Bitcoin is up over 400% this year and it’s moving closer than ever to its record high of almost $40,000. Is Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in value now different than the speculative frenzy of late 2017?
“The main difference between now and 2017 is that back then the market was driven by retail speculation and now it’s being driven by corporations and billionaires,” said Mati Greenspan, portfolio manager and founder of Quantum Economics.
Wall Street incumbent Fidelity, for instance, set up a new unit to let its clients invest in digital assets, while Paypal recently started letting its users trade a range of virtual currencies.
And there are now big-name investors putting their money into Bitcoin, including billionaire hedge fund managers Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller.
Bitcoin gained over 1300% during the 2017 frenzy. It may be the best known cryptocurrency and arguably the current gold standard for cryptocurrency investment. But more than a dozen other cryptocurrencies outperformed Bitcoin with gains ranging from 3300% up to Ripple’s astounding 36,000% gain. Since then, crypto enthusiasts have been trying to figure out the next cryptocurrency to skyrocket — and our research team compiled this list to help.
#1 Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin was the first and is the most well-known crypto on the market. It also benefits from the largest market cap and is among the most highly traded cryptocurrency, assuring liquidity in the short term. Bitcoin is the king when it comes to retail adoption, leading all other cryptocurrencies in terms of acceptance as a payment medium.
Bitcoin underwent a key technical event earlier this year called the “halving,” which saw the amount of Bitcoins awarded to the so-called “miners” who add Bitcoin transactions to its public ledger get cut in half. Some analysts say this event has contributed to the asset’s climb in 2020.
As for where Bitcoin could be headed from here, there are plenty of sky-high predictions for what price. It could zoom to in the near-to-long term. But many crypto enthusiasts agree Bitcoin is likely to surpass its all-time high soon.
#2 Ethereum (ETH)
As the currency and platform that made “smart contracts” part of the cryptocurrency market’s vocabulary, Ethereum has seen massive gains since its introduction in 2015. Currently trailing only to Bitcoin in regard to market capitalization, Ethereum has become one of the most widely discussed cryptocurrency projects in the world.
A consortium of some of the biggest names in the business, including Microsoft, Intel, Chase, and J.P. Morgan are building business-ready versions of the software that drives Ethereum. With momentum and market enthusiasm behind the Ethereum project, there’s no reason to think ETH has run its course and investors should consider Ethereum as part of a cryptocurrency portfolio.
#3 Ripple (XRP)
Ripple diverges from much of its cryptocurrency competitors in a number of ways. Ripple is an invention of Ripple Labs, and the Ripple token is being used in high-speed and low-cost money transfers worldwide.
Ripple Labs has announced a number of partnerships with leading money transfer services, with more financial market partnership expected in the future.
Unlike other cryptos trading on hopes and dreams, Ripple is being used in the real world today, showing signs of future adoption within the financial market community. Ripple rose in value over 36,000% in 2017, but similar gains seem unlikely going forward.
#4 EOS (EOS)
Another cryptocurrency with smart contracts like Ethereum, and which is gaining in popularity is EOS. EOS is credited with being the first blockchain operating system, offering decentralized applications that live on the blockchain and parallel processing, enabling faster transaction speeds and better scalability than some competitors. Transactions on the EOS network are free.
Many competitors, including Ethereum, have a transaction fee for transferring coins of tokens from one wallet address to another. EOS concluded its year-long ICO in May of this year, raising a total of $4 billion. The longer-duration ICO was done in an attempt to create an orderly market for EOS without the dramatic run-up and sudden crash common to cryptocurrencies when launched.
Enthusiasm for the project remains high, and EOS is one of the most actively traded cryptocurrencies on exchanges.
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#5 Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash, a fork of the original Bitcoin project, is one to watch, as it’s the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.
If forced to level criticism against Bitcoin in its current form, slow transaction speeds are among its primary challenges. Bitcoin Cash was developed using modified code from the Bitcoin project that allowed larger block sizes, promoting faster transaction times and better scalability.
Although not yet as widely accepted or as widely known as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash is still a promising alternative to Bitcoin with an enthusiastic market following.
#6 Litecoin (LTC)
Now accepted as a payment method at Overstock.com, Litecoin may also have a bright future. Long-term investors in LTC have been rewarded with up to 20x returns, although a spike in late December 2017 sent the price to over $350.
Litecoin is consistently one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies when measured by market cap. Plus, it boasts a faster transaction time than Bitcoin, largely attributed to its use of a different type of algorithm to add transactions to the blockchain. Increased transaction speed also enhances scalability.
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