In 2017, Bitcoin went stratospheric, with a single Bitcoin reaching a value of almost $20, 000 as the year closed. Although the cryptocurrency had dipped quite significantly in the early part of 2018, amid close scrutiny from regulators and tax authorities, Bitcoin's movements over the last year have certainly paved the way for up-and-coming altcoins.
Alternative coins refer to any other cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin. Based on price growth and market cap, An analysis of the top performing altcoins from 2017 points to where altcoins will be headed in 2018.
- EthereumSeeing a massive 36 018% return in 2017, Ethereum is the altcoin to watch in 2018. In 2017, the coin overtook Bitcoin, which grew 9,162% compared to Bitcoin’s 1,000%. Ethereum is a well-known contender to Bitcoin, not only for its leading growth over the last year, but also for its functionality built on a blockchain with several applications and for being a remarkable investment tool.
- RippleRipple has a total market cap of more than $79bn, and its price appeals to many, with one token costing as little as $2.05 at the time of writing, compared to $2,574.19 for Bitcoin Cash. Ripple has made remarkable progress in 2017, having the highest growth compared to all coins on this list – growing an unbelievable 36,018% last year. And in December, Ripple overtook Ethereum for the number two spot by market cap.
- LitecoinLaunched in 2011 by a former Google engineer, Litecoin has been referred to as the silver to bitcoin’s gold, with a market cap of $13,161,359,753 and a total circulation of more than 54-million tokens. Popular for drastically reducing the time needed to confirm new transactions while insuring more inclusive use of the coin, this alternative to Bitcoin has a growing following of loyal supporters around the globe.
- Bitcoin Cash Having only been on the market since August 2017, and created as a result of a hard fork, Bitcoin Cash has earned the fourth spot on this list of coins to watch in 2018 - with an impressive total market cap of about $43bn. Each coin costs around $2,574.19 and investors are looking forward to seeing this newer coin outperform some of the bigger altcoins on the market.
- NEM Having earned the nickname as ‘China’s Ethereum’, NEM is the currency popular for its POI (proof-of-importance) rather than a proof-of-work system. NEM grew 29,842% in 2017, three times the amount than Ethereum did, with a market cap of more than $12.5bn.
Investing in altcoins in 2018
With each coin offering something unique to the blockchain user, here’s a breakdown of what makes each coin a good investment this year:
- While Bitcoin has had a volatile 2017, Ethereum’s growth has been consistent, and it’s expected to reach new heights this year. Not only will its value grow, but so will the number of Dapps on its platform – leaving many excited about the prospects for ETH this year.
- Ripple is known for being the centralised, bank-focused digital currency – but it’s not just a currency, it’s also a system on which any currency, including bitcoin, can be traded. Founded by a fintech start-up, the number of XRP circulating is about seven billion out of a maximum supply of 100 billion.
- Heavily influenced by Bitcoin during its development, Litecoin is also one of bitcoin’s biggest global competitors. But, it’s also popular for having four times the total number of Bitcoins that can be mined, with a lifetime cap of 84-million coins. On top of that, it has a faster block generation rate, thus offering a faster transaction confirmation. And it’s not just for developers or peer-to-peer transactions – LTC can be widely used, from purchasing a can of soda to buying property.
- Bitcoin Cash is said to take over bitcoin this year since prominent Bitcoin figure, Craig Wright, recently announced his backing for BTH over BTC in 2018. Many investors are now looking to altcoins like BTH for better returns, with Bitcoin Cash already beating Bitcoin’s slow transaction times and high costs.
- Similar to what Bitcoin does with payments, NEM levels up with its “smart assets” – taking the appeal of Bitcoin and applying it to all technological infrastructures. From loans to health records, businesses see the need to invest more into their company’s digital structure. And since anyone is able to use NEM, (yes, you don’t need to be a programmer to use it and NEM allows coding in any language) the coin has fast-tracked its way onto the list of coins to watch this year.
If you’re looking to invest in one of the currencies on this list, market growth for altcoins in 2018 looks great. Bitcoin’s “dominance”
factor is currently only 37.5%-52.5% down from a year ago when it exceeded 90%.
Remember that no currency is protected from investors pulling out, laws changing, or the growing adoption of altcoins. At the time of writing, the crypto market was in the middle of a huge crash amid a major selloff. And even though most of those values have bounced back, the market is well known for its fluctuating nature, because, like any investment, values are subject to change based on uncontrollable and unpredictable factors.