Use Cases for Projects with the Highest Market Cap.

The following is a list of the top 25 cryptocurrency coins and tokens per last week. It’s a dynamic list, but my interest is in identifying the proposed use cases put forth by these projects. The descriptions are based either on information from the project website or its Wikipedia entry (if there is one). The resulting taxonomy is my own.

On the list are nine platform projects. Another nine are currencies: some are intended for enabling payments, as with Ripple (XRP), a project for banks. Tether is a “stable currency,” pegged to the dollar. Not on the list, with a lower market cap, is Dai (MRK – Maker), another stable coin. Two coins are forks (BCH and ETC). Three are highly specific: IOTA (Internet of Things), Binance Coin (the Binance Exchange’s ICO coin), and TRX (TRON), which promises “Web Decentralization.”

In other words, the top coins and tokens by market cap tend to be either straightforward currencies or platforms. The platforms tend to be distinguished more by technology than use cases.

Coin Name Brief Description / Use Cases
BTC Bitcoin Currency/Store of Value Intended as an electronic cash, Bitcoin has arguably emerged as a kind of digital gold, a store of value.
ETH Ethereum Platform Smart contracts and distributed applications. A platform for a large number of tokens. Etherium supports a virtual machine on which to run smart contract code. ERC20 is an Etherium specification for tokens and is the basis for a number of the other items on this list as well as initial coin offerings (ICOs).
XRP Ripple Currency/Payment System Payments. XRP is a blockchain solution for the banking system.
BCH Bitcoin Cash Fork. A Bitcoin fork.
EOS EOS Platform An infrastructure for distributed applications.
LTC Litecoin Currency/Store of Value Currency / investment asset. LTC was developed to process blocks 4x faster than BTC.
ADA Cardano Platform Smart contracts and distributed applications. Cardano is a “third generation” platform being built on peer-reviewed research.
XLM Stellar Currency/Payment System Payment network based on blockchain technology.
MIOTA IOTA Internet of Things Internet of Things (IoT). Open-source distributed ledger for IoT with feeless microtransactions and data integrity for machines.
TRX TRON Web Decentralization “Dedicated to the establishment of a truly decentralized Internet and its infrastructure.”
NEO NEO Platform Platform. “Utilizes blockchain technology and digital identity to digitize assets, to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts, and to realize a ‘smart economy’ with a distributed network.”
XMR Monero Currency/Privacy Privacy currency. “Monero aims to improve on existing cryptocurrency design by obscuring sender, recipient and amount of every transaction made as well as making the mining process more egalitarian.”
DASH Dash Currency Currency and DAO. DASH = “digital cash.”
USDT Tether Currency/Stable Stable Currency. “Tether converts cash into digital currency, to anchor or tether the value to the price of national currencies like the US dollar, the Euro, and the Yen.”
XEM NEM Platform Smart asset blockchain. NEM lists use cases here:
VEN VeChain Platform Financial services, supply chain management, and smart contracts.
ETC Ethereum Classic Fork. Etherium fork.
BNB Binance Coin ICO ICO for Binance,a major cryptocurrency exchange. An ERC20 token.
BCN Bytecoin Currency/Privacy Privacy coin.
QTUM Qtum Platform Platform, Smart contract value transfer protocols on a distributed mobile application platform.
OMG OmiseGO Platform/Payments Open payment platform and decentralised exchange issued on Ethereum.
ICX ICON Platform Aims to build a decentralized network that allows independent blockchains with different governances to transact with one another without intermediaries.
ZE Zcash Currency/Privacy Privacy coin.

Cryptocurrency Use Cases

The nascent cryptocurrency business promises to revolutionize finance, commerce, and many other areas of activity. At the moment, most of the discussion on the Internet relates to speculation and trading. As the field starts to mature, use cases will become more important.

Generalized use cases include the following:

Payments (Spendable currency).

Store of value (Comparable to digital gold. Increasingly, the case is made that Bitcoin has assumed this role).

Applications Platform (Etherium and other Smart Contract and Distributed Apps technologies).

Unalterable Public Record (An example is Factom, which is intended to serve as a decentralized Notary system.)

As a business analyst, my prejudice is to be skeptical of a project without clear use cases and a roadmap to implement them. As a former market researcher, I’m skeptical of use cases without solid evidence of a potential market. I plan to expand on these ideas in future posts.