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Disclaimer: This post doesn’t intend to give any financial advice, but rather to list and share the technologies our team strongly believes and have invested in.
Nope, that’s not a typo.
If you’re reading this and know what HODL means, you probably have a working knowledge of Cryptocurrency. In case you’re a newbie and stumbled upon here while searching for Bitcoin information, this article is a good place to start if you want to know more and how to invest in it.
Oh and for our novices out there, HODL simply means HOLD. Some bright folks turned it to a thing after some Crypto-trading dude made a typo. Good job, Internet.
Fun fact: Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency available. Actually, there are more than a thousand others.
Surprised? Don’t be. Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency after all. It has the biggest number of adopters hence its popularity. But knowing about Bitcoin is merely scratching the surface of this brave new world of decentralized digital currency.
If you really want a deeper understanding of Cryptocurrency and how it works, we’ll need to discuss these alternatives and the framework on which the technology is built upon.
What is Cryptocurrency?
As defined in #7 of this article, Cryptocurrency is a decentralized (not controlled by one party or entity) digital peer to peer currency.
All transactions made are recorded on a digital ledger that is called a Blockchain. Let’s say John wants to send money to Paul. That transaction is represented online as a “block”. If Paul deems the transaction is legit, he will approve it using a unique signature protected by cryptography.
Blockchain is the framework on which cryptocurrency operates on. Its protocols and heavy encryption ensure the integrity of data thereby eliminating the need for verification from a third party (banks, governments, financial institutions, etc.).
It’s important to note that the technology of Blockchain opens a vast range of potential systems for a variety of applications. It is not strictly implemented as a peer-to-peer payment system like Bitcoin. Bitcoin depends on blockchain in order to do its thing. Here’s a perfect analogy:
“[Blockchain] is to Bitcoin, what the internet is to email. A big electronic system, on top of which you can build applications. Currency is just one.” – Sally Davies, FT Technology Reporter
And that’s what makes it exciting.
To get a better grip of this whole thing, let’s start with three basic categories on which Cryptocurrencies operate on.
The 3 Categories of Cryptocurrencies
- Transactional – Bitcoin operates using this framework. Transactional cryptocurrencies provide a digital system of secured payment exchanges.
- Platform – This category of cryptocurrency is designed to serve as the framework on which other cryptocurrencies are built upon. It serves as the launch pad for Smart Contracts, which are programs that operate under specific terms and conditions and executes it automatically in a fast and secured manner.
- Utility – A rough representation will be to think of them as apps that do a specific task. Cryptocurrencies like Ripple is an example.
Now that we know that Bitcoin is not the only decentralized digital currency using cryptography, what else are out there?
What is an Alt Coin?
Alternative Coins or “Alt Coins” are simply cryptocurrencies not classified as Bitcoin.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and most of these Alt Coins aim to offer a solution to an existing problem through the use of blockchain.
Some try to improve upon Bitcoin’s strengths while some take a different approach altogether and build their own unique platform.
Top Alt Coins to HODL in 2018
Note: The codes that appear beside each name refers to its currency.
Two words: Smart Contracts (see Platform category above for definition).
When someone wants to get something done in Ethereum, they do so by initiating a Smart Contract with the other party. Its network, called Ethereum Virtual Machine, holds all records of transactions that occurred within it.
What we like about Ethereum:
- It’s the most prominent platform used by many ICOs in creating dApps (decentralized applications) today.
- Massive ERC20 tokens adoption by enterprise-level companies and cryptocurrency exchanges (like coinbase announcing their support for Ethereum-based tokens).
- Lower than 100M total circulating supply of ETH – which means its value has more room to grow when Ethereum’s market capitalization reaches over $100 Billion.
How to buy Ethereum in the Philippines:
- You can directly buy Ethereum at Coins.ph
- Create a new account at Coins.ph (you can also download the app on your mobile phone – or check this guide from their website).
- Add money (PHP) in your Coins.ph Peso Wallet. You can cash in through 711, Cebuana M Lhuillier, GCash or through UnionBank online transfer or cash deposit (check out Coins.ph’s guide to cashing in).
- Your money will be transferred on your Coins.ph Peso Wallet instantly. Convert your PHP to Ethereum.
Additional Ethereum Resources:
Litecoin is based on Bitcoin’s model. It aims to be the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. It’s faster and designed to produce up to 4x more coins than its predecessor.
They are easier to obtain as well.
What we like about Litecoin:
- High adoption rate, with help from payment processors like LitePay and being available on most Bitcoin ATMs worldwide.
- Strong community of developers, users and investors backing the cryptocurrency.
How to buy LTC in the Philippines:
- Buy Bitcoins or Ethereum from Coins.ph or Abra.
- Create an account on highly secured cryptocurrency exchanges like Poloniex and Binance (where you can buy and sell altcoins, including Litecoins).
- Transfer your BTC/ETH from Coins.ph or Abra to your Poloniex and Binance account (make sure you are sending your BTC/ETH to these exchanges’ respective wallets – as they automatically generate an online wallet for both currencies on your account).
- It takes a few minutes (for ETH transfers), and sometimes hours (for BTC transfers) for these exchanges to receive your funds. Once you get the funds, you can start buying Litecoins.
Note: You can buy Litecoins directly from Abra (you can download their mobile app for Android or IOS).
Additional Litecoin Resources:
It’s main selling point is the protection of privacy of data while still allowing blockchain algorithm to do its thing. It uses nodes in the Enigma network to do this.
What we like about Enigma:
- Robust team composed of MIT-bred software engineers and marketing experts.
- Solid team of advisors, including Alex Pentland, who’s sitting at the board of Google and NIssan.
- Have a working product – Catalyst.
- Lower than 200M of target total supply of ENG – which means the coin’s price will grow tremendously when its market capitalization reaches more than $1 billion.
Additional Enigma Resources:
The goal of this cryptocurrency is to allow the storage and transfer of any form of value for free – through its blockchain platform.
It aims to do this via the use of a universal wallet – making cryptocurrency investing accessible to anyone in the world.
What we like about Ethos:
- Strong use-case, as it aims to solve a real-world problem (especially with their fiat gateway project).
- Impressive design and marketing team.
- Target total circulating supply is 220 million ETHOS.
Additional Ethos Resources:
Waves enables the creation of custom cryptocurrency tokens. It’s name refers to both the currency and what it does, which is proof-of-stake blockchain.
What we like about Waves:
- Faster transactions than Ethereum – and have a clearer path towards scalability (which is one of the biggest challenges faced by most blockchain-based platforms).
- It’s the only enterprise-ready custom tokens platform in the market (designed for easy crowdfunding).
- Target total supply is 100,000,000 WAVES.
Additional Waves Resources:
It’s not a coin. Rather, an enterprise-grade platform that aims to serve as a blockchain that develops, tests, and launches new apps. Whereas these “side chains” will not affect the code of Stratis’s main blockchain.
What we like about Stratis:
- Proven superior tech that can easily be integrated with business software as the platform runs on .NET framework (and have a real use case for businesses)
- Delivers on time with the team’s roadmap, scheduled updates, and promises to its community.
- Under 100 million total token supply.
Additional Stratis Resources:
Imagine combining the processing power of millions of computers and giving access to this power to anyone connected within the Golem Network.
Through it, any individual connected can harness great computing capability and use it for intensive tasks like graphics and video rendering. All at an affordable price.
What we like about The Golem Project:
- A very promising project that has high potential for mass adoption.
- The technology also targets a very huge market (for both B2B or B2C cloud computing)
Additional Golem Resources:
If you’re a gamer and find in-game purchases inefficient and annoying, Game Credits cryptocurrency just might be the solution to your problem.
Its goal is to be the de-facto digital currency for the gaming industry.
What we like about GameCredits:
- Steadily building its community through actively seeking and securing partnerships (especially in the eSports space). Definitely great in marketing.
- It’s in one of the fastest growing industry (gaming), that has a huge market (considering the global gaming market is valued at $100 billion – and expected to continuously grow in the next decade).
- Working products – GPlay, GNation, and PixelWars
Additional GameCredits Resources:
Bridging the gap between cryptocurrency and traditional payment methods is the goal of Metal.
It aims to integrate cryptocurrency payments within existing merchant systems and combine your normal bank accounts and cryptocurrency wallet in one app.
What we like about Metal:
- Strong real world use case (seeing that it’s going to be the Venmo for cryptocurrencies).
- Working product: Metalpay is going to launch very soon.
- Solid marketing and design team.
- Total supply will only be 66.5 million MTL
Additional Metal Resources:
AirSwap is essentially a decentralized exchange platform for trading Ethereum-based (ERC20) tokens. It focuses on the concept of cryptocurrency trading through search protocols.
What we like about AirSwap:
- Solid roster of advisors – including one of the co-founders of Ethereum, seasoned venture capitalists, and fintech experts.
- The project is more geared towards institutions (notably having partnered up with Goldman Sachs), which means it will have better penetration for capitalization (same to as how Ripple XRP has thrived through securing partnerships with established banking and financial institutions).
Additional AirSwap Resources:
NEM stands for New Economy Movement. Its goal is to enable processing of payments faster and more efficient than other existing networks.
Its currency, XEM, is the first block chain to implement “Delegated Harvesting”. A term used to describe the act of pooling account power without revealing any private keys.
What we liked about NEM:
- Active community of developers, users, and investors. They organize monthly meetups/seminars on almost all the major cities in the world (including Manila).
- Have solid partnerships established around the platform (including dozens of ICOs using NEM’s tech).
Additional NEM Resources:
IOTA is a third generation cryptotoken that’s optimized for the Internet-of-Things ecosystem.
To be the world’s first ever digital settlement system that does not employ any fees using their Tangle protocol is one of its main objectives.
What we liked about IOTA:
- Genius concept behind the project – as it aims to build the backbone of IoT (enabling transactions through connected devices, such as mobile phones, driverless cars, etc…).
- Huge partnerships with countries looking to employ blockchain to build smart cities (ex: Taipei).
Additional IOTA Resources:
Similar to AirSwap. 0x is an open protocol for trading ERC20 tokens within the Ethereum blockchain.
One unique feature is its implementation of the ZRX token (based on Ethereum) for payment of Relayer trading fees.
What we liked about 0x:
- Working product – with several dApps already on board using 0x
- Branded themselves as the easiest-to-use decentralized exchange platform (which makes them an easy choice for users and upcoming dApps in the next 3-5 years).
Additional 0x Resources:
Insiders dub it “the PayPal of Blockchain”.
It’s basically a payment platform that allows users to request a payment for which the recipient can pay with peace of mind since it utilizes blockchain tech.
It’s built on top of Ethereum. What’s impressive is that it works with both traditional money and cryptocurrency.
What we liked about Request Network:
- Strong real use case (you can learn more about what they do here).
- Supported by Y Combinator.
Additional REQ Resources:
If Golem Network is the AirBnB of computing power, Siacoin aims to be the same but for a different need, decentralized cloud storage.
Anyone who joins the network and lends their storage can get paid. You can finally make use of all those terabytes of hard drive space sitting there and doing nothing.
What we liked about Sia:
- Currently leading the race against STORJ, MaidSafe and SONM (they’ve also partnered up with SONM).
- Better at marketing than their competitors.
Additional Sia Resources:
How to Effectively Research on Alt Coins
When thinking of pursuing a new endeavor, especially one that deals with money, serious due diligence is required.
We’re not claiming to be experts in the field of Cryptocurrency. Rather, this article hopes to share insights on these new technologies and emerging markets for those who are interested.
On a related note, the next section aims to offer a guideline on how to research on Alt Coins effectively. Having a set of rules and guidelines may help in keeping the flow of data uniform and allow you to make better analysis and draw comparisons in an efficient manner.
Again, this section simply aims to serve as a guide, there is no fixed or universal methodology in conducting altcoin research.
Step 1: Gathering and Filtering Information
Does the alt coin’s site look legit? Does it look professional? While the site itself may look OK, be mindful at analyzing content that appears on it.
Don’t be too impressed with jargon that may aim to obfuscate the main vision. Check the team behind it and analyze their roadmap. Make sure what they have so far aligned with their target.
Study their white paper and business development plan. Your goal is to have complete understanding of what this altcoin does.
Is it valuable? Is it addressing a need? Solving a solution? These are questions to ask and should be addressed in their website clearly and convincingly.
If you feel like their product does not really benefit from or require blockchain technology, be wary.
Also, look if the founders received a big portion of the float, promises of big pay out, or unclear explanation of who can use the coin. These may be indicators that this coin is not up to its hype.
Using a blockchain explorer, analyze the distribution of tokens across accounts. Are the large ones are selling? Holding? Which one is the founder’s account and which one is the foundation?
These are steps for figuring out the activity of the altcoin’s tokens.
As always, Google is your friend.
However, be extra careful and vigilant in your research and stick to true authority sites for data and feedback.
Step 2: Create an Investment Checklist
The first step aims to separate the wheat from the chaff. Once you have sufficient information on an altcoin you think looks promising, it’s time to run it through a gauntlet of questions that aims to establish critical areas of concern.
This is a more focused approach in determining if it’s worth investing on. To give you an idea, here are some samples.
- What is the altcoin trying to accomplish?
- What is it trying to solve or improve upon?
- Who built it? Who are the members? What is their track record?
- How was the company funded?
- What does their organizational structure look like?
- What’s their competition like?
- How big is their target market?
- Will it scale to their target market based on their roadmap?
- Are there any similar products out there?
- Does the coin have any weaknesses? What are its strengths? Does it have potential problems?
- How exactly does the underlying mechanism work?
Step 3: Use a Standardized Valuation System for Analyzing an Altcoin’s data
Having a system that can consistently help you evaluate data may help in doing a more thorough analysis and comparison.
Try searching for some examples online and asking around in forums for feedback. If you find one that works for you, you can use it stand alone or in combination with another system.
Again, it’s a matter of preference here and there’s no one system that can magically appraise all altcoin data and performance correctly.
The takeaway here is to have a system for helping you analyze data better.
Step 4: Continuous Education and Research is Key
Staying on top of the crypto market and avoiding pitfalls are never a sure thing. There will always be winners and losers at any given time.
Be wary of the hype train, you’ll never know where it may lead. Perhaps the best you can do is increase your chances of wins through continuous analysis and exposure to legit data and hope it translates to improved predictions on your end.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. You do have a genuine interest in Altcoins and cryptocurrencies.
At the start, some of us may find the world of Cryptocurrency a bit hard to grasp. But don’t let that intimidate you.
If you’re really keen in knowing more and possibly investing in crypto, you should truly understand the science behind it first.
Due diligence is key.
And hopefully, you may find this guide useful in doing your research and creating your strategies.