2017 has been a crazy year for cryptocurrencies. Not only did we saw the spectacular rise of Bitcoin, from under $1000 at the beginning of the year to over $19,400 on December 17, but we also saw one of the biggest ICOs up until now. We cannot know the future, but here is a 10 items list with the currencies that we believe are worth watching for in 2018 because they have a huge potential:
Stellar is an offshoot of Ripple, started in 2014 when Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim published the open-source protocol, following a dispute between them and Ripple team. Stellar is a “distributed, hybrid blockchain that is fully open-source”. You may remember McCaleb’s name from 2011, when he sold MtGox to Mark Karpeles.
Not only does it have a great pedigree with it’s founder being in the crypto space for over 7 years, but this January the project received quite a boost after Stripe announced that it provided a seed investment to the Stellar team and also considers adding support for it, after dumping bitcoin support.
After they managed to raise $8 million dollars in their ICO in 2016 (a small sum if compared to the craze of 2017), the team at the Golem Protocol is hard at work to bring their vision to the market. What they intend to build? Basically, a marketplace for computing power. The news have been pretty sparse during 2017 about their development, but they managed to build quite some features in their beta version of the software, running on the testnet network.
So we are quite bullish in their regards, with a public beta launch of their software expected to land somewhere in 2018. When the marketplace they are building will start to function, the value of their underlying currency that will power this network will most surely rise with the adoption.
The purpose of the Augur project is to democratize and decentralize finance, enabling anyone, anywhere and at anytime to create and speculate on derivatives. For this purpose, they raised more than $1.3 million in 2015, long before the ICO craze of 2017. Being built on top of Ethereum, they enjoy the level of decentralization EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) provides while also being able to use the infrastructure (wallets, integration) Ethereum Ecosystem provides.
To put it more simply, they are building a prediction market, where people could put their money where their mouth is. Building this thing decentralized will allow someone to gather the wisdom of the crowd while rewarding them with he Augur token in response.
NEM stand for New Economy Movement and it’s a blockchain that powers what the founders call a Smart Asset System. They are using an innovative mining algorithm, called Proof-of-Importance, to reach consensus on the network. Even though the NEM ecosystem if built for business applications and they don’t intend to promote the NEM coin as a currency to be used in transaction, it could still be an interesting investment opportunity if they are going to reach success.
Waves markets itself as the fastest blockchain in the world. They want to become the next Ethereum, a platform where developers can build and deploy smart-contracts with low-latency and low transaction fees. Following an 18 months development cycle, they announced a “totally redesigned” version 1.0 of their platform.
STEEM is a cryptocurrency used to power the Steemit platform – an incentivized blockchain social media platform where users create and curate content. But the steemit platform is just the first example of how the Steem’s Smart Media Tokens can be used to build platforms for publishers to monetize content and grow a community.
Since we just talked about Steem on the fifth place in our list, we should mention another blockchain technology brought to market by Dan Larrimer, who created not only Steem and BitShares but also EOS.
EOS is a platform for developers to deploy smart contracts in a way that allows them to support millions of users, is free to use, easily upgradable and with a low latency. The EOS platform will combine the scalability of Graphene and the power of Ethereum’s smart contract technology to bring to market what they hope will be a solution for developers to use blockchain technology to power their application
Even though there have been many people who say that Ethereum is dead, the price of their coin raised in 2017 from around $10 to over $1000 at the end of the year, and is still going strong. Even though there are a lot of voices who claim that Ethereum will succumb to it’s own success, because it cannot handle an app that gains even a modicum of popularity (see the explosion of cryptokittens at the end of last year), the developers behind it are hard at work to bring scalability to the platform.
Right now they are using the Proof-of-Work consensus method just as Bitcoin, but there are plans to switch to a Proof-of-Stake algorithm with the Casper update slated for sometime in 2018. If they manage to get this update right, they will be able to scale to millions of transactions per second, removing one of their main bottlenecks from mainstream adoption.
Monero is a secure, private and untraceable currency system. Even though Bitcoin was hailed as an anonymous way of exchanging currency, in reality all the transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain are public and anyone can see them. So if someone can put a name on a bitcoin address (let’s say, an exchange for example), they can follow you around the bitcoin blockchain and see what your spending habits are.
Monero fixes this problem by using a special kind of algorithm, called CryptoNode. This allows transactions to be mixed together and hide any evidence of the owner of the coins in the blockchain. Also, compared to bitcoin, monero is fungible, meaning that if a coin was previously used in a transaction that is illegal, a bitcoin coin will be “tainted” because the records are public and everyone can inspect the public blockchain, but a monero coin won’t suffer from this problem because of the built-in anonymity it provides.
Of course the number one currency to be watching in 2018 is Bitcoin. Even though more people have said about it that it’s days are numbered and that it’s dead, developers are working hard to make it past the shortfalls it inherited. They activated Segregated Witness in August 2017, the biggest protocol upgrade to date, allowing for second layer technologies to be built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain.
The first such instance of the second layer application is the Lightning Network. It allows the set-up of payment channels, allowing an infinite number of transactions between two parties without the need for them to be stored on the main bitcoin blockchain.
Another major update poised for 2018 for the Bitcoin blockchain is increased privacy through TumbleBit and ZeroLink. These are technical solutions to increase the privacy for the bitcoin users using a tumbler to create payment channels from all participants to all participants in a single mixing session.
So this is our top 10 Cryptocurrencies for 2018. What do you think about them? Do you think we left some out? Leave us your opinion in the comments section below!