As we enter into 2018, there are a few cryptocurrencies that have stuck out and that you probably should keep an eye on. By no means is this article intended to be an exhaustive or comprehensive list. Also, perhaps more importantly, the information in this article is not meant to promote or encourage any type of investment in these cryptocurrencies. The motive is to inspire further research and investigation of the crypto-market which has now a respectable market capitalization of over $600 billion (CoinMarketCap).
With that said, one of the cryptocurrencies to keep an on is Bitcoin Cash. Coinbase announced that it will fully support Bitcoin Cash (BCH). This means that it will become possible to trade and make payments with BCH via Coinbase. Support and update information for BCH on GDAX was also reported via Twitter by GDAX. More than likely, this news has caused Bitcoin Cash’s price to increase around 40% in a 24-hour span (CoinMarketCap). Bitcoin Cash (BCH) came into existence primarily due to scalability issues with bitcoin.
Generally speaking, supporters of cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin, like Bitcoin Cash, believe in increased block sizes. Therefore, block sizes with bitcoin cash are 8 MB compared to only 1 MB. Basically, BCH enthusiasts want to see faster transactions whereas the original bitcoin community doesn’t agree with this approach. Regardless of their differences, for a huge crypto-exchange like Coinbase to accept Bitcoin Cash has increased its legitimacy. It should be interesting to see how the crypto-community continues to react to Bitcoin Cash.
Another cryptocurrency to look out for is Verge (XVG). This cryptocurrency places top priority on maintaining user anonymity and a high level of security. Considering bitcoin’s scalability issues and slow transaction processing times, Verge aims to keep transaction times between 5 and 10 seconds. It accomplishes this by using the Simple Payment Verification (SPV) protocol with its Electrum wallet. With SPV, it is not necessary to download the entire blockchain. Only header information is needed to process transactions. Verge has been gaining momentum as its price has increased by 800%.
Many crypto-investors have also turned to Litecoin (LTC) this year because one of Litecoin’s priorities is to process transactions faster. Litecoin has increased in value by 8000%. This is many orders of magnitude greater than bitcoin. Litecoin transactions can be completed in a mere fraction of the time compared to bitcoin’s transaction times. Litecoin transaction costs are negligible. Litcoin has also been around since 2011, which adds to its credibility and legitimacy. Over the years, it has also become easier to acquire Litecoin. It’s worth noting, however, that Charlie Lee, the creator of the cryptocurrency has recently sold all of his LTC coins.
Qtum, a Chinese blockchain company, has found its place among the top 20 cryptocurrencies with a market capitalization of over $4.5 billion. Like Ethereum, Qtum facilitates Smart Contracts and decentralized applications, but is designed in a way that makes it more practical for businesses to work with (according to Qtum’s official website). On December 17th, Qtum was trading around $30 USD, but has since jumped to nearly $70 at the time of this writing (CryptoCompare).
Coinbase recently surpassed the Youtube app to become the #1 most downloaded application on the Apple App store. This indicates that people are continuing to take more interest in cryptocurrencies. It would not be unreasonable to expect cryptocurrency market capitalization to surpass $1 trillion, at least by the end of 2018. However, what’s more important is if the underlying technologies behind cryptocurrencies continue to develop in a way that makes them conducive to mainstream adoption.