Back in January of this year, we ran an article with our predictions for which cryptocurrencies would do well in 2021.
Now that we're halfway through the year, we've decided to revisit it and see how accurate we were. We will also share our thoughts on what is in store for our crypto picks for the remainder of 2021. Let's get started.
If you took a gamble on BTC back in January, you've had a wild ride. True to form, Bitcoin soared, reached unprecedented heights, and then crashed. A bit like a SpaceX Starship really, which is ironic since this latest bull run was both initiated and halted by the tweets of Elon Musk himself.
As you are probably aware, it was Tesla's announcement of a massive investment in BTC and that they would additionally accept the crypto as payment for cars that really started the ball rolling. On the back of this, BTC hit its all-time high of over $60,000 in April.
Enthusiasm had somewhat waned by May of this year, but it was Tesla's reversal of their decision to accept the King of Crypto as payment that pushed the price back down to its February levels.
At the moment, anybody who bought BTC before February 2021 is still in the money. The big question is: for how long? Tesla discontinuing their acceptance as a payment method did more than just push the price down temporarily.
It also addressed the elephant in the room as far as Bitcoin is concerned. It is, quite literally, "dirty" money. The amount of electricity consumed to maintain the BTC blockchain and mine new coins is enormous.
Since the rewards for mining are halved every four years, commercial miners have moved their operations to countries like Kazakhstan or Malaysia, which have cheap energy prices. However, this power comes from non-renewable fossil fuels, mainly coal, causing colossal pollution and environmental damage.
Tesla likes to present itself as a green company. Now, this might be a bit hypocritical considering their product is based on Lithium mining, one of the dirtiest industrial processes known to man. Nevertheless, concern for their green credentials made the company back off from BTC transactions.
And now the cat is out of the bag regarding BTC energy use; it won't be long before other companies and institutional investors cool on the currency for similar motives to Tesla. In other words, don't expect another BTC bull run any time soon.
In fact, with environmental concerns coming to the fore in all walks of life, it looks like the crypto space is about to catch up. Both users and investors will be increasingly looking for more energy-efficient and functional cryptocurrencies, which brings us to our other tips.
In terms of percentage increase in value, ETH has Bitcoin beaten hands down. It rose over 500% from its start of year price to an all-time high of $4,076 in May. It has fallen back a bit since but is still well above $3,000 at the time of writing.
The reason for this sustained rally is the added functionality we mentioned earlier. ETH was not designed as a mere medium of transaction, such as fiat currency or BTC, alone.
The Ethereum blockchain also allows for the development of apps and the execution of smart contracts. And DeFi (Decentralized Finance) developers are finally beginning to sit up and take notice of these features.
A sharp rise in the use of Ethereum for DeFi products, including the European Investment Bank's first-ever digital bond, has, in turn, attracted interest from institutional investors. Combined, these two factors have led to ETH's boom.
And while the Ethereum blockchain also consumes a lot of electricity, most mining pools are located in Europe and the US, where at least part of the energy is from renewable sources.
XRP is the token used by RippleNet. It allows for fast, secure, low-cost financial transactions and is used by banks and financial institutions worldwide. Increased demand for online financial services due to the pandemic has resulted in increased usage of XRP, and thereby increased its value.
Additionally, now that the US SEC (Security and Exchanges Commission) investigation into Ripple Labs has backfired so spectacularly, the currency is riding high. Don't expect any significant gains in the future, but a steady upward trend looks likely.
Litecoin, as the name suggests, is a simpler version of BTC. It's cheaper to mine, faster to use, and has lower transaction fees. This has been enough to keep it a firm fixture on the crypto scene since its launch in 2011.
This year it reached an all-time high of $400 in April before falling off, but analysts predict considerable gains by the end of the year.
Tron has skyrocketed this year and, even with a downturn in May, is still worth more than five times its start of year price. This beats even ETH in percentage increase.
Admittedly, it's still only worth eleven cents. But what's not to love about a crypto that can give you 500% returns while aiming to decentralize the web and share entertainment.
It's faster and more fun than ETH. Plus, it is named after a sci-fi film starring the Dude himself, the legendary Jeff Bridges. All these are good reasons (well, maybe not the last one) to think that Tron could easily break the fifty-cent mark by year's end.
All our picks did well in the first half of 2021, some of them spectacularly. And, with the exception of Bitcoin, they look set to continue doing so in the second half of the year.
We did miss dogecoin, which has outperformed all other cryptos in terms of price increase. But since its even more sensitive to tweets by Musk, it is one we would give a miss anyway.
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