Just as it appeared that the U.S. and the global community was making significant progress in the war against the coronavirus, the omicron variant decided to interrupt the feel-good narrative. Naturally, having suffered through so much, people were again backed into a corner. With both risk-on equities and cryptocurrencies taking a big hit, the new strain appeared disastrous. But then, the latest data suggested otherwise, presenting an intriguing case for cryptos.
Based on early reports, omicron appears to be much more contagious than the delta variant but critically less severe in terms of symptoms. If so, the reimposed restrictions seen across the globe may have been too cautionary. Further, that a less-damaging strain occurred during this pandemic’s cycle suggests the global health crisis may closer to its end than its beginning. Of course, I don’t want to speak too soon, but that would be beneficial for cryptos.
Assuming, though, that we’re approaching the end of the new normal, investors may want to start strategizing which digital assets they want to accumulate. Even with the positive news (relatively speaking) surrounding the omicron variant, several cryptos remain subdued against their recent highs. Since no one knows how long this respite will last, bold, risk-tolerant speculators may want to take advantage of this chance right now.
Adding to the robust sentiment is mainstream acknowledgement of the virtual currency sector’s coming-of-age moment. According to a Foreign Policy op-ed, this century “doesn’t belong to China, the United States, or Silicon Valley. It belongs to the internet.” And what are cryptos but the currency of the internet?
What separates the rally in digital assets this year as opposed to prior rallies is broader integration. Fewer people view these coins and tokens as pure gambles with no future.
While surely most blockchain projects will fail, there are many cryptos that could really shake things up. Here are some possible winners:
Before we dive in, the most important aspect of investing in cryptos is money management. No matter how much someone pumps up a particular idea, digital assets can turn investors into aristocrats one moment and paupers the next. Therefore, don’t blindly follow anyone, including me. Instead, perform your own due diligence.
Cryptos: Polygon (MATIC)
One of the fascinating concepts behind cryptos is that the underlying blockchain innovation represents an ongoing evolution.
First, you had Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD), which proved that peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions could occur without the aid of a centralized intermediary. Next came Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD), which took the blockchain concept and moved it beyond P2P functions and toward the decentralization of everything via smart contracts.
You could view Polygon as the next generation of blockchain innovations. According to CoinMarketCap, Polygon “effectively transforms Ethereum into a full-fledged multi-chain system (aka Internet of Blockchains).” In short, the blockchain undergirding the MATIC coin facilitates greater speed, scale and communication.
To be fair, MATIC doesn’t command the biggest discount from its high. Therefore, some investors may want to wait for a better deal. That said, Polygon coins have been one of the more stable choices among cryptos.
Source: Wit Olszewski / Shutterstock.com
It’s hard to imagine that in a paradigm where over 15,500 cryptos exist for trading and acquisitions, shortly after Bitcoin entered the scene, there was only one alternative crypto or altcoin. And that honor will forever belong to Litecoin.
Those were the days. Back when Litecoin was a thing, the coins were trading in subterranean territory. Few knew that such an asset existed and fewer still knew had to acquire them. Today, with Litecoin trading around $150 at the time of this writing, it has come a long way.
While we’ll probably never see LTC trade in single-digit territory again, it’s one of the under-the-radar cryptos that’s worth investigating during this lull. During the spring of this year, Litecoin soared close to the $400 level before succumbing to the first-half correction. It recovered fairly well, only for omicron to take it back down again.
With other altcoins generating attention, I’m not sure if Litecoin will make it back into the top 10 in terms of market capitalization. However, with a still-powerful brand and a maximum supply of 84 million coins, it could generate a handsome profit if the sector lifts all boats.
Cryptos: Chainlink (LINK)
Source: Stanslavs / Shutterstock.com
As the rally in cryptos started heating up late last year, I decided to try my hand at an intriguing project called Chainlink. To be honest, I think I was more attracted to the price point and technical posture and didn’t bother reading up on the fundamentals until later.
I’m only mentioning this to say that, while I’m being incredibly hypocritical, you should do as I said earlier — that is, perform extensive due diligence — and not do as I did. Sometimes, you need luck to win with cryptos. But luck is not a repeatable strategy.
Having said all that, I certainly did luck out on Chainlink because the fundamentals were indeed very good. According to CoinMarketCap’s description, Chainlink is a blockchain abstraction layer that facilitates universally-connected smart contracts. Where it gets its power, though, is that it’s a network that allows integration of off-chain data into smart contracts.
In other words, Chainlink opens up seemingly unlimited possibilities, as project developers can tie “real-life” data into blockchain logic functions. For instance, you can develop a smart contract that activates based on a particular city’s temperature for the day.
While cryptos represent a competitive field, Chainlink’s brand recognition and sizable omicron-fueled discount make it attractive for speculators.
Stellar’s utility is rooted in its role as a bridge for transactions across borders. This has quite a few real-world applications — including trading assets during geopolitical conflicts.
For example, as you’ve probably heard, President Joe Biden’s administration faces its toughest foreign policy challenge yet as it faces down the possible threat of a Russian incursion into Ukraine.
To make a very long and complex story short, Russian President Vladimir Putin wants reassurances that Ukraine will not join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The U.S. is now weighing its options for a response as Russia moves troops closer to the Ukrainian border.
For those who think the issue is just about Ukraine, it’s much more than that. If the U.S. shows weakness against Russia, it can embolden China to take over Taiwan. And that can’t happen because of how much the American economy depends on a safe and secure Taiwan.
But what does this have to do with Stellar? Well, one of the non-military options the U.S. and its allies have is removing Russia from the SWIFT system. If such a draconian move can be pulled off, it would presumably be devastating for the Russian economy.
What’s Russia’s solution for this? Digital rubles, of course! But a Russian-backed crypto could be an anathema, which would raise the profile of transactional crypto networks like Stellar. After all, the crypto’s appeal is that it is designed for easier trading of assets across borders.
I’m not suggesting Russians will use XLM. Rather, our current geopolitical situation is offering the coin an opportunity to showcase its benefits. Investors could take notice, sending Stellar’s price upward.
Cryptos: Monero (XMR)
One of the most controversial cryptos since its inception, Monero has taken a backseat in terms of public sentiment. Likely, this dynamic played into its omicron-caused correction, which saw XMR coins lose about 31% of market value between Nov. 9 and Dec. 12.
Nevertheless, I find myself intrigued by Monero’s discount because it’s one of the few cryptos that are — at least as of this writing — truly confidential and anonymous. As the recovery of the Colonial Pipeline ransom (requested in Bitcoin) uncovered, not every digital currency is anonymous.
Now, I’m not privy to all the details regarding that ransom recovery. However, it’s reasonably safe to assume that if we were talking about Monero coins, such a recovery would not be possible.
In fact, the underlying blockchain is so secure that the IRS offered a $625,000 bounty to anyone who can crack the Monero code. Obviously, the tax agency has a vested interest in discovering who’s actually using XMR to, say, hide funds or transactions.
Undoubtedly, Monero appeals to nefarious actors. But internet privacy is a growing concern, so XMR is a worthy discount to consider.
Confession time: I’m not entirely sold on the concept of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). For me, it sounds like a fad that will eventually die out. However, I could very well be wrong (and it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.) Further, this list of cryptos is about opportunities that you might find intriguing, so let’s discuss Curate.
First, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of what an NFT is. As you know, part of the allure of cryptos is their fungibility — that is, one Bitcoin minted in the U.S. is the same as another Bitcoin minted in Botswana. With NFTs, their non-fungibility, or uniqueness, is what drives value. That’s why many, if not most NFTs are tied to artistic works.
However, the process of conducting transactions within the crypto or NFT space can get very expensive due to gas or fees associated with Ethereum-powered blockchains. The beauty of Curate is that it’s the “world’s first gasless multichain NFT marketplace offering NFT auctions, minting as well a general physical goods marketplace, all of which is supported by blockchain technology.”
As a lesser-known enterprise, Curate will be risky — there’s no denying that. But if the NFT phenomenon takes off, XCUR should be on your radar.
Cryptos: SafeMoon Inu (SMI)
With SafeMoon Inu, I’ve saved the riskiest crypto investment for last. To be clear, that’s not an indictment against the underlying project. Rather, when you’re dealing with ultra-low-priced assets, it’s my moral obligation to warn you about the volatility inherent in the law of extremally small numbers. Therefore, only invest what you can comfortably afford to lose with SMI — just like any other high-risk, high-reward venture.
With that caveat out of the way, SafeMoon Inu’s profile is awfully compelling from a technical analysis perspective. Against its late October high of this year, SMI is trading at an 84% discount. Yes, I understand that usually, there’s a reason for such massive red ink. However, momentum appears to be building back up as investors gradually brush aside omicron-related concerns.
On the fundamental side, SafeMoon Inu represents a grassroots community which developed a play-to-earn game called Moonshot Voyage. Within the gaming ecosystem, players can earn NFTs that carry market value and have utility within the game, such as weapons, characters and enhanced abilities.
To summarize, SafeMoon Inu is a mini-economy centered on this gaming universe. It’s an exciting concept, although as I’ve written about with other gaming-centric cryptos, competition will be fierce. But if you have some under-the-sofa change you want to throw at SMI, it could be worth your while.
On Low-Capitalization and Low-Volume Cryptocurrencies: InvestorPlace does not regularly publish commentary about cryptocurrencies that have a market capitalization less than $100 million or trade with volume less than $100,000 each day. That’s because these “penny cryptos” are frequently the playground for scam artists and market manipulators. When we do publish commentary on a low-volume crypto that may be affected by our commentary, we ask that InvestorPlace.com’s writers disclose this fact and warn readers of the risks.
Read More: How to Avoid Popular Cryptocurrency Scams
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto held a LONG position in BTC, ETH, LTC, LINK and XLM. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.
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