So far, 2021 has been the year that cryptos and blockchain technologies in general broke decisively into the mainstream.
Prices of major cryptos like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin and Cardano have been volatile, with ups and downs. But that’s hardly new.
The huge surge in decentralized finance and non-fungible token ecosystems, and the cryptos and networks enabling them, have forced a change in how institutions and even governments are viewing the cryptosphere.
Like sea changes of technology, like the growth of personal computers in the early 80’s, the growth of the internet in the early 90s, the “dot.com” craze of the latter 90’s, and the rise of social networks and online commerce in the 2000’s, the crypto boom has provided many opportunities for wealth creation.
It also has its pitfalls. Much of the crypto space operates without mediating authorities like financial institutions or governments involved, and that’s by the design.
Bitcoin was built to resist interference, offering a decentralized trustless network governed by its software protocols and network nodes. Ethereum and other blockchain networks that followed similarly had no companies founding them, but communities of coders and node operators based around the world.
In many ways, crypto currencies demand that users understand and vet technologies and methodologies in ways that casual would-be investors are not comfortable doing.
Learning how wallets work, how to buy and exchange cryptos, and how to take advantage of staking or lending, requires research and a careful step-by-step approach.
Crypto exchanges have worked to change some of the steep learning curve, allowing people to dip their toes in crypto investing via friendly interfaces and at least some safeguards.
But even on the most regulated exchanges, like the Nasdaq listed Coinbase, or the Robinhood app, sending or receiving Bitcoin, and waiting for minutes on end for a transaction confirmation, can be nerve-wracking.
Inputting a wrong address can mean losing the transaction amount, with no recourse to an institution to make things right.
Solana the Crypto of 2021
With all that said, emerging so-called “3rd generation” crypto networks built to offer faster transactions while maintaining higher security and lower energy consumption, have proven to be of interest to investors. Charles Hoskinson, who was part of the development team for Ethereum and Cardano, has noted that 3rd gen crypto networks are focused on scalability, interoperability and sustainability.
No crypto has shone brighter than Solana in the past eight months. In January it was trading at two dollars. In early September, it reached 200 dollars.
The token has more than doubled in price since the Trends Journal reported on its “wormhole” upgrade, which facilitated interoperability with Ethereum (see “SOLANA TRENDING AFTER CROSS ETHEREUM UPGRADE FEATURES”, 17 Aug 2021.)
Solana benefited from significant investment announcements and technological implementations that allowed it to interact and add value to the Ethereum network.
What other crypto projects appear primed to experience upsides into 2022? Cardano, Algorand, Solana, Polkadot, Tezos and Hedera Hashgraph all tout capabilities in areas that are drawing consumer and investor interest.
But many believe there’s room for each of these networks to grow as demand for services that can be built on them increases. Polkadot, Tezos and Cardano have seen significant recent price spikes. Hedera and Algorand have also gained.
ICON (ICX) is another network of interest, since it offers blockchain interoperability that makes its technology attractive, as consumers and businesses seek more seamless interactions the blockchain sphere.
Hedera’s innovative hashgraph technology results in extremely low computing energy usage compared to many other networks, and its price, as of this writing, is under 50 cents a token.
Cardano, with one of the highest market caps of any crypto, is hardly a secret. But it’s a cheap buy compared to other major cryptos.
Are Cardano and Hedera for those looking to avoid projects whose protocols are controlled by corporations or gated governing bodies? Frankly, no.
Hedera touts its ownership and control by the “world’s leading organizations and enterprises.” Some of the many corporations involved include Google, IBM, Boeing, Deutsche Telekom and Shinhan Bank.
Officially a Swiss-based non-profit, Cardano’s development and governorship is heavily weighted to universities and corporate institutions, and its self-promoting rhetoric is typical of virtue-signaling corporate commercials that flood media these days. One of its foundation pages touts its relationships with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is closely tied to the world’s central banks, and the World Economic Forum.
But Hedera and Cardano have demonstrated utility and technological innovations, and their layers of institutional control may be especially appealing to investors crossing over from traditional stock market investing.
The Trends Journal has covered some of the ways NGOs are seeking to control blockchain projects, in “WEF TARGETS CRYPTOS” (11 May 2021) and other articles.
Even as newer networks have gained various investments, communities of developers, and/or partnerships that attracted interest, the crypto trailblazers like Ethereum and Bitcoin have been making upgrades, and benefitting from technological relationships.
The Trends Journal has outlined some of that news and the possible impact on crypto prices and investment potentials, in articles including:
- “COMPETING BLOCKCHAINS OFFER OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS” (20 Apr 2021)
- “WILL ‘TAPROOT’ UPGRADE HELP BTC REBOUND?” (18 May 2021)
- “WHAT ETHEREUM UPGRADE TO PROOF OF STAKE MEANS” (15 Jun 2021)
- “ALONZO PURPLE UPGRADE BRINGING DEFI TO CARDANO” (17 Aug 2021)
[Note: None of the news or trends reported in Trends In Cryptos should be construed as financial advice.]