It’s all about the utility.
Diving green into the choppy waters of cryptocurrencies often leads to a crash and burn. Venturing anywhere beyond the top two coins, Bitcoin and Ethereum, lands one firmly in altcoin territory — a teeming 2,000-strong shark pool full of irresistible cash grabs, empty partnerships and exit scams, compounded even further by the DeFi craze.
But legitimate projects exist if you care to investigate deeper. Here, I’ve picked four projects that have interesting and compelling real-world applications and blockchain utilities that exist beyond the cryptocurrency ecosystem. No exchange coins.
Crypto beginners usually find it relatable and assuring to find tangible assets that they can download and use straight away. Well, then this article is for you.
Whether these altcoins will continue to be valuable in a few years’ time is another story as the start-up scene remains unpredictable, no matter which industry you are in.
1. STATUS (STA)
Status had a recent leg up from a tweet by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s founder.
I had previously installed the Status 3-in-1 mobile app featuring an ERC-20 wallet, private chat messenger and Web3 browser for a spin. I guess you could see it as a kind of a crypto WeChat in the making, where one could make deals in the chatroom, check out specs on the web and send crypto as payment just by shuffling between different tabs within the app. Status also has a DApp store/directory with over 30 DApps such as Cryptokitties, Decentraland and Bancor for users to discover and access within the app itself.
Their native token Status (SNT) has multiple utilities within the ecosystem. It is firstly a governance token, which allows holders to vote on decisions regarding future development. An interesting use case for the token is that users must also deposit a minimum amount of SNT to be able to open a conversation with another user, thus acting like a spam-filter. The deposit is returned after a reply is made.
For all its purposes, I found the onboarding easy and intuitive. I sent an ETH tip to an online journal and it worked without a hitch. The UX friendly and vibrant. The community and the developer town halls casual and fun. The chatroom is mostly still flooded with kids speaking in native languages though, which I expect will mature in time. More importantly, Status has delivered a working product in a sea of pipe dreams.
2. SIACOIN (SC)
Storage is not normally a sexy topic, but Sia makes it so with added decentralisation. Instead of using a centralised centre like Dropbox or Google Dirve, users have their files encrypted and split up among different hosts resulting in an arguably more robust, private and secure system with no single point of failure. Renters pay hosts in Siacoin and AFAIK, the fees are comparable if not lesser than the centralised options out there.
After being quiet for a while, Sia has released the latest updated Equinox v1.5.0 and a layer 2 application called Skynet, which allows users to publicly access and share content they’ve stored on Sia much like BitTorrent.
As with most things, the winner is the one who gains mass adoption so it remains to be seen if Sia will come up on the top of the decentralised cloud storage pile, even though it’s one of the oldest having launched in 2015.
3. BASIC ATTENTION TOKEN (BAT)
BAT is the utility token of the privacy web browser Brave. Its basic premise is this: instead of users giving up their privacy and data for ads and trackers, why not exchange BAT instead?
The exchange works because of a shielding layer in Brave that protects user data. Users can view ads and be rewarded with BAT tokens; users can also tip tokens for content that they like. In turn, publishers earn tokens based on the amount of attention they receive, such as by view time or length, effectively cutting out expensive middle men and gatekeepers of ad revenue.
4. GOLEM (GNT)
Like what Sia does for storage, Golem does for computing power.
Intensive computer work or applications that require huge amounts of processing power such as VR building, big data analysis, 3D rendering and Machine Learning can outsource and rent their computing power from across the globe to do the job.
The Golem supercomputer network in itself is made up of the combined computing powers from single PCs to large data centers, who then exchange Golem Network Tokens (GNT) for their resources.
Disclaimer: I do not hold any of the above coins. Please DYOR and do not take financial advice from strangers, especially from the Internet.