Since Bitcoin’s rapid rise to and subsequent tumble from just shy of $20,000 in December of 2017, many investors have been asking if crypto is dead. After all, the price of Bitcoin as of Thursday at 11:00 PM EST is just $3914. This represents an over 80% reduction in value from its peak just over a year ago. But recently, the gears of the crypto market have been whirring to life again, with some coins showing immense promise. Continue reading “Best Crypto to Buy Before the Next Bull Run”
By Max Bibeau | United States
With the prices of cryptocurrencies continuing to plummet across the board, some have been quick to assume that the “crypto wave” has passed and that its time in the spotlight is over. Some articles even go so far as to claim that the Bitcoin bubble has popped and that the technology may not recover for some time, if ever.
These claims could not be farther from the truth.
What Drives Markets?
To understand why cryptocurrency’s price is so far down in the first place, we must first understand that the prices of all cryptocurrencies are driven by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). Through the second half of 2017, crypto experienced a surge of FOMO, with Bitcoin being in the headlines day after day with incredible price jumps. FOMO breeds more FOMO – until it doesn’t. A series of events occurring in a very short time in January of 2018 broke the FOMO and entered the market into a period of FUD. A combination of a regular dip in the market, the exposure of Bitconnect as a scam, FUD surrounding crypto being banned in countries such as China and India, and a series of highly publicized cryptocurrency thefts drove price dips, increasing FUD even more.
Price Is Irrelevant To Developers
Now that we understand how exactly we got to this point, we can explore why crypto is not dead. The key thing to remember is that price doesn’t affect developers. Sure, many of them hold a significant amount of their own cryptocurrency, and the crash has affected their personal holdings – but very few, if any developers are solely reliant on cryptocurrency, and can be supported by grants, jobs, donations, or other factors.
Since developers work independently of price, innovation has continued at breakneck speed, even though the market appears to have crashed. Almost every single major cryptocurrency continues to develop and grow, some of them at an even faster pace than during the FOMO.
Bitcoin has finally started to deliver on its long-awaited lightning network, expanding the technology and resolving some major bugs that caused problems on the new network. The technology is continually being developed, with hundreds of developers working on Bitcoin regularly.
Fees are also down drastically from their peak last year, due in part to fewer transactions occurring, but also in part to the lightning network paired with other developments in the technology’s efficiency. Bitcoin Core has also been successfully able to solve the famed coffee example, with the lightning network being utilized commercially in a Swiss cafe just a few days ago.
Ethereum, while it may seem quiet, has been booming. The whole point of Ethereum is to support decentralized applications, or dapps, and it has been extremely successful in recent months. Thousands of new Ethereum dapps have been put on the blockchain since 2017, and more are being added daily.
After the unprecedented success of the dapp game “CryptoKitties,” which led to users paying up to $100,000 for a single digital cat, countless other games and dapps have sprouted up in recent months. New games, such as Etheremon, are attracting hundreds of users daily and can be played for free. While no huge breakthroughs have been seen in Ethereum recently, there’s no doubt that its blockchain is becoming more and more filled out with dapps, ranging from gambling to gaming.
Stellar, often seen as Ripple’s primary competitor, has seen radically increased adoption, specifically among banks. The coin’s list of partners is also continually growing, including big names like IBM. The two have committed to environmental efforts, by using a blockchain solution to create a carbon credit program.
While Stellar may not be seeing strides as great as some other cryptocurrencies I’ve discussed, it’s slowly but surely becoming more and more influential in financial markets, and is increasing its credibility through a plethora of partnerships and improvements.
Arguably the most well-maintained on this list, VeChain has undergone an entire rebrand, transitioning from VeChain (VEN) to VeChain Thor (VET). VeChain also added a token to be paired with their main coin called THOR. The token is obtained by simply holding VeChain, similar to how one can obtain GAS from holding NEO.
Along with their new token, VeChain has launched a new wallet in the form of an iOS/Android app that can be downloaded on the app store. With a simple UI and automatic flow of THOR for holding VET in the app, the wallet is one of the most user-friendly programs out there. The VeChain team has clearly been busy with a new wallet and token, not to mention their new partnerships with big names like BMW.
Clearly, after examining only four of the top cryptocurrencies on the market, we can see that while prices have fallen dramatically, the technology behind cryptocurrency surely lives on. Developer teams are still working hard to improve their technologies, and partnerships between mainstream companies and cryptocurrencies are becoming more and more common.
Nobody can fully predict when the market will rise again – it will undoubtedly take a series of important and “good news” events to break out of the current FUD in the market – but the technology is there, even if the prices remain low. While crypto is largely out of the mainstream media due to the loss of FOMO, that hasn’t stopped innovation and partnerships from occurring throughout the entire market.
Cryptocurrency has been out of the spotlight for months now, and it may be a long time yet before the FOMO catches back on. However, when the FOMO returns, the technology will be ready and waiting.
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By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial
Blockchain technology is being widely adopted across the world, allowing for new and innovative solutions to real-world problems to come to fruition. One of these new real-world problems blockchain will be solving is climate change.
By Max Bibeau | USA
Many people in the cryptocurrency community aren’t exactly fond of Ripple, for a large variety of reasons. I already wrote an article about some of the many problems with Ripple, which you can read HERE.
So yes, Ripple has many problems. But it does aim to solve a pretty critical problem in the banking world, namely the high fees that bank transfers can incur. However, many critics argue that Ripple goes about solving that problem in an inefficient way that undermines the purpose and potential of the blockchain.
One member of the Ripple developer team saw the same problems that critics did. So in 2011, programmer Jed McCaleb left the Ripple developer team and used Ripple’s existing code to create Stellar. McCaleb hopes to use the blockchain to provide banks with the solution they need, all while staying true to his goals of decentralization.
The differences between Ripple and Stellar are small but critical. First, Stellar addresses one of the largest criticisms of Ripple – its centralization. While Ripple is a for-profit company, working with banks to achieve its goals, Stellar is a non-profit organization, that simply works on the Stellar network. Ripple owns XRP, while Stellar only works on developing the network that is XLM. Also, Stellar solves another big problem users saw within Ripple – frozen assets. McCaleb’s own $1 Million in Ripple assets were frozen as he left the company in 2011, so he knows firsthand the frustration that comes with not being able to control your funds. He made it a priority to build protections against this in the Stellar network he created.
Stellar, using Lumens (XLM) as its native asset, specifically serves as a method of quickly and cheaply sending value around the world, where it can be transferred into the local fiat money. For example, if I want to send $100 overseas, I could easily be charged upwards of 10% in banking fees. However, the Stellar network works around this masterfully. To simplify the process as much as possible, say I send $100 to the overseas bank, which then accepts the Stellar transaction. Then, my $100 is credited to a pool account while it searches for the best exchange rate through the Stellar network. Once my $100 is exchanged to the local currency, it is credited to the overseas bank which then transfers it to the specific account I wished to send money too. And the best part? This entire process takes place in 2-5 seconds, and costs around .00001 Stellar Lumens, currently valued at around $0.0000047.
Obviously Stellar has some incredible use cases, from everyday business transactions overseas to individuals sending remittances back home. It could be critical in financially connecting both economies and people around the world.
The cryptocurrency also has an inflation mechanism, built into the Stellar network. It works by adding Lumens to the network at a rate of 1% a year. Instead of injecting the inflated tokens into big banking partners like Ripple is doing, the Stellar network has a built-in voting system that injects the new tokens into the accounts with the highest number of votes. Every week, Lumens are distributed to every account that gets more than 0.05% of votes within the network. Everybody that holds Lumens potentially has a number of votes equivalent to the amount of Lumens they hold, at a 1:1 ratio. The Lumens from the inflation pool are distributed depending on the percentage of votes each account receives. For example, if an account receives 1% of overall votes, it receives 1% of the inflation pool. Lumens from transaction fees are included in the inflation pool. You can read more about the inflation mechanism of Stellar directly from the nonprofit’s page HERE.
For these many reasons, Stellar is superior to Ripple. It is currently valued at around $0.47 and can be bought on Binance.com or most other major exchanges. You can read more about Stellar from the organization’s website, Stellar.org.