Less than 50% of cryptocurrencies provide any real value or any useful function to the users, a research report by Invest in Blockchain claims. Among the top 100 most valuable cryptocurrencies (by market capitalization) covered in the study, only 36 were found to have working products.
The Working Product Dilemma
Since there is no clear definition of a “working product” in the world of cryptocurrencies, many cryptocurrencies claim to have a working product, though it may not necessarily imply any tangible utility. The study took a deep dive into each blockchain project’s status, roadmap and release history, and verified the completed features against the promised functionality mentioned in their whitepaper.
The study checked each blockchain project and set the necessary criteria for a working product: it should be active and available to be utilized by the public, its mainnet should have been up and running for some time, updates should have been made to the initial release indicated by the version numbers going past 1.0, and enterprises and/or individual participants should be using it on a regular basis for payments, dapps, smart contracts, or other cryptocurrency utilities. For example, the study excluded “a dapp platform that has a mainnet but that doesn’t have any noteworthy dapps on top of it,” as such a project isn’t considered working by this criteria.
A look at the top qualifying cryptocurrencies that have working products indicate the popular blockchain projects like bitcoin, ethereum, ripple, stellar, litecoin, tether, monero, neo and bitcoin cash.
Others lesser known cryptos that qualify in the coveted list of having a working product include the following:
0x Protocol (ZRX)
The permission-less, open-source blockchain that facilitates trustless and secure exchanges of Ethereum tokens through relayers and dapps built on top of the protocol has been running for more than a year, and future implementations will allow trading of tokens built on standards beyond ERC-20, including non-fungible ERC-721 tokens. (See also, What is ERC-20 and What Does it Mean for Ethereum?)
Setting new standards for privacy in the blockchain space, ByteCoin transactions are instantaneous, untraceable, un-linkabe, and resistant to any kind of blockchain analysis that may reveal the identity of the participants and their transactions.
Another privacy focused cryptocurrency included in the list, ZenCash additionally supports the anonymous network of The Onion Router (TOR) nodes, and offers built-in chat messaging services.
PIVX is the next entry to figure in the list for securely maintaining privacy of its users and their transactions. Though not yet very popular, its present-day working model can be easily expanded to include governance functions, wallet voting, and building its own PIV decentralized exchange. (See also, The Five Most Private Cryptocurrencies.)
Loom Network (LOOM)
Loom supports software development through its software development kit (SDK) and is dubbed a blockchain coding academy. Its potential goes beyond its simple coding utility, though, as it also offers a production-ready scalability solution for Ethereum and allows Ethereum SDK for quick building of scalable dapps.
Steem powers the popular, decentralized social media platform Steemit, which helps content creators seeking rewards from the audience. Despite the cryptocurrency’s use remaining confined to the Steemit platform, its large user base ranks it high on the list of working blockchain products.
One of the pioneers in launching decentralized cloud storage in the 2016, Sia has seen a good level of adoption in the billion-dollar cloud storage market. It is emerging as a secure and affordable alternative to other prominent cloud storage players, Amazon S3, Google Drive and Dropbox, who operate in a centralized manner.
Basic Attention Token (BAT)
With more than 7 million daily active users for its Brave Browser that facilitates faster, secure and private web browsing due to its built-in ad-blocking and tracker blocking features, BAT qualifies for inclusion in the list.
Ever needed higher CPU, GPU or memory on your computing device for completing a resource-intensive task? Try Golem, which claims to be the Airbnb of computing resources. By paying a rental fee in GNT tokens, one can easily rent such additional resources to accomplish a computing task on an as-needed basis.
Bibox Token (BIX)
Bibox has emerged as a secure, encrypted digital asset exchange platform that differentiates itself from other crypto exchanges with its integration of powerful artificial intelligence (AI) features. Bibox participants (traders) can benefit by such AI-powered utilities which offer quantitative calculations and analysis of their trading activities, personalized risk management, diversification and allocation strategy, and speech recognition. The company already has operation centers in the US, Canada, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Estonia.
Ardor is among the few providers of Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) services, which allows companies to build and manage their own child chains and tokens conveniently. Using the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, it remains low on resources and power consumption.
The list of working products also includes others like Pundi X (NPXS), Waves (WAVES), Komodo (KMD), and Kyber Network (KNC), among others.
Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns no cryptocurrencies.