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My Best 6 Altcoin/Cryptocurrency Investments for 2018
DISCLAIMER: None of the following is intended to be investment advice. This is only meant to be a description of what has worked well for me so far, and my own opinions. Also, full disclosure, my links to Coinbase, Binance, KuCoin etc., include referrals. It actually benefits you to use them because we will both get an extra $10 worth of BTC for free if you deposit at least $100 to Coinbase. Thanks in advance if you follow the links when you make your accounts - and even if you don’t, I hope this list helps you out!
Cryptocurrencies have taken the world by storm in 2017. You can’t turn on your TV or go online without seeing journalists jabbering endlessly about Bitcoin - and the sad fact is, most of them have no idea what they’re talking about! I recently saw one major news network suggest that Bitcoin was trading near a “three-year low” at $13755/coin; totally asinine, right?
The fact is there are almost 1,400 altcoins out there right now, and it’s very difficult to separate ponzi schemes and unicorn dreams from viable, useful coins that might make you rich. Nobody wants to put their money on a loser, which is exactly why I do so much research on which coins I want to put big money into. I’m going to pass some of this hard-earned information on to you now by showing you my top 6 cryptocurrencies that I’m most excited about for 2018. I’ll evaluate them broadly, but my main two criteria are the following:
Market Price: Ideally we want to get in on the ground floor of coins with great potential but very little market capitalization. We can’t psychically predict the future, of course, but it’s great to get in early. It goes without saying that a coin rising ten cents from an original price of $0.01 is far more lucrative to an investor than a coin rising ten cents from an original price of $10.
Use Case: What exactly is this coin trying to do? Could the technology behind this coin be described as a “paradigm shift” or at least an iterative improvement on what came before? Coins will easily earn a valuable place in the real world if they solve real world problems. If they don’t, any rise is likely to be short-lived. We want long-term winners!
Now that we’ve established the parameters, let’s get started with the list!
As I’ve previously written, ARK impresses me a lot. More than any altcoin I’ve seen, it is functional. Basically every detail about this coin makes it obvious that the developers have put hard, skillful labor into it. The wallet works smoothly, the delegated proof of work system is implemented and working fine, and actual ARK transactions are quick and cheap (though it remains to be seen if this keeps up under heavy network load).
In a world where cryptocurrencies are in their infancy, ARK feels “complete.” Obviously more development is coming on this coin, but from a user perspective my opinion is that you’re just not going to find a better DPOS (Delegated Proof of Stake) coin out there.
Market Price: Comfortably low. At the time of this writing, it’s $6.74/ARK and ranked 41 by market capitalization. ARK is somehow flying under the radar despite being one of the most polished altcoins out there today. To be frank, at this price if someone gave me $50,000 and told me I had to put it into one altcoin and keep it there for five years, ARK would be the one.
Use Case: ARK’s approach to its DPOS system is a use case in and of itself. It’s very psychologically attractive to gain 10% interest in your money - this sort of thing used to be pretty common until corrupt (or inept) bankers and bureaucrats wreaked havoc on western economies. Now the idea of a bank account that gives you 10% interest is unheard of - instead of getting time-value on your money, you get negative time-value on your money in the form of inflation. Obviously this is not great for your regular person, and ARK may be the vehicle that returns interest to the people.
As far as use cases go, the actual goals of ARK go beyond financial. ARK will eventually have features that cover a wide variety of use cases.
- Smart contracts
- Push-button deployable blockchains (making it extremely easy to fork ARK - attractive to startups!)
- “IPFS” (Inter-Planetary File System), a fancily-named concept for a “peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol.” Basically, one will be able to put an “IPFS link” into ARK’s blockchain. The content doesn’t go directly on the content (so as to prevent bloat), but the content is timestamped and secured nonetheless. This actually reminds me of Tron’s main use case, and I’m curious which coin will end up doing it better.
- “SmartBridge” partnerships with other projects, i.e., communication with other blockchains. Many coins are attempting to do this sort of thing, and if ARK succeeds it may blow coins like Stellar (XLM) out of the water.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture: in my opinion, ARK is a solid buy for 2018.
Leverage. That’s what SALT brings to the table. When I wrote about SALT previously, I spent most of the time gushing about how this coin is going to bring something unique to the world of cryptocurrency. The jury is still out on the actual lending platform (they’re still in the process of rolling it out for non-enterprise users), but if it does even half the things they say it will, this coin is going to change everything.
Market Price: Low, and not likely to stay that way for long. It is currently ranked 38 by market capitalization and is worth about $13 per SALT Membership. There are rumblings that arbitrage is going to make the market price rocket up to the “retail price” on the Lending Platform of about $27, now that loans are being rolled out. We’ll see!
Use Case: The concept of leveraging against your blockchain assets is incredible because it injects an enormous amount of liquidity into what is otherwise a pretty illiquid market. Have ten million dollars in Bitcoin? Good luck turning that into fiat easily. SALT fixes that problem by allowing you to get a loan and use your Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrency) as collateral. This isn’t the only case for lending, of course, but it’s a big one. I also love the idea of smart contracts handling typical lending problems like missed payments, etc.
Basically, SALT is solving a problem that, as far as I know, no other cryptocurrencies have really thought about. That means it gets a big check mark from me. One caveat: some people seem believe SALT to be a ponzi scheme. This is probably the riskiest coin on this list that I’m writing about. I included it in my top 6 because of my belief that blockchain-based loans could be revolutionary; as with anything, invest at your own risk!
Two words: “the Tangle.” The Bitcoin scaling debate has been a plague on the cryptocurrency community, turning friends and brothers into enemies. IOTA bypasses this problem entirely by trading the blockchain for a directed acyclical graph. This is a lateral-thinking solution to the problem, and I’d love to see it succeed. The coin admittedly has some big problems it needs to solve; but, as I wrote in my previous IOTA writeup, the promise of an automatically self-scaling system is enough to get me very interested in this coin.
Market Price: Higher than I’d like, but still workable. This coin is worth $3.36 right now, and is ranked 7th by coin market capitalization. However, as I wrote before, it’s important to keep in mind that if the Tangle works then IOTA is a legitimate contender for the absurdly high market capitalization currently enjoyed by Bitcoin. There is room for a lot of growth here.
Use Case: Putting aside all the talk about scaling, IOTA is intended to be the “backbone” or lifeblood of the Internet of Things. The future will consist of various smart devices talking to each other - and if they can pay each other with a cryptocurrency like IOTA, many tasks can be made easier. My car can pay the meter, my self-driving taxi can charge IOTA based on its electricity or gasoline consumption, and so on. With that said, I still think the more pertinent use case is simply IOTA as a currency. Scaling is the bogeyman of cryptocurrency, and sidestepping that bogeyman is one way market capitalization can be won.
4) Tron (TRX)
As I stated in my review of Tron, for me, Tron is all about censorship resistance - and not the regular kind that most cryptocurrencies enjoy (i.e., the resistance to governments “shutting down” a coin or stopping people from transacting it). As a decentralized content distribution platform, I expect it’s going to be difficult to lock out content creators based on petty politics, banal rules, or any other factor. I believe this is (in general) a good thing, but more importantly it’s a lucrative thing. In the modern world many content creators currently suffer from having their platform demonetized (e.g., YouTube videos) or pulled out from under them entirely. Cryptocurrency is all about bypassing the old-world gatekeepers, and if Tron can do this then I am totally on board.
Market Price: Pretty low. This coin is worth $0.03/TRX and is ranked 19th by market capitalization. This means that if and when TRX hits the top ten, we’re easily looking at a valuation in the double digits - and a fifty cent TRX is an enormous multiple of what the coin is worth today.
Use Case: If you ignore my personal theories about Tron’s effect on censorship, you’ve still got a pretty amazing concept. Let’s face it: old-world centralized distribution platforms from big companies like Google Play and the Apple Store are dinosaurs. There are a variety of reasons to really, really dislike these platforms. The barrier to entry for developers is often draconian and obnoxious, and the user often finds themselves not being able to get what they want. Basically, Tron is the content creator’s friend, and that alone makes TRX a fascinating altcoin.
5) Verge (XVG)
Verge is the first coin I wrote an article about, and I did so when it was worth two cents. It’s had some drama and some ups and downs, but after all that it’s still worth about 14 cents today - meaning that anyone who gleaned information from my article and bought XVG probably made 700% (or more, if they sold at the top) gains on their purchase. Now, I’m not into empty speculation, but that’s still pretty cool to think about - if one had the foresight to put something like $35,000 into XVG at the time of my writing, they might have walked away with about a quarter of a million dollars or more!
Market Price: Still quite low, regardless of the ups and downs. With its market capitalization ranked at #20, it still has a long way to go. Out of all the coins on this list, I believe Verge is likeliest to climb the market capitalization ranks soonest - and this is on account of something called the Wraith protocol. I’ll get into that in a moment.
Use Case: This is a privacy-oriented coin. The intent is to mask your identity as you go about conducting your affairs with XVG. It may seem unsavory, but the reality is that Bitcoin made its bones in the darknet with people buying and selling illicit things on the Silk Road. There are way more legitimate reasons to want privacy for your transactions, though - it is a legitimate use case that many regular people crave. It is useful from a human rights standpoint, as well; I imagine people living under a repressive government would be very happy to be able to obfuscate how they are using their funds.
The technology behind Verge is very important when considering what the price will be over the next year. With the Tor network, your identity is effectively hidden when you send or receive XVG. A third party is only able to see that a certain amount of XVG was sent from one public address to another public address - the third party does not have access to your IP or any other identifying information. Once the “Wraith protocol” is released, this privacy will be beefed up even further - a peeping third party won’t even be able to see your public addresses, only that some particular amount of XVG was sent from one person to another person. According to many recent reports, the Wraith protocol may be released within the next few days. With the Wraith protocol coming soon, my opinion is that XVG has nowhere to go but up. I see Wraith as a sort of watershed moment for this currency; if it works, people are going to see XVG as far more legitimate and perhaps they will invest accordingly. If a functional Wraith protocol does not get released, then we are likely to see a reduction in price until it does. Either way, I think this coin has life in it despite all the controversy surrounding it.
6) Bitcoin (BTC)
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Bitcoin isn’t an altcoin! That’s cheating,” right? Well, okay, guilty as charged. But the reality is that Bitcoin is still the crown king of market capitalization by a long shot. That crusty old dinosaur might be ancient in tech-years, but he’s still roaming the earth eating whatever he wants. Like it or not, Bitcoin is the brand of cryptocurrencies, and it’s the word that average people are most likely to be aware of. I believe it goes without saying that almost everyone is at least dimly aware of Bitcoin at this point, but very few people know altcoins exist at all, let alone how to trade them.
“But Malcolm,” you might say, “Bitcoin has deep technical flaws that are keeping it from scaling properly.” Sure. And if these problems don’t get resolved or at least partially alleviated in the next two years, we might finally see market capitalization shift away from Bitcoin. But then again - will it? First mover advantage is an enormously powerful thing here. One could make the argument that “dumb money” is what will fuel the ever-meteoric rise of BTC’s price, but how dumb could it be if people are still doubling and tripling their money? Basically, it’s possible that Bitcoin will continue to rise in value - and if it does, it might do so at an insane rate. It’s within the realm of possibility that Bitcoin ends up securing a permanent place as a sort of “reserve currency” for the crypto world, based on little more than its first mover advantage.
Market Price: Ludicrously high at $14,000, and according to John McAfee it’s going much higher. He predicts a price of, get this, one million dollars per BTC by 2020. Honestly? As insane as it sounds, I’m not ruling it out. I think people are realizing that cryptocurrencies are to 2017 what the internet was to the mid 1990s, and that means there’s an enormous amount of money to be made here. Of course, this is Bitcoin. Anyone who lived through the Great Goxing understands that the price can drop by 70% over the course of a few days. For me, though, that possibility doesn’t stop me from keeping some BTC in my portfolio - this is the coin that started it all, and I don’t think it’s going to completely vanish even if it does temporarily crash.
Use Case: Debatable, but mostly limited. When I first got into Bitcoin it was marketed as this incredible technology with the ability to send money from one side of the planet to the other. The idea was that these transactions would be extremely quick and cheap. Neither of these things are true anymore. Bitcoin Cash supporters claim this is because the Core developers doggedly refuse to increase block size, and Bitcoin enthusiasts’ defense is that Bitcoin simply has more transactions running through it than other cryptocurrencies and therefore has a larger burden to bear. Part of the problem is institutional; for example, I paid something like $25 to transfer some BTC out of Coinbase the other day. This is an insane fee, and I’m forced to wonder how much it would have been if their platform supported SegWit? Whatever the reason for the slow transactions and high fees, it needs to be resolved.
Agree with my list? Have any other ideas about coins that might do well in 2018? Let me know! I love to hear feedback from people and get ideas on what coins to research and possibly add to my portfolio. You never know, I might even write an article about it!
If you’re new to cryptocurrencies, don’t worry - it’s easy to get in on this! Here are the basic steps:
- Buy some Bitcoin or Ethereum from Coinbase.
- Trade them for altcoins on Binance, KuCoin, HitBTC, or Changelly. Out of these, Binance is my preferred exchange.
- If feasible, store your coins offline in a wallet for security purposes. Use an inexpensive Android phone with the Coinomi wallet app, or go ultra secure with a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S or Trezor.
If you’re looking for a more lengthy guide to purchasing altcoins from start to finish, just take a look at my page - I’ve written a lot about this!
Come back soon because more content like this is always coming! If my work helped you or gave you something to think about, share it with others:
Sharing helps more people find my articles, and I’d love to be able to assist as many people as possible with cryptocurrencies. Also, if you have any ideas for future articles or specific questions, I’d love to hear them. One last thing: if you’d like to chat with me in real time, check out my Discord!
Posted: Dec 30, 2017
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