Searches for “Altcoins,” the cryptoeconony’s vernacular phrase for cryptocurrencies that aren’t bitcoin (BTC), are gaining some fresh traction as of late, per Google Trends.
That dynamic has led some pundits in space as hailing, likely prematurely, the arrival of altcoin season as was seen in 2017, when many small-cap, mid-cap, and big-cap coins experienced an acute boon in their valuations.
The verdict’s still out on whether that cycle is repeating yet. Bearish trends may continue on for years. But if an altcoin season is nigh, there are a few projects worth watching as solid contenders to make further inroads into the top echelon of cryptocurrencies by market cap.
1. ChainLink (LINK)
We have high hopes for Chainlink; Decentralized oracles are probably one of the most underrated storylines in the crypto space to date, and that makes ChainLink one of the cryptoeconomy’s most underrated projects.
For smart contracts to truly become revolutionary, they’ll need to interact with data that’s external to any given chain. That’s where a middleware play like ChainLink comes in, as the project allows you to build your own decentralized oracles for connecting blockchains to the real world.
If the space catches on and the ChainLink team continues to make technical progress on their roadmap, this token is destined for a much higher position in the cryptoeconomy.
2. Stellar Lumens (XLM)
The Stellar payments network has seen some impressive adoption advancements over the last year, which has set the blockchain project’s native cryptocurrency, lumens (XLM), up for further success going forward.
This month, German crypto lender Bitbond released its security token offering (STO), the BB1, on the Stellar network. The embrace may cause other companies to follow suit, in turn boosting the prominence of lumens. Coinbase’s fresh listing of XLM this week will raise the coin’s profile as well.
And if Stellar keeps collaborating with powerhouses like IBM on projects like the Blockchain World Wire settlement system, XLM has further room to rise still.
3. Cardano (ADA)
The Cardano project seems to be a sleeping giant in the cryptoeconomy.
The smart contract play’s team entered 2019 on strong footing in having just published a paper demonstrating how proof-of-stake (PoS) sidechains are coming to Cardano. And the project’s Shelley upgrade, which will formally introduce staking, has been activated on the Cardano testnet.
Its leadership is good, its builders are talented, and its vision is materializing. The network’s coin, ADA, could consolidate as a top 10 crypto for the foreseeable future accordingly.
4. Maker (MKR)
The Maker project relies on a dual-token system, where MKR is the governance and fee token used in association with the Dai (DAI) stablecoin.
The Maker team’s Collateralized Debt Position (CDP) Portal, which facilitates decentralized loans of Dai, has proven to be extremely popular within the Ethereum community over the last year.
And MKR just saw a notable win, having been used to vote on a Dai Stability Fee increase that helped correct the stablecoin’s dollar peg. The rise of the Dai and the demand for MKR to participate in the stablecoin’s ecosystem could propel the governance token higher in the coming months.
5. Tezos (XTZ)
Tezos and its staking possibilities are apparently a large part of Coinbase’s future.
That’s per recent reporting that revealed the powerhouse U.S. exchange had hired Luke Youngblood, the former architect of Tezos’s staking model. The implication? The new in-house XTZ maestro would help the company build governance and staking services on its Coinbase Custody platform.
As such, it’s fair to assume XTZ may be the crown jewel in Coinbase’s inaugural staking services.
Real-estate portfolio Elevated Returns also announced earlier this year that they were looking to launch $1 bilion USD worth of STOs via the Tezos network. The project’s got prospects, to say the least.