No matter which side of the fence you are sitting on, there is no doubt that we are in the midst of an economic revolution. Cryptocurrency is at the core of this dynamic new movement, propelled by the current generation, many disillusioned with much of the same rhetoric from governments and craving a decentralized future for themselves and their families.
After a rip-roaring year in 2017, where an investment in most any cryptocurrency would have netted you huge marginal gains by year end, crypto market interest has reached fever pitch. This provides fantastic exposure to the benefits of cryptocurrency and decentralization, but, as everyone seeks to find the next big ‘moonshot’ coin, there are many a red-herring and pitfall along the way. This is exemplified in the recent story of BitConnect. To help keep you safe and in the know, we have compiled the following list, in no particular order, which features five of the most promising cryptocurrencies for 2018. Some are quite well known, whilst others may be a true diamond in the rough.
Litecoin identifies as a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open source software project. It is almost identical in function to that of Bitcoin. There are some key differences between the two however. Notably, the cost of a transaction using Litecoin is around 2% the cost of the same Bitcoin transaction. The second key divergence in Litecoin is that it confirms transactions up to 4 times faster than Bitcoin. This makes it much more useful in terms of financial transactions than Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
There are a number of factor which have influenced the inclusion of Litecoin in our listing. Foremost, we can see that in the year 2017, Litecoin grew to a record high of $360 on December 18th 2017. This capped a growth of almost 8200% from the previous year’s price. Although the market has now settled, Litecoin is still trading buoyantly around the $200 mark whilst many other cryptocurrencies have been floundering.
A key reason for its recent solidity has been the pending introduction of LitePay. Penned for a February 28th launch, it has encountered some initial teething problems, but CEO and former Google whiz, Charlie Lee still believes that the introduction of LitePay will represent a “game changer” in favor of the coin. This payment processor will enable Litecoin holders to pay for purchases at any Visa card retailer using their newly acquired LitePay visa card which is automatically connected to their Litecoin holding. Successfully implementing this system, with its low 1% transaction fees should open a whole new world of opportunity for Litecoin and hugely increase its accessibility to potential consumers.
The introduction of LitePay has even led Mr. Lee to remark on a potential “Flappening” where the market capitalization of Litecoin overtakes that of rival currency Bitcoin Cash. This would represent a significant movement for the currency and a bright 2018 to come.
Another huge gainer from 2017 and looking likely to continue flourishing in 2018, the Chinese answer to Ethereum, blockchain platform NEO. The aim of the developers with NEO, is to essentially be fully functional within a smart economy of the future. NEO retains its focus on staying compliant and is continually developing and increasing its already complex network to allow for this. NEO really is the up and coming, multi-purpose, blockchain platform for the future.
Using its PoS (Proof of Stake) model, as opposed to the more traditional PoW (Proof of Work) model employed by the like of Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies, allows for increased benefits too for the everyday holder of the coin. Under the Proof of Stake model, every coin holder is entitled to a block reward. This reward is periodically received in the form of GAS. Therefore, just by holding NEO in the appropriate wallet, you will essentially receive a percentage amount of GAS coins, which have also held a steady and growing value ($39.05). This is an example of passive income at its finest.
It literally pays to remember that NEO was also ranked as one of the top-gainers among last year’s coins. With a growth in the previous 12 months upwards of 30,000%, there is a strong confidence among the digital community that further large-scale growth can be achieved in 2018. NEO has established a complex network of partnerships over the last year. These include the likes of Microsoft China and a very strong development community called City of Zion (CoZ).
Scheduled for March 1st is also an airdrop of Ontology Coin (ONT). This was an ICO, developed by OnChain, whom are also a key partner in the NEO project. Coin holders can expect to receive 0.2 Ontology coins for each NEO in their wallet.
With such partnerships and developments of the platform, it is no surprise that many holders are bullish on the future if the coin. Many are predicting exponential growth in 2018. This can especially be the case if the Chinese market begins to open up its doors again. Besides, can you really afford to miss out on a coin which gained tens of thousands in percentage points in the previous 12 months?
Ripple may represent a somewhat controversial choice. This divisive coin has taken quite a beating lately and is certainly not a favorite of the purists. Despite that and risking the chagrin of some, we have included XRP on our watch list for 2018.
To provide a little background, Ripple is in fact a payment settling system. It has been implemented dozens of banks thus far who are seeking alternative methods for settling inter-banking transactions. Currently, the SWIFT system is implemented for this purpose around the world, however, Ripple provides a much faster (4 seconds) transaction speed as well as a much more secure and transparent network. All of these factors mean that by implementing Ripple, banks can save both time and money as well as increase security.
In actual fact, Ripple itself is not a cryptocurrency, rather a network. XRP is a token which is used to facilitate transfers on the Ripple network and everything is overseen by the Ripple company, based in California. This combination of circumstances has led to criticism from many in the cryptocurrency community who allege that Ripple is not truly decentralized and is against the core foundation of the cryptocurrency movement.
Whilst this and partnering with huge corporate banks, may validate the argument of many who accuse Ripple of not staying true to the cause and siding with the enemy, one cannot argue with its growth. From November 2017 to January 2018, Ripple skyrocketed, increasing upwards of 4,000% in that short-term and bringing it firmly on to the mainstream radar. Although there has been a pullback in the recent months, we firmly believe that Ripple is here to stay.
One of the major uncertainties facing the crypto sphere in the coming month and years, is how governments will regulate markets and cryptocurrencies. By staying hugely transparent and partnering up with many of the world major banks, Ripple has done a lot to secure its future and necessity within the mainstream marketplace.
The most important driving factor in terms of future value is utility. A cryptocurrency has to perform some key functions to make it necessary. This is an area where XRP manages to excel. It solves a very real problem within the banking industry by providing safer and faster transactions. Not only that, but as cryptocurrencies increase in use for daily transactions, people are seeking faster and faster transactions. It is no secret that the likes of Bitcoin or even Ethereum cannot meet this need currently. Ripple can conduct the same transactions at a fraction of the speed of these giants.
Therefore, despite the large number of XRP in circulation, we forecast even greater gains in 2018 for Ripple, with many predicting a rise to $5 from its current mark of $0.88.
Tron is another platform on the blockchain upon which applications can be built. It was founded in 2017 and we believe it represents a huge opportunity coming into 2018. The main purpose of Tron is to allow an entertainment infrastructure to be built on the blockchain. Allowing a content sharing ecosystem direct to the user is one of the key goals which 26 year-old Chinese CEO Justin Sun is hoping to promote.
Sun is a self-proclaimed protégé of Alibaba titan Jack Ma and is one of the brightest young minds in Asia. His relentless enthusiasm for the coin, expressed often through his twitter page, has developed something of a cult following for TRX.
This growing band of followers is not intended to take away from the technical accomplishments of the coin itself. Tron has partnered up with some very high profile companies in the Chinese entertainment industry such as Baofeng, which is known as the Netflix equivalent in China. There are also strong rumors persisting of a partnership with Alibaba. This would no doubt see the value of the coin skyrocket from its current position of $0.04.
Tron has also been listed on a growing number of large exchanges such as KUCoin. As these listings continue to grow, so too will the value.
On January 22nd, a blockchain game called Tron Puppies was launched on the platform in partnership with game.com, another great coup for the company. Users can buy, sell, breed and trade virtual puppies in the game using TRX. To the untrained eye, this may seem a small note, however, given the huge impact of the similarly themed CryptoKitties on the Ethereum network las year, this could turn out to be a major boost for the price of Tron.
Considering all the factors, not least that charismatic CEO Justin Sun appears to be in the mold of the next Jack Ma or Mark Zuckerberg, 2018 looks set to be the year when Tron realizes it’s much anticipated success. Many observers, including ourselves, expect TRX to hit $0.50 at some point within the year. This is not totally uncharted territory, it has traded at around $0.40 as recently as December. The advice is to get in now when the price looks to be a steal.
Last but not least in our listing of best cryptocurrencies for 2018 is DMarket. This coin may have bypassed a huge number of people. That is because it has only recently completed its ICO and launched for live trading on the EtherDelta exchange.
The area which DMarket is targeting is that of in-game trading. This is where computer gamers trade currency for in-game items. This is a surprisingly huge industry which revenues in the billions annually and represents a huge potential market for cryptocurrency.
DMarket, with its strong team of accomplished names in the industry is hoping to capitalize on this market by allowing users to easily trade game items across the entire market with any other users of other games and platforms. These in game items are a store of value in themselves and providing a platform for exchange as well as currency token in the form of DMT could reap huge benefits for the company and coin price in the coming year.
DMarket represents a fantastic opportunity to get in at the early stages of a fantastic project without taking the risks associated with ICO investing. Currently trading at $0.69 on the EtherDelta exchange, we expect to see big gains in the coming year as the infrastructure of the network continues to be developed and more players begin to get involved.
With so many currencies on the market to choose from, as well as ICOs, it is easy to have your head turned in every direction and despite your willingness to invest, be unsure how to proceed. With our insight, we hope to have narrowed down a shortlist of the best cryptocurrencies to buy in 2018. We hope that with our help, both the size and value of your portfolio can be greatly increased in the year to come.
*The views expressed in this article are opinions of the author only and do not represent any form of financial advice. We highly recommend that you stay well within your financial constraints when investing in cryptocurrencies.