Cryptos are making headlines and the rally in digital assets is showing no signs of slowing down. Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD), the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency, recently hit a new all-time high (ATH) of nearly $67,000 on Oct. 20, surpassing the previous record set in April. Meanwhile, investors are searching for the next big crypto leader among hundreds of tokens and coins.
For the past one month, Bitcoin prices have increased some 42%. This has been largely driven by the growing market sentiment that U.S. regulators will continue to take a moderate stance on cryptocurrencies rather than crack down on the market. On top of this sentiment, the launch of the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (NYSEARCA:BITO), a futures fund, was another key catalyst. (BITO provides indirect exposure to Bitcoin because it does not invest in BTC, but instead holds futures contracts.)
With a market capitalization of around $1.2 trillion, BTC accounts for over 60% of the cryptocurrency market. However, the market share of altcoins — or digital currencies other than Bitcoin — is also expanding. Altcoins offer a way for crypto investors to diversify beyond BTC.
Right now, there are more than 100 altcoins valued at over $1 billion, implying a flourishing digital ecosystem. The most important crypto after BTC is Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD), which has a market cap of $506 billion. Its price is just over $4,000 today.
Of course, I should remind readers that altcoin prices tend to follow in Bitcoin’s footsteps. In this context, the launch of the first exchange-traded fund (ETF) tied to BTC futures should further boost prices. But the prices of these assets are still typically highly volatile. As such, altcoins are not suitable for all investors.
Many analysts are also debating whether many of these altcoins can last. Hence, investors need to do their homework before jumping in. Against this backdrop, here are eight altcoins that each have the potential to last long and become the next big thing.
- Celsius (CCC:CEL-USD)
- Chiliz (CCC:CHZ-USD)
- Elrond (CCC:EGLD-USD)
- Filecoin (CCC:FIL-USD)
- Flow (CCC:FLOW-USD)
- Solana (CCC:SOL-USD)
- Terra (CCC:LUNA-USD)
- Waves (CCC:WAVES-USD)
52-week range: $1.21 – $8.02
First up on this list searching for the next big crypto is Celsius. Launched in 2017 by Alex Mashinsky and Daniel Leon, Celsius is a blockchain-integrated financial services platform for cryptocurrency users who receive interest payment based on their holdings. After creating a crypto savings account, investors can earn yields.
Celsius’ native token, CEL-USD, serves various internal functions, such as rewards and boosting user payouts if used as the payment currency. Users can access the Celsius platform on both the web and its mobile app.
CEL-USD currently trades around $5. It’s down about 8% year-to-date (YTD). With a market cap of $1.2 billion, the token currently ranks as the 88th largest cryptocurrency in the space according to CoinMarketCap. Readers who are interested in the intersection of financial technology (fintech) and cryptos might want to research Celsius further.
52-week range: $0.0088 – $0.8915
First ideated in 2018, Chiliz is another possible “next big crypto.” It focuses on monetization and fan engagement in the sports world. Chiliz.net is the first tokenized sports exchange worldwide where fans can trade sports-branded tokens.
Chiliz has partnerships with several leading global sporting institutions, such as Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona FC, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. As a result, the platform also gives users the chance to participate in the governance of their favorite sports brands. Holding the native currency, CHZ-USD, allows fans to have a stake in their club.
What’s more, CHZ-USD also powers the Socios.com platform. The crypto currently hovers at 32 cents. The altcoin has returned a whopping 3,000%-plus YTD. With a relatively small market cap of $1.9 billion, this digital token currently ranks as the 68th largest altcoin in the market.
52-week range: $7.01 – $302.14
Launched in July 2020 by Beniamin and Lucian Mincu, Elrond is a sharding blockchain with a focus on scalability — the ability to support large amounts of transactions. So, what is sharding? Mahdi Zamani of Visa (NYSE:V) highlighted the following:
“A major approach to overcoming the performance and scalability limitations of current blockchain protocols is to use sharding which is to split the overheads of processing transactions among multiple, smaller groups of nodes.”
Put another way, the Elrond protocol offers extremely fast transaction speeds via sharding. Elrond’s native token, EGLD-USD, serves various internal functions such as paying fees, staking and rewards.
EGLD-USD currently hovers around $270 territory. It’s up over 950% YTD and 3,400% for the past 12 months. Moreover, the altcoin has gained about 19% over the past one month. With a market cap of over $5.3 billion, it currently ranks as the 37th largest cryptocurrency in the market according to CoinMarketCap.
52-week range: $20.05 – $237.24
FIL-USD is the next entry on this list searching for the “next big crypto.” Filecoin is a decentralized storage system that aims to “store humanity’s most important information.” Filecoin leverages its decentralized nature to safeguard the integrity of data’s location, which makes it easily retrievable and difficult to censor.
Participating in the Filecoin network by mining and storing allows users to win more block rewards. The cryptocurrency incentivizes participants to act honestly and store as much data as possible.
FIL-USD started 2021 at around the $22 level. Now, the altcoin trades at around $66. Filecoin has returned some 87% YTD currently, but has also declined 12% over the past one month. With a market cap of more than $7.5 billion, it has become the 27th-largest digital coin in the market currently.
52-week range: $1.50 – $46.16
Launched by Dapper Labs, Flow is the next big crypto possibility on this list, describing itself as a developer-friendly blockchain to support games, apps and digital assets. InvestorPlace readers might know of Canada-based Dapper Labs as the developer of CryptoKitties, a blockchain game on Ethereum.
FLOW-USD is the native token that powers the network. Prominent investors in Dapper Labs include Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN), Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Ventures and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), among other names.
This crypto currently trades around the $13 mark. With a market cap of more than $4 billion, Flow is currently the 45th largest altcoin in the market.
52-week range: $1.09 – $214.96
Launched in early 2020 by Anatoly Yakovenko, Solana aims to compete with the Ethereum network in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space. What’s DeFi? Research published in the Journal of Financial Regulation points out the following:
“Common usage [of DeFi] incorporates one or more elements of: (i) decentralization; (ii) distributed ledger technology and blockchain; (iii) smart contracts; (iv) disintermediation; and (v) open banking.”
The Solana platform supports a hybrid consensus architecture of proof-of-stake (PoS) and proof-of-history (PoH) protocols. What’s more, the digital asset is being increasingly used for decentralized application (dapps) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Finally, Solana is one of the fastest blockchain protocols as well.
Its native currency, SOL-USD, currently hovers above the $200 mark. The altcoin has nearly gained a whopping 12,000% or so YTD. With a market cap of around $62 billion, Solana is also now the sixth-largest altcoin in the market.
52-week range: $0.275 – $48.63
Second to last on this list of possible next big cryptos is Terra. Created in 2018, Terra is a base-layer blockchain protocol that uses fiat-pegged stablecoins for processing payments. The protocol has several stablecoins, such as Tether (CCC:USDT-USD).
Tether is one of the most important stablecoins. Research by Alexander Lipton of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (and other reasearchers) highlights how the stablecoin rose to prominence:
“Tether allowed to circumvent traditional wire transfers by providing an alternative settlement mechanism. Although, token users were unable to withdraw their U.S. Dollars, Tether allowed them to transfer their U.S. Dollar-pegged tokens between exchanges, without being exposed to the price volatility of cryptocurrencies.”
LUNA-USD is the native currency of the Terra protocol. It acts as a reserve asset used to stabilize the price of these stablecoins. To mint USDT-USD tokens, for instance, LUNA-USD gets “burned.”
However, Tether has also recently gone through a significant upgrade. One CoinDesk article notes this upgrade is important because it “enable[s] the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) standard, which will let users easily transfer LUNA, the TerraUSD (UST) stablecoin, and other assets from Terra to other networks and vice versa.”
LUNA currently trades at around $43 territory. It’s up around 6,500% YTD and 13,600% in the past 12 months. The altcoin has also gained over 30% in the past one month. With a market cap of $17.5 billion today, it currently ranks as the 11th largest altcoin in the space.
52-week range: $2.96 – $41.33
WAVES-USD is the final possible candidate to be the next big crypto on the market. Essentially, Waves is a blockchain platform for building dapps and smart contracts as well as launching custom crypto tokens. The platform uses a variation of the PoS consensus mechanism called leased proof-of-stake (LPoS).
The network’s native token, WAVES-USD, is utilized as an incentive for mining rewards, payments and voting rights. The crypto currently hovers at around $28. It is up around 360% YTD and some 760% for the past 12 months. Moreover, it has gained about 13% over the past one month.
With a market cap of nearly $3 billion, the altcoin currently ranks as the 54th largest cryptocurrency in the market.