- The “crypto winter” bear market period has resulted in many crypto projects shutting down, but many teams are still going strong
- We feature 5 projects in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space that will be worth following in 2020
- The list covers a lot of ground, featuring smart contracts, decentralized finance, stablecoins and more
5 crypto projects to follow in 2020
Crypto winter is over, taking with it the bulk of the low-grade projects. The companies and projects that remain have provided enough value to survive the cold spell, and now that better times are ahead, are poised to thrive. The following five projects span a range of verticals, but they all share this much in common: an impeccable work ethic, great product-market fit, and a willingness to innovate. Let’s take a closer look at what this rising quintet has to offer.
Anchored to the world’s securest blockchain, Bitcoin BTC, -3.47% smart contract platform RSK has more to offer than merely the fame of its parent chain. 2020 is the year when RSK will bear the fruits of all the work it put in during 2019 including the acquisition of the world’s largest Spanish language social network, Taringa, by IOV Labs, RSK’s founders. Taringa will serve as an early testing ground for many of the decentralized finance products RSK aims to bring to market including DEXs, stablecoins and open finance dApps.
So far, Ethereum has gained a name as the DeFi ecosystem of choice, but RSK intends to change that, and bring a chunk of the innovation and building to Bitcoin. RSK brings the same smart contract capabilities as the EVM to the strength and ecosystem of Bitcoin, with a full stack of DeFi products such as lending, derivatives, prediction markets and liquidity protocols. In 2020, expect to see a wave of projects building on Bitcoin with the aid of RSK tech.
While RSK is targeting the DeFi market, Ardor is aiming at enterprises. Companies seeking blockchain-as-a-service can get all their distributed ledger needs taken care of here with the minimum of fuss. Its Ignis public chain provides a modular framework for businesses seeking low-cost plug and play blockchain services. Ignis essentially provides a pick and mix of services that business require in a blockchain context including coin and asset exchange, lightweight contracts, encrypted messaging and an integrated marketplace.
With more than 250 Ardor ARDR, 0.10% APIs integrated, businesses seeking a blockchain infrastructure to build on have an embarrassment of riches. Given the growing demand for enterprise blockchain solutions for fintech, insurance, logistics and much more, 2020 should smile kindly on Ardor and all who build with it.
Not all of the projects tipped to fare well this year are working at the base layer: some are operating at the application end of the stack. Crypto lending platform Cred keeps going from strength to strength, aided by the growth of the DeFi industry where so much of the lending and borrowing takes place. At present, Cred LBA, -2.38% allows crypto holders to lock up around 30 digital assets in exchange for a cash loan, providing a way to access capital without exiting the crypto markets. Lenders who pledge their crypto, meanwhile, will earn fixed interest that’s paid out quarterly. With up to 10% interest available to lenders, Cred boasts some of the highest rates in the industry. Expect more partnerships, new integrations, and fresh lending products from Cred this year.
‘Quantum resistance’ is a term that’s going to be heard a lot this year, and every time it’s uttered, it strengthens the case for quantum-resistant blockchains such as QAN. Quantum computers are moving beyond the theoretical stage and into the stage of demolishing complex computations in record time. Google’s Sycamore is the shape of things to come, and if experts are correct, quantum computing will render all current encryption redundant within the next five years. When that day occurs, crypto networks such as Bitcoin will be rendered obsolete without a complete overhaul.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than a cure. In other words, solving the quantum computing problem is best done before it becomes a problem. QAN is building a quantum-resistant blockchain platform that can serve the needs of enterprises seeking to future-proof their operations. QAN is currently holding an initial exchange offering on BitBay in a bid to distribute its native tokens as far and wide as possible. Through getting QAN tokens into the hands of developers and early supporters, the project aims to incentivize the adoption of its quantum-resistant chain.
There’s more to QAN than merely quantum resistance, of course, like high throughput and IoT compatibility, making it ideal for connecting devices that exist on the edge of the cloud such as remote sensors. If quantum breakthroughs continue apace this year, expect interest in crypto networks that can withstand its computational onslaught to see an upsurge in interest.
No crypto crystal ball gazer for 2020 would be complete without checking in on Libra. Facebook’s global currency project looms large over the cryptosphere, even though it’s not even guaranteed that it will surface this year. If Libra’s high paid lawyers can fight a path through the red tape and get the go-ahead, expect Libra to launch in Q4. A successful launch, with the Calibra wallet integrated into billions of accounts including Facebook, could transform global finance and with it provide a huge on-ramp to the cryptosphere. Some stablecoins might lose market share in a world dominated by Libra, but overall it should prove a net good, serving as the Trojan horse that normalizes digital currency for normal internet users.
While there are hundreds more projects that could have made the list, these five serve as a barometer for the health of companies operating in the cryptosphere this year. From the base layer to the application level, and from open finance to enterprise, the crypto industry is on course to effect positive change in 2020 and onboard the next wave of users.