With over 2000 thousand options for altcoins out there, it’s hard to figure out which have the most promise. It takes quite a bit of research, and even then there are frauds to beware of and advice from people motivated by greed and promoting their personal favourites. Considering this, how do you know which projects are worth following?
My focus is always on those that will contribute to the social good in some way. There are cryptocurrency projects doing amazing things in this regard right now. Some of the ones I discuss below are well-established. Others, have yet to prove themselves.
Disclaimer: This is not financial advice. I do not recommend investing in any of the projects discussed below. Instead, I recommend researching them further.
Basic Attention Token
BAT is a promising project. The team has significant experience in the tech industry, which is key to succeeding in the cryptocurrency space. The BAT token is a unit of account between advertisers, publishers, and users. The company does not encourage trading the tokens on any exchanges. Synonymous with BAT is the Brave browser, which seamlessly integrates with the BAT token. The browser can repel malware and protect the privacy of users while they surf the web. Citing the costs of data usage and energy that users face because of unwanted ads on their mobile devices, BAT addresses issues that many can relate to. It banks on the fact users will welcome a browser that blocks trackers and ads that sell their personal information. I would tend to agree.
ZCash is a permissionless cryptocurrency that can completely protect the privacy of a transaction using zero-knowledge cryptography. Plain and simple, ZCash transactions are private. I think the fact ZEC is secure and sought out by people who want their transaction to remain private adds value to the project. This value will only deepen as darknet markets continue to grow. Regardless of what we might think about the morality of darknet markets, ZCash continues to improve on issues such as memory consumption of a private transaction. The Zcash dev team recently published technical improvements they claim will reduce the memory consumption of transaction privacy by 98%.
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Stellar’s goal is providing a fast, efficient, and inexpensive service to individuals for cross-border payments. Unlike Ripple, however, Stellar is geared to individuals, not large institutions. Companies like Paypal currently dominate the online payment sector and charge around 5% in fees per transaction. In contrast, Stellar offers 5-second transaction speeds and low fees (e.g. the Tempo remittances dApp running on the Stellar blockchain can process 600,000 transactions for 0.01 USD). Importantly, Stellar is it does not use proof of work verification, which means it doesn’t have to deal with the energy consumption issue plaguing Bitcoin (instead of PoW it uses the Stellar Consensus Protocol). Finally, Stellar has established several partnerships with large tech companies, including IBM. For these reasons, I think Stellar has a great future.
Stratis is a blockchain-based platform that simplifies the development, testing, and deployment of C# applications on the dot NET framework. Even with the decline of ICOs, Stratis can still thrive because it still has its use case moving forward. Stratis is offering solutions that are compatible with government regulation of the ICO and cryptocurrency space. With regulation almost certainly on the way, I can see a world where Stratis thrives. Another interesting pattern to note is that Stratis’s market price has consistently outperformed the US dollar since the beta launch of its mainnet.
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Cardano is a smart contract platform, much like Ethereum. What makes Cardano different is that it can accommodate the needs of its users with the demands of regulators. As stated on the project website, Cardano “is a technological platform that will be capable of running financial applications currently used every day by individuals, organizations and governments all around the world.”
One sign this project has potential is Coinbase has it on their radar, and they do extensive research before adding any coin to their platform. Not only this, but Cardano is innovative. Rather than creating another Ethereum copy, Cardano has developed its cryptocurrency network for their use case. That, in my eyes, is an underrated quality in the cryptocurrency space.
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Another new project with exciting tech is Skynet. Skynet believes automated machines will eventually culminate in superintelligence systems with power over human life. Skynet’s goal is making sure these systems function to benefit humanity. In a nutshell, Skynet will link Internet of Things (IoT) devices worldwide to a blockchain network using the world’s first blockchain chip (based on RISC V architecture). The Skynet chip will be embedded in small IoT edge nodes or servers, thus giving billions of these devices instant access to IoT blockchain networks. The infrastructure will use a Ledger Nano S hardware wallet.
Skynet is one of the most ambitious projects I have come across in a while. The team behind it has the academic and practical experience to know about the technology and the urgency of paying attention to how autonomous robotics will shape our future. I love Skynet’s plan to create a distributed network that functions like a “hive mind”, giving devices the capacity to self-organize, learn, and autonomously transfer information. The fact that this collective knowledge is distributed ensures the devices don’t take control over human affairs and form a centralized intelligence against us.
A new project on this list, 4New is neat in terms of tech. 4New collects trash from cities and burns it in specialized combustion tanks pollution free. This generates electricity which is then used for cryptocurrency mining. Their token, the KWATT token, is purchased by a user and can be staked by the user. This token is backed by the electricity they’ve created and the value raises as more crypto is mined.
I love how this project is working to help create environmentally sustainable blockchains. Specifically, 4New is offering a solution to the increasing energy use of PoW (Proof of Work) systems in a way that is eco-friendly.
Dash is built on Bitcoin’s code but with enhanced transaction privacy and speed. It has seen very consistent growth over the course of its existence. Dash has made headlines recently for its association with the cannabis industry (i.e. Dash offers a banking solution as conventional banks won’t work with the cannabis industry.). It is this particular niche that makes Dash one to watch. On top of their payment system being on point, Dash also has an ecstatic community. That kind of community support can be instrumental in bringing cryptocurrency to the mainstream.
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