- Solana grew dramatically in 2021, but it has also experienced some technical difficulties.
- Polygon, Cardano, Avalanche, and Cosmos are well-positioned to beat Solana this spring.
Solana may be fast, but sometimes slow and steady wins the race.
Solana (SOL) was one of crypto's top performers last year, with an increase of over 11,000%, according to CoinGecko. However, it has struggled in recent months, and at the start of May suffered yet another in a series of technical outages. After such dramatic growth, cracks have started to appear in the Solana story. But Solana is not the only promising crypto on the block. There are several cryptos that could beat it this spring.
Before we dive into four cryptos that could beat Solana, it's worth pointing out that wider economic and geopolitical factors could mean crypto prices remain stagnant for some time to come. It may be that very few cryptocurrencies really stand out this spring, even if they have good long-term potential.
1. Polygon (MATIC)
Polygon is a favorite coin of many crypto experts. It's a layer 2 solutions aggregator for the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. Polygon reduces some of the issues Ethereum faces with network congestion and high fees, which is why it often features on crypto experts' lists of favorite coins.
Ethereum is in the process of a staged upgrade, but it won't be completed until at least next year. Even then, Polygon will likely still have a role to play in improving the network's performance. According to research by Inc42, Polygon can compete with Solana in terms of processing speed, and has over 7,000 dApps on its network.
2. Cardano (ADA)
Cardano is a surprisingly polarizing cryptocurrency project. The programmable crypto takes a slow-and-steady approach to development, focusing on peer reviews and testing rather than being first to market. As a result, it only rolled out its smart contract capability last September, and it's taken time for new applications to launch on the Cardano ecosystem. This has drawn criticism from some in the crypto industry who want to see faster progress, amongst other things.
However, there are several reasons to be optimistic about Cardano's performance this spring. Many new projects have opted to use Cardano in recent months -- it now has over 900 projects in development, as well as an increasing number of new wallets. Founder Charles Hoskinson tweeted that they are, "Just getting started."
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3. Avalanche (AVAX)
Avalanche is another up-and-coming smart contract crypto that some see as a potential Ethereum alternative. There are growing numbers of active Avalanche users, and according to DeFi Llama, it has more money invested in projects on its platform than on Solana. That stat is all the more interesting considering that Avalanche's market cap is almost half that of Solana. Plus, Avalanche is working on a new crypto wallet that it hopes will make it easier for people who are new to crypto to interact with the system.
According to Bloomberg, Ava Labs, the company behind Avalanche, is working on another fundraising round. Ava Labs has already successfully raised almost $250 million with support from crypto heavyweights such as Polychain Capital, Three Arrows Capital, and Galaxy Digital.
4. Cosmos (ATOM)
Cosmos is a smart contract cryptocurrency that's focused on interoperability, which is helping blockchains to communicate with each other. As the crypto industry becomes more diverse and developers use different platforms, interoperability becomes more necessary.
Grayscale Investments, a top digital currency investment company, recently added Cosmos to its smart contract fund. The fund focuses on Ethereum alternatives and Cosmos is one of eight cryptos, making up about 5% of the holdings. Like some of the other projects listed here, Cosmos has some well-known backers and is investing heavily in the development of multichain crypto projects.
Solana's fast processing times and low fees attracted a lot of developers and investors last year. But its technical difficulties are a reminder that many of these projects are works in progress and few have been as road-tested as Ethereum or Bitcoin (BTC). This is still an evolving industry and any project could be hit by unexpected technical glitches or security breaches.
Polygon, Cardano, Avalanche, and Cosmos are all interesting projects and worthy of further research. Nevertheless, the golden rule of crypto investing applies: Don't invest money you can't afford to lose. That way if a particular project doesn't fulfill investors’ expectations, or the bottom falls out of the industry, it will be disappointing but not devastating.
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