Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re already well aware of the success Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have had this year. Billions of dollars are traded on a daily basis, with some coins and tokens seeing growth above 5,000% in a matter of weeks or even days, and hundreds of rags to riches stories appearing as a result.
We’ve been through this before with the Dot-com boom and many still talk about “how rich I’d be, if only I had invested in…”. Some critics are waiting on the cryptocurrency bubble to pop, but I think there’s still plenty of gas in the tank, as highlighted by the 5 projects below.
The cryptoworld is much more technical, complex, and occasionally even shady. There’s a lot of insider trading, “pump and dump” groups that manipulate prices, and even projects that are outright scams.
On the flip side, there are a myriad of extremely innovative, legitimate currencies out there that are likely to disrupt almost every industry in the next decade.
After talking to some of the smartest people involved in the crypto-communities and countless of hours of research, I’ve picked out 5 of the best cryptocurrencies to keep an eye out for in 2018. These are projects with real communities, real value offerings, and a lot of potential.
Disclaimer: these endorsements do not constitute financial advice, and should not be taken as recommendations for investment. Do your own research and consider consulting a professional before making any investments into cryptocurrencies.
Skywire and Skycoin
Net neutrality and consumer data privacy emerged as two key issues in tech in 2017. If you're concerned about paying ridiculous fees to ISPs for unreliable coverage, having your data sold, or government monitoring and censorship - Skycoin provides hope. These are the core issues Skycoin is attempting to solve.
Skywire is being developed to be the new internet. The entire network runs peer-to-peer and is completely decentralized, meaning that the users maintain and own the entire ecosystem.
With zero-fee transactions confirming in seconds, Skycoin has already proven it can scale as an asset and created the basis for Skywire. In the year ahead they will continue to bring the Skywire network online and attempt to make Skycoin a day-to-day currency with developments such as mobile wallets.
Meanwhile they’ll be giving more people the chance to earn Skycoin for hosting the Skywire network on their devices, incentivizing the growth of a better internet, supporting personal online freedom.
Solar Bankers and SunCoin
Solar Bankers is not your average crypto-startup. It’s a mature company that developed and patented the next generation of solar devices. Their technology uses a high-tech holographic nanostructured film that manages light in a smart and innovative way to efficiently convert sunlight to electricity. They produce solar panels, solar concentrators, solar windows, solar tiles, energy saving films and light recycling modules.
Looking to reduce the cost of electricity, help the planet, or make a profit using solar power? That’s what SunCoin will let you do.
Members of the community can exchange their tokens (SunCoin) for Solar Bankers’ energy-generating equipment to produce electricity. The electricity they produce can be either used in their daily life, stored, or sold to their neighbors through smart micro-grids.
Owners of SunCoin will be able to:
- Trade SunCoin for other cryptocurrencies or fiat currency;
- Buy cheap and environmentally-friendly electricity from other members in the decentralized network;
- Purchase Solar Bankers’ energy-generating equipment to produce energy for private consumption or sale on the local marketplaces;
- Trade SunCoin for CO2 Emission Certificates.
The coin is currently in their initial coin offering (ICO) stage, which is the equivalent of fundraising in the cryptoworld. It’s also worth mentioning that the value of their token is backed by physical assets in the form of solar devices.
The team behind it consists of remarkably experienced people in solar, business, and blockchain technologies. They’ve also already signed projects with government organizations in Dubai, Turkey, China, and several countries in central America.
Lastly, SunCoin, as a cryptocurrency in its own right, represents a far more efficient and secure alternative to existing digital currencies because it is based on a new generation of blockchain technology that involves a revolutionary consensus algorithm, ultra-fast transactions with no fees, and a multi-layered security structure.
Phore's mission for 2018 is mainstream use of the Phore currency for both public and private transactions, spearheaded by their unique, decentralized marketplace. The marketplace will charge no fees for listings or final sale prices as you’d find on eBay, and transaction fees are much lower than other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The information to complete the transaction, e.g. the shipping address, is shared securely between buyers and sellers and is not collected or stored in any central location.
The Phore community will also directly encourage and support development of new products and services to be sold on the market. Buyers will have the option of converting their Phore into the privacy enabled zPHR and use that to make their purchases, leaving no linkage on the Phore blockchain between the buyer and seller. The marketplace will also give people a new way to obtain cryptocurrency by selling products or services there in exchange for Phore.
They will also be releasing a private, decentralized crowdfunding platform similar to existing ones such as Kickstarter, however without the huge processing fees. Shortly after, another service which is scheduled for release, will be Phores very own "Click and Collect" Vendor Pilot Programme. This will allow buyers in one city to place orders through the marketplace and collect their goods later on, in person. Alongside all of this, Phore aims to provide scholarships and bursaries to young developers who are interested in working on blockchain projects and services.
The Phore blockchain is also receiving many technical enhancements in 2018 with the inclusion of features such as Segwit and Atomic Swaps, the latter of which will allow rapid, peer to peer exchanges to be made between Phore and other cryptocurrencies.
Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between parties directly written into lines of code and stored within the blockchain. Phore intends to revolutionize this protocol with the introduction of their “Synapse Privacy Smart Contracts”. This will allow more complex transactions to be done using Phore, whilst providing layers of anonymity on top of Smart Contracts. The addition of smart contracts to Phore’s impressive technical foundation creates a powerful platform for creating private, secure, and completely decentralized applications (dApps) running directly on the blockchain.
For 2017 the worldwide video game market was estimated to be worth over $100 billion dollars. The cryptocurrency world has seen a number of video game-related projects sprout up and we’ve found Enjin Coin to be a very promising project in 2018.
Enjin is one of the largest hosts in the world for video gamers with over 19 million users spread across 250,000 communities. They allow communities to be built around a myriad of popular games such as Minecraft and World of Warcraft.
All of these players enjoy making in-game purchases for special “virtual” items, such as swords, armor, and special abilities, and it is one of the largest sources of revenue for gaming companies. However, there are a multitude of issues with counterfeit items, delays in payment processing, and lost goods which players can’t recover or transfer.
Enter Enjin Coin. It’s a utility token which harnesses the power of the Ethereum blockchain to connect video game communities through commerce. It changes the way we view virtual items by giving them intrinsic value and security, allowing us to truly consider them digital assets. Players can buy and sell virtual goods minted with Enjin coins instantly and the value of those goods can be transferred from player to player and from game to game with security and trust provided by Enjin’s network.
Enjin has built “the world’s most secure mobile cryptocurrency wallet, for Bitcoin, Litecoin, and all ERC-20 tokens.” They built the Enjin Smart Wallet with top-of-the-line security and went above and beyond to create a mobile app that can turn your smartphone into a beautiful and secure cryptocurrency wallet. In 2018 Enjin’s gaming communities will begin to use the token for minting virtual goods and to make in-game purchases.
As mentioned earlier, there are many legitimate projects in the cryptocurrency world and the market is exploding. Almost $4 billion was used to fund project Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in 2017. However, there are many newcomers who posses very little technical knowledge for assessing projects based on merit.
Many new investors in the cryptocurrency world have fallen victim to malicious projects, bad-actors, and scams who have run off with investors’ money never to be heard from again.
Ethereum Blue (BLUE) is a cryptocurrency which aims to act as first-line defense against these bad actors. Blue prevents crypto scams by analyzing project code for red flags and offering an early warning; think of them as the McAfee anti-virus software for cryptocurrency.
Creating malicious programming code is easy to do and little oversight is involved in the process. It’s common for a new “coin” to have millions of dollars invested in it only for the project founders to disappear with the funds. Contracts with infinite minting, transfers of tokens without balance checks, and even development errors that allow infinite printing are all ways in which projects can “cheat” the system. In the summer of 2017, authorities in India raided the offices of a dubious ponzi-scheme called “OneCoin” and seized $2 million of investor funds. They later discovered that as much as $350 million had already been sent offshore.
This fraud is the proverbial elephant-in-the-room for those in the cryptocurrency world and has become a large and obvious problem. A problem which we think the Ethereum Blue project is capable of solving. BLUE’s goal is to be the stamp of approval applied to all projects on the Ethereum blockchain. BLUE will have the decentralized security tools to scan any potential project’s code and screen for malicious code.
They are bringing security and convenience to the platform. For the first time, buyers will be able to easily and safely invest and trade in Ethereum ERC-20 tokens, without having to risk their hard-earned cash.
Quoting Head Developer “Uni Banker”:
It's a big opportunity for us, when we see the state of the art in crypto software tools, and we see the potential, it's just amazing that we are the first ones here. Bringing security and peace of mind to these investors is our first priority, and the BLUE token helps us accomplish that.
Ethereum Blue is currently trading on CoinExchange.io and EtherDelta.com under the ticker symbol BLUE. You can also learn more about them on their website, where a major announcement is soon to take place on January 7, 2018.
The world of cryptocurrencies is a wild west today. There are fortunes being made and lost on a minute-by-minute basis, with seemingly ridiculous sums on the line.
But underlying all the hype, speculation, and shady practices are a handful of truly innovative and unique applications of blockchain technology that will change the way society operates.
Just as with the dot-com boom and bust of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, a lot of fly-by-night operations will come and go in the crypto space over the next few years. But the true winners over the next few years will likely be around for decades due to strong network effects, and will undoubtedly be worth trillions, combined.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be publishing more helpful resources related to the cryptocurrency space, including guides, research, interviews with influencers, and projects to watch out for.
Stay tuned here and follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss a thing.