Throughout 2018, prices for the world’s largest cryptocurrencies – including bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) – hit a significant rough patch.
But even in this crypto bear market, the bright, ambitious entrepreneurs and computer scientists behind the industry’s best projects have kept their heads down and focused on building out better products and services.
That’s just the sort of fuel the industry needs to see a resurgence in 2019. With that in mind, here are five projects to watch in 2019 that are poised to see rapid growth.
1. Lightning Network
This crypto scaling solution is being built to allow for blazing-fast, ultra-cheap crypto payments –think low-dollar payments for consumer goods like coffee and doughnuts – in bitcoin or other cryptos. Its development is key to bring bitcoin to the masses and usher in a new world of widespread cryptocurrency payments. Once consumers jump in,expect to see bitcoin’s price soar. And that prospect looks better than ever.
In the past month alone, the Lightning Network’s capacity grew by 314% to reach 448 BTC, or about $1.8 million. Meanwhile, the number of payment channels it’s established climbed nearly 37% to close to 12,500, while the number of nodes on the network grew almost 9% to over 4,200. The Lightning Network ranks as one of the biggest deployments of a multiparty smart contract in the world. Expect that growth to accelerate much faster in the near future.
2. Raiden Network
The idea here is similar – to allow for fast, cheap, “off-chain” transactions that can later be verified – and thus made greatly more secure – on Ethereum’s public blockchain.
3. Lumens (XLM)
Stellar is in the final stages of releasing its own decentralized trading platform, with an updated “professional” trading user interface intact – expect that to come sometime in December. The messenger app maker Kik recently shifted from Ethereum to Stellar for developing its cryptocurrency called “kin.”
Another Stellar project, Interstellar, also just unveiled its payment channel product called Starlight that permits parties to transact privately, instantly, and securely while paying zero fees.
4. Cardano (ADA)
The 10th-largest cryptocurrency is another crypto to watch in the coming months. This academic research-focused project is all about building a “financial operating system” for the developing world. In fact, cofounder Charles Hoskinson has been traveling the developing world to meet with heads of state to help drum up adoption for the tech. Its Traxia project, which converts invoices to smart contracts that can be traded as short-term assets, was launched in January 2018. And it has several upcoming developments for the coming year, including more work on smart contracts, side chains, and a hardware wallet.
5. TRON (TRX)
TRON is set up to bring blockchain technology to the digital entertainment industry. We’re talking online casinos, social networks, video games, and video. TRON currently ranks as the 12th-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. And it’s got a lot in store for this year. On November 29, it announced plans to launch a blockchain gaming fund called TRON Arcade, with contributions to the fund totaling $100 million over the next three years. In June, TRON acquired peer-to-peer networking pioneer BitTorrent for $140 million; it could use the purchase to build a broader network of miners and users.