Optimize Your Cryptocurrency Portfolio: 7 Altcoin Types You Must Own Before The Surge

Although a rising tide lifts all boats, it may be prudent to consider what type of altcoins you choose for your cryptocurrency portfolio before the next major surge arrives.

Odds are the next crypto mega-pump won’t differentiate too much between Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Private and Bitcoin Diamond. But there remains the distinct possibility that one small sector of the blockchain lineup will explode before the industry follows as a whole.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at a few different altcoin types, and why they should have a space in your portfolio.

1. Privacy

Monero (XMR)

Automated bot miners are becoming increasingly common, and accepted as a viable alternative to traditional advertising.

Monero is the obvious choice purely due to how well known it is, even if its fame is often for the ‘wrong’ reasons in the eyes of the general public. Some hardcore cryptographers still affirm that Monero is the only cryptocurrency with an actual use-case – referring to its privacy.

Beyond offering confidentiality, Monero is also used as the currency of choice in automated miners which often greet you when you enter a web page. The notion of bot-miners hogging your computing power shocked people initially, but by now the practice is starting to look like a viable alternative to traditional advertising.

Zcash (ZEC)

I don’t just bring up Zcash because it’s the next most well-known privacy coin. In fact, there’s reason to believe that Zcash might overtake Monero during the next bull run.

As suggested in Hacked’s recent article Looking At Where the Money Can Most Easily Flow, the availability of coins will have a major impact on what floats and what doesn’t. There’s a big difference between the last bull run and now – namely that Zcash is now listed on Coinbase Pro.

Monero is not listed on Coinbase Pro, and I haven’t even heard it suggested that it will be. Additionally, despite launching two years later than Monero, ZEC already has more trading pairs to its name than XMR: 159 compared to 121.

Mimblewimble / Grin (Wildcards)

Mimblewimble was supposed to be a game changer, but when Grin (GRIN) sunk like a stone following its January 2019 launch, sentiment cooled on the new privacy protocol. I include Mimblewimble and its associated coins purely on the off-chance that a major development occurs between now and the next bull run.

Author’s pick: Zcash (ZEC)

2. Banking


A look through my past articles shows an author skeptical of XRP – both its claims of decentralization, and the particulars of its creation and ownership. That said, it’s hard to deny the popularity of the coin, and the racking up of major banking partnerships by Ripple Labs continues to push positive sentiment the way of XRP.

Stellar (XLM)

Stellar’s recent adoption by IBM for use in creating a worldwide remittance network for banking institutions sounds a lot like XRP’s gameplan. The truth is that Stellar could fit into several different categories in this list, but XLM continues to surprise with its string of adoptions by major international organizations, and remains a contender for being the prime ‘banking coin’.

Both coins are now available on Coinbase, and XRP has twice as many existing trading pairs as XLM. However, I think XLM has more room to grow than XRP in the long run.

Author’s pick: Stellar (XLM)

3. Gaming

  1. Blockchain gaming is a sector primed to make moves outwith the broader industry. Image from Shutterstock.

Enjin Coin (ENJ)

Enjin Coin’s recent addition to the Samsung Galaxy S10 makes it a no-brainer when we’re talking about gaming coins. In fact, Enjin’s CEO helped create the new gaming-standard ERC-1155 token – one which provides all the non-fungibility of an ERC-721 token without hogging all of Ethereum’s network space, à la Cryptokitties.

For a rundown on Enjin Coin’s future viability, check out Why Enjin Coin is Still Bullish, Even After Samsung S10 Confirms ENJ Addition.

Wax (WAX)

Wax is focused on creating a worldwide gaming marketplace where in-game items can be bought, sold and traded. Check out Why Investors Should Pay Attention to Wax to learn more. Both Wax and Enjin claim existing networks with millions of active users, long before the completion of their respective roadmaps. Also, both are present on Bithumb, Upbit, Bittrex and HitBTC, but only ENJ is available on Binance out of the two at the present time.

Author’s pick: Enjin Coin (ENJ)

4. Internet-of-Things


IOTA (MIOTA) looks to be the first mover in this category, and tends to be the first coin crypto investors think of when they hear Internet-of-Things. That doesn’t mean the average investor throwing their cash in during the next bull run will know what IOTA is all about – they’ll just see  rising green percentages every day and assume it’s good to go.

IOTA had its ups and downs throughout 2018, but continued to hire during the crypto winter when all others were laying off staff. In Q2 of last year IOTA partnered up with Audi, who are very interested in IOTA’s Tangle technology.

VeChain (VET)

VET is less known than IOTA for a number of reasons, not least due to its recent rebrand and the legal contention over the use of its former VEN ticker symbol. Yet VeChain is ranked among the top twenty coins by market cap and has average daily trade volumes which rival or often exceed IOTA.

Much of VeChain’s fundamental developments and partnerships stem from behind the Chinese curtain, and there’s enough there to officially consider VeChain the Chinese rival to the more Euro-centric IOTA.

Author’s pick: IOTA (MIOTA)

5. Distributed Computing

Golem (GNT)

Golem has been around since the first wave of token launches on Ethereum, and took a long time to reach its mainnet launch last year. But now the Golem Network is up and running, and currently facilitates distributed rendering for a fraction of the cost of its centralized competitors.

Development continues with Golem, and recently developers received the boost of a WASM toolkit. Its addition to Coinbase Pro back in December of 2018 means GNT is well-positioned to benefit from the influx of new money which will inevitably hit the Coinbase on-ramp when the next surge happens.

MaidSafeCoin (MAID)

MaidSafeCoin has the makings of a solid distributed marketplace, encompassing processing power, storage space and bandwidth. Yet after launching in 2014 it only has listings on three exchanges, one of which is a DEX. That’s not necessarily a criticism – as a volunteer, community driven project it has almost zero funds for luxuries like…paying exchanges to gain a listing.

Storj (STORJ)

Not exactly distributed computing, but Storj’s blockchain-based distributed storage network is perched just outside the top hundred coins. It frequently records daily volume greater than the small-cap’s surrounding it, and is already listed on Binance. Heavily traded on Upbit via the STORJ/KRW pair, a Storj pump would likely benefit from Korean money.

Author’s pick: Golem (GNT)

6. Decentralized Exchanges (DEX)

Kyber Network (KNC)

Kyber Network pumped like crazy in early March when it received some trickle down from Enjin Coin’s miraculous Galaxy S10 pump. Kyber Network comes as a free app on the Binance-owned Trust wallet, as well as most other Ethereum-based wallets. Its utility was evidenced during the Enjin pump, and more generally, the feeling is that DEX’s will become more relevant as crypto users become more sophisticated.

Bancor Protocol (BNT)

Bancor founder speaking alongside CEO’s of Pantera Captial and OmiseGo in 2017.

Bancor and Kyber resemble each other in many ways: both were hacked for millions in their early days; both pumped hand-in-hand during the Enjin Coin spike; and both come as free apps on the Trust wallet.

Where they differ is in the economics. Read: Bancor (BNT): Smart Tokens, Decentralization and Keynesian Economics to learn more.

Waves (WAVES)

Waves could fit into multiple blockchain categories, with token launches and smart contract functionalities. However it also deserves a mention as a possible go-to for a solid DEX token. Yip, it was Hacked early on, just like Bancor and Kyber, but it also soared to daily trades of above $6 million upon launch – suggesting real demand for a prominent decentralized exchange. Current daily trade volume stands closer to $500,000 – still not bad for a DEX at this early stage.

Author’s pick: Difficult choice. Waves for a safer bet. Kyber and Bancor as strong hopefuls.

7. Gambling

Augur (REP)

Augur had the gambling sector wrapped up for a short while, even though it constantly struggled from a confusing user interface. Seriously, I would have lost so much money on Augur by now if I knew how to use it.

The disconnect shown between blockchain developers and the needs of the average user is worth an article on its own, and despite Augur’s success, it still suffers from that geek-to-normie usability chasm.

Tron (TRX)

Tron could definitely fit into multiple categories, but the success of its TronBet app means it has to receive a mention in the gambling slot. In early March, TronBet recorded weekly volume of $41 million.

Unlike Augur, TronBet is part of the new breed of apps which basically amount to guessing ‘higher or lower’ on a given number – perhaps explaining its increased rate of adoption.

Author’s pick: There are reasons to have both. Augur as the dedicated gambling pick. Tron for the overall hype train.


I purposely left out the ‘Platform’ category, which would basically be a case of Ethereum vs Everyone, and would deserve an article of its own.

Which interesting categories do you think are missing from this list? Leave a suggestion below to see it followed up in future articles.

Greg Thomson is a freelance writer who contributes to leading cryptocurrency and blockchain publications like CCN, Hacked, and others.