4 Altcoins to Watch Closely in July

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KEY POINTS

  • Cardano may roll out its latest upgrade, assuming the tests go well.
  • Binance is actively hiring staff while other crypto platforms are laying people off.
  • Chainlink continues to build partnerships and has released a roadmap for Chainlink 2.0.


Cardano, Chainlink, and Binance Coin are all worth a closer look.

June was a particularly rough month for cryptocurrency investors. Bitcoin (BTC) plummeted below $20,000, and the total crypto market cap fell below $1 trillion. To put that in perspective, during the dizzy heights of last year's crypto frenzy, Bitcoin peaked at almost $69,000, and the total market cap almost touched $3 trillion.

A lot of crypto commentators have been urging people to "buy the dip" for the past seven months. But as prices continue to fall, many investors are cautious about blindly buying more, especially as the cracks in the decentralized finance industry start to widen. For a lot of investors, the question is not whether to buy more crypto, but how to avoid panic selling their existing holdings.

While there may be a logic in trying to buy quality projects at a bargain, this is not the time to pick up any risky coins or tokens. As a result, we're playing it relatively safe with this month's altcoins to watch.

1. Cardano (ADA)

Cardano is a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it crypto project. Charles Hoskinson, its leader, is considered a controversial figure, and some investors have been frustrated by its slow-and-steady approach to development. Cardano peer-reviews each step before implementation, which sets it apart from other projects that rush to be first to market.

We may also see the rollout of a major Cardano upgrade. Previously scheduled for June, the upgrade will improve performance, speeding up transaction times and lowering costs. Assuming there are no issues during the four-week testnet trial, the Vasil mainnet upgrade will be launched at the end of July. Work on the upgrade could be part of the reason Cardano topped a recent development activity chart. According to Santiment analytics, Cardano was the top crypto by development activity in June.

2. Binance Coin (BNB)

Given Binance's challenges with various authorities around the world last year, Binance Coin may seem an unlikely "safe bet" in these difficult times. There is a risk that increased regulation will hit Binance particularly hard. There are also reports that the SEC is investigating whether BNB constitutes an unregistered security. This could have a big impact on BNB's price.

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However, Binance is also one of the few crypto platforms that did not spend a fortune on sponsorship deals and advertising last year. As a result, Binance is actively hiring staff while its competitors are laying people off. Binance Founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted: "It was not easy saying no to Super bowl ads, stadium naming rights, large sponsor deals a few months ago, but we did. Today, we are hiring for 2000 open positions for #Binance."

Chainlink is a behind-the-scenes crypto that solves an important problem: It provides the data that triggers smart contract activity. Let's say a farmer buys a smart contract insurance policy that will pay out automatically when certain weather conditions occur. For that to happen, something needs to feed weather information to the smart contract. This is where oracles come in. Oracles provide real-world data to smart contract platforms.

Chainlink is a decentralized oracle network. There are a few reasons it's on my watchlist this month. Firstly, it continues to grow and integrate with a wide range of smart contract crypto networks. This bodes well for its long-term potential. Secondly, it has recently released its roadmap toward Chainlink 2.0. The plan is to introduce staking rewards on the ecosystem, adding another layer of security and also benefiting LINK holders.

4. Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH)

I always feel a bit bad when I include the two crypto giants on this monthly crypto watchlist. The idea of this column is to introduce readers to newer cryptos that are worth a closer look. However, there's nothing wrong with playing it safe as we wait for the storm to pass. Ethereum may well move forward with its long-awaited merge in August -- its move from proof-of-work mining to the environmentally friendly proof-of-stake. Moreover, right now, most altcoins follow crypto grandaddy Bitcoin, which has a longer track record and a better chance of surviving a prolonged crypto winter.

Expect more short-term pain

There is a small chance that crypto prices will rally in July, particularly if we see improvements in the all-important inflation data. But it is more likely that prices will move sideways or fall further. The most immediate issue is the decentralized finance industry. Several platforms have frozen withdrawals, and others are looking for bailouts.

There is a slow domino effect in play. With a high level of interconnectedness between DeFi platforms, when one fails, it may topple others, which may in turn topple even more. The industry is also braced for increased regulation, particularly as various parties respond to President Biden's executive order on crypto.

All in all, there's no need to rush into any crypto decisions. Take your time, shore up your other financial bases, and research any crypto projects carefully before you spend any money. Think about whether the altcoin you're considering might survive a prolonged crypto winter and how it might perform in the long term. Bear markets can provide opportunities, but only if they are quality projects. Many projects could fail completely in the near term, so it's good to be cautious.

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