Update: There is a newer post you might want to check out; please take a look at the best cryptocurrency investments for 2018!

Last December I published an article on Cryptorials about the ‘best altcoin investments for 2016’. It turned out to be one of the more popular articles of the year (and potentially very profitable for anybody who read it too), so I decided to repeat it with an updated article for 2017. The only difference is that in order to broaden the scope and avoid controversy about what is and isn’t an ‘altcoin’ I have tweaked the topic, so instead of writing about the best altcoin investments I am writing about the best cryptocurrency investments.

As with my selection from last year, these are all medium to long term picks which I expect to perform well over the course of the next 12 months. They are what I would consider investments rather than short term trades. The selections were made through a combination of fundamental analysis of each network’s current and potential value, consideration of established price trends, and anticipation of future developments, releases and general market conditions and their likely impact.

It is important to note that I am not a trained financial advisor and this should not be considered financial advice. I have been involved in cryptocurrency for several years, running this blog for almost 2 years, and I am an active trader and investor who has made a good profit in the past. But I can in no way guarantee that these investments will be profitable – there is always a significant risk with and investments and especially with such volatile markets and bleeding edge technology.

#1 Bitcoin!!!

OK, so this is the other reason why I decided not to make this a list of ‘altcoins’. I really think that Bitcoin may turn out to be one of the best cryptocurrency investments of 2017.

Not only do I think there is an excellent chance that the price will go over $1000 at least by the end of the year and potentially a lot higher, but crucially I think the chances of it dropping below ~$550 are relatively slim. Although some lower market cap coins and tokens may well outperform BTC as they have more room to grow, the risk reward ratio for Bitcoin is looking very nice right now, and you can always increase your profits further by holding your coins in interest bearing bitcoin accounts.

Anybody holding alternative tokens or coins needs to take this into consideration and decide whether the risk is worth it when compared to a Bitcoin value in what looks to be a robust bull trend.

#2 Zcash & Zcoin

After a great deal of hype, many people got burned with the launch of Zcash. Unrealistic expectations, and I suspect a misunderstanding on the part of many traders as to the effects of low coins supply in the early days and how this would change over time, lead to the price of Zcash coins soaring to orders of magnitude higher than a Bitcoin immediately after launch (despite an identical maximum supply), followed by a massive crash in which some people must have lost a lot of money.

But despite this, the potential of zerocoin technology is significant. There is little argument that it is the best privacy tech for blockchains, and there is a big market for enhanced privacy in cryptocurrency.

At some point the price of Zcash will bottom out, and I suspect that it will be soon. It may even happen around the $50 mark that its hovering above at the moment, as it has already bounced from this price range once. When a solid floor is established and some confidence returns to the market, I can see this one doing well.

But even more interesting from my perspective is Zcash’s little cousin Zcoin. Based on the same technology but with a slightly different approach, Zcoin is currently valued at less than 1% of Zcash. This gives plenty of room for very significant appreciation over the next year.

Without going into too much detail, the main difference is that Zcoin conceals every part of a transaction except the amount sent, whereas Zcash conceals everything. This means the privacy protection for ZCoin is not as complete, but it does reduce the risk associated with the ‘trusted set up’ which ZCash suffers from and which could allow an attacker who has compromised the set up parameters to create as many coins as they want for themselves without anybody knowing. The Zcoin team are also working on a new mining algorithm to allow mining using an ordinary CPU while at the same time combating the problem of the botnets controlled by hackers which usually end up dominating CPU mined coins.

#3 Dash

This may be a controversial choice to some people, but I really think Dash could have a great year in 2017. Although the price has fallen back somewhat from a high in mid-summer, the YTD chart still looks great for Dash, and with a big upgrade called ‘evolution’ set for release at some point in 2017 there are good reasons to be bullish.

Evolution will bring a range of new features that will make use of the second-tier ‘masternode’ network that Dash is known for to do things that coins without these masternodes cannot do. Perhaps the most significant is also the most simple in appearance: users will be able to create accounts and log in to their wallet from any device with an username and password, without sacrificing decentralization by trusting their coins to a third party wallet.

The Dash governance system, although controversial in that it is dominated by a small number of large ‘whales’ who control most of the coins, seems to me to be proving itself effective in funding both core development, broader ecosystem development, and even marketing. This funding could end up being a great help in capitalizing on any increased attention from the Evolution release, and ultimately in reaching out to more mainstream users.

#4 Maidsafecoin / Safecoin

Perhaps the most long-awaited project in cryptocurrency today, Maidsafe is a grand and ambitious project to decentralized the internet.

The maidsafecoin price has been flagging in recent months. I believe this is because investors are growing weary of the long wait and don’t want to miss out on gains from Bitcoin’s bull trend. But this may well end up making the surge when (or perhaps I should say if) it is finally released even more dramatic.

There are lots of projects now trying to decentralize content publishing and hosting, but with a development history going back to before Bitcoin was even invented (only later modified to include cryptocurrency style rewards using ‘safecoin’) Maidsafe is arguably the mother of them all.

Despite the slow progress, development is continuing and an alpha release which shows the core features but without Safecoin rewards and with no guarantee of data permanence does give one a real feeling of the potential that this project has. What’s more, the long wait is largely because the team have taken on such a massive task and are intent on making sure it works very well before releasing it (something many crytocurrency projects don’t do) so I expect the eventual release to be very exciting. I also think there is a very good chance it will happen at some point in 2017, and that if it is then it will prove to be one of the best investments of the year.

#5 Antshares

Following a successful crowdsale and release in Q3 2016, Antshares has a current marketcap of just over $7 million at the time of publishing.

In many ways it can be characterized as a Chinese take on the Ethereum network. Although I don’t expect Antshares to rival Ethereum in value, the size of the Chinese market and the considerable success that the Antshares team has had in developing partnerships in the short time since it was launched – which already include Alibaba (one of the biggest multinationals in the world) as well as several other interesting deals – makes me think that there is plenty of room to grow.

#6 Syscoin

The Syscoin project is building a decentralized marketplace, and has been under active development since 2014 despite the development team losing most of their funding to the fraud and then bankruptcy of the exchange operator which ran the escrow for their crowdsale.

In many ways the Syscoin marketplace is similar to Open Bazaar, but operating over its own blockchain. In my view, this brings significant advantages over Open Bazzar, such as the ability for users to post offers without having to keep their computer online the whole time for the offer to remain valid. Shoppers can pay using Bitcoin, or even Zcash for privacy, as well as using the native Syscoin tokens.

A big release expected early in 2017 will bring the introduction of ‘blockmarket’, a white label store front that will enable anybody to create a web-based front end to the marketplace. I can see this being a strong driver of new users and with a current marketcap of under $4 million USD a successful release and influx of new users could easily see this proving to be a really great investment. Personally, I see this as being somewhat higher risk than my other selections, as Open Bazzar has a strong brand name within the cryptocurrency community and reaching out beyond that community will be difficult (I think possible with blockmarket, but undoubtedly difficult) but I also see it has having higher potential profits if things do go well.