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Cryptocurrency of the Future: Which Coins are Likely to Survive?

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What is the cryptocurrency of the future? What will happen to crypto in the nearest years? Here are a few contenders to replace Bitcoin.
Cryptocurrency of the Future: Which Coins are Likely to Survive?
Contents

The last two years can be marked as the age of progress for cryptocurrencies: in summer 2018, there were over 2,000 altcoins present on the market. New cryptocurrencies continue popping up, but the vast majority of them are useless crap. A cryptocurrency can be highly popular today, and tomorrow it just explodes like a bubble leaving contributors with nothing.

Want to invest in something worthy and long-lasting? Then you should choose projects with innovative and promising blockchain solutions. Let’s find out what the cryptocurrency of the future is, and which coins should be considered for investing.

Ripple (XRP)

Ripple was invented as a means of low-cost international transfers. The cryptocurrency was launched in 2012 with creators stating that “Ripple enables banks to settle cross-border payments in real time, with end-to-end transparency, and at lower costs”. Ripple doesn’t require mining: the proprietary consensus ledger is used instead of proof of work. That differentiates Ripple from altcoins.

How do contributors earn tokens then? The team plans to distribute XRP “through business development deals, incentives to liquidity providers who offer tighter spreads for payments, and selling XRP to institutional buyers interested in investing in XRP.” This model has already proven to be successful, so Ripple has become one of the most well-established cryptocurrencies. It is set to revolutionize cross-border payments, and this mission is going well so far.

At the moment, Ripple is the world’s second cryptocurrency by market cap ($15 bln), and now it is worth $0.37.

ZCash

The creators of ZCash explain that their cryptocurrency is a safer version of Bitcoin. This decentralized and open-source blockchain appeared in 2016 and has quickly become popular. There are a few reasons for that:

  1. ZCash ensures privacy and transparency of transactions: the user is free to specify which transaction details can be visible for other system participants.
  2. ZCash provides an extra layer of privacy: while all transactions are published in the blockchain, details (sender, recipient, or sum) stay hidden.
  3. The transactions are encrypted with the help of zero-knowledge proof construction called a zk-SNARK developed by its team.

Today, ZCash is the world’s 20th cryptocurrency with $335 mln market cap. It costs about $60 per token.

Ethereum (ETH)

Being launched in 2015, Ethereum has become Bitcoin’s major rival. This is a decentralized platform that implements smart contracts and dApps to accelerate transactions, reduce the risk of fraud and downtime, and eliminate the need for control from a third party. Although the Ethereum blockchain is used to build applications, every platform can use its own cryptographic token.

Unlike Bitcoin, which mainly serves for storage and transactions, Ethereum provides users with a larger scope of possibilities. This cryptocurrency and blockchain behind it can be used to decentralize and codify almost any software, so investors are seeking opportunities to buy the crypto and reap advantages in the long run. Ethereum is here to stay: it has reached the 3rd place in cryptocurrencies rating, and now its market cap is $13 bln with one ETH = $128.

Most likely, Ethereum will stay successful
Possible Ethereum development scenarios

EOS

Although EOS was launched recently – in 2017 – it has quickly made its way to the top. The person behind it is Dan Larimer, the founder of Bitshares digital currency exchange as well as the blockchain-based social media platform Steemit. EOS’ ICO was the longest and most profitable in history: the company has broken a $4 bln crowdfunding record.

EOS uses a delegated proof-of-stake mechanism that makes the blockchain more scalable. Similar to an operating system, EOS.IO works like a blockchain network for the digital currency. There’s no mining mechanism to produce coins – that also makes EOS outstanding.

Instead, block producers are rewarded with EOS tokens based on the production rates. The EOS system leverages a complex system of rules to control the process, and this blockchain makes transactions more democratic and decentralized.

Today, EOS’ cap is $2.3 bln, and one token is worth $2.6.

Main EOS advantages
EOS is a unique cryptocurrency

NEO (NEO)

EOS is not the only threat to Ethereum. NEO is called the ‘Chinese Ethereum’ because its blockchain leverages similar blockchain. Its history started in 2014: back then, it was called AntShares, and was later renamed.

In 2017, NEO experienced groundbreaking growth: from the value of $0.16 per token it climbed to as high as $162 within one year. Thus, investors might have enjoyed ROI of 111,000$%. Why did NEO become so successful? First and foremost, it supports many existing programming languages, such as Go, Java, C++, and others. Besides, it is supported by the Chinese government, which is usually very strict about cryptocurrencies. The technology underlying NEO is said to level up the use of smart contracts, so this is a very perspective and promising cryptocurrency you should pay attention to.

Today, NEO is 18th largest crypto with $485 mln market cap, and one NEO = $7.4.

Monero (XMR)

Why did we include Monero on our list? This is a secure, private and untraceable crypto. This open-source cryptocurrency was created in 2014 and soon received attention from crypto enthusiasts and corporate investors. The development of Monero was totally driven by community and donations from crypto enthusiasts. This project puts a heavy focus on scalability and decentralization and ensures absolute privacy thanks to so-called “ring signatures” techniques. In this case, there is a group of cryptographic signatures including at least one real participant, but since they all appear valid, the real one cannot be isolated.

Thanks to unbeatable security mechanisms, Monero has gained contradictory reputation because people started linking it to criminal payments. Wherever it is being used, we can’t deny the fact that Monero has introduced exceptional technological advances in the cryptocurrency sphere.  

the smartest choice for private payments
Comparison of Monero vs other coins

What will the future of cryptocurrency be like?

When it comes to predictions, opinions of experts differ: while some believe that crypto will rise even higher, others express their concerns about the lack of real crypto value.

On the positive side

On the negative side

According to Roger Ver, “long-term the future is brighter than ever,” for cryptocurrencies. He noted that there’s “more awareness,” “more adoption,” and “more stuff happening all over the world.”

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are not a panacea. There are still concerns over the scalability, speed of transactions, and their cost. Crypto has got a lot of challenges to overcome.

(Rowan Welch, account director, Black Pepper Software)

Many experts believe that Ripple will take over with all the institutional money flowing in.

One of the main reasons some people think crypto will fail is the lack of availability.

Some predict that all that crypto needs is a verified exchange traded fund (ETF). That would make investing in Bitcoin easier. But there should be demand for Bitcoin, which cannot be generated by a fund.

Proof of work should be replaced – it’s too energy-consuming, and the number of miners is critically high.

Tim Draper has predicted that the total cryptocurrency market capitalization will hit $80 trillion in the next 15 years.

Networks are handing their power to the miners, who are centralizing the crypto market in the same way central banks strangulated the traditional one.

All in all, cryptocurrency has all chances to replace fiat money. Maybe not in 5 years, but later. All you can do now is to keep the track of crypto development and make timely investments.

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Are Ripple and XRP Getting Ready to Replace SWIFT?

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SWIFT has long been the go-to for cross border payments, but it is in dire need of an upgrade and Ripple believes they are the ones to do it
Are Ripple and XRP Getting Ready to Replace SWIFT?
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SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment.

It has been in operation going on 46 years now and has become the global standard in sending money across borders. However, in its time, it has also picked up some undesirable issues, and it is also starting to show its age – now 46 years old.

It is for this reason that the disruptive power of blockchain technology is being touted as the future of cross border payments, but more specifically, Ripple and its XRP token are looking to be the new standard in this regard.

Ripple, in regards to cryptocurrencies, is probably most similar to SWIFT in that they do have a centralised control hub for their XRP token, but they also have a lot of the added benefits of being decentralised and on the blockchain.

SWIFT has become a political tool in the past, especially in relation to sanctions, and it is also totally reliant on the organisation for the continued running of the network. This is where Ripple can offer a lot more for payments across the globe.

Still running

The combination of having a controlling organisation, such as Ripple for the XRP token, while maintaining the decentralised benefits of a blockchain means that Ripple has a few edges over SWIFT that make it far more attractive for today’s financial world.

Ripple sales director Ross D’Arcy explained during a fintech conference in Croatia:

“I think SWIFT is a really interesting example. Because SWIFT, if you think about it, kind of crosses the lines sometimes and plays a bit of a political role. We don’t see our customers’ transactions. Our customers’ transactions go over the internet. So Ripple could shut down as a business tomorrow and our customers could still transact using our software. The same wouldn’t be the case with SWIFT.”

Non-political

Adding onto the statement from D’Arcy, XRP is a decentralised token that operates on a blockchain and because of this, it is not easy to manipulate or utilise as a tool. SWIFT has been controlled by the US government at times, making them exclude certain countries from the network in order to enact their sanctions.

However, with the XRP token, this will be extremely difficult as, even if Ripple Labs was to be coerced into doing the bidding of a government, they only have seven percent control of the validation of transactions.

A decentralised control that is appealing

Ripple’s benefits over SWIFT are quite clear as the outdated system suffers from a lot of legacy issues. But even the XRP benefits make it more attractive as a successor for SWIFT.

Ripple has been looking to appease and welcome regulators and governments, and by extension banks, by playing by the financial rules. This element of control makes XRP more appealing for companies and countries to adopt.

However, in an ever decentralising world, XRP’s blockchain offering means that there can be no monopolisation or manipulation when it comes to cross border payments.

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Despite the Criticism, Ripple Arguably More Decentralised Than Bitcoin

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Many won’t even class XRP as crypto because of Ripple’s control, but they could also argue that the XRP token is more decentralised than BTC
Despite the Criticism, Ripple Arguably More Decentralised Than Bitcoin
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Ripple, and its token, XRP, have faced a constant barrage of criticism relating to their decentralization of the token over the years. Many cryptocurrency purists have criticised their inner workings with Ripple, the company, clearly in charge of the XRP token and its distribution.

However, this allegation has been as equally denied by the those at the head of Ripple; in fact, it has even seen the CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, state that the XRP ledger is in fact more decentralized than both Bitcoin and Ethereum.

This statement alone will get many raring for a fight, but a closer inspection and interpretation of what it means to be decentralised could indicate that Ripple has a point. They could indeed argue that they are more decentralized than the other two major cryptocurrencies, based on the mining pools.

It is well known that controlling the majority of the mining of traditional proof-of-work coins, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, can lead to a 51% attack, which destroys the decentralisation of the blockchain and hands full control to one person, or group, or pool.

Bitcoin has been flirting with the 51% attack recently, and previously, but for Ripple, it is a different story, as they only have seven percent control of the validators. Looking at the interpretation of decentralisation, there technically have been more chances for Bitcoin to be controlled by one group than there has Ripple – so is it less decentralised?

Making claims

To be honest, the idea of decentralisation is really up for debate, and it is also dependant on interpretation, thus the claims being made on their side of these fence are debatable, but it is interesting to hear the thoughts of Garlinghouse.

“It is very clear that the XRP ledger is decentralized,” said the CEO of Ripple. “Ripple runs seven validators, which is about four percent of all public validators.”

He added:

“By almost any measures now, the XRP Ledger is more decentralized than the Bitcoin ledger or Ethereum ledger, where you have a very small number of miners controlling you know well past 50% of mining power.”

It is true that Bitcoin’s mining has almost been monopolised in the past by the likes of Antpool, BTC.com, and ViaBTC, with Bitmain at times having the power to launch a 51 percent attack, but never acting on this. However, it shows just how much the mining has been centralised in Bitcoin.

Ripple’s argument

If one was to base the mining and validation of cryptocurrencies as the key determining factor of their centralisation, then it would be preposterous to say that Bitcoin is decentralized.

Ripple, the company, despite having control in different areas of the XRP token, only controls seven percent of its validation. Thus, on this basis, they have very little control and it should be argued that XRP is decentralised.

cryptocurrency

 

A lot of this argument is also predicated on the algorithms that these two coins use, however.

Bitcoin and Ethereum use proof-of-work algorithms. This system rewards miners for validating transactions by paying a fee for their work. This was a great starting point for a decentralized system that incentivizes complete strangers to contribute to the greater good of a network and make forward progress.

But as time has gone on, clear limitations have manifested. Blockchains that use proof-of-work can be subject to centralized control, where a few miners have significant control over the system.

The XRP Ledger uses a consensus protocol that relies on a majority of validators to record and verify transactions without incentivizing any one party. Validators are different from miners because they aren’t paid when they order and validate transactions.

Today, these validators operate at locations across the globe and are run by a broad range of individuals, institutions, asset exchanges and more.

More to it

As mentioned, this form of argument in regards to decentralisation only takes into consideration one aspect. But in this aspect, indeed, Ripple is superior. However, when it comes to purists and believers in how blockchains should operate, many have an issue with a company having discretion over tokens.

Ripple has been a coin that differs substantially from most of the top 20 coins by market cap – that does not necessarily mean it is wrong, nor right, but it is certainly showing that things can be done in different ways in the blockchain space.

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Ripple Believes XRP Should Be Viewed Just Like Bitcoin

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Most cryptocurrencies are in a legal classification grey area, especially in the US, but Ripple believes XRP should be viewed like Bitcoin.
Ripple Believes XRP Should Be Viewed Just Like Bitcoin
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Regulatory uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrencies has become one of the biggest bugbears of cryptocurrency businesses and users alike. There are very few hard and fast rules or legal frameworks around the digital assets, leaving anyone who operates them in a grey area.

It has led to many lawmakers and regulators to start to try and delve into how these cryptocurrencies can fit into the current legal framework, and in the case of the United States, it has seen the SEC declare Bitcoin at least as not a security.

However, the SEC has more jurisdiction over other cryptocurrencies, declaring a huge swath of ICOs as securities, but leaving the rest of the more established coins, such as Ripple, for example, in the dark.

This has led Ripple to implore the SEC to make a decision on XRP and treat it just as they would Bitcoin. It is a decision that surely needs to be made, but will be more difficult for the SEC in comparison to Bitcoin, as the XRP token differs significantly from the major cryptocurrency.

However, the argument from Ripple is that the XRP token is more suited to not being classified as a security due to its regulatory adherence and US-base.

A policy of uncertainty

The relationship between the cryptocurrency ecosystem and regulators has been a complex and dynamic one. The original face of Bitcoin was one of defiance of the governmental rules and regulation, covering itself in a ‘cypherpunk’ cloak and being used predominantly on the dark web.

However, as it has entered the mainstream, and regulators have found it legitimate enough to put levels of control over it, the cryptocurrency community has understood that in order for digital assets to advance and become accepted, they need to adhere to the rules.

This has now led to many seeking legal classification and clarification, including Ripple.

“The challenge for adoption comes back to policy. The policy uncertainty around some of the assets has limited adoption, particularly here in the US,” said Ryan Zagone, director of regulatory relations.

“And I’m speaking from Ripple and XRP, because we use that asset because it’s a half a cent per payment. It’s basically free. It scales. And it’s efficient, with 1,500 transactions per second and nearly no energy burn. So we’re at a point today where there are real solutions to all of these challenges that already exist.”

According to Zagone, US regulators should treat XRP the way same way they view Bitcoin and Ethereum.

“Today, the policy certainty in the US exists for Bitcoin and Ethereum, despite the fact that those are China-controlled platforms. So activity goes to those platforms. What we need to do from a policy perspective in the US is look at places where there are uncertainty.”

“And one place I’m speaking directly for me here is XRP, where it looks like Bitcoin. It’s decentralized. It’s open-source. We have a small 7% of the validation power on that. Rather small on there. Giving clarity to those ones that are very similar to Bitcoin and Ethereum that have the same characteristics and should be classified the same way. And then we’re creating a level playing field across all the cryptos.”

Difficulty in classification

It is not an easy task for the SEC, and other regulatory bodies across the globe, to determine which cryptocurrencies are securities, or other such entities, and which are not. However, the the process thus far has been slow and bureaucratic.

This is not only hindering the growth and potential of cryptocurrencies, but also making it unattractive for the companies and businesses to adopt and utilize the powerful technologies. For Ripple, this includes major banks which have seen the potential but are unsure of the regulatory standpoint. 

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Big Bitcoin Mining Pools Losing Control as “Unknown” Miners Take Profit

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Bitcoin mining is slowly moving away from the big mining pools, like Bitmain, and ‘unknown’ miners are starting to come in to grab profits
Big Bitcoin Mining Pools Losing Control as “Unknown” Miners Take Profit
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Part of the appeal of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is that their design allows for a decentralised network based on a large network of miners. But in recent times, major mining pools have taken control of the mining arena, limiting the decentralised nature of the cryptocurrency, and making mining unfavourable and unprofitable for the everyday miner.

But there is a change in the air as the major pools, like Bitmain and others, are starting to lose their grip with a surge of “unknown miners” now helping decentralise the cryptocurrency further in what could be a return to profitability for individual miners.

Research has shown that the likes Antpool, BTC.com, and ViaBTC are now validating far less Bitcoin blocks than this time last year. Rather, there is an emerging group of “unknown” or untied miners that are currently validating more blocks than any individual pool.

This group of “unknown miners” could well be individuals flexing their own muscle as they look to profit from the fall in difficulty that has been seen over the past few months in the Bitcoin mining algorithm.

Who is in charge?

Blockchain research unit Diar has published new data that shows the control once held by major mining pools is waning, and is likely being overtaken by the more casual miner. Anonymous, and unknown miners, not tied to any pools, are now finding profit in mining the major cryptocurrency.

Who is in charge?

“Unknown miners closed December having solved a whopping 22 percent of the total blocks, up from 6 [percent] at the start of last year,” reported Diar. “The Bitcoin network is currently less likely to experience an attack given the fact the BTC.com controlled pools have lost dominance over the network.”

Protecting against attack

Not only is it that the casual miner could be profiting from Bitcoin mining again, it is helping accentuate the decentralisation of Bitcoin by diluting the power held by a single mining pool.

It is well known that if a blockchain is controlled by more than 51 percent by one miner or mining pool, that blockchain becomes the target of a 51% attack, which can have devastating outcomes for the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin has been under threat of a 51 percent attack in the past because of the mining monopoly of Bitmain, but it has never come to fruition, and now, it cannot currently.

Diar reports that in early 2018, Bitmain’s mining pools accounted for 53 percent of Bitcoin’s hash power. Theoretically, this would have allowed them to collude to take control of Bitcoin with a 51 percent attack.

This reduction in their influence is positive for those wary of such an attack. Recently, Ethereum Classic suffered such an attack that led to $1.1 million being stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges.

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Ripple Focusing on Where the Money Is – the MENA Region

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Ripple has seen significant uptake in the MENA region of the Middle East and North Africa, so it is taking its focus there
Ripple Focusing on Where the Money Is – the MENA Region
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The Middle East, despite the strife and conflict, has grown to be a place of vast wealth with the likes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi shining bright in that region as places of immense wealth. This region, along with North Africa, known as the MENA region, is thus a very important place, especially for Ripple.

Ripple has stated that it is focusing a lot of its attention on the MENA region, and it is a two-part approach as it is aware of the potential there, but it has also seen significant interest from the region already.

Not only is the MENA region one of the fastest adopters of Ripple’s product, but they are also friendly to digital assets in terms of a regulatory standpoint. Since October, Ripple has been trying to expand there in a move which is quite smart.

The banking-focused cryptocurrency XRP and its parent company Ripple have been seeking partnerships in the MENA region, and it is starting to show, as they are starting to see traction.

The place to be

Ripple’s Head of Infrastructure Innovation Dilip Rao has spoken on the importance of the MENA region, recently mentioning that it is adopting the distributed ledger technology solutions from Ripple at a rapid rate.

They have been signing up banks in Saudi Arabia and UAE and other countries like Oman and Kuwait.

Rao said:

“The enthusiasm of the regulator, the central banks to also encourage the use of Ripple technology to build new infrastructure for payment rails.”

It makes sense that Ripple has decided to focus its efforts into the Middle East, especially with the interest it has there, and also because of the potential in its expanding and impressive banking system.

Banks showing their interest

For Ripple, it is mostly about partnering with banks so they utilize the blockchain assets of their XRP token in order to make the intra-banking payments easier, cheaper and more efficient.

So far, they have seen strong interest from the banks in the MENA region, and are thus driving deeper in. The banking system in the MENA region, especially in the developing middle eastern countries are far less attached to their legacy banking systems, something that has been a handbrake for the general adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Banks in the MENA region are thus far happier to use the XRP token and xRapid product to solve visibility and liquidity problems in global remittances.

There are also far more lenient and open minded regulators in the Middle East which are willing to look into the new and forward-thinking options that are out there. It is because of this that Ripple has decided to pursue this region, and should it be a success, it would be the perfect platform to launch a more global offensive in terms of adoption.

Regulation inclined

Ripple has always been a cryptocurrency which has taken a different path from most others. Its intention is to work with traditional financial structures and help upgrade them rather than replace them, and to this end, it relies heavily on a welcoming regulatory standpoint.

In the MENA region, Ripple has found an open minded general approach to these financial tech rules, and to that end it has seen adoption start taking hold. It remains to be seen if Ripple can totally colonize the MENA region with its solutions, but it is positive that it is focusing in on an area which has an open pathway.

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