You need to have been living under a rock during the last few years to not have at least heard about Bitcoin once. It has always enjoyed the bulk to the interest from the general public when it comes to cryptocurrency, boosted by its meteoric rise in value during 2017 which led to a huge amount of press coverage.
It’s by no means the only cryptocurrency out there though and many altcoins deserve much more attention. So in 2020, what altcoins should we be looking at?
One of the biggest criticisms of cryptocurrencies is the fact that they are significantly more volatile than traditional fiat currencies. Some may not believe that this volatility is an issue, but there is no way to deny that huge swings in the value of tokens like Bitcoin exist.
To counteract that, Tether has been designed as a “Stable Coin”. Although it’s still built on blockchain technology, it’s tethered (hence the name) to the US dollar. So instead of a continually fluctuating price, the price of Tether remains the name.
The merits and drawbacks of this design are outlined in this Tether (USDT) 101 guide, but in short, by linking its value to the dollar, Tether provides predictability, security, and reliability to investors, something few other digital currencies can do.
For anyone remotely interested in cryptocurrencies, Ethereum is a well-established name. It’s now the second-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, behind only Bitcoin.
It offers more than just a store of value though since it also provides the infrastructure to run open-source decentralized apps (DAPPS). In 2020, Ethereum 2.0 specifications are expected to be rolled out, including increased transaction throughput, and switching to a “proof-of-stake” consensus algorithm.
Ethereum is also more widely accepted as a payment method than some other altcoins, so it’s a good allrounder.
Tezos is a lesser-known cryptocurrency that also uses a proof-of-stake system. It performed well in 2019 and some exchanges allow you to earn interest of up to 7% on your Tezos coins by delegating them.
It got off to a rocky start when it launched a huge initial coin offering (ICO) in 2014, but after some disputes, the funds were seized temporarily. Thankfully, this nightmare is behind them and Tezos continues to go from strength to strength.
MakerDAO is built on top of the Ethereum network and, like Tether, is a stable coin that’s linked to the US dollar. It has only been around for two years, but it’s proven to be popular in that time.
In 2020, the MakerDAO will see the creation of new digital assets and will launch a second token that’s linked to the euro.
There are around $320 million of escrow assets on the blockchain, so it’s a serious altcoin that deserves some consideration.
Litecoin has been around for some time now, but it hasn’t seen its value return to its 2017 peak. It is still one of the most capitalized coins on the market, but it has seen a decline in its hash rate and many experts are advising investors to sell.
It’s planning some major technical changes, but it’s not yet clear if these will be able to secure the currency’s future.