My top 10 picks for a permissionless future.

(This is a transcript. For the actual podcast episode, listen on Castbox.fm)

I’m what you’d call — a noob.

I didn’t go to school for computer science or machine learning or cryptography.

I barely understand basic calculus, or programming, and I’m by no means an expert. But, I am intelligent. And I know how to think.

Fortunately for me, we live in day and age where information is (almost) free.

So - I downloaded some whitepapers, logged into YouTube University, and began my deep dive into the crazy space of internet money.

And what have I found?

There’s a lot going on.

My name is Toso.

My goal with this podcast is first, to gain some traction for myself and build a routine that doesn’t involve staying in bed depressed until 4pm.

But second, it is to help inform those around me as we accelerate through history at a crazy rate.

Because it can be tough to keep track of everything nowadays. Which is why so many simply outsource.

I think, this is one of those times where it would behoove you to pay. attention.

There is a lot of misinformation out there, most are drowning in a sea of it. I want to collect the most relevant stories and perspectives, and communicate them clearly, in such a way that even your 4-year-old niece could understand.

The point, is to understand.

So no bloviating, or incendiary comments, or verbose selections of vernacular to grand stand and impede your ability to discern and distinguish.

That’s for Twitter lol.

By the way, if you don’t already, follow me @Toso___

Or, if you are not into hot takes and political incorrectness, check my alter non-ego @TimeToGrowDude. I have a few plans lined up for him too.

Alright, enough intro.

You are now tuned into your friendly neighborhood schizophrenic.

Welcome to The Free Thought Project.

what the hell is crypto anyway? And why should you care?

I’m sure you’ve at least heard of Bitcoin by now.

But that’s just the surface. A Trojan Horse for everything that is to come after.

By the way, not investment advice. Do your own research. Blablabla.

Anyway, Bitcoin. It is a store of value, like Gold.

This is due to it’s scarcity.

Only 21 million will ever be in circulation, per Satoshi Nakamoto

Beyond that, it doesn’t have very many use cases.

It just kind of sits there, accruing value.

In my humble opinion, Ethereum is a better store of value..

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Point is, scarcity is cool — but there are a number other of adoptions that can come by way of blockchain that have very little to do with hoarding cash.

Consider…

If I want to, say, secure a deposit on a home without having to ask a bank?

Or, a cloud based solution owned by the people, and not by Google.

Or, if I wanted to transfer wealth, but privately and permissionlessly?

Or maybe I just want to make interest on what I own without having to trust in governments entities to be financially prudent with the money supply.

Enter, crypto.

Think of them as class projects.

Except, these projects attract billions of dollars in investments, and have the potential to upend the world as we know it.

So today episode, I’m covering the top 25 crypto projects by market cap.

(Afterwards, I’ll give my picks for less popular tokens I think could do some damage as well.)

This will be bullet point style, as I’ll try my best to keep it short and sweet, adding in my noob laden perspective as we proceed.

All while trying best I can to stay objective.

Though you should know, I am an unofficial member of the $DOGE army.

Anywho…

1. Bitcoin (BTC) with a market cap at time of writing of.. $881 Billion

The original. The big dog. According to the creator (or creators?) Satoshi Nakamoto, it was made to “allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” Basic enough. But, the world hasn’t been the same since.

2. Ethereum (ETH) market cap $212 Billion

Ethereum is the wonder child of crypto, acts as an infrastructure for decentralized applications, or DApps. It introduced the concept of smart contracts, which are like programs with specific procedures allowing for more to be done on its platform, vs being solely a store of value.

3. Tether (USDT) $31 Billion

This is what is called, a stable coin. Unlike other projects, this one is centralized in order to control fluctuations in price. The goal of a stable coin to remain pegged to another currency acting as a sort of 1:1 exchange. Tether tied to the dollar, so in theory, 1 Tether will always be $1. Probably not the best investment. But still, serves a purpose in the space by keeping other coins somewhat tethered to reality.

4. Cardano (ADA) $28 Billion

This is another blockchain aiming to improve scalability, interoperability, and sustainability. Some dub it the “Ethereum killer” because of their similarities (both are smart contract platforms) but I see them working more in concert as they attack and replace the legacy institutions currently in place. What makes Cardano a little bit different to Ethereum is that those who hold the cryptocurrency have voting rights and can effectively contribute to any future changes in the software.

5. Ripple (XRP): $26 Billion

Ripple markets itself as a digital asset built for payments. In this way, it’s more PayPal than Bitcoin. You should also know, it is more centralized than not, as their goal is geared to being a bridge between governments and cryptocurrencies. Despite this, SEC got involved early, and apparently some don’t see much of a future for Ripple after that whole fiasco. But still. Worth a look in my book.

6. Polkadot (DOT): $26 Billion

Aside from having far and away the coolest name, Polkadot is an open-source protocol aimed at connecting different blockchains allowing them to work together, and transfer data. Some also put this coin in the “Ethereum killer” category, but you already know my perspective on that.

7. Binance Coin (BNB): $20 Billion

Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange, like Coinbase, but geared more towards active traders. BNB is the coin associated with the platform, and it is often the asset you use to “buy in” before trading out with other tokens. It’s value comes from its utility, as Binance is the most popular trading platform and fees are less pronounced when one uses the BNB token instead of others, such as Tether.

8. Litecoin (LTC): $14 Billion

Bitcoin’s cousin, faster transactions and lower fees. Just hit $200 yesterday, and looking healthy moving forward. Who knows, maybe this will end up being the silver to Bitcoin’s gold.

9. Chainlink (LINK): $13 Billion

The main idea of this project is to be a link between smart contracts and real-world data. It is the first mover in the “oracle” space, meaning it’s function is as a verifier of data which can then be unlocked and used for different commercial or individual applications.

10. Stellar (XLM): $12 Billion

Stellar is one of the coins aiming to be the true internet currency. Their goal is to maximize processing times and lower fees in order to achieve mass adoption and scalability. One of the problems with options like Bitcoin is that it is super slow, and energy inefficient. Stellar want’s to change that, and by doing so unlock another layer of utility for smaller transactions.

11. Bitcoin Cash (BCH): $11 Billion

Bitcoin Cash is like Litecoin, and Stellar for that matter. It is also the most famous “fork” off the original Bitcoin development project. From what I can see, it remains truer to the original vision laid out in the Bitcoin whitepaper penned by Mr Nakamoto, but that might get me in trouble with some BTC maximalists so, I’ll keep those views to myself for now.

12. Dogecoin (DOGE): $9 Billion

My personal favorite, Dogecoin is a joke. Literally, it’s based off a meme from 2012. Pretty much a copy of bitcoin, with a few improvements here and there, so it’s not useless, but its value comes entirely from its boisterous community dubbed, the Doge Army. Since all money is fake, we get to choose which ones we support, I just like ones that are more, say… self-aware.

13. Uniswap (UNI): $7 Billion

One of the recent additions to the space, and quickly revolutionizing the potential of DeFi. It is an exchange, like Binance. But unlike Binance, it is decentralized. Meaning, you can swap out tokens using its platform without having to go through a central hub that monitors your transactions.

14. USD Coin (USDC) $7 Billion

Another stable coin pegged to the US dollar. Some prefer it to other options like the previously mentioned Tether as this is the official stable coin issued by Coinbase.

15. Aave (AAVE) $6 Billion

Take a bank, make it decentralized. Here, liquidity comes directly from users who are then able to earn fees from borrows. Aave is a decentralized protocol to earn interest on your deposits and borrow digital assets. It’s also what is called, non-custodial — meaning you are the direct owner of your funds and are responsible for them. Also, it seems to be a favourite of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. You can take that for what it’s worth. I think it’s worth a lot. Apparently, others do too, as it only went live in January of 2020, and now, it currently houses over 5 billion dollars in assets.

16. Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC): $6 Billion

This is just bitcoin. But “wrapped” in Ethereum so that it can be used for DeFi applications, such as MetaMask. I have no idea how this works technologically, but practically it seems simple enough. And the price usually remains in lockstep with the original BTC for this reason.

17. EOS.io (EOS): $5 Billion

Another blockchain, this one aimed at being highly scalable for commercial use. It wants to make it as straightforward as possible for programmers to embrace blockchain technology, and so simplification and adoption are its main two foci.

18. Cosmos (ATOM): $4 Billion

Several independent blockchains trying to create an “internet of blockchains”. They are trying to create a network, or ecosystem of various other crypto assets united by open source tools that streamline interoperability.

19. Bitcoin SV (BSV): $4 Billion

Another fork… hooray. SV stands for Satoshi Vision, and as you can probably notice by now, its not all hugs and kisses between some in the development space, from what I understand, most of the disagreement come from the actual block size. BTC has a 1mb size bloc, which is tiny, making scaling difficult. The alternatives, such as BSV, solve this problem by unbounding the size of the blocks, allowing them to grow as the userbase grows.

20. Monero (XMR): $4 Billion

A privacy first coin offering, one of the OGs in the space, and often marred by the rest of the community. Though I’m not sure why. Bitcoin was supposed to be private, that is, until Coinbase and other centralized exchanges came along. With Monero, you will never have to worry about big brother tracking your drug transactions. Jk. But seriously.

21. Tezos (XTZ): $4 Billion

Another blockchain for smart contracts, like Ethereum and Cardano. But more eco-friendly. Overall, trying to encompass different advancements introduced by different blockchains and collate them all into a lightweight and efficient, single protocol. Not a leader in the space, but some good ideas here.

22. TRON (TRX): $4 Billion

Tron is also one of the most popular blockchains to build decentralized applications on. Its founder is a very, lets say, exuberant individual. And you may have seen some like Lindsay Lohan or Ne-yo, actively pumping these projects up… take from that what you will.

23. Avalanche (AVAX): $3 Billion

An open-source platform trying to become a global asset exchange, where anyone can launch any form of asset and control it in a decentralized way with smart contracts. Avalanche has gotten really popular in the past few months, as the use cases are becoming increasingly clear to people who recognize the potential for this disruption.

24. NEM (XEM): $3 Billion

NEM, or the New Economy Movement, is an evolution of NXT developed by a Singapore non profit. Here, instead of controlling just money, you can also control things like stock ownership, contracts, medical records, and stuff of the like.

25. The Graph (GRT): $3 Billion

When I found out about this project, I can’t lie… I got a little bit turned on. This one is saucy, if you like scope and potential for disruption, look no further. GRT is attempting to become the decentralized Google. Effectively it is an indexing protocol for querying different networks and projects and bringing all the information under one umbrella. I think it has the potential to be the most valuable crypto asset in the future if they play their cards right. But of course, we shall see.

IOTA (MIOTA) gets an honorable mention, also right around $3 Billion. Another project aiming to bolster the internet of things, featuring stuff like zero fees, infinite scalability, and secure data transfers. Neat.

Now, for shits and giggles, here are some bonus projects that are far more speculative, but that I personally am a fan of.

Remember, not investment advice. I’m a beginner too.

Money is fake, anyway.

I’m not looking at financials as much as I am looking for genuity.

Teams that are honest, transparent, and bent on making the world a better place regardless of economic incentives.

Basically, I’m interested in ideas.

Ideas, and use cases.

That’s what actually matters after all is said and done.

If people make some profits along the way, so be it.

Crypto shouldn’t be chained to the notion of money (lol).

Talks of tokens and transactions still dominate the conversations as we remain in price discovery mode for a lot of these assets.

But in the future, the real value will be had by the end users.

In the future, crypto driven projects will be as diverse as business corporations are today, and as such, they will need to provide real value.

I am interested in seeing what that could look like.

So, to better grasp what type of ecosystem we’re working with.

Here are my top 10 tokens, outside the top 50.

Again, not investment advice, or value propositions.

Simply untrained eyes making sense of what they can.

10. Pi Network (Pi) — This one is kind of cheating as it holds no monetary value as of now. I like this project because of it’s accessibility. Their goal is to spread the ‘wealth’ by making mining (or the process by which new blocks are minted) something one can do on a mobile phone.

It was started by some Standford PhDs, whove also helped me wrap my head around some of the terminology and potential use cases of crypto as I was just starting out in the space. For that, they’ll always have a soft spot in my heart, even if their coins are worth absolutely nothing. Yet.

Also, if you are interested, sign up using my affiliate link to get 1 Pi starting you off on your crypto journey, and we can make fake money — together.

9. Celo (CELO) — Another mobile first platform, one that is working to lower the barriers of entry into defi and crypto.

With a bit more formal backing and it’s own stable coin, the CeloDollar, this project aims to bring access to the billions who don’t have a computer, or a special key, or an online wallet, or a trading account, but still want the benefits of a decentralized and permissionless reality.

All you need is a phone number, and an internet connection, and you can effectively send dollars anywhere in the world for a fraction of the cost that it would take to move more energy intensive currencies, like Bitcoin.

8. Ark.io (ARK) — Ark.io is a project aiming to empower the end users, and not just the creators. If you can’t tell by now, there’s a bit of a theme.

I like projects that help people. Simple really. What Ark is trying to do is foster an ecosystem where users, developers, and enthusiasts alike can all collaborate on various blockchain solutions for a changing world.

7. Energy Web Token (EWT) — According their website, EWT is “accelerating low carbon customer centric electricity systems by unleashing the potential of open source”.

As a pioneer in the energy space, considering the load many other cryptos can incur on our grid systems, I feel as though this project is one that will become more and more useful as the world transitions to sustainable energy.

6. Decentraland (MANA) — A bit of a different flow, MANA is the coin used in the virtual world, Decentraland.

Think of it as Minecraft, but owned by gamers who buy and sell virtual plots of land, build various attractions or simply explore other peoples creations.

Definitely something to keep an eye on, as the next generation grows up having known nothing but the virtual, offerings like this can provide a safer on ramps vs the more predatory centralized avatar-lite gaming options.

5. Band Protocol (BAND) — Band is an oracle, kind of like Chainlink.

Again, oracles act as links to real world data. The main difference here is that band provides a more user focused and decentralized platform.

Which I’m a big fan of.

4. LBRY Credits (LBRY) — This one seems super cool, especially for me as a writer. Not to mention it’s already up and running with thousands of daily users.

The goal here is to be the standard for decentralized publishing on the internet. Their tagline in fact is, “to do to publishing, what Bitcoin did to money” In addition, they offer a YouTube adjacent service called Odysee that ensures both legitimacy as well as decentrality.

Aka, no one entity can de-platform or censor you just because they disagree. Log onto their website lbry.com to download their apps and see for yourself.

3. Ocean Protocol (OCEAN) — What feels like an under the radar project with big potential. In their eyes, data is the new asset class, and as such, people should be able to unlock and monetize it in such a way that ensures privacy, and respects humanity.

I agree.

2. SingularityNET (AGI) — Another big idea. This one to do with AI. General Intelligence has long been imagined as the end goal for computing, but what if it’s the end goal for human kind?

With sights on being a top dog in the future, Singularity enables anyone to take advantage of a swath of AI algorithms, services, and agents.

Currently, AI exists in silos, accessible only to people with resources or academic degrees. Projects like Open AI and SingularityNet want to change that, giving everyone the chance to access and utilize advancements in computing and decision making for their own projects.

Plus, the head engineer is definitely a kook.

Give them a look.

1. Holochain (HOT) — This idea is definitely hot, as it may threaten to upend every other project that I’ve talked about so far.

Holochain is NOT a blockchain technology. It is something else entirely. Holochain, is what may very well come after this iteration of Web 3.0.

To be sure, blockchain technology isn’t all that new. Having a standardized ledger that everyone can access is actually as old as accounting itself, all Bitcoin did was digitize it, effectively outsourcing trust to the computer.

Holocoin aims to do something different.

Instead of having one central hub everyone needs access to for forming what is called ‘consensus’ among nodes, Holochain instead allows each node to effectively build their own ledger on their own device.

This means (among other things) that here are officially no more middle men. Or middle algorithms.

The paradigm shift moves us from data supremacy to human authority. Another thing I’m a big fan of.

lright.

Those are my picks.

Thie space is vast… and anybody telling you its all crap, probably doesn’t understand it. There are too many independent actors and interdependent projects for it all to be fake.

Of course… there are scams too.

But again, that is the price of discovery.

And as they say, don’t risk what you aren’t willing to lose.

We are currently in uncharted waters, and I’m not sure anybody truly knows how this will end. So I’m just observing, relaying my perspectives, and enjoying the ride.

Hoping a decentralized future is one in which the power can finally rest with the people. In my humble opinion, the upside with that value prop…

Is infinite.

(Parabolic, even. 🤫)

I like big ideas and I cannot lie.