As cryptocurrency is starting to be adopted by institutions and different parts of the world, there will be many people looking for the next ‘gem’ that could give them a significant return. However, with the cryptocurrency market cap breaking all-time highs weekly, many question when is it the right time to hop on the train. My answer? NOW.
I believe 2021 is the year for cryptocurrency as we’ve seen mass adoptions with institutions betting big on the likes of Bitcoin. Everyone knows of Tesla’s $1.5 billion dollar purchase of Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency in the world but I would like you to not only pay attention to Bitcoin but other alternative currencies, altcoins, in short, that may beat Bitcoin’s rally this year.
As such, I would like to list down 5 altcoins projects that you should be looking at:
1) Ethereum (ETH)
Cryptocurrency used to be just for peer-to-peer transaction and nothing more, but Ethereum changed it all. Being a programmable, open-source, decentralised software platform, Ethereum changed blockchain technology as a whole in 2015, with the incorporation of smart contracts and decentralised applications.
With Ethereum 2.0 around the corner, many people anticipate Ethereum rally to new all-time highs. Ethereum 2.0 aims to improve transaction speed, security and to be more sustainable, while also changing from a proof-of-work consensus to a proof-of-stake consensus. The introduction of sharding in Ethereum 2.0 significantly improves Ethereum’s network to a more efficient and faster system. Furthermore, Ethereum’s Virtual Machine (EVM) will be replaced by eWASM. This unlocks the possibility of executing Ethereum app code in today’s web browsers. Programmers will be able to write several languages from Rust, C and C++ to run on the blockchain directly.
The second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, seems to be stalling as it finally broke through the $2,000 psychological barrier on 20 February 2021. With a YTD return of 504.8% and Ethereum 2.0 upgrades coming soon, can anyone stop Ethereum from rallying?
2) Cardano (ADA)
For starters, Cardano is a proof-of-stake blockchain platform and it is the first to be built through peer-reviewed research. Cardano’s roadmap has a number of eras each named after literary figures such as Byron, Shelley, Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire. Each era brings about different functionalities. Currently, Cardano is transitioning to the Goguen era, where smart contracts will be integrated into the blockchain.
As part of the Gougen rollout, the Mary hard fork will be going live on Cardano’s mainnet on 1 March. This update is said to be one of the most important and significant milestones for Cardano since the rollout of Shelly in July 2020. Through this upgrade, users are now able to define their custom tokens and use their newly created assets (NFTs). The Mary hard fork will transition Cardano from a single ledger entity to a multi-asset ledger. With this, we might see the integration of DeFi into Cardano.
Cardano’s native token, ADA, has gained a jaw-dropping YTD return of 1655.5%, engulfing Bitcoin’s YTD return of 419.1%. Despite this, there is still a lot of potential for ADA to remain on its parabolic rise.
3) Polkadot (DOT)
Dubbed as the ‘Ethereum Killer’, Polkadot is a network protocol that allows data and tokens to be transferred across the blockchain. Most popularly known for its scalability, security and interoperability, Polkadot has started to take the centre stage of cryptocurrency in 2021.
Having recently released the full detailed roadmap, Polkadot rallied to the current all-time high of $42.25. With the roadmap divided into 3 phases, Polkadot is currently in its Rococo Testnet Stage, where the team is working on parachain functionality. Once resolved and approval rating is completed, we can expect to see the completion of Polkadot’s codebase.
Polkadot’s ecosystem also facilitates the building and securing of independent blockchains whilst providing a shared security feature. This allows anyone to use the blockchain without worrying about the demanding process of securing the chain. In essence, Polkadot allows chains to connect and interact independently but benefit from a united security protocol. With a growing ecosystem and more promising decentralised applications being built on Polkadot, there seems to be huge upside potential.
4) Chainlink (LINK)
Chainlink is a decentralised oracle network that provides real-world data to smart contracts on a blockchain. What is an oracle you might ask? An oracle is often known as the ‘middleware’ that acts as an intermediary, translating data from the real world to smart contracts. This is different from the likes of Ethereum, Polkadot and Cardano, as mentioned above.
Chainlink recently launched its most important update to date: Off Chain Reporting (OCR). This would bring instant benefits to DeFi as the amount of real-world data made available to smart contracts is now tenfold. This could also drop the insanely high Ethereum gas fees since there will be lesser congestion and latency on Ethereum’s network.
Additionally, Polkadot is the first non-Ethereum blockchain to integrate with Chainlink. This means that Chainlink is the first and primary oracle provider for all Substrate-based chains and eventually the entire Polkadot network.
At the time of writing this article, Chainlink has a YTD return of 593.8% and with many blockchain projects using Chainlink, I believe Chainlink is a cryptocurrency we should be watching closely.
5) Reef Finance (REEF)
Unlike the other 4 cryptocurrencies I talked about, Reef Finance is less than a year old and has no tokens circulating at its current stage.
Built on Polkadot, Reef is a liquidity aggregator that enables trading with access to liquidity from both CEXs and DEXs while offering smart lending, borrowing, staking, mining through AI-driven personalised Reef Yield Engine. With the vision of being a one-stop, go-to place in the DeFi space, Reef aims to unify all blockchains into one single interface, bringing convenience to DeFi users.
Reef Finance features of being a Global Liquidity Aggregator, Smart Yield Farming Aggregator and Smart Asset Management have attracted many users to its platform. The end goal of simplifying the hassle of navigating in the DeFi space, alongside rebalancing and adjusting different basket of assets through AI is something we should be looking forward to.
With reference to Reef’s roadmap, we can expect to see the full launch of Reef Finance in Q3 of 2021.
Everything I have written so far is from a personal view and should not be taken for any financial advice! Please do your own research before investing. Cheers!