Bitcoin and Ethereum are the 2 biggest and best-known cryptocurrencies. But a fast-rising competitor now sits in 3rd place after a spectacular rise this year.
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However, there is one digital currency that’s risen as much as 17 times its value from the start of the year. In fact, by valuation it’s now the 3rd largest cryptocurrency.
In Australian dollar terms, Cardano (CRYPTO: ADA) started 2021 at around 22.8 cents. But earlier this month it touched the $4 barrier.
DeVere Group chief executive Nigel Green said this is only the beginning.
“I believe we can expect Cardano to hit fresh all-time highs, reaching more than US$4 ($5.48) by the end of 2021.”
As of Friday morning, Cardano was valued at $3.32.
Cardano’s growth catalyst just happened
Cardano, unlike Bitcoin, is a system that actually performs a function, rather than just acting as a store of value.
The Cardano blockchain network allows the implementation of digital contracts.
Last weekend a major upgrade dubbed ‘Alonzo’ was rolled out, which Green expects will act as an impetus for further growth.
“This overhaul will allow smart contracts to be built on the network, making the Cardano blockchain even more attractive to even more users,” he said.
“The major upgrade will give those who don’t necessarily have technical backgrounds the opportunity to create smart contracts. Smart contracts are pieces of code that allow individuals to enter financial agreements without the need for a centralised party.”
Cardano’s cryptocurrency is actually called Ada, but the public has adopted the system name to refer to the tokens.
While Ada’s value has cooled off this week in line with other cryptocurrencies, its real-life utility will help its long-term valuation.
“There’s no doubt that smart contracts are going to revolutionise most sectors including finance, real estate, legal, healthcare, and gaming,” said Green.
“This is why Cardano is increasingly attractive for forward-thinking investors.”
Shared heritage with Ethereum
Cardano’s utility is similar to Ethereum, which also facilitates smart contracts.
This is no coincidence, as Cardano’s founder Charles Hoskinson is also a co-founder of Ethereum.
The Motley Fool US’ Katie Brockman reported this week that, for now, Ethereum has more real-world uses.
“Ethereum is… home to non-fungible tokens (NFT) and the decentralised finance (defi) movement,” she wrote.
“Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean Cardano won’t find ways to outperform its competitors down the road. It is still a relatively new cryptocurrency with room for growth. Also, cryptocurrency isn’t a zero-sum game, so it’s possible for multiple currencies to coexist with their own advantages.”
Green sounds pretty sure of Cardano’s potential.
“On the back of this considerable [Alonzo] upgrade, it can be expected to grab significant market share and, as a result, its price will continue its upward trajectory for the rest of 2021 and beyond.”
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Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo owns shares of Bitcoin, Cardano, and Ethereum. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended Bitcoin and Ethereum. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.