Ten Cryptocurrencies You Need to Own in 2019

People sometimes ask me what cryptocurrency I recommend buying.

I don’t give individual recommendations, but if I did, here would be my top 10 as of February 20, 2019. This ranking is not based on market cap or price or ROI or review of the technology or any assessment of potential growth. I spitballed this list because I thought it might interest you. This is not financial advice. Your top 10 will look different.

Keep in mind: most cryptocurrency is worthless.

Here’s my list, in no particular order:

Bitcoin (BTC)

Not only is it the market leader, it’s the easiest for people to buy and the most liquid for large investors looking to dabble in the markets. Lightning Network is already reducing bitcoin transaction fees to fractions of a penny. Bakkt plans to eventually offer merchant solutions that settle bitcoin payments as local currency, and several smaller banks say they’re already working on it. DriveChain is attempting to make it easy to create branches rather than forks, leaving the bitcoin blockchain in tact while giving developers new ways to leverage its value as a payment network. Several businesses like Opennode are using bitcoin to settle commercial transactions for merchants. Dozens of developers are working on “second layer” interfaces that leverage bitcoin’s features without actually making people hold it (usage still drives demand for bitcoin itself).

Basic Attention Token (BAT)

BAT solves a big problem in online advertising, namely, businesses waste a lot of money on ads that never get viewed and content they cannot monetize. BAT solves this problem by creating a market for “attention” using BAT tokens as the unit of exchange.

If BAT succeeds, it will create an alternative revenue model for people who make YouTube videos, write blogs, answer Quora questions, or create web content of any kind. BAT also has a competent team and a working product, the Brave browser, which I use. And, most importantly, people can use BAT without buying it, they need only run the Brave browser and participate in the BAT market. See some of my other reasons in this Quora post, Mark Helfman’s answer to What are your thoughts on Basic Attention Tokens and Brave?

Note — I am a verified Brave publisher. If you don’t have the Brave Browser, get it now: Download Brave Browser.

DENT

DENT Wireless created a secondary market for unused mobile data. This is a global market for likely $5–10 billion worth of data people pay for but don’t use. DENT’s network already reports 7 million active users plus more who’ve downloaded the app. Total usage of DENT captures only 0.3 percent of its market and some of that value comes from speculators, not users. It has lots of room to grow and a living user base. DENT’s team plans to build remittances, phone calls, and videochat into its app. These are all features that will further build its network and open up new, potentially massive markets.

TRON

My theory is cryptocurrency is still a bubble. As a result, hype/visibility has a lot more value than results. Tron is a hype machine. It should do well in 2019 because of name recognition, network growth, and dapp creation. It’s founder is a social media icon. TRON is one of the world’s fastest growing cryptocurrency platforms and they account for six of the top ten decentralized applications (dapps) ranked by DappRadar – Ranked list of blockchain dapps. You may have heard about its acquisition of BitTorrent, too. The TRON team is clever about ways to bring value to TRX. Many people criticize the technology. It will take years to find out whether the technology will limit its success. In 2019, none of that will matter.

Enjin (ENJ)

ENJ is a gaming token that can solve a big problem with virtual goods that players acquire and exchange in video games: you can never be certain you’re getting a “real” item or a copy. You can never confirm true ownership or keep yourself from getting defrauded. And on many gaming platforms, the platform itself owns the virtual item—if the gamer gets banned, he loses everything; if he changes the item, he can’t claim ownership; if he stops playing the game, the item becomes useless.

ENJ enables people to record their items on the blockchain. As a result, you will always know who owns every virtual item and who has the authority to change or exchange it. Every new item recorded on the blockchain takes ENJ out of circulation, increasing the remaining value. ENJ network already has 20 million players and it’s growing.

Holochain (HOT)

Holochain is a computing platform where “agents” maintain their own records and communicate with each other through the network. This is different than traditional data-driven blockchains and somewhat experimental. I suspect the novelty will help grow interest. It also claims to be much faster and more scalable than other cryptocurrencies. If successful, Holochain could fill literally every use for cryptocurrency. HOT tokens will eventually become the “fuel” for the network and a reward for sharing computing power with other users. Holochain hasn’t launched yet.

Ethereum (ETH)

Everybody uses it and it will overhaul its consensus protocol next year. Expect the price to rise leading up to that event.

Polymath (POLY)

Polymath is a platform for security tokens. It’s like Ethereum for tokens that represent financial assets. It will standardize the way these types of tokens are created, issued, locked-up, and traded, as well as how dividends are distributed and ownership transferred. Security tokens could be the next big thing in crypto, and if so, every company interested in tokenizing their securities will be able to do everything through Polymath, eliminating the need for third-party services. OpenFinance and tZERO have expressed interest in using POLY.

IOTA

Tackles blockchain using tangle, a non-blockchain way to do what blockchain does. IOTA aims to be the crypto for Internet-of-Things, where machines send or receive tiny amounts of crypto in exchange for performing certain tasks or providing data. It could also work as a really fast, scalable payment system for humans. Our Vision | IOTA

DASH

Thousands of merchants accept DASH worldwide and the US marijuana industry has adopted it as its preferred method of sending electronic payments. It’s a privacy coin that isn’t really that private, which means law enforcement will be OK with it but users can still get the same benefits as an actual privacy coin. It’s also cheap to send and has a very active and expanding developer community. Long-term maybe not on the top of my list, but I include it for 2019 because hype and recognition will beat good technology until the cryptocurrency bubble bursts.

Honorable Mention

Honorable mention goes to STEEM, the primary token of the Steem blockchain. Steem powers several businesses that run on the blockchain (e.g., Steemit, SteemMonsters, SteemCreate, and several smaller projects under development). I really like the platform and see a lot of potential. I host a haiku contest on Steemit under the username @vdux! My only concern about Steem: as of this post, Steem’s development team disagrees with some influential users about the direction of its blockchain and I just don’t know how that’s going to resolve.

There ya go!

Keep in mind, by the time you read this post I may have already changed my mind about some of these picks.

Best of luck to you.