Crypto enthusiasts and optimists got a reality check this year after the global markets took a monumental beating. Crypto stalwarts shed a truckload of value and are now trading near multi-year lows. Moreover, several market experts believe that the crypto market is now likened to the stock market, which essentially limits exponential upside potential.
Nevertheless, the step-changes that took place in the crypto market in the past couple of years are permanent. Hence, savvy investors must take advantage of the downturn and identify the best altcoins that offer some of the strongest use-cases in the sector.
Cardano (ADA-USD) is one of few altcoins that continues to innovate despite the so-called crypto winter. Last fall, its network became smart-contract compatible, essentially the backbone of any decentralized finance ecosystem. With smart contract functionality, users can effectively build decentralized exchanges, NFT exchanges and other applications. Consequently, over 3,000 smart contracts are running on the platform.
Furthermore, the added functionality has taken the platform's total value-locked metric from just under $1 million in January to over $110 million as we speak. In preparing for the increase in traffic, Cardano's developers also released the “Vasil Hard Fork” that effectively speeds up transactions, lowers fees and allows for greater streamlining of smart contract functionality. Hence, ADA remains one of the top long-term picks in the beaten-down crypto sector.
Polkadot (DOT-USD) is a lightning-fast blockchain network built to facilitate the future of the web. It allows other blockchains to communicate and exchange data effectively. It can currently process over 1,000 transactions in a second and plans to reach 1 million transactions per second in the future.
Moreover, it has proven to be a highly scalable platform that continues to add new blockchains to its architecture. It held a public auction late last year, where bidders vied to become project-specific blockchains on its DOT main blockchain. Every time a new “para chain” becomes part of the network, the overall value of DOT increases dramatically. Hence, Polkadot offers an incredible value proposition, where every blockchain can connect seamlessly to another and specialize in what it does best.
One of the main reasons why users prefer blockchain networks for performing financial transactions is due to its anonymity. Hence, privacy focused altcoins such as Dash (DASH-USD) offer robust real-world utility for crypto investors and users. DASH is essentially a digital currency that enables cheap payments and provides a user-friendly experience. It was launched in 2014 as XCoin but was later changed to Darkcoin. Now it’s named Dash.
One of the more unique aspects of Dash is a system it uses called master nodes. Masternodes are special servers that allow access to a variety of network features. These elements include InstantSend, which allow for fully confirmed transactions in a couple of seconds, while another feature in CoinJoin, masks the sequence of transactions. Users who run master nodes are then offered block rewards from Dash mining.
Stellar Lumens (XLM-USD) has emerged as one of the fastest-growing decentralized blockchain networks. It is mainly used for transferring money across the globe. Stellar uses lumens so that it doesn’t have to favor a particular currency, and each user must hold a small number of XLM to conduct a transaction.
Stellar has done incredibly well in two main blockchain metrics: speed and transaction costs. Transactions on its network cost only 0.00001 lumens, while transactions go through within three to five seconds. Moreover, developers can easily build apps, micropayment services, asset exchanges, and other related applications on the platform. One of the platform’s most noteworthy users is IBM (NASDAQ:IBM), which built a global wire payment system on the network. Within a year, Stellar has grown its user accounts to a whopping 3 million.
Neo (NEO-USD) is an emerging blockchain network that uses smart contracts to digitize assets effectively. It’s often referred to as the “Chinese Ethereum,” as it’s the first proof-of-stake smart contract blockchain founded in China. Moreover, the crypto ban has done little to impact its progression as it’s now part of the country’s blockchain-based Service Network.
The colossal size of the Chinese market points to a healthy growth runway for Neo. Moreover, more than 70% of its total supply has been distributed, suggesting that its value could rise over time. Considering its utility, investors might look to keep Neo as a hedge against Ethereum.
The Sandbox (SAND-USD) is a decentralized blockchain game set in the metaverse that expertly combines virtual land ownership, community engagement and NFTs. VoxEdit is its flagship software service, which enables users to create and import NFTs, videos, collectibles and other related items into the game. Moreover, these assets can then be sold on Sandbox's marketplace for SAND tokens.
The blockchain network has gained plenty of traction with celebrities. Some of the biggest names in the music industry, such as DJ Steve Aoki and Snoop Dogg, have invested in the platform, which should attract other celebrities and their fans to follow suit.
Additionally, Atari, one of the most iconic gaming companies, purchased land in the Sandbox. It aims to create a virtual theme park where users can effectively spend SAND or their Atari tokens. Hence, it has paved the way for other companies to invest in the platform and expand into play-to-earn games.
Avalanche (AVAX-USD) is a unique blockchain network known for its speed and scalability. Its distinctiveness lies in its structure, with a primary network and three supporting chains. The primary network essentially secures each chain while other chains in the network are used for a specific purpose. The three supporting chains are involved in executing contracts, asset exchange and coordinating validators. Consequently, its transaction capacity becomes virtually unlimited, and transactions are usually completed within a few seconds.
Another advantage for Avalanche is its connection with Ethereum. Users can seamlessly transfer assets between the two networks. Ethereum is arguably one of the most popular blockchain networks with a laundry list of use-cases. For Avalanche to have a deep connection with Ethereum is a major plus that should continue to pay dividends down the road.
On the date of publication, Muslim Farooque held a LONG position in Ethereum. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
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