- As investors head into the fourth quarter, altcoins to watch include Avalanche, Boost and Polygon.
- Investors will sharpen their focus on real-world applications offered by blockchain networks.
- The overall cryptocurrency market cap is again approaching the $2 trillion mark.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Growth around non-fungible tokens and decentralized finance helped prices for some altcoins soar during the third quarter, and investors are looking for the next breakout as the fourth quarter begins.
The global cryptocurrency market is again approaching the $2 trillion mark, as prices for Cardano’s ada, solana and other altcoins have taken off, with cardano ada now the third most-traded crypto.
Now in the months ahead, investors will sharpen their focus on the benefits and shortfalls emerging from recent speed and efficiency upgrades on the blockchain networks of key altcoins, Ed Moya, senior currency analyst at Oanda, told Insider.
“Everyone has been focused on which altcoins are going to address that scalability concern that you have with ethereum and bitcoin,” he said.
“People have to understand which businesses are going to be the leaders in NFTs or smart contracts,” and other operations, he said. “I think that’s where the market is and education takes some time. The industry is ripe for consolidation.”
Here are six altcoins (in alphabetical order) experts tell Insider they’ll be watching during the fourth quarter and beyond:
1) Avalanche (AVAX)
Market Capitalization: $14.5 billion
Year-to-date performance: Up 1954% at $65.94
The blockchain developed by Ava Labs is a smart contracts platform for decentralized applications and its AVAX token began trading on Coinbase Pro this past week.
Avalanche “is way faster than ethereum and it wants to be even faster, which is great because I think that’s very important when it comes to finance and DeFi projects and applications,” Tally Greenberg, head of business development at Allnodes, told Insider.
“It’s a promising technology that basically does more for less,” she said, adding that it uses a proof-of-stake system that’s more energy-efficient than a proof-of-work one based on mining, she said.
Steve Ehrlich, founder and CEO of cryptocurrency-asset broker Voyager Digital, told Insider he sees Avalanche as a viable alternative to ethereum. “As soon as they start adding some projects and art on their NFT network, you’ll start to see a lot more consumers buying and selling NFTs,” on Avalanche, he said.
Ehrlich said Avalanche, as well as solana and cardano, are cheaper alternatives to ethereum, which has high fees for conducting transactions.
2) Boost Coin
Fully diluted market capitalization: $53 million
Year-to-date performance: Up 293% to $0.0505
Launched in August, Boost Coin fuels the Boost ecosystem that’s centered on decentralized finance tools. Boost Swap, a decentralized exchange, is the first tool, with the company behind it saying it’s similar to crypto exchanges Uniswap, SushiSwap, and PancakeSwap.
Decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, offer a peer-to-peer platform where parties use smart contracts to execute their trades and don’t rely on intermediaries such as clearing houses.
“There’s a lot of value in the exchanges market,” Dr. Don Basile, CEO of Monsoon Blockchain, told Insider, highlighted in part by this year’s trading debut of Coinbase, now a $48 billion centralized crypto exchange.
Boost’s approach to connect buyers and sellers without a centralized entity is a “potentially disruptive idea,” he said.
Boost can be acquired by exchanging ethereum for it using Uniswap or Boost Swap. But Basile said it’s too early to say whether its price is undervalued or overvalued as the coin is just a few weeks old.
Meanwhile, Basile is also the founder of Bitcoin Latinum, which is expected to begin trading around the week of October 21. The energy-efficient cryptocurrency is aimed at delivering faster transaction speeds and lower costs to high-growth markets such as media and gaming.
3) Cardano ada
Market Capitalization: $69.3 billion
Year-to-date performance: Up 1092% at $2.16
Cardano’s profile and that of its ada token, have boomed in recent months. The network last month ran its alonzo upgrade that brought smart contract capability to its network, a move that could bolster its competitiveness with ethereum.
“A lot of our customers hold a lot of cardano on our platform so we see quite an increase of people being interested,” in the network, Ehrlich said.
And after recently being introduced to “some pretty cool” art built on Cardano, he thinks the network will make some headway soon in the NFT space.
Moya sees a lot of investors mixed on Cardano ada after its price climbed to $3. But he added, “There are still a lot of institutional players that are eyeing it as interesting altcoin to hold.”
4) Crypto.com Coin CRO
Market Capitalization: $4.2 billion
Year-to-date performance: Up 183% at $0.16531
Crypto.com is a cryptocurrency exchange and consumer financial services company whose Coin serves as the token for Crypto.com’s Chain, a decentralized open-source blockchain launched in March.
CRO is used for staking, payments, and settlements, said Greenberg, who thinks CRO is undervalued.
“It’s in use on a daily basis,” in part through Crypto.com’s prepaid Visa card and Crypto.com, she said, adding that its Chain network has a sustainability goal of becoming carbon negative by next year.
Market Capitalization: $27.3 billion
Year-to-date performance: Up 4307% at $0.2064
Oanda’s Moya put the hugely popular meme coin on his watch list to see if it eventually crashes, which he thinks would actually be a positive sign.
“There are too many coins that don’t have the financing, that don’t have the infrastructure in place to be a legitimate investment,” he said. “It’s hard to go from a meme coin to a legitimate coin.”
Tesla boss Elon Musk in August backed billionaire investor Mark Cuban’s claim that dogecoin is the strongest cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange. Cuban’s NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, accepts dogecoin as a payment vehicle.
6) Polygon (previously MATIC)
Market Capitalization: $7.6 billion
Year-to-date performance: Down 27% at $1.236
Polygon is designed to scale ethereum chains and develop the blockchain’s infrastructure. It’s caught the eye of Mark Cuban who earlier this year added the platform to his investment portfolio.
Polygon, originally called Matic, created the Matic token that’s used on transactions on the network. Matic is also among the roughly 40 altcoins on the watch list for Allnodes’ Greenberg. She sees Matic as undervalued as it has low network fees and just enough volatility to benefit trading.
“For those who are looking for a less aggressive investment strategy, there’s a staking opportunity. So it’s a well-round blockchain and cryptocurrency.”
Polygon uses the proof-of-stake system of securing a cryptocurrency’s network under which users put forward or “stake” some of their coins to gain the right to verify transactions and, in exchange, earn more coins. Greenberg said users recently could make an annual return of 13.65% on their investments, “which is huge.”