Let's just recap this for a moment. Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, has made up the bulk of the headlines in 2017 (and has since its invention in 2009). In 2014, there was a feature length documentary called The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, which was a 2014 official selection by the Tribeca Film Festival.
If you had invested just $1 in bitcoin as late as 2015, your investment would be worth $7,420 (as of the writing of this article). In an era where most people are thrilled to see a consistent 8 percent return on their investments, a 7,420 percent return feels crazy. But bitcoin is not alone in this incredible digital currency growth. The gains in digital currencies appear to be experiencing their own bubble. In 2017 alone, currency traders and speculative investors such are quick to point out the following returns:
"Regulations Cannot Keep Pace With the Pace of Innovation"
In the trailer for The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, one of the industry experts says it best when he claims that "regulations cannot keep pace with the pace of innovation." Many see cryptocurrencies as the next gold rush, and for different reasons. Some like the idea that these cryptocurrencies allow you to "put a bank in your pocket". Others support the global "democratization of technology." And still others have lost faith in the ludicrous and growing debt crisis in the U.S. that doesn't appear to have any possibility of recovery. If you fear hyperinflation, cryptocurrency seems like one possible solution.
What to Watch in 2018
Founders and venture capitalists have identified the startups and top initial coin offerings (ICOs) that they think will have the biggest impact heading into 2018. With increased challenges when it comes to funding for startups, the start of 2017 saw the birth of companies tackling things like paying rent with coins to creating a DIY patent research tool.
I've been speaking to founders and venture capitalists to identify some of the startups and ICOs that had the biggest launches in 2017 and that look to have a strong chance of success heading into 2018. Here are 10 top companies to watch that have either had an ICO or are likely to have an ICO heading into 2018.
Cypherium, a team constructed of developers with backgrounds at Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, is developing a new blockchain, that will be highly scalable and permissionless. Their multi-level governance design, an absolutely unique feature, has been designed and implemented from the ground up. The Cypherium blockchain separates governance at both the protocol and application layers.
CEO Sky Guo notes, "There are very few teams who can build what we are attempting to build. We believe that Cypherium will not only resolve scalability issues, but also help blockchain technology break into the mainstream."
Rentberry is a decentralized long-term rental platform that has been disrupting the rental industry since 2015. Rentberry's platform has the power to automate steps within the renting process, from signing contracts to paying rent. This saves the tenant and landlord time and money, while expediting the legal agreements between parties. Moreover, Rentberry's blockchain and smart contracts technology offers tenants the ability to save thousands of dollars in rental security deposits.
Rentberry CEO Alex Lubinsky says, "$500 billion dollars are frozen in rental security deposits. Rentberry is the first international solution to help quality renters unlock billions of dollars, while streamlining the process of finding apartments, paying rent, and everything in between."
Loci, a venture-backed technology startup known for its DIY patent research tool, InnVenn, has expanded its platform to include the ability to buy and sell intellectual property via its native utilitarian tokens, LOCIcoin. InnVenn also has the capability of posting creation and disclosure of new claims for IP onto the Ethereum blockchain in Loci's quest to simplify and update the patent process."Getting an idea protected with a patent is a convoluted, expensive, and risky process--but blockchain technology can fix that. We have created a platform that empowers the inspired inventor with a much quicker and safer alternative in making money from their great ideas," says Loci CEO John Wise.