Cryptocurrency and ICO tokens are meant to represent working tech projects or products. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. Of the leading 100 cryptocurrency projects listed on CoinMarketCap, less than 40 have an actual product that works.
However, because most ICO and crypto founders do a good job of getting people sold on the idea of a project potential and product concepts, unsuspecting investors are often easily hoodwinked into investing in these projects.
One of the things you want to look for when you’re investing in any cryptocurrency is the reality of a fully working product – not a prototype. You want a project that has a fully working product or service that you can see, inspect and learn more about.
Projects and products that meet this criterion are often indicative of a strong team, serious company, active community and may have long term viability. These are the best projects to put your money into.
We created this guide to help you identify those projects with actual working products, in the hopes that you’ll find one or more that meets your criteria – if you have any – and will help you make money. Before we get started on the projects though, let’s clarify what we mean by working products or services
What Qualifies as an Actual Working Product?
In this guide, our emphasis will be on projects that have an actual roadmap that’s followed by the team. We’ll be looking at projects with a release history, achieved milestones, real product or service, early adoption at the very least, and a user base no matter how small.
These are the criteria that we used to compile this list. With this information here, savvy crypto traders and investors should have a working list that that they can use for their next crypto investment.
Many projects point to their mainnets as their working products. While that’s good, many of them have little to no decent adoption. So, for projects with active mainnets as their products, we’ll be focusing on those with decent user base.
So, if for instance, there’s a smart contract platform without any decent smart contract products running on it, that’s not considered working according to our criteria.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s jump right in and examine these projects.
The world’s pioneering cryptocurrency and blockchain-based digital currency application, this is used for payments across the globe and has an entire sub-niches around it. The p2p transactions carried out on its network using its token has made global financial transactions incredibly easy.
Now, you don’t have to wait 3-5 business days to receive your international bank transfer. With its trustless technology, and decentralized nature bitcoin leads the pack of crypto projects with actual working projects.
Because it’s the leading crypto platform, the cost of its tokens are quite high. This makes it a somewhat pricey investment. But, if you have the money and are willing to be a bit patient, bitcoin is about the most secure and safest crypto project that you invest in.
The market’s second leading crypto project, Ethereum brought a unique product into the market called smart contracts.
With this product, agreements and transactions have become increasingly easier, requiring little or no manual input once they’ve been set up. It is known as the world’s leading smart contracts platform.
Not just that, the platform serves as a great place for the creation of ERC tokens. These tokens are usually representative of decentralized apps (dApps) that are powered by the platform too.
While it’s newer on the scene (was launched in 2013/2014), it has massive adoption and popularity considering its huge problem solving capacity. Lots of businesses have created their own tokens on the platform and even launched their own ICOs.
In fact, popular crypto projects like OmiseGo sprung from the same platform, making Ethereum the pioneer birthing platform for many decentralized apps.
This financial transactions platform is a network that’s dedicated to cheaper and faster international money transfers. This product solves a huge problems in the financial sector: 3-5 days international transactions plus pricey transaction fees.
Traditional banking platforms currently delay transactions because of the way their financial networks are set up. Unfortunately, most customers don’t have that patience and would opt very quickly for platforms that provide faster global transactions for less fees.
This is fast revolutionizing the financial sector with more customers jumping on the platform and jettisoning traditional banking platforms. One thing to make sure is to know the difference between Ripple (company) and XRP (cryptocurrency coin).
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin’s first hard fork, this token was designed to help with bitcoin’s scalability issues. Bitcoin’s adoption has resulted in the blocks filling up faster. This meant longer transaction wait times, and higher transaction fees.
This was a real issue for the network. In order to help improve transaction speeds and lower associated costs, Bitcoin Cash was created to solve bitcoin’s scaling problems. With block sizes that are 8 times bigger than traditional bitcoin blocks, this provided an alternative, but similar platform for bitcoin based transactions.
If this is confusing for you, think of bitcoin cash as an upgraded bitcoin network, with eight times the capacity of bitcoin for transactions. However, there is quite the controversy brewing within the community already just after a year of being active and will be entertaining to see how this BTC offshoot performs in the coming months.
Another payments based platform, Stellar Lumens (XLM) is a Ripple fork that’s providing a blockchain platform for all fiat transactions across the globe. It serves as a network of sorts bridging the gap between payment processors, banks and customers.
This means that transactions carried out on the platform are encrypted, highly secure and trustless. Transactions on the platform are just as easy as making payments through your credit/debit cards or bank transfers.
Users are able to send and receive money through the network in a manner similar to traditional transfers. Big companies have the seen its potential, thus necessitating partnerships among them. Some of these include IBM, Keybase and KlickEx. Of course they had the recent headlines of Stellar and Facebook, but that was merely consulting vs actual working partnership but nonetheless great exposure and never know what the future holds. With now over 1 million active user accounts, Stellar is poised to make a big run at being one of the prominent cryptocurrencies to make a major push at outlasting the rest of the competition.
Another bitcoin fork, Litecoin is a cheaper faster platform for financial transactions. In fact, its selling point is that transactions on the platform only take 180 seconds, as against bitcoin’s 10 minute lag.
It’s able to accomplish this through its Scrypt hashing algorithm. In the crypto community, Litecoin is often referred to as digital silver, and even though it promises an improved functionality, it doesn’t really deliver on that part – apart from the speed improvement of course.
Litecoin is significantly cheaper to use than bitcoin and has widespread adoption among crypto enthusiasts, investors, traders, and even regular merchants.
One of the more “stablecoins”, Tether’s single service is the provision of a network where users can store, send and receive digital currencies without losing a lot of value owing to price fluctuations. Its value is currently pegged at the same as $1.
In fact, it has been established that for every 1 USDT in circulation, there’s an equal amount of dollar stored somewhere to match it. If you’re looking for a highly stable cryptocurrency with conservative growth and profit margins, this is the crypto to check out.
While there are those who think that Tether is a joke, the number of traditional big banks that have backed the project indicates otherwise.
Please note that if you’re big on decentralization, trustless platforms and zero regulation, this is probably not the best cryptocurrency to be investing in or trading.
This is considered the most popular and established privacy based cryptocurrency in the industry. A fork of Bytecoin, Monero (XMR) platform incorporates features such as coin fungibility, ring signatures, and stealth addresses to help ensure that people’s privacy and data are secured.
As a result, users on the platform can carry out their transactions without any fear of discovery and under the utmost cover of anonymity. The cryptocurrency which was created in 2014 has experienced massive adoption and growth since then, thanks to a combination of a team of dedicated developers and a solid community that loves the product.
While it first came out with the concept of smart contracts, ethereum beat it to execution and adoption. As a smart contracts platform, it is incredibly useful for the digitizing of traditional assets, which can then be transferred on the blockchain to intended recipients.
NEO is popular because of its Chinese origin and adoption. In fact, it is often called the Chinese ethereum, owing to the fact that its target audience and user base is largely in that country.
Similar to Ethereum in many ways, it is not surprising that it has served as the platform for the launch of quite a few ICOs and dapps across the globe. NEO looks like a good bet if you’re looking for a cryptocurrency to add to your portfolio.
Just understand that its Chinese operated, which means the country can ban the crypto, like they’ve done a few times, anytime.
Binance Coin (BNB)
Binance’s own native token, Binance Coin is used for the purpose of attracting discounts on transaction fees charged by the exchange, particularly during withdrawals. So, it drastically lowers trading fees compared to that of other tokens.
Capital withdrawals using Binance Coin attracts as much as 50 percent discount for the first year, 25 percent for the second year and 12.5 percent for the third year. That’s a lot of profit and money saved by traders and investors when using the platform.
As a result, many active traders on these platforms typically buy up and hold the cryptocurrency because they like saving money on withdrawal fees.
While it has just one use case, and is therefore considered highly limited in its scope of use, the fact that it has millions of users and investors as well as an active community behind it, qualifies it as a working product.
Another privacy based cryptocurrency, ZEC’s unique use case is the shielding of transactions conducted on the platform using zero-knowledge cryptography technology. This is sorely needed product considering that most crypto transactions can be tracked and seen on the blockchain’s public ledger.
The only reason why the real users can’t be identified is because those transactions go to public addresses that have zero identification behind them. ZCash makes sure that both senders and recipients don’t even show up.
So, you can’t see the transaction value, as well as the originating or destination wallet addresses. Courtesy of effectiveness, even ethereum is looking to adopt its technology and implement the same thing, in a bid to encourage anonymous transactions on the platform.
A platform that’s kind of a hybrid between bitcoin and ethereum, Qtum hopes to outdo ethereum by improving on its smart contracts technology by becoming to the go to dapps platform and value transfers, whilst also providing a platform where crypto transactions can be carried out.
It’s doing this using the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism – one that Ethereum will be adopting very soon. As a relative newbie in the crypto industry, it has actually proven itself with a working product that people like.
In a bid to further outdo Ethereum, it is aiming to improve compatibility with mobile devices. Its dapps and smart contracts platform is fully functional and available for users who have been utilizing it – with Space Chain being the more prominent project on there.
0x Protocol (ZRX)
An ethereum based cryptocurrency project, ZRX has proven itself to be the one of the best functioning projects launched on the ethereum platform.
This open-source project is designed to ease the trustless exchange of ethereum tokens through using relayers. Decentralized apps running on the platform also serve as a means of seamless Ethereum exchange.
While the platform can only facilitate the exchange of ERC-20 tokens for now, the developers are working on an upgrade (the 0x protocol 2.0) that will incorporate and ease the exchange of other Ethereum based ERC tokens.
Because it is relatively new on the scene, the project has been clearly earmarked as one of the better cryptocurrencies of 2018.
The third privacy driven cryptocurrency on this list, BCN has rapidly grown to become a bit popular.
Users looking for an anonymous platform where transactions cannot be traced, instant, or analyzed by blockchain auditors will feel at home with Bytecoin. This project has been around for a while –launched in 2012- and has shown steady growth over the years.
Little wonder it has an active community, achieved milestones, a working product and a solid user base. Developers are consistently working on the project, further improving it and making it even better.
Blockchain governance is a major problem. This is why a few developers who were working with bitcoin started the project. This project is designed to solve the current block limitation problem that bitcoin has, as well as ensure a trustless, decentralized blockchain governance.
This has become increasingly important in the face of growing blockchain projects that require an upgrade to be released faster than a consensus can be reached.
With this project, developers and founders can easily roll out upgrades without having to call for a consensus. Decred is poised to play a huge role in global digital payments as well as improve the crypto industry’s growth rate.
Bitshares has an interesting use case: it aims to help the unbanked carry out financial transactions anywhere in the world. The project is a decentralized exchange that was built with growth in mind.
So scalability issues are nonexistent, while transaction fees are perpetually low. While the cryptocurrency project is no longer led by its founder, it still has an active developer team and community that ensures the project continue running.
The project’s services currently include price stable cryptos, decentralized asset exchange, payment services and others.
Powered by Steemit, a decentralized social media platform, Steem is the platform’s cryptocurrency token. Content creators and participants on the Steemit platform can be rewarded using micropayments.
A good example of a social media site that’s similar to it is reddit. Only, instead of upvotes and downvotes, users encourage participants through micropayments.
While the cryptocurrency isn’t readily found in exchanges, you’ll find it as the native token of the platform. For many people, this somewhat limited scope can be discouraging.
But, remember that this has an active platform with a significant number of participants. Continuous use is bound to result in increased value, considering the platform is still growing.
Companies are fast realizing the importance of blockchain in key industries. One of these industries is cloud storage. And crypto projects like Siacoin have been created to ensure that people looking for blockchain based cloud storage services.
Siacoin is a decentralized cloud storage platform that’s based on the blockchain. Siacoin has better security and affordability compared to traditional cloud storage facilities like Dropbox, Amazon S3, and Google Drive.
The project has decent adoption, an active community, a team that’s very serious about its success and huge potential. Once it gains solid footing, it’s bound to disrupt the over $200 billion cloud storage industry.
Launched in 2014, Augur is a blockchain based futures prediction platform. Bettors and speculators love the product and its huge capacity for disrupting the speculations and futures markets.
The project launched its mainnet this year, and looks positioned to further improve its product. As a decentralized prediction platform, this works by using gamification to encourage crowd-sourced insights.
These crowd-sourced insights are then used to predict future outcomes of events. Its REP token is the platform’s native token and used to bet on these outcomes. In fact, the platform has been used for predicting over 300 outcomes.
This is a huge project and one that’s likely to gain even more massive adoption as it grows. The gambling industry is generally a hugely successful one, and this blockchain based project will be no different.
Basic Attention Token (BAT)
This is the native token of the Brave Browser, an ad-blocking browser dedicated to rewarding users instead of corporations. Brave Browser's Basic Attention Token (BAT) is designed to filter ads, unless your turn on the feature.
And even then, advertisers have to pay you directly instead of any of the big advertising corporations, to let their ads run on your browser. The project already has massive adoption, with over 3 million users.
This working product, combined with the team’s very frequent upgrades makes it one of the more successful and widely used blockchain products. Users who enable the advertising option are rewarded with BAT.
This used to be known as RailBlocks until the company rebranded the project. Nano is a highly scalable payment platform that charges zero transaction fees.
This was possible because of the platform’s ability to create a unique and separate blockchain for every account on the platform.
This way, there’s no bloat, and transactions carried out on the platform are near-instant. Nano has a complete working product that makes it a great platform.
As computing, data mining, and data processing requirements continue to increase, companies are providing innovative solutions to help meet these requirements.
Golem is providing one of those solutions in the form of a “middleman” that links up those looking for more GPU and those who have to spare.
So, if you need some extra graphics processor power to complete a simulation or run a model, you can easily go to the platform and lease the necessary GPU.
Golem provides those GPU resources, so that intending users can simply pay for it. The team behind the project has already released the mainnet and are working towards achieving other milestones on the roadmap.
Pundi X (NPXS)
This is the project behind the POS device that’s capable of processing both fiat and crypto transactions. The company already deployed the first batch of about 500 of these devices, which are already being used by merchants and retailers in Asia.
Over the next few months, thousands more will be deployed to the market. This, combined with their crypto credit cards, and XPASS cards makes for an amazingly complete array of products.
Using this complete ecosystem, customers and users can easily pay clients and merchants using known cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. These are then instantly converted into the merchant’s local currency.
This way, the merchants never have to worry about having to convert the cryptos themselves or their fluctuating prices. With Pundi X, the use of cryptos become incredibly easier for day to day purchases and uses. This has huge mass adoption appeal, and might be a smart crypto to add to your portfolio.
Waves Blockchain platform was first responsible for making it easy for just about anyone to create their own blockchain tokens. This, combined with its decentralized exchange makes it incredibly easy for users to trade those tokens and other cryptos.
The project is so focused on user experience, that they created a mobile friendly interface for the exchange, as well as added some extra functionalities designed to make trading and crypto exchange on the platform very easy.
Its key working product is its Waves Client which makes it easy for anyone to create, send, share, and store their various blockchain tokens.
KuCoin Shares (KCS)
As with the exchange Binance, Kucoin is another exchange that has its own native token called the KuCoin Shares. It shares a similar function with the Binance Coin of helping users pay less in their withdrawal fees from the KuCoin platform.
It’s only different in the sense that it pays dividends to shareholders who hold on to the coin for a pre-determined time. Users also enjoy a 5 percent returns on investment. KuCoin enjoys massive adoption in the form of users and hodlers to actively trade them and hold them for their long term value.
Wanchain project is dedicated to building a platform that links the digital economy by leveraging on blockchain’s interoperability.
Users on the platform can enjoy everything from digital IDD management, decentralized financial services, medical data security, and supply chain management among other things.
The platform currently offers cross chain transfer of Ether, while working on a similar solution for bitcoin and a few other ethereum based ERC-20 tokens.
This platform is a pioneer of decentralized ICO that’s dedicated to hiding the details of transactions carried out on the platform. This makes it an amazing platform for anonymous transactions seeing as it hides wallet addresses and amounts sent between the users.
While there are quite a few cryptocurrency projects centered on privacy, Komodo offers some other features such as providing a platform where developers can build their custom blockchain solutions and launch decentralized ICOs.
With its anonymity based digital payment ecosystem and end-to-end blockchain solutions, this is a worthy crypto project to invest in.
There You Have It: Top 28 Cryptocurrency Projects of 2018
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