I want to invest in crypto, but I’m worried about its long-term prospects since it’s not widely used as currency. When do you think we’ll be using crypto like cash, and which cryptocurrencies are mostly likely to survive?
Which crypto should I buy today for the long term?
Denise, thanks for your question. You’ve brought up a lot of interesting things—let’s tackle them one by one.
You’re right, so far, people don’t like using cryptocurrencies as currency because nobody wants to be the next “pizza guy.” (You may have heard about him—he bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoin (BTC) back in 2010. That amount would be worth over $270 million today.) As such, the primary utility of crypto like bitcoin is as a store of value. Usually, for payments, people tend to use stablecoins like USD coin (USDC) and tether (USDT), which are pegged 1:1 to fiat money.
Having said that, bitcoin has become legal tender in two countries, El Salvador and the Central African Republic (CAR). In these places, you can pretty much use BTC as cash. A few other countries—Cuba, Panama, Paraguay and Ukraine—have also made moves towards adopting crypto as legal tender, to avoid hyperinflation and the crippling effects of dollarization (the use of a foreign currency alongside domestic currency).
Plus, companies are increasingly accepting BTC and other cryptocurrencies as payment. Recently, Shopify—one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms—enabled its merchants to accept crypto payments. According to a December 2021 Deloitte survey, nearly 75% of U.S. retailers were planning to accept crypto payments within the next 24 months.
Buying NFTs with crypto
Now, let’s look at Ethereum, Solana and other smart-contract platforms. These platforms host non-fungible token (NFT) projects and marketplaces. The only way to buy the NFTs is with the platforms’ native coins: ETH, SOL, etc. In this situation, you are using crypto as cash to buy cool digital artworks and more.
So, to answer your question: Crypto’s use as cash isn’t widespread. It is primarily used as a value store or wealth-building asset. However, the number of scenarios where you can use them as cash is steadily increasing.
Which cryptocurrencies will survive?
This question is a bit trickier to answer.
Tried-and-tested “blue-chip” cryptos like BTC and ETH are the most likely to survive in the long run. At this point, it’s hard to say anything certain about the rest. Terra had a very vibrant ecosystem and a wonderful community, but it failed spectacularly in a matter of days. So, all I can say is: When you look at a crypto project, look at its utility and tokenomics. Here’s what I mean:
- Utility: How much activity is happening on the blockchain?
- Tokenomics: Is the blockchain’s native token useful? How many roles is the token fulfilling within the ecosystem? The more roles it fulfills, the more robust it is. For example, on the Ethereum platform, ETH is a payment token, it’s used to pay gas fees (transaction fees), it can be staked, it can be used to buy NFTs, and you need it to access decentralized finance (DeFi) apps, it’s a store of value, etc.
New crypto projects pop up every day. Most of them aren’t going to survive, and those that do may experience extreme volatility. Make sure you understand a project and its risks before investing your hard-earned money. Always DYOR—Do Your Own Research.
Jeremy Koven is the Chief Operating Officer and a co-founder of CoinSmart, a Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform. Sign up for an account* with the code money30 and receive CAD$30 in bitcoin when you deposit a minimum of CAD$100.
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