It’s been quite a year for the crypto markets. While some managed to forge ahead, it has been a mixed story for the top 20.
Market volatility returned through the first 8 months of the year, following a lull in 2018 that saw many of the major cryptos flat-line.
What has been evident throughout this year is the investor’s continued lack of interest in platform success and advancement.
Granted some of the new entries into the top 20 can be attributed to success stories, but these have come at a price for others that have seen increased adoption in the real world.
Looking at the lie of the land, the top 20 can really be classified into a number of sectors…
Alternative to fiat money
Joining Bitcoin as an alternative to fiat money are Bitcoin Cash ABC, Bitcoin Cash SV, Litecoin, EOS, Monero’s XRM, DASH, and Iota.
For now, the Bitcoin clan and Litecoin continue to garner the greatest amount of interest, not just from investors, but also from those looking to shun fiat money.
The alternatives, however, may need to be considered as the real world continues its metamorphosis into the digital world.
Monero’s XMR found strong support through the summer to hit a current year high $120 in June before pulling back. While up by 73% year-to-date, Monero’s XMR was down by 833% from a Dec-2017 all-time high $469.5.
For the current year, Monero’s XMR was down by 34% from its current year high $120 struck back in June.
As a Bitcoin competitor, Monero’s XMR has found strong support from the fact that remitters and receivers and amounts are concealed. One downside to this functionality would be any change in the regulatory landscape that makes disclosure mandatory. Since chatter from governments has abated, there is room for growth.
It goes without saying that Bitcoin is also an attractive option. While transaction times continue to question its survival, next year’s halving event should be enough to deliver for longer-term holders who can ride out the volatility.
For opportunity investors, Bitcoin is down by just 48.8% from its all-time high $19,891 and by 26% from its current year high $13,764. That makes Monero’s XMR an even more enticing alternative…
Another popular sector in the top 20, with the following coins involved in servicing smart contracts: Cardano’s ADA, Chainlink, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, NEO, and Tezos.
While Ethereum continues to hold onto the number 2 spot by market cap, a drying ICO market has limited any major upside.
That leaves coins focused solely on delivering an alternative to fund ICOs on the back foot for now.
Regulatory uncertainty has continued to leave the ICO market baron relatively to late 2017 and early 2018.
While greater adoption and the need for smart contracts increases, a rebound in the ICO market is likely to be the key to Ethereum and its competitors’ futures.
While the cryptos have found support through the current year, there’s been a marked pullback from June highs.
For the current year, Chainlink (“LINK”) and Tezos (“XTZ”) have outgunned the pack, with gains of 644% and 151% respectively.
While seeing sizeable gains year-to-date, the pair is down by 56% and by 91% from their all-time highs. The pullback does suggest some significant upside should market conditions improve. Support would need to come from the news wires, however.
Looking across to Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, the pair are down by 48.7% and by 26.9% from their current year highs. Both are down by more than 80% from their all-time highs.
The ICO market and prospective ICO volumes would need to materially rise, however, for Ethereum to have a chance at returning to the dizzying heights of $1,420 struck in early 2018.
For now, the inclusion of the newer coins on more established platforms would be the play.
Amongst the top 10, payment platforms form a small proportion of the total crypto market cap.
Ripple and Stellar have been the long-established pair, with the Ripple team having made solid progress in delivering a global payment platform system.
In spite of the adoption, the pair have struggled through the current year, bucking the trend amongst the broader market.
Year-to-date, Ripple’s XRP and Stellar’s Lumen were down by 25.4% and 40.2% and by 91.8% and 85.5% from their all-time highs.
Ripple’s XRP has seen its price tumble following news of a lawsuit against Ripple on whether it should be classified as a security. Adding to the volatility was news of a large release of tokens into the crypto market.
For those looking for an investment opportunity, Ripple’s XRP looks to have legs and survivor bias in the crypto world. That is assuming of course that it can settle the legal disputes that are currently pinning back prices.
Looking at functionality alone, transaction speeds and low fees make Ripple’s XRP an attraction option at current levels. Just this week, Ripple was reported to have had over 100 transactions per second, up from 10 transactions per second back in January.
The Ripple platform has the ability to handle 1,500 transactions per second. The ever increasing adoption of the Ripple platform can only be a good thing.
Relative newcomer, Tron’s TRX has also struggled year-to-date, falling by 8.3%. While down by 56.9% from its current year high, Tron’s TRX has coughed up 98.3% since its all-time high.
A continued rise in transactions suggests a possible turnaround for the team at Tron. Negative chatter about the Tron team has led to the downside.
With just Binance Coin and UNUS SED LEO to choose from, Binance Coin would certainly be the head-turner.
While both are down by 40% from their current year highs, Binance Coin is up a whopping 304% year-to-date.
The upside came, not only from its status as one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, by volume, but also on its progress at eating into Ethereum’s ICO market share.
A continued rise in exchange volumes would certainly be a boon for Binance Coin. LEO could garner some attention though, but for different reasons.
UNUS SED LEO is an exchange token that was launched earlier this year. iFinex launched LEO to plug an $850m hole in Bitfinex. The hole resulted from a government seizure of Crypto Capital assets.
iFinex has been clear that they will use the funds, if recovered, to repurchase and burn the LEO tokens.
There is some uncertainty over whether iFinex will be able to recoup its $850m. Any hint of imminent success and expect LEO prices to go through the roof…
There are a lot of websites comparing the best crypto exchanges, some of them stand out due to being there first, like Coinmarketcap, some cover a large variety of exchanges like FXEmpire.com and some have an innovative design like Cryptimi.
Risk & Reward
As is the case with any of the cryptocurrencies, a balanced risk and reward strategy is advised. There is significant volatility in the market place. While the majors are well below their all-time highs, the threat of heightened government oversight and material shift in the regulatory landscape remains.
Some cryptos are likely to be affected more than others. For instance, the pending SEC decisions on the Bitcoin ETFs could go in favor of Bitcoin and drive demand.
For Bitcoin, there is also next year’s halving event to factor in. SEC approvals ahead of the predicted 24th May 202 halving event would be quite a boon for Bitcoin holders.
Protecting the downside is key, however, for those not in it for the long haul. Monitoring volumes and the news wires are key for any investor holding a cryptocurrency or token.
There remains an unpredictability to the crypto market that delivers the volumes and sizeable gains and losses. The news wires certainly contribute to the swings.
Adoption and listing on global exchanges continue to be the key drivers for the broader market. There are a number of scenarios, however, that would favor some of the top 20 more than others.
Bitcoin, UNUS SED LEO, Ripple’s XRP and Binance Coin certainly stand out.
For those looking to go beyond the top 20, exchanges listings is the play.