Cryptocurrencies are always the talk of the town. Digital assets wrote headlines in 2021 because many coins and tokens reached all-time record prices. They were popular around the water cooler in 2022 for the opposite reason, as nearly every crypto on the market tumbled down again. Right now, some investors believe that cryptocurrencies were overhyped all along and are on their way out for good. Others see game-changing value in encrypted transaction ledgers and programmable digital contracts.

For us long-term crypto investors in the second group, the current slate of low prices looks like an open invitation to buy robust cryptocurrencies at extremely low prices.

I mean, there is nothing subtle about this opportunity.

The greeting card for this buying window came with blinking green lights and a faint whiff of fresh-baked cookies. When you open it, the card plays "I'm Still Standing" over the "1812 Overture," cannons included.

So let's have a look at the most inviting cryptocurrency to buy near the end of 2023.

Winners and losers

Crypto investors are spoiled for choice right now. Bitcoin (BTC -0.28%), the largest and oldest name in crypto, is down by 64% this year. Smart contracts leader Ethereum (ETH -3.25%) has lost 65% of its value. Everything is on fire sale, and it's hard to find a respectable cryptocurrency that hasn't taken a haircut of at least 30% in 2022.

Now, it's true that some of these digital coins are crashing for good reasons. Not every crypto platform is a winner, and some of them had their weaknesses mercilessly exposed in 2022. Stablecoins lost their firm connection to their chosen fiat currency (usually the U.S. dollar). The utility token of leading crypto-trading exchange FTX collapsed like a house of cards, taking the exchange down with it.

Many smaller and less robust cryptocurrencies are not coming back from this downturn. This year of crisis will separate the digital wheat from the triple-encrypted wheat. So the task at hand is to figure out which cryptos will survive this cleansing crunch and thrive in the long term.

In my view, nothing beats the combination of long-term solidity and temporary discount pricing of Polkadot (DOT -5.07%).

Why Polkadot is a big deal

Polkadot is a decentralized network protocol that aims to connect different blockchain networks so they can work together.

This blockchain network and its extended ecosystem use a unique governance model and a unique consensus mechanism called "NPoS" (Nominated Proof-of-Stake). The native cryptocurrency of the Polkadot network is called DOT, which is used to facilitate transactions and governance on the network. The token and the network are tightly intertwined, to the point where you'll often see people referring to the DOT token by the Polkadot name.

Polkadot aims to create a more interoperable and scalable ecosystem for decentralized applications, enabling a wide range of use cases and applications to be built on top of it. In other words, it helps app developers tap into the best qualities of many different cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks in a single app. For example, Polkadot's development platform makes it easy to use the long-term value storage of Bitcoin and the flexible smart contracts of Ethereum together.

This blockchain-connecting superpower is the heart of the Web3 technology revolution. In fact, Polkadot and DOT are the official tools of Web3, founded and backed by the Web3 Foundation. So if you expect today's online experience of social networks and ad-based revenue streams to hand off the baton to decentralized apps, automated compensation systems, and a metaverse of vibrant content creation, you're already expecting Polkadot to win in the long run.

You have seen one possible future; it's time to take action

That's where I stand. Web3 concepts like the semantic web, decentralized processing, and automated contracts are gearing up to disrupt many industries. From banking and supply chain management to multiplayer gaming and data security, Web3 technologies are poised to change the world around us. It won't work without the Polkadot network and the DOT token, so this cryptocurrency is a direct bet on a Web3 future.

And it doesn't hurt that DOT fell harder than Ethereum and Bitcoin during the inflation-flavored crypto crash of 2022. The token's price has fallen 84% this year, setting investors up for a tremendous rebound when the global economy calms down again.

No bear market or recession lasts forever, after all. You might as well prepare to take advantage of the inevitable upswing, even if it probably won't come right after "Auld Lang Syne."