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Are you considering investing in crypto-currencies? Here are 4 crypto’s that are actually useful and they are not the ones you think

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It’s been a tough year for crypto-currency investors. Even the top cryptos lost up to 90% of their historical highs, and many people’s wallets were decimated. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that prices will remain low for some time to come. Some people see this as a buying opportunity, which may be the case. But there’s also the risk that many projects – especially those with little value – will collapse before the market improves.

If you’re considering investing in crypto-currencies, it’s important to research each project thoroughly and think about its long-term performance. Look at the leadership, how it stacks up against the competition, what it actually does, and who will use the product. As billionaire investor and crypto-currency enthusiast Mark Cuban pointed out, it’s not enough to be a crypto-currency. For these projects to succeed, they still need to be able to make money, attract users, and actually be useful.

Here are four that have real utility and are already in operation.

1. VeChain (VET)

VeChain began using blockchain as a supply chain management tool, and has since expanded to other business use cases. For example, let’s say you manufacture luxury handbags. VeChain can track every step of the production and sale of a handbag on the blockchain, so the end buyer can be sure they are getting an authentic product and not a counterfeit.

VeChain has also worked with Walmart China to track fresh meat and vegetables from farm to store. Better traceability means that if there’s a problem with a particular batch of food, it’s easier to contain and control it quickly. Like other crypto-currencies on this list, VeChain is available on some, but not all, of the major U.S. crypto markets.

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2. Livepeer (LPT)

Video streaming is becoming increasingly popular and extremely expensive. Video content must be processed to be accessible on different devices with different bandwidths. This is called transcoding, which requires a lot of computer processing power.

Livepeer essentially gathers unused computing resources from a network of individuals and uses them to transcode video. Content producers benefit from scalable and inexpensive transcoding, Livepeer does not need to purchase expensive infrastructure, and network participants get LPT tokens, which have real-world value.

3. Helium (HNT)

Helium is a decentralized wireless network powered by a network of long-range access points. Initially aimed at Internet of Things devices, such as smart pet collars, self-driving cars or fitness devices, Helium is now expanding to 5G and WiFi connections. Network participants manage a Helium hotspot and earn rewards for providing connectivity.

This concept of using crypto-tokens to reward participants is an interesting facet of blockchain. Livepeer and Helium are two of many projects that reduce the upfront infrastructure costs of a business by using a network of individuals to do the heavy lifting. These individuals earn a portion of the fees in what is a more community-based and decentralized business model.

4. Cardano (ADA)

Cardano is a crypto a bit “to love or to hate“, and some might question its real value. It’s an ecosystem like Ethereum (ETH) that can accommodate other crypto-currency projects on its blockchain. Critics point out that it has been slower to launch its smart contract functionality, and that the ecosystem doesn’t yet have as many apps as other similar cryptos.

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However, Cardano has another strength: It’s a great example of real-world blockchain utility. For example, Cardano has partnered with the Ethiopian Ministry of Education to record the diplomas of five million students on the blockchain. This would make it harder to cheat the education system and could help students access opportunities such as university studies or international jobs. Another project on the Cardano network, called Empowa, aims to help underbanked people access funds to build homes.

Conclusion

If blockchain technology achieves even a fraction of what is promised, it could transform entire industries. Medical records could be securely stored on the blockchain and you, the patient, could control how they are accessed. Insurance benefits could be paid automatically when certain criteria are met. You might even be able to store the deed to your home on the blockchain.

The problem is that this industry is still in its infancy, and there’s a lot we don’t know about how it might develop, or even if it will make it through the current cryptographic winter. Think of it as the early days of the Internet. Everyone is looking for the next Amazon, but for every success story, there will be hundreds of failures.

As an investor, looking for cryptos that are actually useful is a great start. At the same time, it’s important to only invest money that you can afford to lose and to make sure that crypto-currencies only make up a small percentage of your overall portfolio. That way, you can still invest in smaller, riskier projects, but you won’t face financial disaster if they don’t reach their potential.

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