December has been a tough month for most cryptocurrencies. With money generally moving out of investments with intimidating risk profiles, many top names in the crypto space now trade far below recent highs.
While the overall cryptocurrency space will likely continue to be highly volatile in the near term, a panel of Motley Fool.com contributors has identified three tokens that could bounce back in a big way in 2022. Read on to see why they think that Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH), Decentraland (CRYPTO:MANA), and Basic Attention Token (CRYPTO:BAT) could be poised to enjoy some strong rebound momentum next year.
Ethereum is about to do something that has never been done before
Daniel Foelber (Ethereum): The recent crypto-market bludgeoning may feel severe. But zooming out to the year-to-date performance, it’s clear to see that all the major cryptos are still up big.
Despite its over fourfold surge, Ethereum offers arguably the best risk/reward profile out of the major cryptos. Maybe not next year, maybe not in 2023. But sometime down the road, it won’t be surprising to see Ethereum rise to be the largest crypto by market cap. That’s because Ethereum is the leading network on which decentralized apps and smart contracts are built, either directly on the Ethereum blockchain or a secondary framework or protocol like Chainlink or Polygon. Investors interested in crypto as an inflation hedge and store of value might be better off with Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC). But those looking to capitalize on utility and innovation may be more interested in Ethereum.
Ethereum may never be as safe and secure as Bitcoin. But its transition from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake mechanism is expected to happen sometime next year. When it does, Ethereum should become faster and more scalable because it will be supported by validators, not miners. This will decrease transaction costs and make the network an even better place to develop projects, sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs), etc.
The big risk with the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade is the uncertainty of things going according to plan. If all goes well, Ethereum will be supported by thousands of more validators, making it more decentralized. Sharding will make the network exponentially faster too. However, an upgrade of this scale to the largest blockchain by volume has never been done before. Therefore, investors should accept delays to the upgrade, knowing that in this situation it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
With a market cap of roughly $470 billion and the potential to disrupt nearly every sector of the global economy, Ethereum stands out as a great crypto for 2022 and beyond.
The crypto meant specifically for the metaverse
James Brumley (Decentraland): I’ve got a feeling most of the recently beaten down cryptocurrencies are primed for a good bounce here. Of all the ones positioned to drive a lasting advance once the initial bounce has run its course, my preference is for Decentraland.
It’s a bit off the beaten path…for now. Although it’s been around for a while, this Ethereum-based crypto only came into focus in November when the so-called metaverse really started to gel as a concept. Decentraland is the way to pay for virtual plots of land and goods within the metaverse world that’s also called Decentraland.
Yes, it matters. While in one sense, the word “metaverse” refers to the idea as a singularity, in reality, there are already several of these digital spaces that are viable as revenue-bearing gathering places. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and video-game maker Epic Games are just some of the companies already tinkering with these virtual worlds.
Decentraland is another one of these entries, but it’s one of the best-conceived ones the (real) world has seen so far. It’s casual, but more importantly, it’s completely owned by its participants, who can build and then monetize — or sell — the space they’ve set up, virtual goods they’ve created, or games they host. In other words, it’s entertaining. That’s why I suspect it’s going to be one of metaverse’s most fruitful destinations.
BAT is backed by unusually strong leadership and fundamentals
Keith Noonan (Basic Attention Token): While 2021’s trading has generally provided a very favorable backdrop for the overall cryptocurrency market, the latter half of the year has seen investors in the space shift toward application-backed tokens. Bitcoin has climbed an impressive 73% year to date, and the meme-token phenomenon Shiba Inu has posted virtually unheard of gains of more than 47,000,000% across the stretch, but money has generally been moving toward coins that are backed by networks and services that extend beyond simple currency and speculative-investment vehicles.
Brave’s web browser is currently at the heart of the value case for the BAT token, with users earning the cryptocurrency by watching ads through the platform. Brave is a privacy-focused web browser that has a built-in ad blocker plus features to stop the collection of user data as you navigate the web, but it has a unique twist: Users can opt to allow and view advertisements from publishers that are partnered through Brave and actually earn BATs for their time; hence, the name “Basic Attention Token.”
With bearish pressures having rocked the broader cryptocurrency market across much of December’s trading, BAT is now down roughly 30% from the high that it hit late in November. Brave Software’s stellar management team and potentially disruptive approach to the web browser and digital advertising markets point to potentially explosive rebound potential.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.