Cryptocurrencies had a great year in 2021. In this period, we have seen the market go from being classified as a billion-dollar economy into a trillion-dollar economy. Aside from that, cryptocurrencies are gaining visibility in the mainstream world with, for example, El Salvador's adoption of Bitcoin as the official digital currency. As a result, investors are looking for the "new Bitcoin" on the market, hoping to find a great alternative in so-called altcoins. Unfortunately, many traders value an altcoin exclusively…
The crypto-scape is constantly evolving in 2021. New features, platforms, and networks continue to enter the market weekly. While many of these new ventures are simply rehashes, some projects embrace innovation to the fullest. These are 8 projects that are reshaping the market and changing the way people think about cryptocurrencies.
Ethereum is in the midst of a monumental upgrade. The world’s largest Dapp ecosystem is converting from a Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism over to a Proof-of-Stake. The upgrade has already begun, and users and developers are rushing to become a part of this transformation. The new Ethereum is faster, more flexible, and offers regular users the chance to secure the network and earn rewards via a staking protocol.
Already, ETH 2.0 Validator pools are popping up in the market. These networks help to adopt the upgraded chain further and allow regular users to stake and earn rewards without meeting the required 32 ETH Validator minimum. The upgrade is seen by many as the most important project in the market due to its sheer size and overall community support.
The Lightning Network is a second-layer protocol that has the potential to reduce congestion on Bitcoin’s blockchain. The platform integrates private payment channels that allow you to conduct unlimited transactions for a fraction of the cost of traditional Bitcoin transactions. The Lightning Network allows Bitcoin to operate as a currency in that you can send micropayments in seconds.
The network has been in Beta testing for over two years and has made numerous strides in expansion. Over the last year, the Lightning Network found integration on several top exchanges, payment processors, and even games. As the price of Bitcoin continues to rise, the demand for cheaper and faster transactions also rises. For this reason, the Lightning Network is set to remain a pivotal project for the foreseeable future.
PancakeSwap is a DEX and decentralized ecosystem that has seen considerable market hype as of late. Impressively, PancakeSwap is the largest Dapp on the Binance Smart Chain at this time. The DEX operates as an AMM is packed with various DeFi features such as support for both staking and farming. PancakeSwap has become a popular alternative for DeFi users seeking a break from the growing congestion and GAS fees associated with Ethereum-based platforms.
As more investors seek alternatives to large crypto exchanges such as Coinbase or Binance, DEXs such as Pancake fill the void. PancakeSwap offers users access to the top Ethereum-based and BSC-based tokens securely and privately. There is no registration required to trade tokens, and the platform supports many of the top wallets in the market, like MetaMask.
Polkadot could be considered one of the most advanced blockchains in the world. The network introduces a host of new technologies that give it some impressive stats. For example, Polkadot relies on a shared infrastructure that provides the blockchain with limitless scalability. Unlike the competition, Polkadot integrates an open consensus mechanism. This mechanism can be adapted to fit the needs of the network when required.
Polkadot’s design allows it to conduct cross-chain transactions seamlessly. This strategy enables the platform to communicate with other chains efficiently. Notably, Polkadot also does away with hard forks. The chain can upgrade the chain in a gradual manner that is less disruptive to the community.
EOS is another programmable smart chain that has investors’ interests peaked. The platform is developer-focused and hosts smart contracts on Virtual Machines. Unlike its main competitor, Ethereum, EOS has no GAS fees. This approach allows developers to create Dapps with zero transaction fees for users. Consequently, the ESO ecosystem is rapidly expanding.
There are currently 686 active Dapps. These platforms have conducted over $1.74 billion in transactions. EOS’s developers also upgraded the ICO hosting capabilities of the blockchain, scalability, and overall efficiency. For these reasons, developers continue to migrate to EOS.
BNB – Binance Smart Chain
The popular exchange coin BNB recently got some new spring in its step after the network launched the Binance Smart Chain (BSC). The new blockchain wasn’t meant to replace Binance’s original network but rather provide an integrated way to take advantage of all the new features that fourth-generation blockchains offer.
Specifically, the BSC allows BNB users to stake, farm, and program smart contracts. The network also supports the creation and trading of NFTs. Also, BSC is far cheaper and faster than Ethereum. The introduction of supportive markets and other Dapps has also helped to make BNB a well-recognized project.
What if you could use your BTC on the Ethereum network? WBTC (Wrapped Bitcoin) answers this question in a spectacular fashion. This next-gen protocol locks your Bitcoin into a smart contract and issues a corresponding ERC-20 token.
Once you convert your BTC over to WBTC, you gain access to all ETH ecosystem features. You can stake, farm, and even lend out your WBTC to secure returns. Additionally, it’s cheaper and faster to send WBTC compared to traditional BTC.
OpenSea makes a list because it’s part of the current nun-fungible token (NFT) revolution. NFTs are unique blockchain tokens that can represent any real-world or digital asset. OpenSea provides collectors and traders a secure marketplace to meet up. The platform is a pioneer in the market, as it was one of the first marketplaces to enter service. There are over four million NFTs available on OpenSea at this time.
Each of these platforms serves a vital role in pushing large-scale cryptocurrency adoption forward. As such, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with each of these networks and how you can introduce them into your investment strategy. The main thing is to always DYOR, and you are sure to find endless opportunities in the crypto market.