According to Investopedia, as of November 2021, there are over 10,000 cryptocurrencies in existence.
By definition, some of these are just plain garbage.
Others have limited utility, still others (Dogecoin – we’re thinking of you) don’t do an awful lot – but as the Kardashians of crypto – they get around and make stashes of money for some reason – nobody quite knows why.
Finally, there are the coins that will be game-changers – the Facebooks and Apples of altcoins.
The problem with second-guessing the gains to be made is that the vast majority of those 10,000 crypto’s are flying under the radar, and only the most popular float to the surface where they can be seen.
From the point of view of investing, it is almost impossible – no, it is actually impossible – to predict how an obscure altcoin like Shiba Inu might suddenly catch the investing community’s eye, or how far it will go.
We’d like every coin to go to the moon.
Imagining something like the programmability of money takes an entirely different kind of mindset.
Taking such thoughts a step further, and seeing how we can apply programmable money, and the ways in which the new systems of finance can win or lose, are a big part of the challenge when it comes to selecting the altcoins for your portfolio.
Another thing worth thinking about is what you’re really investing in.
Cryptocurrency will remain the ‘Wild West of Finance,’ for the moment, but a new sheriff will be in charge – the European Union (EU) is stepping in as the deputy in this story, as the US (United States) has been slow to act.
Just as it did with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) the EU says it will no longer tolerate unregulated stablecoins or questionable projects with little utility value, lousy, meaningless white papers, and misleading marketing.
It will also not allow unprofessional exchanges that swindle citizens.
However, it does want to support innovation and make every effort to prevent stifling advancement in the genuine Bitcoin and blockchain fields, as it has in other areas.
Tech is littered with entities that were at the top of their game and unassailable once – but now consigned to either second-tier ranking or history – Compaq, Friends Reunited, Jawbone, and Alta Vista are just four examples.
With the caveats that this list is neither comprehensive nor definitive, here are some major crypto’s that may boom in 2022.
Bitcoin (BTC), of course, remains the Big Daddy of them all.
Launched over a decade ago, Bitcoin’s ups and downs have riveted millions across the world.
The uncertainty over the mining situation after the banning and expulsion of miners from China (mostly relocating to Texas in the United States for the cheap energy) and the inevitable attempts at legislation and regulation have all had an effect.
But the use of Bitcoin, and its wider acceptance, is growing constantly, and coupled with its 21 million unit ceiling, the scarcity created should ensure a return rather than a loss, in the long term.
As a result, dozens of commentators have tipped their hats into the ring, giving Bitcoin price estimations of $100,000-$250,000, per bitcoin, by the end of 2022.
Ethereum (ETH), is a decentralized software platform. Ethereum allows for the creation of smart contracts and decentralized applications (dapps) without third-party intervention, fraud, downtime, or control.
Anyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or nationality, can use Ethereum’s decentralized financial platform.
Those without state infrastructure and identifications can get access to insurance, loans, and bank accounts, and a range of other financial services across different countries, worldwide – for the first time in their lives.
Ethereum’s platform-specific cryptographic token, ether, fuels the platform’s applications. This is an alternative to Bitcoin’s proof-of-work method, which rewards miners for processing transactions with more Bitcoin.
Litecoin (LTC), launched in 2011, is one of the cryptos dubbed, “silver to Bitcoin’s gold” because of its similarity to Bitcoin. A former Google developer and MIT graduate, Charlie Lee, is the brains behind Litecoin.
There is no central authority controlling Litecoin’s open-source worldwide payment network which employs “scrypt” as a proof-of-work that consumer-grade CPUs can decode.
Litecoin is similar to Bitcoin in many ways, except it generates blocks more quickly, confirming transactions with lightning speed.
In addition to its developers, Litecoin merchants are also increasing in number.
With a market capitalization of $14 billion and a token value of roughly $200 in November 2021, Litecoin is the world’s seventeenth-largest digital currency.
Cardano (ADA), was founded by engineers, mathematicians, and cryptography professionals.
Cardano is an “Ouroboros proof-of-stake” cryptocurrency.
The Cardano project started following issues with the way Ethereum was developing.
Cardano’s blockchain was developed through considerable experimentation and peer-reviewed research by the team behind it.
Between them, these experts have authored over 90 publications on blockchain technology and Cardano is built on these studies
Cardano appears to have a distinct advantage over its proof-of-stake counterparts and other significant cryptocurrencies because of this intensive testing approach.
Known as the “Ethereum killer,” Cardano’s blockchain is touted to be capable of even more than Ethereum’s.
Cardano is still in its infancy.
Decentralized financial applications are a long way off, despite beating Ethereum to the proof-of-stake consensus concept.
With decentralized financial products like Ethereum, and solutions for chain interoperability, voter fraud, and legal contract tracking, Cardano intends to be the world’s financial operating system.
Cardano has a market value of $57 billion as of November 2021, and one ADA is currently trading at $1.79.
Polkadot (DOT), is a proof-of-stake coin designed to enable blockchain interconnection. Its protocol bridges permissionless and permissioned blockchains, as well as oracles. This lets systems collaborate. Polkadot’s relay chain allows for this network compatibility. It also permits “parachains,” or parallel blockchains, with a native token.
Unlike Ethereum, developers can build their own blockchain but still use Polkadot’s security. With Ethereum, developers may establish new blockchains, but they have to sort out their own security mechanisms, leaving newer and smaller projects exposed and vulnerable. Polkadot calls this shared security.
Polkadot’s market valuation was around $41 billion in November 2021, and one DOT was worth $39.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is one of the early and most famous hard forks of the classic Bitcoin.
Because of the decentralized world of digital currencies, large-scale modifications to the code underpinning a token or coin must be agreed upon by a majority of users. In the crypto realm, a fork happens when developers and miners disagree about any new path.
A new chain is created when groups can’t agree on a new version of the previous coin, complete with code modifications.
BCH was born in August 2017 from one of these splits, with the concept that bigger blocks may carry more transactions, thus increasing transaction speed.
BCH has a market worth of about $10.5 billion and a token value of $555 as of November 2021.
Stellar (XLM), is an open blockchain network that links financial institutions for larger transactions. As a result, bank and investment business deals involving many intermediaries, that cost a lot of money and took days, can now be done instantly with no intermediaries and at minimal cost.
Stellar’s cross-border utility means that anyone can use it – not just the institutional businesses it’s aiming for. It is seen as an enterprise blockchain, and because of its open nature, uses its own currency called “Lumens.” To trade on the network, users must own Lumens.
Stellar Lumens were worth $0.33 and had a market valuation of $8 billion in November 2021.
Dogecoin (DOGE), no list for 2022 would be complete without a look at the first “meme coin.”
Dogecoin started as a joke by Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, in 2013, to mock the cryptocurrency market’s reckless speculation and gullibility.
“Doge” caught on and hit $0.71 after Elon Musk – a huge fan of the coin – saw a quick buck and promoted the coin on his appearance on Saturday Night Live.
Dogecoin’s market valuation was $29.2 billion in November 2021, and one DOGE was worth roughly $0.22, ranking it the tenth biggest cryptocurrency.
Space doesn’t allow us to run through the rest of our “ones to watch” list in as much detail – but here are a few altcoins which look promising for the year ahead and into the future, that you can research for yourself:
Good luck – “to the moon …”