Shiba Inu (CRYPTO: SHIB) was relatively unknown until Elon Musk tweeted a photo of his dog Floki on October 4, 2021. Floki happens to be a Shiba Inu, and in the following days, the number of tweets mentioning the meme token, multiplied by more than 20.
By the time the dust settled later that month, Shiba Inu had reached a record high of $ 0.00008616, a gain of 153,000,000% in less than a year. In other words, if you had invested $ 1 in Shiba Inu in November 2020, you would have earned over $ 1 million when it peaked in October 2021.
However, the price of the meme token has since fallen 65%, and unless a significant new application is introduced, it is unlikely that the price will increase. On the bright side, there are plenty of other blockchain projects with huge potential.
And while investors should never expect the kind of returns generated by Shiba Inu, Solana (CRYPTO: SOL) and Chainlink (CRYPTO: LINK) could generate monster returns in the long run.
Solana is a smart contract platform built on blockchain technology, a registration system used to track transactions and prevent fraud. In the case of cryptocurrencies, blockchains store data on hundreds or thousands of nodes (computers), and this decentralized architecture helps secure the network. Unfortunately, it also makes it difficult to expand these networks.
When verifying transactions, nodes must agree on the order in which these events occurred. To do this, the nodes must timestamp transactions using the local system. See the article: Cryptocosmos Statement (ATOM) Statement: What is the future and prediction of this token?. However, as the network decentralizes (ie new nodes are added), small discrepancies between local clocks become more frequent and it takes time to tune them.
Solana solves this problem with its unique consensus protocol, which combines proof-of-stake and proof-of-history. Instead of relying on each system’s local clock, timestamps are built into the blockchain itself, creating a verifiable sequence of events that speeds up flow. In fact, Solana can theoretically process 50,000 transactions per second (TPS), and it achieves finality (i.e., it irreversibly adds transactions to the blockchain) in about 13 seconds.
As a result, Solana has become popular among decentralized application developers (dApp) and decentralized financial investors (DeFi). The platform supports over 1,300 projects, including a collection of video games, NFT marketplaces and DeFi protocols. In fact, Solana ranks sixth among the blockchain industry’s DeFi ecosystems and has a market share of 3.9% in terms of total dollars invested on the platform.
Even better, the development team recently announced Solana Pay, a potentially disruptive payment solution. It bypasses banks and credit card networks, allowing consumers to pay merchants directly using stack coins such as USD Coin, a cryptocurrency linked to the price of the US dollar. And because Solana’s blockchain runs the service, payments are settled in seconds, and transactions cost only a fraction of a penny.
As Solana’s decentralized ecosystem of applications and services grows in popularity, demand for SOL tokens (the currency used to pay transaction fees) is expected to rise, driving up prices. That is why this cryptocurrency seems like a smart investment.
Blockchain-driven smart contracts are computer programs that are executed automatically when predefined conditions are met. For example, a smart contract could be used to facilitate sports betting. The protocol would first collect the participants’ bets, and then, when the sporting event is over, it would credit the winner’s account. Most importantly, smart contracts are tamper-proof and unchangeable once implemented, which means they are a very secure and efficient way of enforcing agreements.
Unfortunately, blockchains cannot interact with external systems. This would compromise the very problem they are trying to solve (ie centralized control). Relying on a single external system would override the decentralized nature of the network by creating a single fault point. Also see: JPMorgan: Bitcoin reveals ‘biggest challenge’ in history and surprisingly ‘fair value’ of BTC price. Of course, this security feature greatly limits the applicability of smart contracts in the real world. For example, in my example game, how could the protocol know who won the bet? The answer is Chainlink, a decentralized network of oracles – devices capable of bringing real data to any blockchain.
Here’s how it works: Chainlink node operators (ie the people who operate the oracle infrastructure) must wager Link tokens to participate. This guarantees their honesty. So, when a smart contract requests external data, such as the result of a sporting event, the node operators bid on this task and the Chainlink protocol selects multiple oracles to retrieve the data. The key word is “more”. By collecting and tuning data from multiple sources, Chainlink can deliver accurate data without compromising the decentralized nature of the network. Once the process is complete, node operators are paid in Link tokens.
Of course, Chainlink is not the only oracle network, but it is by far the most popular. It has over 1,100 partnerships, including 90 blockchains and over 550 DeFi products, while its closest competitor, the Band Protocol, has less than 60 partnerships in total. In other words, Chainlink is virtually unmatched.
And in the future, provided dApps and DeFi products continue to grow in popularity, more smart contracts are likely to rely on Chainlink oracles to get data. In turn, this will create demand for the Link token, which will drive up the price.
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