We’re now well into Q4 2020, and Bitcoin is currently the star of the show in the cryptocurrency market. The world’s largest cryptocurrency has been on a tear recently, and sentiment is overwhelmingly bullish. Besides Bitcoin, we’re also featuring a popular privacy coin that’s about to have its first-ever halving, as well as an ambitious blockchain project focused on scalability and interoperability. Without further ado, here’s our top 3 coins to watch this week.
Bitcoin was launched in 2009, marking the beginning of the cryptocurrency phenomenon. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency with a capped maximum supply and a predictable supply schedule. Thanks to its fully decentralized design, users can transact with each other in a peer-to-peer manner without any arbitrary limitations. The Bitcoin network is highly secure and censorship resistant due to the large amount of computing power that is dedicated to mining BTC. Thanks to Bitcoin’s unique properties and strong first mover advantage, BTC’s position as the most valuable crypto asset remains unchallenged. Earlier this year, the third Bitcoin halving reduced the BTC block reward from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC.
Bitcoin continues its bull run
We’re in the middle of a Bitcoin bull run, and BTC will likely continue to dictate the pace of the cryptocurrency market. BTC dominance has been on a steady increase since September, and is currently sitting at just below 65%. Opinions among analysts are divided as to whether a new altcoin season is just around the corner or if BTC will continue to consolidate its share in the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin has been holding above $16,000 for a few consecutive days now, and looks to be in a strong position to make new 2020 highs.
BTC has been trading above the $10,000 price level for well over 100 days, marking the longest such streak in the history of Bitcoin. This year, we’ve also seen an increasing number of institutional players entering the Bitcoin market, including the publicly-traded companies MicroStrategy and Square, who invested tens of millions of dollars in BTC.
2. Zcash (ZEC)
Zcash is a cryptocurrency launched in 2016 that implements privacy-enhancing features with the help of zero-knowledge proof technology. Zcash users can choose to either transact transparently, or use shielded addresses to conceal the addresses and amounts involved in their ZEC transactions. Zcash has two types of addresses – t-addresses (transparent) and z-addresses (private). Zcash is similar to Bitcoin in many respects – the network is maintained through proof-of-work (mining), and there is a maximum supply cap of 21 million ZEC.
The Zcash halving will happen on November 18
Just like Bitcoin, Zcash also has a halving mechanism that is triggered once every 4 years. The first Zcash halving is right around the corner, and will happen at block 1,046,400. Given current network conditions, the Zcash mining is expected to happen on November 18 at around 07:00 UTC. After the halving, the ZEC block reward will fall from 6.25 ZEC to 3.125 ZEC.
In addition to the halving, Zcash will also receive a major upgrade called Canopy on November 18. Canopy brings a community-approved change to Zcash’s block reward allocation, and implements several technical improvements.
The narrative surrounding cryptocurrency halvings almost always tends to be positive, as halvings significantly decrease a cryptocurrency’s inflation rate. In theory, this should help create some positive pressure on the price action. With this in mind, it will certainly be worth monitoring the ZEC markets this week to see if the market displays any additional volatilit.
3. Cosmos (ATOM)
Cosmos is a blockchain project focused on interoperability. Cosmos employs a proof-of-stake design and the Tendermint BFT consensus engine to provide much stronger scalability compared to most other existing blockchains. Cosmos features the Interblockchain Communication Protocol, which is designed to help different blockchain platforms communicate and interoperate with each other.
Public Stargate testnet launch
The Cosmos team has announced the Stargate Testnet Big Bang Program, and are inviting the Cosmos community to help test the new software. Big Bang is designed to test the Cosmos blockchain as it will be following the Stargate upgrade. In the Big Bang program, Cosmos developers and users are engaged in a multichain environment that seeks to simulate a real-world scenario as closely as possible. The final phase of the project will be taking place between November 16 and December 11. If you want to learn more about the Big Bang program, make sure to check out the Cosmos team’s official blog post.
Andrew is a writer that does most of his work on cryptocurrency-related topics. While he’s primarily interested in Bitcoin, he also follows major altcoins and the innovative ideas that new cryptocurrency and blockchain projects are bringing to the table.