin, the phrase “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, couldn’t be truer for the king of cryptocurrencies.
Being the original cryptocurrency, and specifically what piqued everyone’s interest about digital currencies in the first place, many predict Bitcoin to stay on top of the list.
However, scalability issues still raise an eyebrow or two at Bitcoin’s practicality. But, as predicted by the CEO of TenX, Julian Hosp, solutions such as the implementation of SegWit and Lightning Network “could be a key reason why bitcoin surges this year.” Kyle Wang from Hub Tokens goes as far as to predict a $50,000 price for Bitcoin by December 31st 2018. They’re still a few skeptics around; Kunal Patel, a business advisor, thinks hype and noise around Bitcoin is rather short-lived, while a technologist, Joseph Raczynaksi, thinks Bitcoin is on a slow decline in the future.
2. Litecoin (LTC)
Average Price: $118.40
Market Price: $6,613,184,768
Often termed as ‘Bitcoin’s brother’, Litecoin was officially launched in 2011 by creator Charlie Lee. It forked from the original cryptocurrency with the intention of being the ‘silver’ to Bitcoin’s ‘gold.’ It’s a payment system designed to be much faster, cheaper, and easy to be used in transactions involving everyday purposes.
Although Litecoin can’t hold a candle to bitcoin’s market capitalization, it still ranks amongst the top five cryptocurrencies of 2018. The rising popularity of altcoins, and the fact that Coinbase enlisted LTC, are a few reasons why Litecoin saw an all-time high in December 2017.
But, ever since Charlie Lee sold all his LTCs on the basis of a “conflict of interest”, the price of Litecoin has declined astronomically. News of LitePay, a merchant solution, said to be coming soon would therefore have seen a positive outlook for Litecoin’s price; it would have revolutionized the ability of shops and stores to accept cryptocurrencies, especially Litecoin. However, just a few days ago, LitePay was seen to have ceased all operations, after the community raised questions about how the funds were being utilized. Though Clayton Daniels, founder of sproutsuper.com.au, isn’t optimistic about Litecoin’s future price, stating that “Its use case is now redundant.” other’s like Alisa Gus, CEO of WishKnish, and Fred Schebesta, cofounder of finder.com, are hopeful that this year could be a comeback for Litecoin.
3. Ethereum (ETH)
Average Price: $396.26
Market Cap: $39,034,427,228
Created by young genius, Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is a blockchain platform that allows for the creation of decentralized applications and organizations with the help of smart contracts.
Given the wide variety of applications that Ethereum enables users to build, and the fact that it only utilizes GPUs for mining, have made Ethereum immensely popular after Bitcoin.
Many see the outlook bright for Ethereum, and teem it as being full of potential. Julian Hosp also believes that this year will bring a boost to Ethereum tokens due to an increase in the number of legitimate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Although, with the world wide regulations and bans being slapped on ICOs, the future of Ethereum does seem to be a bit uncertain; Tim Lea, and author and speaker about blockchains, suggests, “With the banning of ICO advertising by so many platforms, the demands of ERC20 tokens will falter and will result in a fall in the demand for Ethereum.
4. NEO (NEO)
Average Price: $49.03
Market Cap: $3,186,872,000
Called as the ‘Chinese Ethereum,’ NEO (formerly known as AntShares) was founded in 2014, and is an emerging blockchain platform and digital token that digitizes assets and automatically manages them. It was built on the vision to create a ‘smart economy.’ Though based on the architecture of Ethereum, NEO is advantageous in the sense that it offers a more variety of coding languages.
With recent bans on cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs, there has been a dramatic impact on NEO. Including this, Ethereum brings “heavy competition in the mix” as stated by Fred Schebesta. But, given its track record and popularity, there could be price increase by the end of the year.
5. OmiseGO (OMG)
Average Price: $8.89
Market Cap: $907,170,530
OmiseGO is built on the Ethereum blockchain, and offers a peer-to-peer value exchange platform. Simply put, OmiseGO aims to bridge the gap between fiat currencies and their rival cryptocurrencies, through the White-label Wallet SDK, to provide an interoperable technology. This means that with OmiseGO you can pay for coffee in cryptocurrency, while the vendor would receive fiat currency.
With four years of experience and knowledge in the payment industry, support from blockchain gurus such as Vitalik Buterin, being the first and foremost to utilize the Plasma scaling technology, and exciting developmental plans underway, OMG is full of promising potential.
As said by the Chairman of OmiseGo, Jun Hasegawa, himself, “OmiseGO is the answer to a fundamental coordination problem amongst payment processors, gateways and financial institutions and non-bank financial services providers.”
6. Ripple (XRP)
Average Price: $0.497403
Market Cap: $19,445,731,841
Unlike other cryptocurrencies transacting on a decentralized blockchain, Ripple uses a centralized transaction network to connect to banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporates to send money to and fro anywhere in the world. Payments from one end sent on the Ripple network get converted into XRP tokens, and then back into the currency of choice at the other end- Rapidly transferring funds at minimal fees to provide a frictionless experience.
Ripple is delved in much controversy as many criticize it for going against the very nature of decentralized cryptocurrencies, and Joseph Raczynski compares it to being a successor of the “old Swift model.” Kunal Patel, however, is adamant that Ripple will continue to “make up the top three to five beyond 2018.”
7. Basic Attention Token (BAT)
Average Price: $0.199272
Market Cap: $199,272,000
A new and interesting take on the world of blockchains and tokens, BAT works to improve the efficiency of digital advertisements- A sector that is often overrun by fraud. BAT freely exchanges tokens between users, advertisers and publishers.
Built on the Ethereum blockchain as well, BAT introduces a transparent and decentralized digital ad platform. It does this by coupling to the Brave web browser where users can block ads completely, pay to see tailored content, or simple view regular ads to earn BAT tokens. It anonymously monitors user attention to reward publishers in a fair manner based on the attention of its users. Although it has yet to be integrated on popular web browsers, one things is for sure: There are a lot of opportunities waiting to be explored with the BAT token.
8. VeChain (VEN)
Average Price: $2.84
Market Cap: $1,485,899,857
Though cryptocurrencies have seen a downfall this past year, VeChain has unexpectedly survived.
VeChain is a blockchain platform to build a distributed business ecosystem to track goods (from retail and liquor to luxury goods, automobiles and more) in order to verify that they’re not counterfeit.
VeChain is tied to big names like BMW and Michigan State University to name a few, and have attracted a number of investors, thus boosting prices. VeChain’s rebranding also announced a structure that incentivizes investors not to sell off. These could be a few reasons which have led to VeChain gaining more than 28% since this past January.
9. EOS (EOS)
Average Price: $5.75
Market Cap: $4,403,489,751
Created by Dan Larimer, founder of BitShares, it was built to surpass Ethereum’s low number of transactions per second.
A worthy contender of blockchain giant Ethereum, EOS provides a platform to build and test scalable decentralized applications. However, unlike Ethereum where users had to pay gas in Ether, developers using EOS will only need to hold them. Since it allows for the creation of ERC20 compatible tokens, it can also host ICOs. Furthermore, it allows for the easy sharing of application frameworks for developmental procedures that use common functions.
Often dubbed as the ‘Ethereum Killer’, EOS is the sixth in all cryptocurrencies in terms of market cap. Fred Schebesta believes that scalability is promising, and predicts a price increase in the long run.
10. Stellar Lumens (XLM)
Average Price: $0.217831
Market Cap: $4,040,894,579
A spinoff of Ripple, Stellar was launched by Jed McCaleb and Jouce Kim after internal rifts within Ripple. It, too, is an open source transaction network, Industrial giants like IBM and Deloitte support XLM. An interesting feature of the network is that users can also exchange fiat currencies, for example US Dollars into Euros.
XLM’s price shot upwards this year by 21.2% when online payment company, Stripe, said that it may add support for the cryptocurrency.
Disclaimer: This article is not an investment/financial/ trading advice, nor should it be interpreted as an endorsement of any cryptocurrency. All prices mentioned are recorded as at time of writing, and may be subject to variation.
A huge shoutout to the team and panelists at: www.finder.com!