The Top Large-cap Cryptocurrencies Analyzed for 2018 (BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC)
With everyone in the crypto world looking for the next moonshot it is important to step back and look at the coins that drive the entire market. These are the large cap coins, multibillion-dollar cryptocurrencies. The top five large-caps coin include; BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC. The next year holds as much excitement as 2017, plus market adoption of cryptos and business adoption of the blockchain.
The Big Boys
The top five coins make up more than 73 percent of the entire market for blockchain based digital currency. Well, all five of these cryptos have had strong runs in 2017, but where will 2018 lead them? Will it be further corrections and a market pummeling? Or will the rebound continue to drive these five coins to new all-time highs (ATHs)? Which of these five coins will be the top gainer of 2018?
The King would have to rank the top three in order of highest percentage gainers for the remainder of 2018 as follows; 1. LTC, 2. XRP, 3. ETH, 4. BTC, and 5. BCH.
Bitcoin (BTC) was the first and it the most recognizable name in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. BTC is the largest of the large caps when it comes to the cryptocurrency markets. BTC had a remarkable run in 2017 having gained more than 1,000 percent before suffering a significant correction in January. Since hitting a low of just under $6,000, it seems BTC has been on a nice rebound. The questions remain, what is BTC? And how will it perform for the remainder of 2018?
To understand BTC one must understand a short history of it. BTC was created in 2009 by an individual using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. The purpose was to decentralize the current financial system. Transactions were to be made with no intermediaries, removing the control central banks and governments wielded over currency. The first digital currency on the blockchain was born. Bitcoins can be used to purchase goods anonymously as each BTC wallet is a slew of numbers that can receive or send BTCs to other BTC wallets. It is possible to sometimes find out the owner of a BTC wallet through ISP analysis but is still a very difficult process to remove the anonymity BTC provides. BTCs can either be purchased on the open market or mined.
For a user to transact in BTC, they must first acquire them. To acquire BTC the user may purchase BTC from an exchange or mine them. Purchasing on an exchange is easiest as many exchanges allow the purchase of BTC using dollars or euros (fiat currency). Mining them is a bit harder and requires some higher tech technology. Using high-tech computers with ASICs and GPUs, computers compete to solve complex math problems while providing support to the BTC blockchain. The difficulty to mine BTCs increases regularly with a maximum mineable number of coins set at 21 million. With 16.9 million in circulation, this means there will only be 4.1 million more ever mined. Over 75 percent of the world’s BTCs have been making each remaining BTC’s ability to be mined slightly more difficult. With the cost of mining equipment being a barrier to entry more and more individuals are turning to buying them on exchanges.
Bitcoin’s Outlook for 2018
At a few points in 2017, the future of BTC looked bleak as their transaction costs were soaring and the transaction time was relatively high compared to other cryptocurrencies. This resulted in BTC forking, creating Bitcoin Cash (BCH). BCH looked to solve the issues associated with BTC’s slow transaction speed and rising transaction costs. There were also some politicking involved between BTC and BCH developers. In the end, the fork occurred, and there is now BTC and BCH. Had this article been written at the fork time, prior to SegWit2x coming out, the author would have insisted BTC should continue to lose market cap to faster, cheaper, cryptocurrencies. However, BTC fixed most of the issues that plagued it with their newest update dramatically increasing transaction times and greatly reducing transaction costs.
BTC is the safest play for 2018, although it will not be the highest returning when compared to other cryptocurrencies. Returns between 200 and 400 percent should be expected on the low end, for BTC, by year’s end. This would place BTC between $30,000 and $50,000 which is a very realistic target for an asset that has been gaining a thousand percent a year going back multiple years. For the “safe” investor BTC is a buy and HOLD. Even if you purchased at the all-time high (ATH) of approximately $20,000 this year should see a minimum of a fifty percent return on your investment. BTC is the safest play in the crypto space and high yielding when compared to normal financial markets.
Ethereum (ETH) is the cryptocurrency with the second highest market cap in the crypto world with a value of $87 billion. ETH similarly is a cryptocurrency like BTC, but it’s purposes are vastly different.
ETH has two main purposes; first, to be an ERC-20 token release platform, and secondly, to enable developers to build decentralized applications (Dapps) that run on the ETH blockchain. BTC was meant to disrupt the financial systems in 2009. BTC is specifically a peer to peer digital currency transfer system. The main difference between ETH and BTC is that ETH focuses on running programming code of a Dapp. ETH is very different that BTC, as it intended to create the ability to produce more cryptocurrencies, in an ERC-20 format, while allowing developers to build Dapps on their ever-growing Ethereum blockchain. The way to accumulate ETH is also slightly different that BTC.
Currently, two ways exist to acquire ETH. The first is very similar to BTC and any other cryptocurrency. The investor has the ability to buy ETH from their exchange of choice. However, the process of “mining” is very different for ETH. BTC miners solve complex math problems while supporting the BTC blockchain. ETH “miners” solely support the ETH blockchain and each time a transaction takes place on it ETH is used to pay transaction fees for the services of the ETH network. These transaction fees are paid to the mining network of computers supporting it.
Smart contracts are a unique feature of ETH that allow for conditions to be placed into the transaction. A smart contract automatically executes once specific conditions are met. This ensures there is no possibility of censorship, fraud, or interference by a third party. The blockchain provides security and transparency even through the use of smart contracts. ETH is very special in it allows developers to create any operation they want within the smart contract. Most blockchains can process code but are severely limited, which is why ETH stands out and quickly rose to being the number two cryptocurrency by market cap.
The Creator’s Thoughts and Ethereum’s Virtual Machine
Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies had originally been designed to accomplish peer to peer financial transactions. Developers were faced with expanding the functions of already existing digital currencies, which is very difficult. ETH’s creator, Vitalik Buterin, created his own blockchain specifically to deal with this.
“I thought [those in the crypto community] weren’t approaching the problem in the right way. I thought they were going after individual applications; they were trying to kind of explicitly support each [use case] in a sort of Swiss Army knife protocol.” This idea led Vitalik to develop Ethereum’s Virtual Machine (EVM). EVM is a Turing complete software that functions on the ETH blockchain. What makes EVM unique is that it enables any developer to run a program, regardless of the programming language. EVM makes the process of creating Dapps on ETH’s blockchain exceptionally easy and efficient. Prior the only option was to build a new entirely original blockchain or redesign an existing cryptocurrency’s code.
Ethereum’s Outlook for 2018
ETH has many benefits that will continue to shine in 2018. There are four main benefits of ETH; 1. Immutability, 2. Corruption and Tamper Proof, 3. Secure, 4. Zero Downtime. Immutability ensures a third party cannot make changes to the data. Being corruption and tamper proof is a standard in the blockchain along with security due to decentralization. Zero downtime is a unique aspect as Dapps as they never go down, and can never be switched off. The benefits of ETH give it a very positive outlook for 2018. However, having the second highest market cap in the cryptocurrency world greatly limits the percentage gains it can attain this year.
The biggest problems facing ETH are not internal, but external. In the past year, many new entrants into the token release and Dapp platform have emerged on the scene. ETH’s blockchain is getting more congested resulting in higher costs to transact. This will lead new developers to seek alternatives like NEO, ICX, STRAT, DRGN, etc. ETH’s only downside is that they revolutionized the blockchain cryptocurrency Dapp world, and in doing so there are many other cryptocurrencies trying to capitalize on the niche market they created. ETH should provide returns slightly higher than BTC for the year ahead with a slight increase in risk due to their significant level of ever-growing competition.
Ripple has the third largest market $42 billion with an individual coin price of $1.09. It is important to highlight that XRP is not yet on Coinbase, and at one point had surpassed ETH for the number two spot on the cryptocurrency largest market cap list. XRP was trading at above $3.50 multiple times in December and January, a price that should easily be approached in the next few months. Before predicting where the price of XRP will go in the next few months, it is essential to under, what a Ripple is.
Ripple happens to be the name for both the digital currency (XRP) and the payment network which XRP is transferred in. XRP is an open-source payment system in beta with the goal of enabling people to break free of “walled gardens” of financial networks. XRP wants to move away from the high fees and lack of transparency associated with credit cards, banks, and other institutions that restrict access to a user’s funds due to fees or delays.
XRP’s focus is on how frustrating consumers are with institutions impeding the transfer of funds through high transaction fees and delays. They want to do, “for money what the internet did for all forms of information.” The team leading this transformation of payment systems is Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chris Larsen, and Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Jed McCaleb. Chris Larsen previously co-founded E-Loan and McCaleb was a major part of Mt. Gox prior to their hack. This team is stacked with some of the most important individuals in the crypto space. A strong team and a network to revolutionize the financial system places XRP in a very solid spot as the number three cryptocurrency by market cap.
Partnerships Ensure Market Adoption
XRP hands down has the best partnerships in the blockchain arena. A cryptocurrency is worth nothing until it has a utility. XRP’s utility is in its ability to transfer funds from location A to B seamlessly, rapidly, efficiently, on the blockchain, ensuring security, and transparency. XRP has successfully penetrated financial markets around the world have solidified partnerships with banks, credit cards, and many other financial institutions. The most well-known names on the list of XRP partners include American Express (AMEX), Banco Santander, SBI International, and Moneygram. These partnerships are of the highest caliber with companies that are not well known in specific geographic regions, but function worldwide. An investor would be hard-pressed to find another cryptocurrency with more adoption by the top financial institutions considering their hesitancy to implement the blockchain.
XRP has recently been added to exchanges like BitOasis (the Coinbase of the UAE) and has been hypothesized to be on the short list of Coinbase additions in the first half of this year. Their partnerships make them truly stand out from the other cryptocurrencies on the market.
Ripple’s Outlook for 2018
XRP is still over 70 percent down from it’s all-time high, even with a steady flow of positive news in both January and February. The partnerships continue to grow with many more expected to be announced on the horizon. The King expects XRP to overtake ETH during 2018 as the number two spot based on market cap. ETH has more and more competition from the likes of NEO, STRAT, ICX, DRGN, and many more. XRP is competing with other cryptocurrency payment systems but has already solidified itself as the best in the blockchain sector for the financial sector.
Think of it this way, if a more efficient keyboard for computers was designed would it be implemented? Odds are a new keyboard would not be implemented as an entire population of people is accustomed to the current one. The financial world of banks, credit card companies, and money transfer services have picked their “keyboard,” it is XRP. XRP may not have been the best, the fastest, or the cheapest. However, having already solidified significant market adoption from the largest players in the financial world it is unlikely XRP fades into oblivion anytime soon. The King sees XRP surpassing its previous ATH yielding returns higher than both BTC and ETH in 2018.
Bitcoin Cash: BCH
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was a cryptocurrency that originally had a significant amount of potential. This was mainly based on the reality that BTC was slow and very expensive to transact with. This led to the BCH fork. BCH sped up transaction times and decreased transaction fees, two very important issues BTC was struggling with. BCH is currently trading at $1,400 per coin with a market cap of $24 billion.
However, much of that growth can be attributed to BCH’s being added to Coinbase (and the hype/insider trading the preempted it). BCH was the direct result of a Bitcoin fork that occurred on August 1, 2017. Coinbase took until the end of 2017 to release their BCH to the BTC holders on their site. The goal of the fork was to create an alternative version of BTC making new rules and features along with a different roadmap. The fork was successful but what it accomplished BTC has solved in the following six months since the fork.
There seems to be little reason to have two bitcoin-related coins with almost identical features. BCH and BTC do almost the exact thing as of February 2018. BTC is faster and costs much less to transact than it did during the August 1, 2017, fork. There were originally many reasons to fork BTC into BCH. However, since then the majority of those reasons have evaporated leaving the crypto world with two very similar BTC related coins. BTC was the original, and regardless of the immense amounts of advertising money the BCH community pours into it, it seems their traction has peaked.
Bitcoin Cash Outlook for 2018
The markets will continue to rebound, so by default, it is likely BCH increases in value accordingly. However, in comparison to the other cryptocurrencies on this list, it is unlikely BCH outpaces them. The King would not be surprised to see BCH solely slide down this list and possibly out of the top ten by the end of 2018. Meager returns should be expected throughout 2018, likely far outpacing “normal” financial markets. However, it is likely ETH, XRP, and LTC all significantly outpace BCH from a percentage perspective. BCH was a wonderful fork to receive in August and has produced a great dividend valued at over $1,000 (a ten percent + dividend for BTC holders).
The remainder of 2018 should be a fantastic one for cryptocurrency markets. BCH should be able to ride the wave with the rest of cryptocurrencies but is unlikely to outpace the others with greater market adoption. If there was a “biggest loser” on this list, it would unfortunately, be BCH.
Litecoin (LTC) is the sleeper on this list as it is a coin most have heard of but do not realize how much room for growth there truly is. Currently, LTC is being traded for $228 per coin with a $12 billion market cap. Originally founded in 2011 by Charlie Lee, LTC is one of the oldest currencies on this list. LTC until now had very limited utility. Yes, LTC could be sent to a wallet address, but its integration in business and the financial sector was lacking significantly. Charlie Lee, the LTC founder, sold all his coins back in December causing the price to crash. He promised to devote his time to developing LTC full time. This should yield huge returns in 2018, beginning with this week! LTC has Litepay scheduled to come out by February 26, 2018, which should provide a significant boost to LTCs value.
LTC is introducing atomic swaps in the near future along with Litepay. Both these developments will propel the price of LTC to new ATHs. An atomic swap is the ability to trade a coin cross-chain without requiring a third party. For example, if you wanted to trade 50 LTC for one BTC, the trader would have to go to an exchange to purchase and transfer. Costing transaction fees, exchange fees, and trading fees. An atomic swap removes intermediaries such as exchanges. When Atomic Swaps are introduced for LTC on different blockchains, LTC users will be able to trade LTC for BTC for example with no fees related to an exchange, saving multiple percentage points on every transaction.
Litecoin Outlook for 2018
LTC is the baby on this list when market cap is considered. This is primarily because their utility is very limited. ETH dramatically increased in 2017 due to it being used as an ICO launch platform and Dapp generation network. With a market cap of approximately $12 billion, LTC has significant room for growth if they were to displace any of the coins with greater market caps. Litepay coming out within a week, mass market adoption, and the advent of Atomic Swaps should create an atmosphere where LTC takes off in 2018. Many of these cryptocurrencies will yield great returns in 2018. However, LTC is the only true moon on this list as long as they successfully implement Litepay and Atomic swaps. Look for LTC to be one of the leaders from a percentage perspective when compared to the other four cryptocurrencies on the list.
Conclusion: LTC and XRP
All the cryptocurrencies on this list have solidified themselves as among the top five in the cryptocurrency space. However, 2018 should lead to a shuffling of which remain in the top five. The King predicts BCH will slowly fall off the list of the top five cryptos by market cap, while LTC and XRP have opportunities to move up it. BTC does not have any major developments on the horizon but should remain the number one brand in the cryptocurrency space. This will solidify BTC’s value and position as the top cryptocurrency by market cap. BTC was the original and deserves to remain one of the most valuable assets in the space.
However, the utility of XRP and LTC, coupled with major developments on the horizon make them more likely to have a huge 2018. XRP’s exorbitant market cap holds them back slightly from a percentage perspective as it will be difficult for them to overtake BTC which would require a 1000 percent gain this year. However, LTC can easily have a 1000 percent gain this year, placing them over $2000 per LTC with a market cap still greatly less than BTC’s. The adoption and utility of ETH was discovered in 2017 leading to its dramatic rise. The utility and adoption of LTC and XRP are currently occurring. Once this occurs, expect both XRP and LTC to have an exponential run similar to ETH during 2017.
ETH should remain a solid gainer, although not number one, because why change a “keyboard” that is already adopted by the masses. ETH has significant competition and has to worry about government regulations constantly. 2018 should provide a nice rebound for ETH, but its gains will likely be inferior to those of LTC and XRP.
BCH is the biggest loser on this list. Its utility is diminishing as BTC’s is increasing. Their roadmap is not exciting, and it seems their focus is a bitter battle between BCH and BTC regarding which is the original Bitcoin. This battle should not concern you as the purpose is to find the highest yielding coin for 2018 out of the top five current cryptocurrencies. With BCH embroiled in an ongoing public debate with BTC, the focus has been removed from creating utility for their token. A lack of direction and focus make BCH is the least recommended coin on this list.
The entire cryptocurrency market should continue to rebound and approach new ATHs for many of the cryptocurrencies as 2018 continues on. However, out of the top five coins, there will likely be some clear winners.
Rankings for 2018 (Based on Highest Percentage Returns); 1. LTC, 2. XRP, 3. ETH, 4. BTC and 5. BCH.
To read the King’s prior articles, to find out which ICOs he currently recommends, or to get in contact directly with the King, you can on Twitter (@JbtheCryptoKing) or Reddit (ICO updates and Daily Reports).