Though the stock market is one of the world's greatest wealth creators, it's been knocked off of its pedestal in recent years by the emergence of cryptocurrencies. Whereas the benchmark S&P 500 has bounced back by a little more than 100% from its March 2020 pandemic low, the aggregate market value of all cryptocurrencies is up 20-fold over the same period: from $141 billion to $2.86 trillion.
While the Big Two in crypto, Bitcoin (BTC 4.52%) and Ethereum (ETH 8.40%), continue to be among the most widely owned digital currencies, it's meme coin Shiba Inu (SHIB 12.88%) that's captured the world's attention.
Shiba Inu's historic gains will likely be followed by an epic decline
Shiba Inu made its debut at the beginning of August 2020 with a maximum token supply of 1 quadrillion and a token print on its first day of a microscopic $0.00000000051. But as of Nov. 11, 2021, SHIB tokens were trading hands for $0.00005428. It might be tough to tell, but there are five fewer zeroes now than there were a little over 15 months ago. In nominal terms, we're talking about a percentage gain of 10,643,037%. Put another way, a $10 investment on Day 1 would have made you a millionaire, as of Nov. 11.
Eye-popping gains of more than 10,600,000% are bound to draw attention from the investment community. These historic gains look to be the result of a confluence of factors, including:
- Increased visibility, with more cryptocurrency exchanges listing SHIB for trading.
- The launch of ShibaSwap, which has improved liquidity and encouraged longer holding periods.
- A flurry of tweets from Elon Musk concerning Shiba Inu-breed dogs, including his own recently adopted Shiba Inu.
- The fear of missing out pushing SHIB tokens to the moon.
- Coin burn, which is making each remaining token that much more valuable.
But there's another side to this story. Historically, every five-and-six-digit percentage gain in the cryptocurrency space has eventually been met with a harsh correction. Though it's impossible to tell where SHIB's peak might be, the expectation would be a loss of 90% or more in the months and years to come.
Even more damning is the fact that Shiba Inu doesn't do anything particularly well. A number of projects offer faster processing times and/or lower transaction fees. To boot, Shiba Inu's utility is virtually nonexistent, with only a little over 100 businesses willingly accepting SHIB tokens.
This crypto duo can run circles around Shiba Inu
Moving forward, the following two off-the-radar cryptocurrencies are a solid bet to outperform Shiba Inu.
The first lesser-followed coin that has, what I believe to be, a very good opportunity to handily outpace Shiba Inu moving from this point on is Qtum (QTUM 10.89%), which is pronounced "quantum." Qtum was once one of the larger digital currencies, but has since fallen to the No. 85 rank ($1.6 billion market cap), according to CoinMarketCap.com.
What makes Qtum unique is its ability to pilfer what works best from Bitcoin and Ethereum. Qtum's blockchain combines the secure UTXO transaction model from Bitcoin with the Ethereum Virtual Machine. The end result is a UTXO-based platform that can support smart contracts -- i.e., protocols that help verify, facilitate, and enforce the negotiation of a contract between two parties. Qtum's blockchain is perfect for developers to build decentralized apps, including games, payment toolkits, and social networks.
Another standout for Qtum is its relative speed. Qtum is capable of handling about 70 transactions per second, which is 10 times the rate of Bitcoin and over five times that of Ethereum. It can also process transactions for a considerably lower cost.
Yet another differentiating factor is its Account Abstraction Layer (AAL). The AAL is what allows Qtum to remain backward compatible to Bitcoin's UTXO model. Being able to decouple applications from the underlying protocol ensures that additional smart contract innovation can be introduced while still working with the UTXO model.
Qtum may not be a top-25 cryptocurrency any longer, but it's quite possible it could be, once again, at some point in the future.
A second off-the-radar cryptocurrency that has all the tools necessary to run circles around Shiba Inu is NEM (XEM 8.18%). Like Qtum, NEM was also one of the largest cryptocurrencies back in early 2018, but has since fallen to No. 80 spot in market cap, per CoinMarketCap.com.
What makes NEM so intriguing is the role it can play in the enterprise blockchain ecosystem. Since we're still in the infancy of enterprise blockchain development and implementation, most projects tend to be unique. This makes it difficult for anything to be transferred between private blockchains. NEM steps in by helping public and private blockchains easily communicate with each other so they exchange everything from tokens to files and contracts.
One of the clear draws of this enterprise-focused approach is the ability to incorporate multi-signature smart contracts on its blockchain. Just as it implies, multi-signature contracts require multiple users to sign off on a transaction before it executes on a blockchain. Being able to keep everything on the NEM blockchain makes multi-signature transactions highly secure.
However, the biggest differentiating aspect of NEM is its consensus mechanism. Instead of proof-of-work or proof-of-stake, NEM relies on proof-of-importance (POI). With POI, the number of XEM tokens held by users, and the amount of time invested in the NEM blockchain, including transactions made between other XEM hodlers, helps determine a POI score. This score dictates what share of fees users will receive from the transactions they help process. In other words, POI rewards ownership and participation.
NEM has a long way to go to get back to its all-time high, but it looks to have far more substance in its sails than Shiba Inu.