As of November of 2021, there were more than 10,000 active cryptocurrencies on the market. And while most may be familiar with the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and the notorious Dogecoin by now, most of the rest remain obscure to all but dedicated crypto enthusiasts. Some are meant to be traded; some serve as tokens for specific online functions; some will likely never see significant value. Amongst so many cryptos though, there are plenty of interesting ones that are worth learning the basics about.
Below are six we’ve chosen to dive into.
This cannabis-themed crypto had its moment in the spotlight when it played a role in flying ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman to Singapore in 2018, in an attempt to crash the summit between then-U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. While Rodman didn’t manage to get into the negotiations, he did successfully get a lot of media attention for his Canadian sponsors. The stunt more or less put PotCoin on the map.
PotCoin does actually have a viable mission as well: It means to attract cannabis businesses which, due to legal restrictions, can’t always take credit payments or access traditional banking systems. Currently the crypto is trading at roughly a penny, in value, and it has never been higher than 51 cents. As cannabis regulations become more relaxed, it may prove to be that PotCoin’s moment to catch fire has come and gone. Nevertheless, it’s an intriguing asset to keep in mind.
Tether is the world’s biggest stablecoin –– which is essentially a cryptocurrency whose value is tied to an external asset. Tether specifically tracks the U.S. dollar, with each coin valued at $1. So what’s the attraction?
Well, it has the benefits of cryptocurrency without the fluctuation. There is currently about $69 billion worth of Tether in circulation, so it’s also an important source of liquidity for the broader crypto market. This stablecoin also banks on attracting interest via speed. In 2020, Tether switched to the Algorand platform from Ethereum, citing Algorand’s ability to process roughly 1,000 transactions per second as opposed to Ethereum’s 25. However, questions have been raised around the reserves Tether claims the currency is collateralized on. Watch this space.
Big things are expected from this token, and so far things seem to be going to plan. Launched in 2019 by a team including MIT Professor Silvio Micali –– who won the Turing Award for his research into cryptography –– it’s the native crypto of the Algorand platform. This open-source platform already hosts other coins (such as Tether), and organizations such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature are using it to develop systems to help farmers in the developing world handle finances more efficiently. The token itself (ALGO) currently trades at at a market cap of $11.2 billion, and ranks 14th on Coinbase’s popularity index.
For a crypto much more focused on a single purpose, Chiliz (CHZ) is another interesting one to watch. Functionally, CHZ is a currency meant to be exchanged for fan tokens, which can be designed specifically for different sports teams or organizations. So far the biggest participants have been European soccer clubs (including giants like Manchester City and Barcelona); the majority of NBA franchises; and the UFC.
The idea is for fans to purchase CHZ and use it to secure tokens, which in turn entitle them to club benefits (such as voting in polls or gaining product or ticketing access). The tokens also function as tradable assets. But this one will be fascinating to keep an eye on as the concept grows. One can imagine all kinds of interesting functions that could come into play, as well as a busy market developing amongst fans.
Ravencoin acts as peer-to-peer platform coin that allows users to designate it as whatever asset they want. In practice, that means it could be used for, say, access to software as a purely utilitarian coin. It could also be used by gamers for in-game assets, or tied to “real-world” assets for any number of reasons. Whatever the case, it’s flexible in part because it’s currently only trading at about 10 cents. And even looking ahead five years, price predictions are modest –– meaning it should remain an attractive consideration for people seeking peer-to-peer crypto solutions.
Plus, it has a cool name –– inspired by Game of Thrones, in which ravens were used to carry messages.
Another sort of “fan token” –– albeit one of less scope than CHZ –– $CAT was launched by the notorious Carole Baskin (she of Tiger King fame) to raise funds for her Big Cat Rescue. Trading at $5 at its launch in May of 2021, this crypto enables holders to have interactive visits to the rescue, as well as chats with Baskin herself. It might not be the most significant cryptocurrency in the market, but it’s certainly a unique one.
Not all cryptos will boom like Bitcoin. Indeed, it may be that none ever will. But as these examples demonstrate, cryptos are already built for all kinds of fascinating purposes. Many will be around for the long haul regardless of how high their prices climb.
Haley Hayward is an experienced writer at gblogo.com, where she’s credited with more than 200 articles covering everything from entrepreneurial stories to mental health at work.
She also oversees the Comment&Questions, which poses important admission questions to experts in the field, and regularly hosts webinars on various aspects of the business school experience.
Prior to joining gblogo.com, Haley honed her skills as a freelance writer, tackling a wide array of topics from petcare to car maintenance.
Haley holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.