Another exciting year of cryptocurrency climbs and crashes awaits, so here are The CEO Magazine's top investment tips for 2018.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on January 24, 2018

VeChain (VEN)

Through strong partnerships, a focus shift towards financial services, and backing from one of the ‘big four’ accounting firms, VeChain has grown to be the 20th biggest cryptocurrency, with a market cap of more than $2 billion.

So popular is the Chinese enterprise blockchain solution that it overcame last week’s cryptocurrency market slump, to double its price to a new all-time high of $8.50.

The announcement last week of its partnership with property mortgage lender Fanghuwang was music to the ears of investors, as it signalled the extent of its transition into financial services — an industry that has been quick to embrace blockchain technology.

The good news continued on Monday, with venture capital and private equity firm Breyer Capital announcing it had agreed to take on an advisory role.

Most crucially though, VeChain passed a first-of-its-kind Cryptocurrency Disaster Recovery Plan (CDRP). The CDRP meets the demands of accredited firms and has been approved by accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers, considerably enhancing its credibility.


ICON has enormous growth potential, and with a current value of $8.38 and a market cap of more than $3 billion, it is a steal for the canny investor.

And that’s because of the loopchain technology it is based on. This technology was developed by a company called theloop, which is owned by the multi-billion dollar South Korean fintech house that backs the ICON project — Dayli Finance Group.

Basically, theloop can build private, customised blockchains for various institutions, and then interconnect all those different blockchains through the ICON ecosystem so that the institutions can transact and communicate with each other.

“In a sense, ICON is a natural evolution of thriving blockchain ecosystem and is the solution to the need of bridging disparate blockchain communities,” it stated in its white paper.

Min Kim, chief strategy officer at Dayli, says the ultimate objective is to connect the whole of Korea using the firm’s technology.

“If we connect every single company in Korea or even half of Korea on our network, that’s a massive success story.”

Ripple (XRP)

Finder does a wonderful job in clearly defining what it is Ripple has set out to achieve.

“Consider this scenario: Alice and Bob need to send some money to each other. Alice uses Jamaican dollars (JMD) to conduct her business, while Bob operates in Bangladeshi taka (BDT),” it begins.

“While it might not be evident to end users, the process behind Alice sending Bob money involves converting the JMD to a common currency like USD, then transferring the money between Alice’s bank and Bob’s. Finally, the USD in Bob’s bank is converted back to BDT.

“This incurs a lot of fees at every exchange and wastes a lot of time. The Ripple network and currency aim to fix this problem.

“The alternative Ripple proposes is the use of XRP as a common currency underlying all money transfers between different currencies (USD is currently the most common currency). Not only are transaction fees much lower to convert from one currency to XRP and back, but transfers take a maximum of 4 seconds to execute and verify.”

Because of this real-time payment function, Ripple has received backing from dozens of venture capitalists, including GV (Alphabet’s venture arm), Andressen Horowitz, and IDG Capital Partners.

Late last year, American Express and Santander announced a partnership with Ripple, to speed up payments for its business customers between the US and UK.

“This collaboration with Ripple and Santander represents the next step forward on our blockchain journey, evolving the way we move money around the world,” said Marc Gordon, executive vice president and CIO at American Express.

It currently has the third largest market cap sitting above $52 billion (and has been as high as second behind Bitcoin), and coins are worth just $1.35 at the time of writing.

Cardano (ADA)

Dubbed a ‘third generation’ cryptocurrency, Cardano has set out to address issues that have arisen from the first two generations of coins.

Started by former Ethereum CEO Charles Hoskinson, Cardano has enjoyed an enormous price surge since late November.

From $0.03 it rose to a high of $1.28 earlier this month (a 4000% increase), but has since steadied around the $0.6 mark. It also boasts the fifth largest market cap, at almost $14.5 billion.

The burgeoning interest in the cryptocurrency, which was only launched in 2017, stems largely from the fact it is “the first blockchain project to be developed from a scientific philosophy, and the only one to be designed and built by a global team of leading academics and engineers”.

It is built to be scalable, sustainable and interoperable. Having learned from previous failings in the cryptosphere including bad governance and development flaws.

And it has the foundation to launch from too. Cardano’s proof-of-stake system (using an algorithm called Ouroboros) for its payments, allows high-speed and more efficient transactions, and enables it to handle a number of sizeable transactions at once.

Its status as being one of the first blockchains to be built using the highly-secure Haskell code is another feather in its cap, and it even has a dual-layer system to separate the accounting unit from smart contracts.

Ethereum (ETH)

While everyone’s attention was drawn to the dizzying rise of Bitcoin last year, Ethereum was shooting up in its shadow.

You could have secured a coin of the second largest cryptocurrency in price and market cap for just $10 at the start of last year, and it is now valued at $982.

Because of the ecosystem attached to Ethereum and the range of practical purposes associated with the coin it’s position as a heavy-hitter seems to be assured for the foreseeable future.

Hundreds of other coins and systems depend on it, and this has given investors plenty of confidence in its longevity.

Hence why, when cryptocurrencies crashed last week, Ethereum was one of the fastest to recover.

In fact, Finder predicts ETH will recover from the downswing and push back up towards its “real floor” of $1300 a coin.

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin’s goal is to give control back to its users by preventing third-party companies controlling their information and data.

“Ether can be a more programmable money. We conceive it as a crypto fuel because it powers these programs on the world computer,” he said.

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