This year has been crazy for cryptocurrencies. In early 2017, cryptocurrencies were still flying under the radar. Now, as 2018 is upon us, even your Nan is kicking herself about not investing in bitcoin back in its auroral days.
Even if you’re bored of all the hoo-ha surrounding bitcoin, there are still lots of reasons to keep your eye on cryptocurrencies over the year ahead.
But first, let’s rewind:
In early 2017, the aggregate value of all cryptocurrencies was $17.7 billion. No small slice o’ pie, we can all agree. Bitcoin – the cryptocurrency even Bob down the road has heard of – accounted for 80% of the total value.
As we wave goodbye to 2017, we see a cryptocurrency market wholly changed.
Perhaps not wholly – bitcoin is, after all, still the leader of the pack. But this year has ushered in an increase of the cryptocurrency market value by a whopping 2,800%. No need to get out your calculators – the total value of cryptocurrencies combined now stands at an eye-watering $515 billion.
With the price of each individual bitcoin standing at $17961.76 at the time of writing, the opportunity for the average Joe to invest in bitcoin has been and gone.
However, although the value of each individual bitcoin increased remarkably during 2017, the market share Bitcoin possesses has decreased, to 59.4%. That means that the value of other cryptocurrencies is on the rise.
Now more than ever before is the time to look at these three cryptocurrencies which saw dramatic rises in market share and value in 2017 – and we promise, no more talk of bitcoin.
Ripple’s currency, XRP, has increased in value by 10,900% since the beginning of the year. If you don’t know anything about Ripple, its much like other up-and-coming cryptocurrency IOTA in that its value is based on its technology as much as it is a fiscal unit.
Ripple is known as the ‘bank’s bitcoin’ because members of the financial sector want to use its blockchain technology in order to streamline their services. What really pushed the value of Ripple up, was when both Santander and American Express said they would adopt Ripple for cross-border transactions.
Ripple is great for moving money across borders, because by using their currency, XRP, you minimise the amount of money lost in the exchange. Even better than that, Ripple’s blockchain system allows money that’s transferred across borders to clear in seconds, not in days.
The potential for Ripple’s XRP to become the intermediary currency for cross-border transactions, while it’s blockchain system becomes the transfer system du jour of big financial institutions, means the value of Ripple doesn’t look like it’ll decrease anytime soon.
NEM is not a buzz-currency you’ll hear in the national press – just yet. But this year, NEM and its currency XEM have experienced a rise in value of a staggering 14,000%.
NEM’s value can, in part, be attributed to the fact that, unlike bitcoin and the hot-on-its-tail Ethereum, NEM was built to scale – so it overcomes the problems with scalability associated with other cryptocurrencies.
NEM has another advantage over Ethereum because its so much easier for third-party app developers to build on. Some methods of building are almost impossible on Ethereum, because their technology makes it so difficult – and they’re a walk in the park on NEM.
NEM trumps bitcoin and Ethereum again in how well the blockchain protects individuals from spam attacks that would disturb their transactions. NEM advocates go far to say that serious spam attacks which so plague bitcoin and Ethereum are impossible on their network.
The security and speed of payments, both peer-to-peer and business-to-business, help explain why NEM is now the 9th biggest cryptocurrency – with a market capitalisation of nearly $5 billion.
Brace yourselves – the increase in market value is strong with this one. If five-figure percentage increases were making your eyes water, the increase of value of Einsteinium should have you falling off your chair.
Einsteinium’s value increased by 169,800%. If you’d been wild enough to invest $1,000 in January, you’d be bringing in the New Year boasting a cool $1.7 million. Champagne on you, then.
What has driven this whopping value increase is the removal of 50 million EMC2 coins from circulation in October, making each that remained scarcer – and so, more valuable.
That’s not the only reason, however. Rumours have been bubbling around Einsteinium for a good part of half a year now. In early December, some were even reporting of a partnership between Einsteinium and Apple – it turned out to be baloney, but the gossip remains.
Einsteinium’s main goal is to fund scientific research – 2.5% of the trappings from mining will go to a foundation that specifically funds science. Some cryptocurrency insiders expect a big announcement from Einsteinium in the New Year. Just don’t expect a partnership with Apple.