22 August 2022 • 13 min read
Unlike most of the copy-and-paste “best cryptocurrencies to invest in” lists that seem to pop up everywhere these days, we’ve put some time and effort into exploring the latest trends in crypto and blockchain in order to determine which ones have the staying power both as short- and long-term investments.
If you’re like most crypto investors, then you have a lot of questions about the future of cryptocurrency, especially in light of the ongoing crypto winter. Which crypto is best for the future? What are the top 10 cryptos right now? Which crypto has the most potential in 2022 and beyond? And with over 12,000 cryptocurrencies from which to choose, the ability to find new crypto coins as well as knowing the best time to buy crypto become crucial, especially since the market is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
While we’re not going to reveal our hand at the very outset of this article, we will say that we’re bullish on Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) chains and the many associated coins (more below). And we also have recommendations based on privacy, scaling, and interoperability.
Apple, Google, Tesla, Samsung, Facebook, PayPal, Deutsche Bank—these are just some of the big-name players that have made cryptocurrencies part of their long-term strategic plans recently. Cryptocurrency has transformed from being a niche digital asset to something that is experiencing widespread adoption for a variety of reasons across various segments of society.
No longer the exclusive domain of fintech disruptors and day traders, cryptocurrencies and the technology used to trade them have gone mainstream. And with mainstream traders and institutions increasingly eyeing digital assets, there can be little doubt that cryptocurrencies have proven themselves to be both popular and successful.
So what are some of their benefits and why should you invest in them? Let’s start with a bit of hype. If you invested $1,000 in bitcoin in 2010, it would be worth roughly $287.5 million today. While we are not saying that crypto trading is or should be viewed as a get-rich scheme, we mention this statistic simply to illustrate the extraordinary opportunities that a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin presents for traders.
Closer to reality, crypto traders are drawn to the digital asset for a range of reasons: they can function as a store of value; they are a useful portfolio asset; and they can be used as a direct method of payment. Unlike gold, which has similar benefits, cryptocurrency is easier to store, easier to transfer and easier to trade.
And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for: drumroll please...
Here’s a rundown of some of the top cryptocurrencies to invest your dollars or other fiat currencies for the year ahead.
While we don’t have the space in this article to examine the minutiae of Ethereum Virtual Machines (it’s best to refer to Ethereum’s own description of EVMs), which can be quite arcane even for experts, a few words by way of an explanation are in order. The keyword here is interoperability.
Ethereum was the first blockchain with smart contracts, but other chains have evolved to offer smart contracts using EVM as their standard smart contract engine, meaning that layer-1 blockchains are interoperable. Rather than developing completely new ways of creating smart contracts, which are chain-specific and therefore limited, EVM-compatible blockchains ensure that smart contracts created on, say, Polygon are recognized by Ethereum nodes, allowing devs to copy their dApps or tokens across different chains.
A token on an EVM-compatible chain, then, becomes far more interesting as an investment option given its increased compatibility and interoperability. Below are some of the best EVM-compatible cryptocurrencies (for a list of EVM networks, check out ChainList).
With $76 billion in 24h trading volume, 600+ cryptocurrencies from which to choose, 90 million registered users, and some of the lowest transaction fees, Binance is the largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Originally an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, Binance’s BNB is issued on Binance’s own blockchain and is used for transaction fees payments (on the Binance Chain), entertainment and online services, financial services, and even travel bookings.
If you’re a fan of footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, and TikTok celeb, Khaby Lame, then you might be interested in what Binance has in store with its BNB Coin and NFTs. With Lame’s knack for making complex things easy to understand, Binance is betting on the social media influencer’s potential to draw newbies into crypto (and Binance).
If all goes to plan, Binance will be able to leverage its partnerships, further solidifying its place at the forefront of crypto-related developments.
For those interested in scaling Ethereum/Web3 apps, Polygon offers some impressive numbers. According to its website, Polygon boasts 1.3 billion recorded transactions, 130 million wallets, and just under 3 million active monthly users. Its native token, MATIC, is an ERC-20 token and is used within the Polygon ecosystem to settle payments as well as for governance.
It’s also an EVM-compatible sidechain with a long-term vision of becoming Ethereum’s “internet of blockchains” as well as a Layer-2 aggregator, which will allow it to leverage Ethereum’s security while providing faster speeds and lower costs for developers to use independent yet interoperable blockchains.
Despite a steep drop in price since autumn 2021 and a substantial increase in tokens in circulation, MATIC’s value remains high, thanks in part to the Ethereum Merge, and investors are bullish on its long-term prospects. And with 19,000 dApps running on the network and Ethereum scaling solutions (Moonbeam, we’re looking at you), MATIC is one to keep on your watchlist.
Fantom is a fast, high-throughput open-source smart contract platform for digital assets and dApps (or decentralized applications). According to its website, there are 200+ dApps that have already been deployed on Fantom ranging from DEXes, cross-chain bridges, lending and borrowing, and yield optimizers to NFT platforms, tools, and wallets.
Fantom uses a directed acyclic graph or DAG, which looks more like a graph than a chain and is seen by many as a possible substitute for blockchains due to greater efficiency when processing online transactions or when handling data storage. Due to a special proof-of-stake consensus mechanism called Lachesis, Fantom can currently handle approximately 4,500 transactions per second (TPS), while results of their experiments suggest up to 10,000 TPS (!).
And with the number of daily transactions per day on Fantom inching ever closer to the number of transactions seen on Ethereum, there’s more than a few reasons to be bullish on FTM.
If you’re interested in the fastest smart contracts platform in the blockchain industry, then look
no further than Avalanche. In addition to Cardano and Solana, Avalanche is considered one of Ethereum’s main rivals, although the former two have lost quite a bit of ground in this respect.
Touting 6,500 transactions per second, Avalanche uses three separate blockchains, its exchange chain (X-Chain), contract chain (C-Chain), and platform chain (P-Chain), with each one having its own specific role to play in the Avalanche ecosystem. And as you might have guessed, AVAX attempts to solve the blockchain trilemma (fast, secure, scalable). Users might also be interested in “Core” non-custodial browser extension, which enables users to interact with Web3 powered by Avalanche.
Fast, low-cost, eco-friendly, and with NFTs gaining traction on its marketplace Joepegs, AVAX has significant potential as a smart contracts platform for decentralized applications, earning it a spot on our list of best cryptocurrencies in which to invest.
As we broaden our list of the best cryptocurrencies for 2022, we’re going to move away from EVM compatibility to include a broad range of use cases, from privacy and scalability to interoperability and digital advertising.
A self-described private, decentralized cryptocurrency that keeps money safe from prying eyes, Monero was founded in 2014. Using the proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm RandomX, which is an ASIC-resistant and CPU-friendly algorithm, Monero employs numerous privacy-enhancing technologies, including RingCT, Stealth Addresses, Ring Signatures, Transactions over Tor/I2P, and Dandelion++.
So what’s so special about a P2P privacy coin such as Monero? Well, as the cryptosphere becomes increasingly subject to regulatory pressures in places such as the United States and European Union (MiCA), investors will look to privacy coins such as Monero to safeguard their identity due to the added layers of anonymity when making transactions on the blockchain.
The overriding aim of Monero’s founders is to make quick and inexpensive payments beyond the reach of censorship possible. Unlike Bitcoin, for example, XMR is fungible, meaning that all of the details involved in any given transaction, from the sender to the receiver and even the amount, are completely confidential (unlike Zcash).
Since 2020, Ripple Labs has been targeted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which views XRP tokens as unregistered securities. After only a cursory glance of their website, it’s easy to see why Ripple is on the US government’s hitlist. Using crypto and blockchain technology, they aim to provide faster, more transparent, and more cost-effective solutions than traditional financial services. Disruptors always have an uncanny ability to draw attention to themselves.
As a currency exchange network and payment settlement system, one that can process transactions globally, Ripple was designed to replace the cumbersome SWIFT system that is used by banks, with the open-source XRP Ledger (XRPL) offering low costs, high speeds, scalability (1,500 tps), carbon neutrality, and the first decentralized exchange (DEX).
If and when the dark clouds of the SEC lift, XRP could be poised for a break out, especially if Ripple’s ongoing interest in CBDCs result in it becoming an efficient clearing house for the global banking system.
Blockchain interoperability is often a source of frustration for developers, particularly as the number of DeFi and NFT-driven apps increases (i.e., multiple protocols and chains), which is where Polkadot aims to make its mark.
A blockchain platform and cryptocurrency that allows for distributed computing using proof-of-stake consensus, Polkadot wants to be synonymous with future-proof interoperability, with the token itself serving three primary purposes: governance, staking, and bonding. As its team states on their website, “Polkadot is built to connect private and consortium chains, public and permissionless networks, oracles, and future technologies that are yet to be created.”
Polkadot has been in the news recently with some exciting developments. According to a report in Cointelegraph, DOT could surge in price by more than 50% in the coming months on the back of the launch of its Cross-Consensus Message Format (XCM), an intercommunication blockchain tool that allows parachains to connect the dots (see what we did here?) and communicate with one another.
When it comes to browsers that offer privacy and security, there is only really one alternative to Tor and that’s Brave. In fact, Brave integrates Tor, making for an unbeatable browsing experience online.
If you’re looking to break up with tech giants such as Google, who stalk your every move online, then Brave’s built-in IPFS integration, onion routing with Tor, and custom filter lists (among other things) provide the perfect alternative. Rather than downloading countless browser extensions to block ads, Brave uses “Brave Shields,” which is similar to the extremely popular uBlock Origin extension that blocks ads, trackers, fingerprinting, and malicious scripts.
As if these features weren’t enough, Brave offers its own token, the Basic Attention Token (BAT), which addresses the many problems with online ads. BAT is at the center of a novel, blockchain-based platform for digital advertising, one that offers rewards for your browsing attention. Rather than bombarding you with irrelevant ads, Brave offers targeted ads based on your interests and it allows you to determine the frequency with which you see them (with a maximum of 10 per hour). In exchange for your time, you’re rewarded with BAT.
For our final category of the best cryptocurrencies to invest in for 2022, we’re including those that are driven by marketing hype, maximalists, and memes. Although there may be some real-world use cases for these tokens, their price is nevertheless determined to a large extent by hype from Twitterati, Discord and Telegram evangelists, and Instagram influencers. Still, there’s money to be made.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. All good things come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue. If you have a stake in ADA, then these phrases might be something of a personal mantra through thick and thin. Seemingly loved and loathed in equal measure, not least because many view its founder Charles Hoskinson as either a misunderstood genius or a cult leader, Cardano is considered by some to be the OG of Ethereum killers. Others describe it as nothing more than (over)hyped vaporware. And ADA’s most scathing critics take it one step further, referring to it as a ghost chain. Platforms such as Robinhood and Gemini have even given it the cold shoulder.
What is clear is that in 2021 Cardano beat rival blockchains in terms of having the most development on GitHub. As one commenter quipped, “If Cardano is a ghost chain, then it is experiencing a lot of paranormal activity.” Their community is also a fantastically loyal one. The total number of ADA wallets has now hit 3.5 million. And it has cross-chain interoperability with Ethereum thanks to the sidechain built by the smart folks at Milkomeda.
Whether you think Hoskinson is the second coming or a complete charlatan, a mix of maxis and marketing will continue to bolster Cardano’s staying power. The jury’s out on whether ADA will live up to the hype.
Commonly referred to as (yet another) Ethereum killer, Solana was the darling of the crypto world (keyword: was). Officially launched in 2020 and buttressed by impressive processing speeds, low transaction fees, and a growing NFT marketplace, SOL quickly became one of the top ten cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization. By combining a proof-of-history (PoH) and proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus of the blockchain, the team behind Solana have their eyes on scalability and accessibility, especially when it comes to decentralized finance (DeFi).
But Solana’s skies have become overcast as of late. If you need a reason to use a hard (or cold) wallet, then the recent Solana hack is as good as any. While the price of SOL plunged following the hack, maximalists have likely responded to the news by adding to their bag. Nevertheless, Solana has taken it on the chin a number of times, including fudging its token numbers (20 million rather than its stated 8.2 million) and persistent blockchain blackouts (i.e., network outages).
Still, there are signs that SOL is still burning bright, making it an option to consider for those interested in expanding their portfolio.
And then there are shitcoins (or “meme coins” in polite company) such as DOGE. Following its fork from Litecoin (LTE) in 2013, DOGE flew under the radar until celebrity endorsements from Elon Musk, Snoop Dog, and Mark Cuban hyped it to the moon. Billing itself as “the people’s cryptocurrency,” DOGE is the Kim Kardashian of crypto–an influencer we all laugh at but nevertheless wonder if the joke is on us.
So if it doesn’t have any real-world value, then why does it have any value at all? One word: celebrity. One tweet from Elon Musk has the power to lift DOGE’s into the stratosphere like a runaway SpaceX flight. And if Mark Cuban is to be believed, Dogecoin has more potential applications than Cardano.
With some people having made a fortune trading DOGE and no signs of celebrity endorsements slowing down, Dogecoin is certainly one to watch. After all, if Elon Musk says that DOGE is better than Bitcoin in terms of handling transactions, then it must be true, right?
If we’re talking about the best cryptocurrencies, then there are still only two tried and tested ones. Any list without Bitcoin and Ethereum would be incomplete.
The first mover. The OG of cryptos. The A1 from day one.
Whether you frequently ride the BTC Express or prefer alternatives, you can’t deny its enviable staying power, market dominance, and continued importance to the cryptocurrency ecosystem, which are just a few reasons among many why Bitcoin is referred to as “the King of Crypto.”
Developed in 2011 by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin has moved from cypherpunk outlier to increasingly widespread acceptability. No self-respecting cryptocurrency ranking would be complete without mentioning it, especially since it accounted for roughly 65% of 2021’s market cap. In November 2021, Bitcoin reached its all-time high of $69,000. It also outperformed both gold and the S&P 500 for the third straight year, even performing ten times better than gold in 2020. And despite the current challenging market, Bitcoin maximalists remain steadfastly loyal to it, committed in their belief that BTC will eventually transform the financial system.
But you don’t have to be a Bitcoin maximalist to see the writing on the wall. Bitcoin’s latest slump is a golden opportunity to buy the dip through dollar-cost averaging (DCA) in order to add to your bag. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has been doing since November 2021. Just remember to safeguard your key. After all, you don’t want to end up like this guy with half a billion in Bitcoin lost somewhere in a garbage dump.
Last but not least is the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. Ethereum is a decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality, and its native coin is Ether. Among the thousands of cryptocurrencies out there, Ether is the second largest cryptocurrency only to Bitcoin in terms of market cap and is the brainchild of programmer Vitalik Buterin.
Many consider Ethereum as a smart investment option, especially for those just getting started in the cryptocurrency market. The strength of Ethereum’s token correlates with the scale of the network, which means ETH is expected to increase in value as more dApps and projects are launched on the network. Even the likes of J.P. Morgan has begun to take notice, publishing a report on the future outlook of crypto markets. Included in the report are Ethereum’s upgrades, decentralized finance (DeFi), and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which it sees as increasingly relevant to financial services.
More importantly, with Ethereum’s long-awaited introduction of Ethereum 2.0, which will enable users to validate transactions and mint new ETH based on their ether holdings, the price and value of ETH will continue to rise.
Bulls, bears and even the odd wolf in sheep’s clothing. Crypto trading can be exhilarating, but it can also test your mettle. Perhaps you’re a first-time trader who is interested in dabbling in the crypto market, or maybe you’re a jaded veteran looking for some new perspectives.
In order to choose the best cryptocurrency and get the best value for your money, you need to do your homework by considering a range of issues, including market capitalization, the best crypto exchanges (and their commission fees), past performance, market value, volatility, and even taxes. But even the most comprehensive list of the best cryptocurrencies to invest in won’t guarantee profits if you’re still manually trading by trying to time the market, which is why it’s crucial to leverage the power of automated trading by using crypto trading bots to ensure consistency, objectivity, reliability, and, more importantly, profitability.
Disclaimer: The above article is merely an opinion piece and does not represent any kind of trading advice or suggestions on how to invest, how to trade or in which assets to invest in! Always do your own research before investing and always (!) only invest what you can afford to lose!