Today, there are, of course, several major cryptocurrencies that are widely traded, as well less many less-well-known (a.k.a. alt-) cryptos that have been around for a while but are traded on fewer exchanges. There are also new cryptocurrencies being created on a regular basis; here are six such cryptos that I find of interest as we begin 2018, a year that's certainly going to be interesting for the cryptocurrency markets:
Dock.io, which is scheduled to hold its ICO in February, offers a blockchain-based mechanism for storing and accessing user information, thereby improving on the way that apps access user data and communicate with one another. Dock.io has a sizable, experienced team, and its founder has indicated that the firm has three times as much interest in its ICO as it has tokens for sale -- creating the potential for quite an interesting initial offering. Time will tell, and I will be watching how Dock.io's ICO unfolds and performs over the next couple of months.
Gladius, which recently raised $12 million in its ICO, offers a decentralized, blockchain-based technology that both protects against DDoS attacks and accelerates the delivery of content. Gladius allows people to temporarily rent out their unused bandwidth to others who need it -- and nearly everybody has a large amount of unused bandwidth (how much of your home internet connectivity do you really use when you are at work?). Instead of paying providers large monthly fees for content acceleration and DDoS protection, Gladius's blockchain should enable businesses to purchase only the bandwidth that they actually need, and only when they actually need it. (Full disclosure: After being impressed with the Gladius product idea and team, I joined the firm as an adviser, and I own Gladius tokens.)
Eristica, which is presently offering tokens in an ICO, offers a platform for people to challenge one another to perform stunts and the like, with smart contracts guaranteeing payment if a challenge is deemed to have been successfully completed -- as judged by the global community of Eristica token holders (presumably, the distribution of tokens will be large enough to prevent gaming of the system by parties holding large amounts of tokens in numerous wallets). Likewise, people can accept challenges that pay out if they win, but require paying the challenger if they cannot complete the challenge. Every challenge, its proofs, stakes, and deadlines, is stored in a blockchain. Eristica claims to already have more than one million users in Russia and another 200,000 in Southeast Asia and India, and states that it has received funding from the startup venture and accelerator fund SOSV. The user figures, combined with the knowledge of how well so many "challenges" have done on social platforms such as Facebook and Musical.ly, make me interested in watching developments at Eristica.
Safein, which is planning to ICO this quarter, is creating a blockchain-based federated identity system intended to eliminate the extremely redundant process with which we are all familiar of creating separate accounts for essentially every website, app, and vendor with which we interact. (How many times have we each undergone a tedious Know Your Customer process?) Safein's technology model promises not only to let people sign into websites without having to register, but also promises to give users far more control over their personal information than they receive today -- for example, it allows personal information to be transmitted only when authorized by a user, only to the specific party authorized by the user, and only in an encrypted format from end to end -- while also allowing users to terminate a previously authorized party's access to data. Safein also promises to simplify payments, automatically converting fiat and cryptocurrency belonging to a user into a merchant's required currency, and processing the payments more efficiently and at a lower cost than today's processors -- all with a single click that sends both identity and payment information to a third party. I find the Safein project quite intriguing -- and, ironically, I am writing this after having had to undergo yet another Know Your Customer process today.
5. Knowbella (Helix)
Knowbella is a new platform for crowdsourcing dormant and open intellectual properties, which together form a multitrillion-dollar underutilized (if not unused altogether) resource of humanity. Knowbella helps scientists collaborate on research projects, gain grants, share laboratory resources, get early feedback through preprint services, and develop manuscripts for publication. It uses tokens, known as Helix, to reward scientists for advancing knowledge. A prototype of Knowbella is presently running on therapoid.net; the firm plans a token sale in the near future, but did not provide me with details. While it is too early for me to form a detailed opinion on this cryptocurrency, the idea that a crypto could help put a tremendous amount of scientific knowledge to better use is something that I definitely find intriguing and worth following.
ClearCoin, which, as I write this article, is in the middle of an ICO in which it claims to have already raised $2.83 million, offers a blockchain-based system for connecting advertisers and publishers, providing, without a middle party, an interface for real-time buying and selling of media. While there are other marketplaces for ad space, ClearCoin offers efficiency and cost benefits. It will be interesting to see how this technology develops and how the associated coin performs -- it is amazing to think how quickly advertising has transitioned from the era of Mad Men to cryptocurrency-fueled markets.