There is no doubt the great bear market of 2018 was a massive disappointment to anyone involved in the cryptocurrency markets. 2018 will forever be remembered as the year were the overall crypto market cap plunged from ~$800 billion to just ~$100 billion. That’s a brutal change in value. However, in spite of difficult market conditions, many crypto projects have soldiered on, continued development and strengthened their underlying fundamentals. On the other side of the coin, some projects have been struggling, with many announcing dramatic layoffs for their workforces or shortened operational runways due to poor treasury management.
2019 is set to be an interesting year for crypto markets with some cryptocurrency portfolio managers such as Jeet Singh calling for a $50,000 Bitcoin and the Bitcoin Time Traveller on Reddit calling for $100,000 by the end of the year. Yes, there are many others predicting lower lows for Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market too. What’s for sure is that crypto markets are at a fascinating crossroads and that some cryptos are better placed than others if 2019 really is the year of the bull.
So, which are the top cryptocurrencies on our watchlist for 2019? Total Crypto reveal their top five cryptocurrency picks and explain why they might be worth keeping an eye on in 2019 and beyond.
#1 Own (CHX)
Many commentators are predicting that security tokens are the next big thing in cryptocurrency. When you consider that any illiquid asset could be tokenized and offered to investors as a security token, it becomes apparent that the market is huge. Indeed, why would private companies considering stock market listings want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an IPO, when they can raise capital for a fraction of the cost through a Security Token Offering (STO). STOs could also give speculators the opportunity to gain exposure to exotic investments such as tokenized fine art or wine.
What makes STO’s exceptionally exciting is that they give contributors ownership in the company, unlike ICOs which just issued contributors with ecosystem tokens. So, how do you get exposure to the STO trend? One option is Own, which is a security token issuance platform. What’s particularly interesting about the CHX token is their use case. As with many STO platforms, businesses raise funds in the CHX token. However, for a business to get listed on the Own platform, it must go onto the open market and buy 1% of the funding they are trying to raise in CHX tokens (which are then locked up). This mechanism is there to increase the quality of businesses listed on the platform. Indeed, for a project to attempt to raise $10 million on the Own platform, this will mean that the business would have to buy $100,000 in CHX tokens on the open market. This lock-up of tokens could be good news for CHX token holders if Own can onboard and list a significant number of successful STO’s. After all the tradable CHX token supply would shrink, meaning that new projects wanting the STO on the platform would have to pay higher and higher prices for the remaining tokens in circulation.
Own is run by an exceptionally experienced team with many having a background in finance. Furthermore, you don’t have to wait long until Own officially opens their doors for business, with the main launch scheduled in Q1 2019. If you’re looking to get exposure to the emerging trend of STO’s, then Own is certainly worth placing on your crypto watchlist.
#2 Basic Attention Token (BAT)
BAT is a digital advertising platform built on top of the Ethereum blockchain and which aims to disrupt the online ad industry. Right now, the user, advertiser, and publisher are all separated by middlemen like Facebook, who take up to 73% of all ad revenue. Things are even worse from a user perspective when you consider that many media sites deploy over 70 different trackers to monitor your ad engagement. This causes a drain on your mobile’s battery, increases your data costs and up a staggering $23 dollars a month for some users. Users are getting a bad deal and are essentially paying to view ads.
Basic Attention Token is attempting to cut out the middleman and protect users from aggressive ads. The Brave Browser allows internet users to be rewarded with BAT tokens if they choose to view ads. Doesn’t it seem fair that the users should get a share of the ad revenue that they are generating? More money will also flow to the publishers who users love, which means that they can produce more high-quality content. In essence, the BAT team are aiming to create a fairer digital ad ecosystem and empower web users to opt out or benefit from ads.
BAT could have a massive year in 2019. Not only is it now listed on Coinbase, the most popular way for newcomers to enter the cryptocurrency space, but phone manufacturer HTC has recently announced that it will use Brave as their default browser for their upcoming smartphones. This move could exposure a lot of new people to BAT and crypto in 2019 and beyond. That’s why we are expecting 2019 to be a big year for the project.
#3 Binance Coin (BNB)
Most of you will know that Binance is the most popular crypto exchange in the world and is home to the highest trading volume and liquidity. However, the exchange still doesn’t accept fiat currency deposits and currently does not compete with Coinbase as a fiat onramp into the cryptocurrency markets. All that could change in 2019, with Binance relocating to Malta in 2018 and setting up bank accounts in this new jurisdiction. In June 2018, Changpeng Zhao (CEO of Binance) revealed that “he hoped fiat-crypto trading on Binance would launch in Malta within the year,”.
2019 should also see the launch of Binance’s decentralized exchange, with the latest sneak peek coming in December 2018. No official date has yet been set, however, the Binance team have announced that launch is anticipated in the coming months. If and when Binance finally launch their decentralized exchange product, few would doubt that they will gain market share amongst the current DEX’s. This should be good news for BNB coin with more customers buying it to enjoy discounts on trading fees.
The Binance Launchpad allows crypto projects to raise additional funding by selling their tokens on the platform. This feature should be exceptionally attractive to projects who are feeling the pain from the crypto winter and need funds to carry on with development. As project funding is raised in BNB coins, this should lead to a rise in demand for Binance coin.
On top of all this, Binance spends 20% of their quarterly profits on buying back BNB coins and then destroying them. This further shrinks the supply of the coins and with the exciting milestones in 2019, then it would not be absurd to believe that demand will increase from its current levels. This could all be very good news for BNB coin holders in 2019 and beyond.
#4 Nimiq (NIM)
If you believe that the main barrier to mainstream use of crypto as currency and a means of exchange is that it’s too complicated, then NIM could be worth placing on your 2019 watchlist. Nimiq places an emphasis on ease of use and believes that simplicity will be the key driver to wider crypto adoption.
NIM is the native token of the Nimiq ecosystem and is intended to be transacted within it as digital cash. Its innovative browser-based blockchain means that users can connect directly to the blockchain without any downloads whatsoever. That’s a massive deal if you believe in censorship resistance or believe that third parties shouldn’t be trusted. Nimiq cuts out the need to connect to any third party servers whatsoever and enables merchants and developers to easily build on and adopt Nimiq’s payment system.
Nimiq have already developed and designed a simple to use one-click pay webshop. The most exciting thing about this is that the checkout flow will soon be available for any e-commerce business to begin accepting NIM for payments. The Nimiq ecosystem currently includes a host of different components including a web-based crypto Tamagotchi game, to tipping your favorite content creators on Twitter, Twitch, Discord, Telegram or Reddit.
Nimiq could be set for an even bigger 2019, with the project announcing in December 2018 that it was pursuing joint ventures and research with Agora Trade. Although Agora Trade is still in Beta, it is headed by Retro Trinkler, who has also co-founded Melonport and was listed in Forbes 30 under 30 for Europe in 2018. The collaboration between Nimiq and Agora Trade saw NIM being the third crypto listed (behind Bitcoin and Ethereum) on this new innovative cross-chain, browser-based and non-custodial exchange.
After being inspired by Nimiq’s technology, Agora Trade has also recently developed the Image Wallet. This solution essentially makes it easier than ever before to store and manage your private keys by using a simple QR code and password to secure it.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the Nimiq and Agora Trade partnership develops in 2019 and how Nimiq builds out its browser-based ecosystem. We think this project is certainly worth keeping tabs on in the coming year.
#5 Bitcoin (BTC)
The overall health of cryptocurrency markets is still highly correlated to Bitcoin. This is due to many altcoins only being traded on crypto-to-crypto exchanges and having a price in BTC. That’s why if Bitcoin is up almost the entire market is up and if Bitcoin is down then you will see most altcoins in the red too.
Bitcoin is set to have a massive year in 2019 with Bitcoins scaling solution (the Lightning Network) set to go from strength to strength. Bakkt, operated by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which is also the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, is set to launch Bitcoin physically backed futures trading on the 24th of January 2019. This institutional on-ramp could see a sharp increase in institutional investment into the cryptocurrency space over the course of 2019.
The United States Securities Exchange Commission has also set the 27th of February 2019 as the deadline for the physically settled Bitcoin ETF decision. Approval could see a surge in demand for Bitcoin, from institutions and high net-worth individuals having easy access to the asset and none of the difficulties of actually storing it themselves.
There has been much hype over 2018 about the ‘institutional money sitting on the sidelines’. If 2019 sees the launch and approval of Bakkt and the Bitcoin ETF, then we’ll finally be able to verify these bold claims. If Bakkt and the Bitcoin ETF are as big a deal as so many commentators would have us believe, then these institutional on-ramps could very much kickstart the next crypto bull run in 2019.
Of course, there are many other crypto projects that are certainly worth monitoring in 2019. What you should be aware of is that no so-called ‘crypto expert’ really knows what the future may hold. We don’t know if any of the five projects mentioned will have a stellar 2019 or not. However, we do believe that there are grounds to be optimistic about every one of them.
An important thing to remember is that cryptocurrency watchlists should be used as tools to help you identify projects to do further focused research on.
Disclosure: The author holds some NIM in their portfolio and is compensated in a long-term independent consulting capacity by Nimiq. This article must not be construed as investment advice. Always do your own research.