What is impact, exactly? It’s a very subjective term so impact to me is not the same thing that it is to another person. But in my mind, the most impactful blockchain projects are those that have the potential to truly change the way we use money and control over that money.
That’s broadly a DeFi argument that relies on the notion that central banks wield outsized power over the people they ostensibly serve. So, by that logic, you could characterize most any prominent cryptocurrency as impactful. Certainly Bitcoin (BTC-USD) fits the bill.
But impact is also about the projects that legitimize that transition from centralized banks to less regulatory oversight and those that push technology forward. I’d argue that each of the following projects contributes to that admittedly nebulous goal.
Polkadot (DOT-USD) continues to hold significant promise in the cryptocurrency landscape. If Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH-USD) promise to upend traditional finance, then Polkadot is the challenger to traditional internet.
Most cross-chain communication today comprises the transfer of tokens from blockchain to blockchain. It’s an important step in the evolution of finance and value transfer, to be sure. But Polkadot goes a step further and facilitates the transfer of any data type.
It is therefore analogous to the internet in its current form where data of various forms flows freely. However, the point of Polkadot and Web3 is decentralization of the power governing the internet.
There are so many examples of ways in which internet companies exert significant influence over us. Web3 promises to be more democratic, so perhaps it would lead to greater privacy overall.
It’s easy to imagine a future scenario in which blockchain prevents us from being tracked digitally. That’s one example of what Web3 might become and how we would benefit.
Polkadot is working to connect disparate blockchains so that our future internet may be more under our control. It’s an important (if idealistic) goal.
XRP (XRP-USD) is increasingly likely to become an important chapter in the evolution of cryptocurrency. Of course, it all relates to its ongoing court case with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The SEC has charged Ripple with issuing a security, XRP, and not a token. That distinction is very important because the SEC is attempting to classify XRP like a stock or bond rather than a crypto.
It’s a seminal case for the regulatory environment that will govern all of cryptocurrency. The SEC is aggressively attempting to gain greater oversight across the blockchain and crypto. If the court were to judge in the SEC’s favor, that would be a colossal blow not only to XRP and Ripple, but crypto.
Fortunately, for those that desire less regulation and government intervention, it looks like XRP will prevail against the SEC.
XRP is primarily used for cross-border remittances, so it isn’t groundbreaking in terms of technological importance. But it is important legally because a curt win paves the way for further development of the crypto landscape overall.
Cardano (ADA-USD) is impactful for a few reasons. For one, in the future it promises to process up to 1 million transactions per second. Currently though, those are simply speculative numbers and Cardano’s TPS is roughly 1,000.
That is impressive and places Cardano far ahead of Ethereum. Ethereum continues to dominate as a protocol, but its slow speed remains a problem. That opens a door of opportunity for developers to build Cardano and other faster projects into more useful projects. It also means Ethereum may one day lose its position simply for being too slow.
Cardano isn’t only important for reasons of speed. It’s also impactful because of what it means to the development of crypto overall. Cardano is rooted in academia and scientific verification. It relies on empirical evidence to guide its future development. That process slows development but promises to result in a blockchain that is based on sound computer science and academic rigor. In time that could mean it survives and wins a slow and steady race that delivers real value.
On the date of publication, Alex Sirois 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.