Experts Share: Which Altcoins Should Be Watched Closely in 2020

Paolo Ardoino, Chief technology officer of Bitfinex

Aside from Bitcoin, I follow Ether, Tether, Monero, Tezos, Algorand and many other tokens listed on Bitfinex. It’s important to keep up to date with recent developments.

Marc P. Bernegger, Fintech investor at Crypto Finance

Although Libra will probably never be implemented in the originally planned version, the developments there are very relevant for the entire crypto industry. So, I follow the developments there very closely.

At the same time, I keep an eye on some interesting altcoins, which are characterized by a solid founder team and a sustainable business case and therefore have a lot of potential for the future.

Let's remember: Amazon's stock plummeted 96% after the dot-com bubble and has since become one of the most successful companies worldwide.

Sebastian Borget, Co-founder and chief operations officer at The Sandbox

We are actively looking at all new games with blockchain technology and presales of nonfungible tokens. 

Of course, we are also closely watching the recent news around Libra, China’s involvement into blockchain with Digital Yuan, the DeFi space with DAI and how legislation is becoming more open to decentralization.

Paul Brody, Blockchain lead at Ernst & Young

I watch Ether, but mostly to see that the ecosystem is healthy. Very high prices drive away innovators and low prices may discourage others. In reality, though blockchain contains the possibility of digital scarcity, that is far from its greatest asset. I hope we will use this technology to bring forward an era of abundance.

David Chaum, Founder of Elixxir

There are a lot of talented teams taking on important challenges. To be honest, this year, my focus has been on building the XX Network team and blockchain. We are really excited about the opportunities for the XX Network and the XX Coin in the year ahead!

Virginia Cram-Martos, CEO of Triangularity

Ether and the possible issuance of central bank digital currencies.

Eric Crown, Wall Street trader

I think it's quite clear within this market — except for a few outliers here and there — if Bitcoin doesn't go up, no one is going up. And in fact, even when Bitcoin goes up, sometimes other people still don't go up. So, I'd say that if you're looking for a cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin, it's pretty much contingent upon Bitcoin’s movements to begin with. If Bitcoin is not healthy in 2020, which is starting to shape up to be a little bit more of a reality — as the trends set themselves pretty damn staunchly here — I'd say that except for maybe a few one-offs, I have nothing on my radar. Nothing consistent, really.

John deVadoss, Head of development at Neo

I track and watch Neo. Additionally, I watch the emerging central bank digital currencies. I believe that we will see waves of both forward-thinking innovation and myopic regulatory roadblocks, both of which will shape the crypto sector.

Daniel Diemers, Head of blockchain at PwC

In my role as head of blockchain for EMEA, I have a professional duty to follow many other coins and tokens beyond Bitcoin. And I think this is also what makes the ecosystem so diverse and interesting. Whether you are a big visionary or just have a small idea about some use case, today you can realize both with blockchain and together with the crypto community. One big trend I foresee, for example, is much more lending against cryptocurrencies. In classic capital markets, this is as normal as it gets, but in crypto, it’s not in line with the “Hodl” mindset. But with efficient transfers on more liquid markets, staking, and more classic banks and wealth managers going crypto in 2020, we will see much more of that. On the admittedly a bit dogmatic cryptocurrency purist frontline, I believe 2020 will be a very interesting, much broader “Battle of the Currencies”: central bank-issued digital currencies on blockchain vs. incumbent cryptocurrencies vs. privacy coins vs. Libra-type ecosystem tokens vs. stablecoins vs. security tokens — I’m super excited to see what all will happen next year.

Tim Draper, Venture capitalist

Other than Bitcoin, probably Tezos — because they are making huge advances. Things are going very well for them, and there are lots of interesting engineers doing interesting work to apply to Tezos. I think that's going to be really exciting.

Adam Ficsor, CEO of Wasabi Wallet

I was closely watching some a few years back, but got tired of wasting my time with that. If someone comes up with something valuable, it won't go under my radar, I hope.

Joshua Frank, CEO of The TIE

I focus the vast majority of my time on Bitcoin, as I strongly believe that if BTC does not succeed, the rest of the digital asset market can’t. While I don’t think it would be a catalyst for upward movement of the crypto market, I am interested in watching developments of internal tokens as rapid 24/7 settlement mechanisms within the largest global banks.

Mati Greenspan, Founder of Quantum Economics

Though they don't offer much for the average investor, it's certainly worth watching the central banks in their digital currency initiatives. China is leading, of course, and we expect to see a digital yuan launched within the first half of the year. Europe will likely be a close second, and we can expect a digital euro to be developed through 2020. Libra is still in question.

More interesting, though, for crypto traders is the current war between the platforms working toward decentralized consumer applications as they vie for positioning and market share. 

Helen Hai, Head of Binance Charity Foundation

Central bank digital currency.

Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX

I follow other coins out of pure fascination and curiosity, but with that only.

Ivan on Tech, YouTube influencer

Tezos and Cardano. We are adding programming courses for these two platforms to the Ivan on Tech Academy next year and both have super exciting developments!

Sasha Ivanov, Founder and CEO of Waves

I don't follow any coins in particular, but rather am following the market in general. I think next year we'll finally start seeing some kind of decoupling, the market in general will have a lower correlation to BTC.

Christoph Iwaniez, Chief financial officer of Bitwala

We are convinced of Ether because Ethereum opens up a wide range of new possibilities, especially in the field of DeFi. We look with interest at DeFi projects like MakerDAO from the Ethereum community.

John Jefferies, CFA at CipherTrace

I watch Libra, digital yuan, crypto rial, ETH, BNB, EOS, Ripple and Tether. I also watch privacy coins quite closely, including Monero, Zcash and Dash; Bitcoin projects Snowball and Lighting; Decred; the Ethereum Aztec protocol; Grin; Beam; and Litecoin.

Tal Kol, Co-founder of Orbs

I would like to have the industry showcase use-cases in production that solve everyday problems and are relevant. Specifically, I hope to showcase how blockchain is relevant for the 2020 elections. In November, we were honored to be one of the few projects presenting to the Congressional Blockchain Caucus at the Blockchain on the Hill event organized by the Global Blockchain Business Council. The event came at the request of members of Congress who wanted to hear about use cases aside from cryptocurrencies and financials. The use case we presented was the blockchain-based solution for digital content authentication, a solution that can help with copyright protection — but equally interesting, fighting fake users and fake content. 

Sanja Kon, Vice president of global partnerships at Utrust

Aside from Bitcoin (BTC), I obviously follow Utrust’s native token, UTK, very closely as well as Ether (ETH) and the major coins based on liquidity. Utrust integrated Dash, a top digital currency for payments and ecommerce, and DigiByte (DGB) on the platform this year. These are two coins I’m really excited to follow and see how they progress in 2020. With thousands of coins listed on CoinMarketCap, it's impossible to follow every coin, but I love learning about new projects and like to stay up to date on market movements on a daily basis.

Jonathan Levin, Co-founder and chief security officer of Chainalysis

Libra is interesting because of its reach and potential. We will continue to watch that closely. We also keep an eye on innovation competitions, research papers and proof of concepts on state-issued digital currencies. 

Evan Luthra, Serial tech entrepreneur, founder of and

The most anticipated currency today is the digital yuan. Given China's leading position in the global economy, this will be a significant step in changing the financial system. The Chinese authorities are actively introducing many modern technologies into the everyday life of their citizens, so it can be expected that, at least within the country, the crypto yuan will quickly spread in accordance with the country's plans.

And for the rest of the countries, 2020 should be the year of the release of their own digital currencies. But, most likely, they will appear only after crypto yuan.

I am not a trader but I do keep a lookout on some of my recent major investments, such as Vid.Camera , GLBrain, and some others.

Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Celsius

I like ETH, EOS and of course CEL. There are a lot of interesting tokens, but the question is: Do they reward users in the form of yield? We think those tokens and DeFi projects that prioritize holders and users will be thriving in 10 years’ time.

John McAfee, Cryptocurrency entrepreneur

That would be my own token, Whackd. I mean, listen, Whackd is the token of f---ing tokens. I mean, for example, of every transaction, no matter what the amount, 10% of that transaction is sent to the burn address — it just goes up in vapor, it doesn't go to anybody. And one in every one-thousand transactions, no matter how important it is to you or how much is involved, the whole f---ing thing is burned. And it's like, you can be "whackd," which happens statistically to 1 out of 1000 people. As hard as that is to believe, now we have the Whackd token. You want to get out there and play in the real f---ing world? Buy Whackd — you're sure to lose, eventually, everything you have. That's my prediction for 2020.

Nicholas Merten, Founder of YouTube channel DataDash

For me, I'm really interested to see whether or not central banks will create digital currencies. Basically dollars on public blockchains like Ethereum. If they do this, it would be a massive sign that crypto is here to stay, and that central banks do not want to be left behind. The European Central Bank seems to be taking the lead on this forefront.

Diogo Monica, Co-founder and president of Anchorage

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have found a strong use case as stores of value, but the world is still waiting for a cryptocurrency that achieves massive scale adoption as a medium of exchange. Both as a founding member of the Libra Association and as a custodian working to support all assets that meet our standards of quality and security,  we’re looking forward to the many cryptocurrencies slated to launch in 2020.

Samson Mow, Chief strategy officer of Blockstream

I’ve kept a close eye on Libra this year, simply because it was a spectacular failure to watch. Also, I find central bank crypto tokens interesting as, depending on how they are designed, they could compete with stablecoins.

Niklas Nikolajsen, Chairman and founder at Bitcoin Suisse AG

A key protocol to watch out for is Ethereum 2.0 (and by extension, Ethereum 1.0). Also, the developments on Telegram/TON will be interesting to follow, following the SEC intervention last year, so will be Libra and ChinaCoin (the digital yuan). But it may well be that both of the latter massive initiatives will fall short of being a true crypto asset and become more like digital cash systems. Moreover, Tezos developed a lot in 2019 and will be very interesting to watch — as will some of the other alternative blockchains, such as Cardano, Aeternity, Polkadot/Web3 and others. In 2020, it will likely be clear which blockchains and crypto assets are here to stay and which are not.

Kim Nilsson, Blockchain researcher at WizSec

I haven't found any other coins that interest me other than Bitcoin. First of all, most altcoins are scams. Second, even projects that at least try to build something interesting usually fail, or aren't careful or experienced enough, and always deliver worse decentralization properties than Bitcoin in practice. For all intents and purposes, practical decentralization was the only new thing Bitcoin brought to the table over the many previous unsuccessful attempts at digital currencies, and to this day Bitcoin remains the gold standard of decentralization. Why should anyone be interested in tradeoffs on this? That's like discovering a cure for cancer and then later competitors start marketing "Cure 2.0,” a different drug that's only half as good at treating cancer but contains vitamin C and strawberry flavoring. It's distracting from and missing the point.

Zac Prince, CEO of BlockFi

Stablecoins, Libra and other crossovers like Pax Gold.

Alessio Rastani, Trader

I would say Neo. I've heard from some great Bitcoin traders and also Bitcoin investors — and again, this is their opinion, not mine — but they're saying that Neo is a Chinese-backed cryptocurrency that could potentially have some momentum in the next few years.

Phillip Sandner, Head of Frankfurt School Blockchain Center

Not too many.

1) Tokens that are already live: Ether, Basic Attention Token.

2) Tokens that may be very important, even if they are not live yet: digital euro, digital yuan, digital U.S. dollar, Libra, all kinds of tokenized assets and rights under the Liechtenstein Blockchain Act (coming into force in January 2020).

Robert Schwertner, Influencer

In 2020 I am looking at the following projects:

Basic Attention Token — I am lovin it! With Brave you have created a cool browser that I use every day. Chrome is so 2017, Brave is the future! And you get a token for surfing the internet. Chainlink I find cool. Also exciting are all projects that are listed on the Samsung Galaxy Wallet — e.g., Enjin.

Ethereum is still exciting. Even in 2020, many startups work with this trend-setting blockchain, develop it further and increase its value.

And I regularly look at the rating of crypto projects of the Chinese government (CCID):

EOS was ranked No. 1 in the last rating of Dec. 19, 2019. And rightly so, because EOS seems to be recovering again, its modifiable smart contracts are very practical for programmers, Ethereum is too rigid here, but it is still No. 2 in the Chinese evaluation.

Cosmos (ATOM) is also extremely exciting, a network of many blockchains. It solves the scalability problem!

Danny Scott, CEO of CoinCorner

I'm always watching for new developments on existing coins, or new coins in general. Libra obviously spiked an interest from people, and I actually covered this in a Medium post breaking it down, with my prediction that it will never launch.

Lex Sokolin, Co-head of global fintech at ConsenSys

The most interesting metric for me to watch is the usage of programmable blockchains to build software. While assets like Bitcoin and other cyber commodities create compelling economic narratives and stories about power, they don’t tell us much about the future of how economies are built and operated. To that end, using ConsenSys software like Alethio, we can see the number of various functional calls that developers make using decentralized programs.

Are people moving money and paying each other? Are they creating collectible digital tokens, or trading some particular assets, or executing some arcane function? Looking through chains and into the activities that humans choose to turn into permissionless software is fascinating. It’s like looking into the inner workings of a giant clock, its gears clicking loudly into the night. The more gears there are, the louder they click, the more composable they become, the larger and more significant the story they tell.

Decentralized finance, and projects like MakerDAO, Compound, Set Protocol, Uniswap and others show what the future of financial manufacturing may look like. We don’t have to imagine financial software written into the chain — it is already there. To me, those applications and next-layer solutions are the most compelling thing happening in financial technology innovation today. Understanding them, and then assessing them through initiatives like Codefi’s DeFi score, focused on protocol risk and function, should be the main focus for people interested in the future of finance.

Ulli Spankowski, Chief digital officer at Boerse Stuttgart

We look at coins from different perspectives. Examples are market acceptance, the regulatory structure, the technical design of the protocol and the custodianship. Furthermore, tax aspects and the classification as payment, utility or security token play an important role for us.

Alex Tapscott, Co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute

So as long as people don't misconstrue this as investment advice, the thing that I'm most interested in are ATOMs, which is the native token for the Cosmos network. Cosmos is a project that was bootstrapped and did a very small funding event in 2017 — and since then, has scaled into one of the biggest organic communities. I think what's really interesting about these protocols is that some of the ones that raised the most money have been able to spend freely on trying to attract people to the platform. But the ones that are most successful are the ones that do so organically, where people are driven by the mission or they're attracted to it by the technology. So, we saw that with Ethereum in 2015–2017, and I think you are seeing it now with Cosmos and I think you'll see that continue to accelerate. You know, if you go to the Cosmos landing page, you can see dozens of real, interesting projects that people are building — and they're building it because it's simply the best and most useful technology. And I should add, by the way, the disclosure that I do own ATOMs. So, I am talking my own book a little bit..

Alexandra Tinsman, President of the NEM Foundation

I watch coins run by other titans in the industry, like Binance. They provide a contrast to more decentralized projects like Bitcoin and NEM. I’m interested in what’s happening with projects based in China, and I anticipate a wave of growth there in the next year or two. I’m following Decred to see how its approach to governance is working. Ethereum’s sharding approach is also something worth following. And I’m paying attention to what’s trading on Japanese exchanges, since the Japanese community is especially knowledgeable about crypto.

John Todaro, Director of TradeBlock

I closely watch large-cap altcoins such as Ether, as well as the privacy-oriented coins Zcash and Monero, as well as staking coins such as Tezos and Cosmos. Additionally, I follow stablecoins — whether that is the Libra project, DAI, USDC or others.

Vladimir Tomko, Co-founder, CEO and game producer at Blockchain Cuties Universe

Coins I watch closely besides Bitcoin are: TRX, ETH, NEO, EOS, ENJ, KLAY, MATIC, BAT and MANA, with Libra and TON coming soon.

Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift

ETH, EOS, ATOM, BNB, XMR/ZEC, MKR, and of course our new token, FOX, which enables free trading at ShapeShift!

Whale Alert

Since Whale Alert covers the largest blockchains with a goal to expand to cover at least 99% of the value of all blockchain transactions, I try to keep up with as many existing and upcoming coins as possible.

Alexander Zaidelson, CEO of Beam

I closely watch the developments in the privacy space — Zcash, Monero, Grin and of course Beam.