2017 saw interest surge in cryptocurrencies, and some of the top coins are already household names.
But what about the others? Taking a scroll down CoinMarketCap is like going down a science-fiction rabbit-hole. At the entrance are the projects solving prosaic problems like banking or smart fridges. Peer a little further, past the bottom fifty, and some of the new projects look like something from Blade Runner.
To investigate further, we’ve sifted through the rankings to find some of the newer tokens to have infiltrated the top 100.
Market Cap $246,578,543 USD
With a market cap of “only” a quarter billion dollars, PIVX is probably one of the more energetic tortoises in the race. The name stands for “Private, Instant, Verified Transactions,” with a strong emphasis on the ‘P’. At least they didn’t name it “PIVT.”
Unlike other privacy coins, PIVX uses a masternode system that replaces mining with proof-of-stake, meaning that you can save on your energy bill as well as get a passive income from your cold wallet. Ten percent of all staking rewards go to a community government ruled by the master nodes, which uses the funds to advance the project.
PIVX isn’t just a copy of the other masternode coins. One major improvement is the coin is the way emissions are structured, with competing inflationary and deflationary pressures.*
But the real innovation is in Privacy. PIVX has two tiers of currency: a regular coin for every day transactions, and the fully-anonymous zPIV for private transactions. You can even stake zPIV, making PIVX the first privacy-centric coin to do so.
Also, PIVX is one of the only tokens left on the market that announces itself with a “manifesto“. That’s cool.
*An earlier version of this article mistakenly described PIVX as inflationary, because staking issues new coins without limit. However, PIVX also has a deflationary mechanism, in that some coins are burnt as they are spent. Per PIVX: “PIVX doesn’t need miners, so it simply burns fees out of the coin supply. This means the fees are kept at their absolute minimum and each burned fee actually causes some deflation. People are sensitive to the inflation rate of a coin because inflation represents the devaluation of your coin. Conversely, deflation would increase the value of your coins. This is all a function of supply and demand. “
Why isn’t it higher?
It’s much easier to explain why a coin is successful, rather than why it isn’t. Despite its innovations, PIVX entered the race far behind the other privacy coins, and those network effects add up.
PIVX’s website shows that the team isn’t hibernating through the bear season. The roadmap shows a long list of goals, from improving the wallet to extending the PIVX network and creating anonymous decentralized exchanges. Frustratingly, the road map has no dates, so I can’t tell you anything more than “sometime in 2018.”
Market cap: $218,304,391
CyberMiles presents itself as a “decentralized ecosystem for e-commerce” allowing a simplified, Ethereum-like environment for smart contracts between online dealers.
It’s not all cut-and-paste. CyberMiles has several adaptations which give an ostensible advantage over its predecessors. Like PIVX, it ditches mining in favor of the notionally simpler proof-of-stake system. Unlike PIVX, CyberMiles is explicitly oriented towards business applications and smart contracts, sped up to thousands of transactions per second. Transactions are free. Instead of fees, a set of economic incentives is set up to keep up network participation.
It’s an intriguing idea, but there are enough rough edges to caution the average investor. Although it’s is trying to out-blockchain Ethereum, the Cybermiles team only lists two full-time core developers—against the hundreds working on Ethereum.
But the coin has at least one good card in the hand. The name “CyberMiles” is half a reference to 5miles, a popular ecommerce app for local trading and selling. When the full blockchain launches this summer, the CyberMiles team hopes that the 12 million users already using 5miles will become the CMT Token’s first user-base.
CyberMiles has already released a Testnet, with a full network expected sometime this summer.
Why haven’t I heard of them before?
One reason is that you don’t live in China, where most of the teams’ events and outreach occur. They’re also fighting their way uphill: not only is Cybermiles up against Ethereum, it’s also taking on Alibaba and Tencent, two giants who are dipping into e-commerce blockchains and have a lot of money to throw at blockchain development.
Market Cap:171,239,200 USD
It’s pretty hard to pin down the 93rd largest cryptocurrency, and the website doesn’t make it easy. “Null is nothing. NULS is Anything you want in a blockchain world,” reads the first header on the Nuls’ website. That’s a bit more philosophy than we were planning to include in a financial column.
The confusion is somewhat clarified in the white paper, titled “A Highly Customizable Blockchain Infrastructure.” One major purpose is to make blockchains simpler, with plug-and-play modules to make the system easier for both individual developers and nontechnical participants.
Perhaps the most interesting innovation is Nuls’ proof-of-credit system, which is ostensibly similar to proof-of-stake. Unlike POS, the Nuls system includes “credit ratings” which penalizes bad actors by freezing their credit.
Nuls’ mainnet is currently in beta testing and should open to the public soon. There are several other stops ahead on the roadmap, including PC and mobile wallets, blockchain explorers and smart contract support in three languages.
Why you haven’t heard of it:
Nuls doesn’t have a huge community, at least among English speakers. The subreddit has fewer than four thousand subscribers, and the team fewer than a dozen. That doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t do it—but they’ll definitely be putting in some overtime.
Market Cap: $209,924,157
Mithril is one of those projects that take crypto to the fourth dimension. This isn’t one of those supply-chain or banking projects: instead, Mithril seeks to totally rework the way people interact by letting them monetize social media content.
The idea isn’t totally new–Steem already rewards users for producing social content–but Mithril aims to take that several steps further, with integration in everything from Twitter and Telegram to dating services. Users “mine” the token by creating content, and spend it in a network of premium content channels and dating services. Which means that you could potentially make money by swiping through Tinder.
That might seem far fetched, but Mithril’s already ahead of the drawing board. You can already earn Mithril on Lit, a story-sharing app which is to become the first twig of the Mithril ecosystem. Founder Jeffrey Huang is a fixture in the social media scene, having spent the last 25 years developing online content platforms. His latest project, 17.Media, is one of the largest livestreaming services in Asia–and a future laboratory for Mithril.
Although still small, Mithril has a decent following and plenty of action in the exchanges. The token grew 240 percent against Bitcoin this year, making it the third-fastest grower of the year.
Lit is already halfway out of the experimental phase, with added functionality in video and picture sharing. The next step is the release of the Mithril Wallet. The team also indicates that it’s seeking to add Mithril as a payment option in “physical brick and mortar retail” stores.
Why you haven’t heard of it: Considering it was only founded in the last quarter of last year, it’s impressive that Mithril is in the top hundred at all.
The author is invested in Ether, which is mentioned in this article.