If you haven’t heard by now, Bitcoin is up more than 1,500% this year. You’re asking, what is Bitcoin? Basically it’s a digital currency, kind of like an alternative to the dollar or euro.
It was 6 cents in 2010. Yeah. If you would have bought $1,000 worth of BTC back then it would be valued at $296 MILLION today. That’s million. 2-9-6.
And a few weeks ago I had a chat with one of Bitcoin’s biggest investors, Tim Draper. Tim got there early and bought 30,000 Bitcoins in 2014 for $20 million. Now valued more than $500 million.
But fret not, Bitcoin is not the only digital currency in town. A few more have started to pop. Read on to which I think could be one of the next few outsized returns. Because that’s what we’re looking for, right? the 100x, 1000x?
Digital Currencies For Everyone
Digital currencies have been described as kind of like “loyalty points” for various online platforms. But that isn’t quite accurate as some of them are also a payment system (like dollars). If you want to understand crypto currencies my definition is simple: Basically each is a way to store and exchange value. Like converting dollars to one of them and back. Or Yuan. Yen, Euro.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system; it is the first decentralized digital currency, as the system works without a central repository or single administrator. It’s basically a peer to peer payment system. Bitcoin (BTC) has over half the market share of all digital currencies today.
But that doesn’t mean much over all since I think it’s still early in crypto currencies. Read on.
Bitcoin was not the first. In fact, some of you may recall CyberCash and Digicash in the mid 1990s, two companies that tried (and failed) to bring digital currencies into vogue. Those weren’t the first either. If you want to get off into the weeds there’s more than 1,300 digital currencies out there. But, like stocks, 90% have a more difficult time getting seen. Or invested in. Let alone traded.
Which Could Be The Next Home Run?
Consider the fact that fiat currencies (not the car but fiat = country) like dollars, yen, yuan, euros have circulating supplies in the trillions. And they are turned over many times with numerous transactions. Now with crypto the circulating supply is still small vs. fiat currencies. There’s about half a billion crypto coins out there. That’s small vs. fiat currencies. Which, to me, indicates a lot of growth ahead for crypto. In fact, I see a world where crypto currencies outnumber fiat currencies by at least 10-to-1. That implies 10 trillion crypto coins vs. today’s 500 billion or so.
With that in mind I want to talk about the NEXT potential big winners in crypto. The kind of 100x (or 1000x+) return that could happen. That brings me to my thesis. I believe the top 5 or 6 could do very well in the next year and beyond.
1) Crypto currencies in my view are in a “currency speculation” phase. Similar to any countries currency, like the dollar, yen, euro. Only much riskier and more potential return for that risk. The growth in some is due to small supply. Like BTC. Similar to a stock there’s only so much available and demand drives the price up.
2) Institutional investors, you know, the hedge funds and big banks that run high net worth client account, are getting into crypto. But, even though an individual investor can buy a fraction of BTC the question is, can it have another 10x, 100x, 1000x run from here? Big investors may be comfortable with BTC but I believe small investors may want to get something “more affordable” that could have potentially a huge run ahead, similar to BTC has already had, the $1,000 = $300 million in 7 years kind of run that Bitcoin enjoyed so far.
3) So, which of the next largest crypto currencies could have a big run? I believe the top 5 could all run. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ripple. However, looking at this from a number of coins and upside basis, I think individual investors could be attracted Ripple (XRP) more, which is basically about 74 cents or so a coin and which I own and plan to hold for the long term.
Why Ripple (XRP)? To Me A Number Of Factors:
a) company pedigree looks strong, known venture capital backers;
b) the company is (or plans to be) used by many large banks to settle digital currency transactions;
c) other investors are seeing the value in using XRP as a currency. I think this trend could continue;
d) Ripple (the company) just escrowed billions of XRP coins which helps limits supply. But at the same time, there’s still a lot of XRP available. Why is that important? Investor runs on other smaller float crypto has resulted in trading being halted…and investors stuck not being able to trade. And, more important to me, I want a lot of available coins to make it easy for banks and institutions to buy and use XRP as a digital “middleman” coin to hold value from one country currency to another. Like a digital piggy bank. If banks are smart they’d be buying XRP now and have a ready supply in their own accounts for digital currency exchange to come. I think 2018 they wake up and buy a lot. Maybe in the billions of dollars, yen, euro and half a dozen more fiat currencies. Why so many? XRP is an international digital coin and I think banks from many nations may want to own it.
e) large investment funds planned have said they will use XRP to distribute their gains to shareholders. This is also big. If a $100 million fund posts a return of $200 million or so that’s $100 million in XRP needed to be distributed. Now if we have many venture funds choosing to go this route also we’re talking billions in XRP that need to be bought. This demand (if it happens) could increase demand beyond anything seen so far with XRP. If so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see XRP at $25 some day.
The Future Is In Applications
Why I am holding Ripple (XRP) and not playing the currency speculation game that I think drove much of Bitcoin’s impressive gains.
I’ve been in the digital world since 1994. The Web without video. Without images. Without sound. Without broadband. Without ads (yes, those nasty things). Now the Web is on and in computers, phones, cars and fridges. These are applications of the potential it held that I forecast way back then.
When the web first crawled out of TCP/IP in 1995 I saw the promise of an open platform, borderless, where people could interact. That web came to be. To the tune of more than a $10 trillion in market value created and growing. It began as a group of 50 public companies trading at a combined value LESS THAN Microsoft and Intel.
I called Amazon the “Walmart of the Web” in 1997 when it sold only books and said to buy the stock at IPO. Amazon was valued in the hundreds of millions then and now is more than $565 billion. That means your $1,000 investment in 1997 would be worth millions now.
What existed in the early web were the ingredients for the application of the idea, the development of it, the logistics of delivery, the ease of use, which grew into the Amazon today. Ditto for many other companies I discussed back then. Ripple today will be different tomorrow. It’s well funded, has a smart team, and I think could adapt in ways not yet seen to be a key player in digital currencies. Just as Amazon adapted in ecommerce.
Similarly, the current rage over crypto currencies is still the pre-game workout in my view. The real value I see coming in APPLICATIONS. Just as Apple is valued from the application of the iPhone, not the hardware itself. Take away the app store and the iPhone is an expensive paper weight.
Here we are again and I’ve seen this movie before. New platform, new ideas, but a LACK of applications… so far. Ripple’s application to me looks like a key piece of marrying fiat currency with digital currencies. Function, available supply and mission. Of the more than 1,300 crypto currencies out there many have very limited function…I want broad function, everyday transactions. XRP could have that.
So, if you think crypto currencies are in a “bubble” that may be true. But in 2001 most “smart” investors said the Internet stock market was dead. Not me. When writing for Zacks I recommended buying a handful of Chinese Internet stocks. Today China is the largest Internet market with more than 1 billion users. It wasn’t back then. Not to mention Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat. WhatsApp. Alibaba. Tencent. Mobile accelerated these companies. Trillions of dollars later here we are.
I believe the same thing could happen for crypto currencies (some of them anyway that have core applications).
The entire application layer for crypto hasn’t been built yet. This is where I see the next several $ trillion coming.
In the meantime, XRP may be a way to dip your toe into crypto currencies. Check this on how to do it https://ripple.com/xrp/buy-xrp/
One caveat here: as with any investment there are risks and you could lose your investment. I’m only sharing my investment thesis and approach here to help decipher the emerging digital/crypto currency landscape. This is not investment advice. Do your own research and discover what works for you.