By Gaurav S. Iyer, IFC Published : August 25, 2017
Investors looking for cryptocurrency price forecasts are about to have an embarrassment of riches, because everyone and their uncle is shouting predictions from the rooftops. Some of them may even come true.
Most of these forecasts concern Bitcoin and Ethereum, but do not turn a blind eye to the ones featuring “altcoins” such as Litecoin and Ripple. They are starting from a much lower base, making it easier for them to double, or even triple, in a short amount of time.
For example, XRP grew 3,977% in the first six months of 2017. It is inconceivable that investors can achieve those kind of results from the stock market, yet cryptocurrency price predictions experience bullish runs of that magnitude all the time.
In the past week, dozens of them have achieved triple-digit gains.
Of course, none of these coins have proven their worth. Speculators are largely responsible for the gains, meaning that Xenixcoin or Yescoin—or whatever other weirdly named coin is the flavor of the week—could sink to zero at a moment’s notice.
That said, these numbers should adequately demonstrate how the cryptocurrency market in 2018 can make you rich.
Who Will Rule the Cryptocurrency Market in 2018?
This may come as a surprise, but the most promising cryptocurrencies for 2018 are the most famous ones. Why? Because survival is next to impossible in the crypto Wild West, so the ones that make it are usually there for a reason.
For instance, Bitcoin’s immense market power is tied to its brand name recognition. It only grows stronger as the market splinters into more and more pieces.
However, there are more substantive reasons to bet on the original cryptocurrency, including the fact that other currencies came into existence by forking off Bitcoin’s blockchain. As a result, investors can only access them by first converting fiat money into BTC tokens.
Ethereum is another stalwart of the cryptocurrency market. Its creation of “smart contracts” has taken the industry into orbit, providing new companies with an alternate funding source called “initial coin offerings” or ICOs. You may have heard the term in recent months.
ICOs have become all the rage, with some companies raising $100.0 to $200.0 million in a matter of hours. The best part of an ICO (at least from the perspective of the startup) is that no equity changes hands. It’s basically like Kickstarter, but on 13 different steroids.
Most of these token sales happen (surprise, surprise) on Ethereum, which leads to greater trading volume and, to be quite honest, continued relevance for Ether tokens.
And as for Ripple, well, it stands out for being an enterprise play in a field dominated by consumer-facing currencies. While everyone is trying to gin up interest in their peer-to-peer payments service, Ripple is busy negotiating deals with global financial institutions.
Not all currencies can mimic this strategy, because very few of them are structured as companies. They don’t have a corporate hierarchy or explicit control over the direction of their token. Some people view that as a knock against Ripple—I do not.
In fact, I believe that Ripple will outperform Bitcoin and Ethereum in the next 18 months.
Ripple Price Prediction for 2018
Ripple trades under the ticker symbol “XRP” and has a market capitalization of roughly $10.2 billion (at the time of writing). Its token value surged 3,914% this year alone.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Ripple, it is a blockchain company trying to disrupt SWIFT, the shadowy company that facilitates international payments transfers.
Anyone that has sent money overseas knows what I’m referring to. In order to make the payment, you have to provide a SWIFT code. The company has a monopoly on cross-border transfers, having more than 11,000 financial institutions in 200 countries on its network.
Ripple wants to take SWIFT down by working together with banks and other financial institutions. In some quarters, this willingness to work with banks taints Ripple by association. Some view it as heretical, but I personally find Ripple’s approach to be refreshing.
You see, blockchain is a difficult concept to understand. So are the differences between fiat money and blockchain-based currencies. They are not very easy to explain, making it an uphill battle convincing people that blockchain is the answer to economic crises.
That is a major obstacle for currencies like Bitcoin, because they depend on popular support from vendors and consumers. Ripple does not. It only needs to convince banking officials that blockchain is inevitable and then the game is won.
As such, our Ripple price prediction for 2018 is $2.00.
Bitcoin Price Prediction for 2018
Although I believe XRP will outperform its peers in 2018, that doesn’t mean I think Bitcoin will fall apart. It still has major tailwinds at its back. Moreover, it survived the August 1 fork, earning it serious trust points with investors.
By seeing that Bitcoin could survive a mutiny like Bitcoin Cash, investors were finally able to accept that core issues with the cryptocurrency can be resolved. After all, the entire squabble began over scaling issues. One side didn’t like SegWit and they were allowed to express that frustration by forking the blockchain. So they did.
And guess what happened then?
Nothing. Bitcoin miners didn’t jump ship or abandon SegWit—they just carried on doing whatever they were doing. In the end, this indifference was the silver bullet for Bitcoin Cash’s ambitions.
Bitcoin not only survived the August 1 fiasco, it thrived in the weeks that followed. This reaction fit perfectly with the year-to-date pattern of BTC prices.
Bitcoin prices are up 337%, an impressive tally considering the volatility it endured.
Our Bitcoin price prediction suggests it could reach $10,000 by the end of 2018. However, it does not have a standout cryptocurrency price predictions for 2018, since its gains would not match Ripple’s price growth on a percentage basis.
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Ethereum Price Prediction for 2018
Ethereum holds a special place in the cryptocurrency market. It is more malleable than Bitcoin, more open than Ripple, and has a growing number of other cryptocurrencies dependent on its blockchain. Oh, and it dominates the ICO playing field, so even though it doesn’t have the top cryptocurrency price prediction for 2018, investors shouldn’t underestimate it.
Ethereum’s growing stature comes with growing pains, but it has the added benefit of strengthening the platform’s relationship with major institutions like the Russian Central Bank.
They are currently testing a potential fork on the blockchain to run Russia’s monetary system. If implemented, the new system would upend decades of orthodoxy in monetary policy, not to mention give Ethereum greater cachet in dealing with other central banks.
Singapore, India, and Canada are just a few of the countries experimenting with blockchain technology. If Russia’s tango with Ethereum goes well, you can be reasonably assured that other nations will line up for their turn. Blockchain was not, and is not, their area of expertise.
It makes sense to outsource such specialized work, but august institutions like central banks can only form partnerships with equally respectable technologies. Blockchain is getting there, but no cryptocurrency has mustered enough authority to take a solid lead.
Ethereum could be the first. Securing that institutional trust could be its gateway to widespread adoption, thus leading to a virtuous circle where more credibility leads to higher ETH prices and higher ETH prices lead to more credibility.
A milder form of that pattern evolved this year out of the ICO craze. Ethereum prices shot up from $7.98 at the start of the year to $410.68 at its peak.
The current price of ETH tokens is roughly $321.00, or 3,923% above where it ended 2016. So in percentage terms, investors rewarded Ethereum more than either Bitcoin or Ripple.
I am incredibly bullish on this trend continuing through 2017 and 2018. Though it should be noted that Ethereum’s surge looked even more emphatic because it was escaping several ghosts.
The platform had previously been weighed down by its own issues with blockchain forks, not to mention a disastrous episode involving a crowd-sourced venture capital fund.
It was called the Decentralized Autonomous Organisation, or DAO, and it ended in ruins. Lots of people lost money, investors lost faith in Ethereum, and the SEC started to pay attention. At the time, no one was sure the platform or the cryptocurrency would survive.
But Ether emerged from that chaos stronger than ever. ETH prices soared to all-time highs, the ICO market took shape, and central banks began their blockchain experiments. Whether or not you like Ethereum, it’s difficult to argue this currency has staying power. Its roots are dug too deep for the cryptocurrency price to simply fall apart.
Some regulatory confusion about ICOs is bound to throw a wrench in the works, though, so if you’re looking for a cryptocurrency price forecast for Ethereum, I have to keep it conservatively bullish: Ether prices should hit $1,000 by the end of 2018.
As if it weren’t obvious enough by now, I believe Ripple has the best cryptocurrency price prediction for 2018. Not because it has superior technology, but because it is in the right place, at the right time, and at the right price.
All it takes is for a few Chinese banks to join the network and—boom—XRP could shoot through the roof.
If you are still skeptical, I urge you to examine the trading volume data of each cryptocurrency. What you’ll notice is that BTC and ETH are far more active than XRP, which suggests to me that an entire swath of the market is unfamiliar with Ripple.
Once Ripple permeates mainstream culture to the same level as Bitcoin and Ethereum, I believe an influx of speculative trend-followers will set this token aflame. We could see XRP prices deliver another round of triple-digit gains in 2018, making it the clear cryptocurrency to watch.