As the stock market — and in particular tech stocks — dropped, it appeared to cause a chain reaction. All sorts of speculative assets are on the decline. And perhaps the linkage is most clear in crypto. Just as high-flying meme and tech stocks have plummeted, crypto is now going down with it.
This all makes sense. The Federal Reserve is intent on pulling liquidity out of the system. It intends to raise interest rates multiple times in the near future to get a grip on inflation. It remains to be seen if the Fed will follow through on this, or if it is just talk. For the time being, however, it’s a liquidation environment in risky assets such as crypto.
For daring speculators willing to buy the dip, however, this could be a golden opportunity. While margin calls and capitulation rule the day, bargain hunters are out shopping. If crypto can make a big comeback, people buying now will do very well indeed.
And perhaps no area of crypto is more promising yet speculative than non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs could be just another fad, a la Beanie Babies or Pokémon cards. Or NFTs could be a valuable new asset class that are still in their formative stages.
If you are an NFT believer, now is the time to be looking at these seven NFT cryptos:
- Cardano (CCC:ADA-USD)
- Terra (CCC:LUNA-USD)
- Binance (CCC:BNB-USD)
- Polygon (CCC:MATIC-USD)
- Solana (CCC:SOL-USD)
- Avalanche (CCC:AVAX-USD)
NFT Cryptos to Watch: Ethereum (ETH-USD)
Ethereum has its problems. It is a legacy coin and has numerous limitations as such. There’s harsh debate over the future of the project. Should Ethereum adopt a proof-of-stake rather than proof-of-work algorithm, and when will it happen? Many users say this switch is necessary to lower Ethereum’s often exorbitant transaction fees. But others fear that a proof-of-stake protocol will cripple Ethereum’s security. There’s also great debate over the future of Ethereum’s new token creation and monetary supply.
As such, many potential replacements — so-called Ethereum killers — have been created to try to overcome Ethereum’s perceived flaws. And yet, Ethereum still runs the show, at least for now. It’s the steady No. 2 in cryptocurrency by market capitalization, only trailing Bitcoin. And, to be clear, Bitcoin is No. 1 primarily due to its brand name and investment merits. As far as decentralized finance and NFTs go, Ethereum is the leader of the legacy coins.
Ethereum has many problems, there’s little disputing that. However, it has tons of programmers and active users and a whole host of applications that already work well on Ether. As long as something can be done about excessive transaction fees, Ethereum should continue to garner a large portion of the market for DeFi and NFT projects.
Cardano is one of the longest-running of the aspiring Ethereum-killers. Founder Charles Hoskinson was part of the original Ethereum team. However, he left Ethereum due to creative differences and founded his own coin to try to fix what he perceived to be the major flaws with Ethereum.
Cardano’s main claim-to-fame is having one of the first secure proof-of-stake protocols. This allows Cardano to dispense with all the crypto mining that is integral to keeping the blockchains up for older cryptos such as Ethereum and Bitcoin. In doing so, Cardano uses far less electricity and computing power. That, in turn, allows it to offer transactions at a tiny fraction of the cost of BTC or Ether transactions.
Now, the big issue with Cardano has been getting it to provide greater functionality. For years, Cardano has been promising to launch smart contracts and other key features. It’s one thing to have a promising coin offering, it’s quite another to have a DeFi marketplace that can compete with the likes of Ethereum.
However, Cardano’s promise may finally be set to become reality. Last week, SundaeSwap launched on Cardano. Once it is up and running, this service should help bring things such as staking and NFTs to the Cardano blockchain. Reports suggest that the Cardano network was swamped and faced severe slowdowns following the launch of SundaeSwap. But if ADA can get back to normal functioning soon, it may start to pick up some long-awaited market share in applications such as NFTs.
NFT Cryptos to Watch: Terra (LUNA-USD)
Terra is an interesting crypto project that has increasingly risen to prominence. It offers users a blockchain protocol with coins pegged to fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar and South Korean won. Terra, in turn, uses Luna as the fluctuating price element of the equation that keeps the stable currencies pegs in balance. As demand for Terra-based projects increases, the price of Luna should subsequently rise.
Additionally, given Terra’s unique composition, it has been able to offer fast transactions at low fees. This has caused large NFT marketplaces, among other DeFi projects, to spring up in the Terra Luna ecosystem.
Luna entered the overall top 10 in cryptocurrencies by market cap not that long ago. The price is still up from $6 last July to $64 now, even with the recent plunge in cryptocurrency assets overall. That should give a sense of how quickly this protocol is gaining adoption.
Binance Coin (BNB-USD)
Binance is another mega-cap crypto that needs little introduction. The firm has been a leader in online crypto exchange and other related services for several years now.
It has increasingly built out its platforms for specialty finance operations such as staking and NFTs as well. Terra has recently overtaken Binance in terms of NFT market share, helping to lead to the meteoric rise of Luna’s price. However, Binance is no slouch in the NFT arena as well. Its official Binance marketplace is always full of new projects and things to grab investor interest.
Binance may not be the most exciting pureplay on the NFT revolution. But it’s a good piece of the business for Binance among its wider package of diversified offerings. For crypto investors looking to buy well-known assets during this steep correction, the Binance Coin could be a good option.
NFT Cryptos to Watch: Polygon (MATIC-USD)
Polygon is one of the leading NFT platforms out there for crypto investors. Its token, Matic, surged to prominence in the early part of 2021. Matic skyrocketed from 5 cents to nearly $3 within the year.
Since then, however, Matic has lost some steam compared to other rival platforms offering NFTs. The price of Matic barely hit new highs this past fall even as other NFT tokens such as Luna were surging. And now, Matic has dropped a quick 50% as part of the broader crypto correction, though it has seen some improvement in the last day.
That said, development continues at a solid clip on Polygon. It keeps offering new high-profile NFT projects with well-known sponsors such as Adidas (OTCMKTS:ADDYY), Prada, and DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG). If the focus for NFTs shifts toward more brand-sponsored projects and art associated with real-world celebrities, Polygon could be a big winner.
It’d be tempting to leave Solana off the list. After all, the network has been plagued by catastrophic network outages for much of the past week. There’s no kind way to put it, Solana’s performance during this market downturn has been entirely unacceptable. Simple things such as trying to repay SOL loans were totally non-functional for the better part of a 48 hour period during which the crypto market was in freefall.
It’s bad enough to have a network outage at any time. But it’s even worse when it happens during a market panic. It’s times like that when network stability and liquidity matter most. Solana hasn’t been able to provide it. Say what you will about staid legacy coins like Litecoin (CCC:LTC-USD), its network has been up for a decade now without any major outages. Meanwhile, Solana crashes seemingly any time there is a light breeze.
All that said, some of Solana’s problems are simply due to its rapid success. A massive amount of traffic passes through the Solana network. People are developing a ton of applications on top of it. Given the minimal transaction fees, it’s not surprising that traffic has grown exponentially on Solana over the past year.
It remains an open question if Solana’s developers will be able to figure out the network stability problem. There were a few significant outages in 2021 that served as warning signs. Yet, SOL wasn’t able to adjust its operations enough to avoid the devastating network failure this past week. If Solana can get its game together, though, there is an active and passionate NFT community already on the SOL platform.
NFT Cryptos to Watch: Avalanche (AVAX-USD)
Crypto price charts have certainly resembled an avalanche as of late. But that’s no reason to discard the cryptocurrency of that name.
Avalanche launched in 2020 and has quickly become one of the most dynamic projects in the cryptocurrency space. Its claim to fame is its lightning-fast network speed offering users unrivaled execution speed on transactions. At a time when networks such as Cardano and Solana are struggling to keep up with market chaos, Avalanche’s fast executions stand out as a great feature.
The currency has also prioritized NFT development. For example, it offers users a clear tutorial on how to develop NFTs and variable-value assets using Avalanche’s own creator studio. One of the biggest obstacles to crypto adoption has been the level of technical knowledge required to participate in the space. If Avalanche can combine its rapid trading with a user-friendly ecosystem, it could gain a major advantage against other NFT cryptos.
On the date of publication, Ian Bezek did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Ian Bezek has written more than 1,000 articles for InvestorPlace.com and Seeking Alpha. He also worked as a Junior Analyst for Kerrisdale Capital, a sizable New York City-based hedge fund. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek.