My cryptocurrency picks for 2018 : part 1 — Ethereum

With 2017 wrapping up and 2018 just around the corner it is time to admit — this year was a wild run for cryptocurrency market.

Bitcoin constantly pushing new all time highs (peaking above $20000!), Ether rising from $8 to $800 while taking control of the top market cap charts with its altcoins — this is just the tip of the crypto iceberg which is constantly gathering more mass.

However the market was (and still is) extremely volatile — the most recent correction is visible on the diagram below — making it hard for conventional investors to treat cryptocurrencies with confidence.

In the middle of the price chaos we mustn’t forget what makes cryptocurrencies so special and I am talking about revolutionary technology. Over the next couple of posts we will take a look at some of the currencies that I believe will achieve a lot in 2018— we won’t be speculating prices, we will look at the technology and the product that team is trying to deliver.

  1. Ethereum

Created in November 2013 by Vitalik Buterin who came in contact with blockchain through Bitcoin in 2011. Simply sending funds back and forth wasn’t enough for him — he wanted this new technology to do more.

Ethereum (ETH) is a platform for decentralized applications that run smart contracts. This means that they can work exactly as the developer wants them to, on the ETH blockchain. Some of the highlighted use cases include storing registries of debt or creating whole new markets — and many apps are currently being created to address all the business needs. Additionally, everyone can easily issue their own token compatible with ETH blockchain to accompany their application. All this is possible thanks to the Solidity programming language, created specifically for ETH.

Transaction time and fees are next advantages of ETH — as of December 23rd one would need to pay $0.098 to have their ETH transferred in about 20 minutes. The fee to transfer Bitcoins in the same amount of time is slightly bigger… 493 times bigger to be precise ($48.34!!).

ETH, despite being faster and cheaper than BTC, still can’t comfortably handle as many transactions as PayPal (193 tx/sec) or Visa (1667 tx/sec) does.

However, ETH team is working hard to improve scalability issues. This will be eventually achieved by sharding, which will enable the blockchain to process millions of transactions per second while retaining security and decentralization. Updates introducing foundations for sharding are planned for unspecified time in 2018, meanwhile the detailed explanation can be found there.

Let’s take a look at the current top 100 coins by market cap. Over 40 of them are based on Ethereum platform!

Some of the top coins build on top of Ethereum platform

This shows how big ETH’s platform potential is and since Ether, coin that powers Ethereum platform, is required for transactions on the ETH blockchain — mass adoption of Ethereum and its applications seems inevetable.

We shall not be too optimistic — there are some obstacles that ETH may face on its way to the top. One of them might be Lisk platform, which aims to achieve what ETH does, while making it possible for others to develop new apps using the most popular programming language — javascript. Further adoption of Lisk is yet to be seen though. With so many coins being developed on ETH platform we might be stuck with many useless coins and without useful use cases — what is the point of having Ethereum?

As of now we shouldn’t worry, as many interesting projects led by ambitious team are currently under development, and I will talk about one of them in detail in couple of days, so stay tuned!

This was a great year for Ethereum — rising from merely $8 in January to over $800 in December, introducing the Byzantium Hard Fork without problems in October — ETH has gathered a vibrant and vocal community around it and I am certain the future will bring even more good news for ETH supporters in 2018.

Beware Bitcoin, ETH is coming and it has the technology!