You've read the news - Bitcoin is up, Bitcoin is down, Bitcoin is this, Bitcoin is that and... now Bitcoin really is down. You've likely already decided whether or not it's something you're interested in. But it's not the only cryptocurrency you should be keeping an eye on. There are plenty of altcoins that are looking to do big things in the space in 2018 and we've got five you should definitely keep an eye on.
So you've heard about Bitcoin and maybe even invested a little cash into it, hoping that its price continues to skyrocket. But Bitcoin isn't the only cryptocurrency looking to shake up the way that we process transactions around the world. There are hundreds of others that have slowly began rising to prominence as cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream.
When we discussed some viable Bitcoin alternatives back in December 2017, Monero was high on the list. The major advantage of Monero is that it aims to be completely anonymous, which is definitely beneficial for those that are operating in some of the murkier places on the internet. Its more mainstream adoption will require some of the business entities that start using blockchain and crypto technologies to invest in it and use it as their primary means of moving value around - the privacy will be the most important aspect to them.
I can see Monero having a good year, especially if the mainstream press starts banging on about regulation, tax crackdowns and the like - total anonymity will be sought.
As of writing, 1 Monero is valued at ~$395.
Has remained number two for a long time in the crypto space and with good reason. It's a strong contender to have one of the best years in crypto based purely on its applications - every single time you hear about a new Initial Coin Offering, there's a good chance that it's based on Ethereum's blockchain. That's particularly powerful, but it can also be harmful in the long run depending on how much crazy coins start jumping on the network.
Remember CryptoKitties? That thing slowed down the network pretty heavily, so there's a risk that applications and ICOs based off the network cause it some scalability issues. Side note: Ethereum also has a highly transparent owner that doesn't mince words and is known for his brutal honesty. Not sure if that's good or bad.
As of writing, 1 Ether is valued at ~$956
Ripple is a little bit different to other cryptos on this list, but it needs to be in the watch column still based on how closely it has been associated with the major banks. Essentially, Ripple just functions like their own business and provide a means for businesses to transfer money quickly and cheaply. Our previous column suggested that Ripple could have a good year in 2018 but that will be contingent on a few things: Will it get listed on Coinbase and will we see an uptick across the board in cryptos later in the year?
Both big question marks at the moment, but provided you get in at the right time, you could be looking at big gains. Being so cheap, it looks attractive, but don't let that dictate whether or not you buy in.
As of writing, 1 Ripple is valued at ~$1.10
Some of the big advantages of Stellar are how blazingly fast it is (especially compared to Bitcoin right now), the low transaction fees (another sticking point for Bitcoin) and the fact that it has a low energy consumption (while opponents of Bitcoin routinely mention its high environmental impact). With strong partnerships rolling in - Stripe, IBM, FairX, Mobius - Stellar has a chance to take over the cryptocurrency discussion in 2018.
It's also one of those cryptos that just generates interest because of its name and more mainstream news outlets have been discussing it alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Another one that is cheap to buy right now. As of writing, 1 Stellar is valued at ~$0.40
I've gone a little way out of the top 10 cryptos (in terms of market cap) to have a look at VeChain, another blockchain-based platform that is focused on using the technology to build more real-world applications for blockchain tech like tracking supply chain management. Securing the supply chain is a huge move for industry, so VeChain is a unique product in the space with a real chance to go to the moon.
Like Stellar, they have been pushing partnerships and moving into more and more industries where their service can be most readily utilised. The community that's begun to build on places like Reddit has been, at times, a little toxic, but in the past few months things have really settled down and one of the larger communities - r/cryptocurrency - has begun to take VeChain more seriously. Absolutely one that could make big gains in 2018 - just look at their last month or so.
As it stands, 1 VEN is valued at ~$4.20
Very few would have predicted the meteoric rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies toward the end of 2017 - fewer still may have predicted the dip that occurred shortly after.
How can you find the next crypto to go 'to the moon'. Recently, finder.com.au enlisted nine panellists to help predict just where twelve of the biggest cryptocurrencies may head in 2018 and, interestingly, Dogecoin is predicted to be one of the biggest movers.
By no means are any of these cryptocurrencies flawless and as we bang on about all the time here at Lifehacker - the market is so volatile that it's crazy to try and make predictions. A lot of the time we are just throwing the proverbial at the wall and hoping it sticks, but at least with some information on where these cryptocurrencies are headed in 2018, you're able to get a better feel for just how they might fare. No prediction is without its holes and there are now so many different ICOs out there that you could pick any one of the top 100 and just hope it hits the big time.
What are your predictions for big movers in 2018? Let us know in the comments.
This article originally appeared in March 2018