Introducing the top 10 Altcoins to watch for in 2023 onwards
The cryptocurrency market has many alternative cryptocurrency projects. Alternative coins or, “altcoins” are any crypto aside from Bitcoin. These showed up on the scene in 2011 after Bitcoin was pioneered in 2008 and launched in 2009.
Historically, many alternative cryptocurrencies in the crypto market have not performed well. A lot of the projects end up failing badly, even those that achieve a high market cap at some point, and many others have little to no success at all. There is often a lot of hype built into the marketing for altcoins and memecoins, which may explain the volatility as investors hope to make enormous returns on the next big trending project. According to CoinMarketCap, there are almost 23,000 cryptocurrencies in total (Forbes).
To save you the time and stress of evaluating all of these, this article examines a list of 10 popular altcoins.
Conceptualized by Vitalik Buterin and conceived in 2013, Ethereum also doubles as the leading decentralized finance (DeFi) currency and stands as the first blockchain project to introduce smart contract functionality. The blockchain went live in July of 2015 and has grown significantly since.
From any cryptocurrency industry overview, Ethereum (ETH) is usually named as one of the best altcoins to watch, with a high market value. With a market capitalization of $187B (at the time of writing), ETH is second in terms of market cap behind Bitcoin. It has an all-time high (ATH) of $4,861.29/€4,534.86 per ETH (LiveCoinWatch).
Moreover, developers can create and carry out agreements between several parties by simply encoding them into lines of code on the blockchain technology - known as smart contracts. Hence, they can use the Ethereum network to develop smart contracts functionality, decentralized applications (DApps), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and numerous DeFi projects.
Launched in 2017, Tether is one of around 200 stablecoins. Some of the other well-known stablecoins include USDC and DAI. A stablecoin is designed to match the value of fiat currency, in this case, the US dollar (USD). For every Tether token that is issued, its creators keep $1 in reserve, and for every dollar cashed out, one Tether token is destroyed.
Tether is the largest stablecoin by market capitalization by quite some margin ($84 Billion at the time of writing, making up over 65% of the stablecoin market). Tether is the third largest crypto-asset in the crypto space behind Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Theoretically, Tether should retain a value of around $1 (approximately £0.81 in sterling terms) at all times. This theoretical stability may facilitate transferring value between exchanges since Tether holdings are perceived as potentially more likely to retain a stable value when compared against other, more volatile, coins.
However, stablecoins are not without risk. In May 2022 another stablecoin, Terra USD (UST) crashed. The price dropped from $1 to a low of just $0.30. Consequently, investors cashed out millions of dollars they had put into other stablecoins, including Tether.
In the following weeks, Tether’s market capitalisation dropped from $83 billion (£65.6 billion) to $73 billion (£57.70).
Ripple is considered by many to be one of the digital currencies created to make real-time, low-cost international payments possible. It makes it possible for crypto traders to enjoy low fees in transactions. It’s also considered one of the most controversial crypto-assets as, back in 2020, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued the company. The SEC claimed Ripple violated securities law - according to the SEC’s complaint, Ripple raised funds by selling XRP tokens in unregistered security offerings to investors in the United States and worldwide. In July, Ripple had a partial victory as the court dismissed one of the SEC cases against the company.
A unique attribute of Ripple is that it allows users to save trading fees of about 60%. The key component of Ripple’s functioning is its native coin, XRP. This crypto-asset is used for speeding up international payments and decreasing the time required for banks to execute cross-border financial transactions. Additionally, the crypto token supports the decentralized network, XRP Ledger (XRPL).
XRP's market cap is about $26 billion at the time of writing.
Polygon is a layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum. As a layer 2 project, it develops Ethereum into a multi-chain system. This decentralized platform aims to improve the scalability of the Ethereum blockchain.
This improvement makes it possible for companies and developers to create complex dApps and DeFi solutions on the Ethereum blockchain. Its native crypto, MATIC, is an ERC-20 token.
This crypto project comes with increased security, quicker transaction times, and low fees. As a result, developers working on dApps and DeFi applications have found Polygon to be a real option as evidenced by its partnerships with some of the biggest global brands in the world, including: Adidas, DraftKings, Stripe, Reddit, The Walt Disney Company, The NFL, Starbucks, Adobe and Meta (Blockchain Council).
The start of Dogecoin stems from the online meme “Doge,” which featured a Shiba Inu dog. It has now evolved into the first meme coin currency. A dedicated community and creative memes led to the project’s development acceptance. DOGE has a market cap of $8.48 billion.
Billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Musk has also made numerous cryptic tweets that have drawn considerable attention to DOGE on social media. This has also had a significant impact on the token price and explains many of the price fluctuations.
These factors have contributed to keeping DOGE in the limelight and have contributed to its dominance in the crypto world, to date. Dogecoin facilitates quick internet transactions, and DOGE is accepted as a method of payment across various crypto gaming platforms and casinos.
Polkadot (DOT) is a cutting-edge platform that links blockchains through a unified protocol. It uses parachains. Parachains are miniature blockchain networks designed for specific purposes. Developers on Polkadot can leverage these parachains for activities such as testing or addressing specific use cases. Currently, the Polka Project boasts over 579 projects actively in development, with DOT serving as the native token for Polkadot. DOT's market cap is $4.62 billion at the time of writing
Many crypto users love Polkadot because of its features, including remarkable speed. It processes 1,000 transactions per second (tps). Polkadot also offers some notable DeFi staking rewards. Stakers take advantage of its 11% to 15% APY, depending on the staking configurations.
Conceptualized by one of Ethereum’s co-founders, Charles Hodgkinson, ADA, Cardano’s native token, launched in 2017. The ADA token is named after Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century English mathematician known as the first computer programmer. ADA has a maximum supply of 45 billion tokens, which are programmed to be released over time through minting.
Cardano was one of the first projects to incorporate the proof-of-stake consensus (PoS consensus) mechanism. This is a feature that reduces transaction times. It reduces transaction fees by eliminating the competitive and energy-intensive problem-solving aspect found in platforms like Bitcoin.
It is a more energy-efficient alternative to the founding proof-of-work consensus.
On the developer side, Cardano trumped other blockchains in terms of developer activity in October 2023, followed by DOT and HBAR - this was measured in terms of GitHub repositories. Cardano has consistently had resilient blockchain development activity over the years (ZYCrypto).
Solana is a platform that provides crypto users with quick, safe, and scalable solutions for DApps. People in the crypto space love Solana because of its lightning-fast performance.
Solana claims to be able to handle an amazing 65,000 transactions per second, unlike Bitcoin. Solana combines low transaction fees with fast processing times because of its unique hybrid consensus process that combines PoS with proof-of-history (PoH). PoH creates a historical record of all network events, eliminating the need for participants to agree on the order of events. This enables Solana to process transactions in parallel, which results in higher scalability. Solana’s transaction fees range between $0.000100 and $0.000150 (Bitkan).
Solana has seen an enormous fall in its price (-84.6% at the time of writing) largely on the back of the collpase of the FTX exchange and large holdings of SOL at now-defunct market maker Alameda Research. SOL is still one of the most well-known altcoins with innovative technology from its hybrid consensus mechanism.
Chainlink is a framework for building Decentralized Oracle Networks (DONs) that bring real-world data onto blockchain networks, enabling the creation of hybrid smart contracts. These DONs provide decentralized services such as Price Feeds, Proof of Reserve, Verifiable Randomness, Keepers, and the ability to connect to any web API.
Chainlink oracle networks are blockchain-agnostic and are incentivized through the native LINK token, used for node payments and network collateral (CoinGecko).
In Oct 2023, LINK showed +47% Y-o-Y, however, this is still almost 75% lower than its ATH of $52.85/€49.30 (LiveCoinWatch).
With its focus on security and decentralization, Chainlink is looking to revolutionize the way we utilize digital data. Additionally, with its potential applications in smart contracts and decentralized finance (DeFi), many believe that Chainlink could become one of the most important in the cryptosphere.
Shiba Inu was launched in August of 2020. It gained popularity when Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was gifted 400 SHIB tokens by its founder.
Buterin destroyed 90% of these coins, raising tremendous interest and resulting in significant growth for SHIB. The project is still focused on making improvements to the network.
For instance, it is working on Shibarium, a layer-2 network created for Ethereum. Shibarium seeks to provide a safe and scalable network for SHIB token holders to transmit and receive SHIB.
Other popular altcoins include AAVE (AAVE), Avalanche (AVAX) a decentralized oracle network, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Stellar (XLM), Litecoin (LTC) - you can assess others tokens via CoinGecko. There will, of course, be some exciting new tokens emerging so it’s best to stay up-to-date with the latest crypto news and follow our weekly newsletter where we cover all major crypto, TradFi and Macro news. You can sign up for our newsletter here.
As ever, it is always recommended that you do your own research (DYOR) before taking any action in relation to, or making any, investments. Please note this newsletter is not investment advice, but we hope that it has helped give you a high-level introduction to some of the most well-known altcoins in the market.. It is worth noting that the crypto industry is still developing and evolving and that regulation is changing fast, which may also have an impact on some, or all of these projects.
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