As a bearish market flirts with signs of recovery, cryptocurrency investors are looking ahead for the next big opportunity.
New blockchain projects are always just around the corner. More importantly, existing ones are hitting major milestones, which is just the kind of news investors are waiting to hear.
We’ve pulled together 5 of the most active projects to keep an eye on in the coming month. As always, be sure to do your own research before investing.
The investment landscape is vast and varied, filled with countless opportunities for growing one’s capital.
At least, that’s what it looks like from the outside.
As the Swarm at Nasdaq video points out, most of these opportunities require expensive middlemen to engage with, and can involve tying up funds for months or years at a time. Combined with other factors such as restrictive legislation, the result is that a majority of investment opportunities are limited to only the wealthiest of investors.
Swarm’s goal is to tear down some of the barriers standing between ordinary cryptocurrency traders and high-yield investments. It does this by creating a decentralized, democratic marketplace that uses security tokens to represent real-world assets.
Experts on the Swarm network create their own syndicates to engage in high-profile trades, including everything from real estate to hedge funds. Crypto investors then pool resources with these experts to invest as much or as little as they like, allowing for cooperative ownership of assets.
As a nonprofit, the Swarm team is guided by principles rather than profit. They have a holistic view of the security token space, and strive to put out products and services that empower all actors within the ecosystem. By providing solutions that benefit the entire community and encouraging collaboration, Swarm is poised to play a key role in democratizing finance.
Why You Should Watch Swarm
Swarm’s vision is to allow anyone in the world the chance to participate in real-world investments and crypto asset value creation. Its potential user base includes anyone with access to the internet and a little curiosity about investing.
Swarm also attracts expert investors who want access to dynamic opportunities, freeing them from lengthy speculative actions involved with real-world trades. These experts become part of the Swarm Fund ecosystem and take advantage of more lucrative opportunities, thanks to Swarm investors backing their trades.
The Swarm project was founded in 2014 by a team of diverse professionals with experience in finance, investing, technology, and beyond. The platform has been fully operational and live since early 2018.
Flexibility, accessibility, low fees, ease of use, and intelligent trading. Swarm has its eye on the big market.
August was a great month for Swarm. The biggest news item was likely the tokenization of Robinhood, providing an exclusive investment opportunity to the public that would otherwise have to wait until Robinhood’s IPO. This is a huge step in the right direction towards Swarm’s objective of tokenizing the world’s private equity.
In addition, Swarm released a tokenization solution, the Market Access Protocol, that could be a game changer for how security tokens comply with regulations and are traded on exchanges. And to top things off at the end of the month, Swarm announced an agreement with OpenFinance Network to list security tokens on their trading platform
Yes, August was quite a good month for Swarm indeed! We’re expecting all of that progress to carry over into September and beyond with more developments in the works including strides towards better AI trading efficiencies and automating the administrative processes related to fund deployment.
These factors, combined with Swarm’s well-established presence, could make the coming weeks a breakout point for the marketplace.
The Stellar payments system exists to move money as quickly and efficiently as possible. Boasting tiny fees, 3-5 second confirmation times, and a throughput of thousands of transactions per second, Stellar has been established as one of the leading payment cryptocurrencies on the market.
Its biggest current use case is working as a connection service between fiat and cryptocurrencies, allowing both financial institutions and individuals to make fast and reliable payments.
Interestingly, Stellar has made a concentrated effort to serve migrant workers who go abroad to make a living and send money back to their families in developing countries. Depending on your own personal circumstances, you might not immediately recognize how big of a use case this is.
In reality, international transactions involving migrant workers accounts for a multi-billion dollar industry, and one that has thus far been exploited by services such as Western Union.
With Stellar leading the way, migrant workers are quickly becoming some of the most important early adopters for blockchain technology.
Of course, migrant workers are just one of many use cases. The scope of Stellar covers remittance payments, international settlements, cross-border transactions, and much more.
All told, the total addressable market is worth tens of trillions of dollars, so Stellar still has a whole lot of room for growth.
Why You Should Watch Stellar
With a strong recent performance fueled by exciting partnerships (IBM being the biggest of them) and solid project development, Stellar is proving itself to be a cryptocurrency that can survive and thrive in the current bear market, however long it extends.
Sometime in the month of September, Stellar Core will migrate to version 10.0.0, ushering in some significant changes for the network. Among the changes is a much-anticipated implementation of BumpSequence, something which expands the functionality of Stellar’s smart contracts.
Meanwhile, the development work going on behind the scenes has been accompanied by some incredibly encouraging growth in the last few months.
Surely some investors are wishing that the XLM price chart looked a bit more like the chart above, but in the grand scheme of things hitting that 1,000,000 accounts milestone is substantially more meaningful than an all-time high price fueled purely by speculation and hype. This is what the beginnings of real intrinsic value looks like.
Combine all of that short-term progress and growth with the fundamentals that make Stellar an excellent long-term prospect, and there is simply an abundance of reasons to keep your eyes on Stellar in September and beyond.
0x Project ($ZRX)
So far in 2018, a few projects have established themselves as being legitimately useful in the here and now, as well as important for the future development of the blockchain industry. One such project is 0x, the open-source and permissionless protocol for exchanging Ethereum tokens.
0x Protocol employs off-chain order-relayers to provide a decentralized, fast, and highly scalable method to trade ERC-20 tokens trustlessly. Independent relayers who use the protocol can be paid with ZRX tokens to facilitate transactions, while transactions between known counterparties can occur for free.
Like Stellar, the user base for 0x has continued to grow larger while the total crypto market shrinks, signifying true staying power in this bear market.
In fact, ZRX has been steadily climbing the market cap rankings of the top Ethereum tokens all year as a result of its increasing utility and positive reputation in the greater Ethereum community.
Why You Should Watch 0x
September is expected to be a huge month for 0x project, as it’s finally time to launch 0x Protocol 2.0.
V2 of the protocol offers some noteworthy improvements over v1, in addition to some exciting new functionality. We won’t get too deep into the details (you can click the link in the paragraph above for that), but the gist of it is that 0x Protocol 2.0 improves on security, flexibility, and ease of use compared to the previous version.
Of the new functionality being introduced, the most exciting is a redesigned smart contract architecture that makes it much simpler to integrate new Ethereum token standards and expand beyond just the ERC-20 tokens that are currently tradable.
The first new standard to be added is ERC-721, the standard for non fungible tokens that has tons of potential for use in online gaming as well as tokenizing real-world assets such as art, vintage wine, and more.
There are few projects with more tangible use than 0x in the present, and the future is looking even brighter with the development upgrades to come.
Here’s an exciting project for all the privacy advocates out there! Enigma isn’t a standalone cryptocurrency or a smart contract platform, but rather a privacy protocol that can augment other blockchains with privacy features.
People across the developing world are slowly but surely waking up to the fact that privacy isn’t just important for people who “have something to hide.” The amount of data being collected on each and every one of us online is downright scary, and the only way to not care about privacy anymore is to be ignorant of how bad the issue has become.
Just ask Alexa what time it’s going to rain today, and you’ll probably see ads for designer umbrellas and rain jackets the next time you open Instagram. Or, if you want to take a look at where this is all headed, read about China’s social credit system. And just in case you want to know what the worst case scenario is like, the Nosedive episode of Black Mirror will probably do the trick.
The point is, privacy matters whether you “have something to hide” or not.
With the emergence of blockchain infrastructure, we have the chance to solve the problem of consumer privacy once and for all. But privacy features aren’t exactly easy to include in just any old blockchain. It requires some complex cryptography developed by highly capable programmers.
Finally, that brings us back to Enigma. The protocol transforms “smart contracts” into “secret contracts,” such that nodes can process data without being able to see the data’s actual contents. Imagine if your internet service provider and all the apps on your phone worked the exact same way, but they couldn’t see your data.
That’s the future that blockchain can create, and Enigma is here to usher the future in.
Why You Should Watch Enigma
September is set to be a milestone month for Enigma, with their mainnet going live by the end of the month. It’s one of our most anticipated mainnet launches for the end of 2018, and it’s just further evidence of Ethereum’s industry-leading development community.
With strong use cases in personal data, healthcare and genomics, credit, and the Internet of Things, among others, Enigma’s first-of-its-kind solution has truly world-changing potential.
To top things off, Enigma already supports an application, Catalyst, that provides a solid proof of concept before the mainnet even launches.
Enigma may be the newest project on this list, but it’s already poised to start making a big impact in the crypto industry. September is the beginning of a bright, bright future for this one.
Lisk best fits the category of “platform cryptocurrencies,” but the network architecture differs from the others in that category.
Applications built on top of the Lisk platform are deployed on fully customizable sidechains that allow developers to set the parameters they want for their specific project’s needs.
If you don’t know much about Lisk yet and want to learn more, check out Part 1 of Understanding Lisk, our multi-part series explaining everything there is to know about the project.
Why You Should Watch Lisk
Lisk is coming off perhaps the biggest month of the project’s history in August.
Lisk is already considered by many to be the most developer-friendly blockchain platform in the industry, and Lisk Elements takes that to another level. Lisk Core 1.0, meanwhile, allows users to deploy their own nodes, has a more accessible API, and offers several other improvements over v0 releases of the past.
One can’t help but speculate that all of these upgrades would have coincided with a significant price spike for LSK if the crypto market conditions were more positive.
That being said, engineering is what really matters in the long-term and all of these recent developments are extremely encouraging. As cryptocurrency continues to go mainstream in the years ahead, programmers who want to get in on the movement will see Lisk as the path of least resistance to do so.