Cryptocurrencies are all the rage these days, particularly with speculative investors. What used to be a “fringe” investment is now front and center in the financial press. Even financial networks like CNBC talk about bitcoin daily and keep a ticker up on the screen showing the current price.
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There are plenty of other options if you want to get your crypto fix away from the big names. Just be aware that each cryptocurrency is unique, and you should consult your financial advisor before you invest in any of these speculative products.
What Are the Top Cheap Cryptos To Buy?
If you’re ready to invest in some crypto, check out the following 10 cheap options that could generate nice returns in 2022.
1. XRP (XRP)
- Coin price as of Oct. 5: $0.4257
XRP is an open-source cryptocurrency that uses an open-source distributed ledger called XRP Ledger. It was developed by Ripple, an enterprise blockchain company that facilitates global transactions. Ripple says XRP was built for payments and can settle transactions faster, more reliably and at a lower cost than is possible over standard global payment infrastructure.
Ripple is currently embroiled in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges it engaged in unregistered securities trading. The company and the SEC have asked the judge to rule based on available evidence as an alternative to going to trial, CoinDesk reported, but there’s no indication yet as to when — or if — that might happen.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the suits, Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity payment product grew ninefold between the second quarter of 2021 and the same quarter in 2022, according to the company’s July 28 XRP Markets report.
Ripple bought back $200 million in Series C shares from one of its investors in what analysts say is a move to strengthen its balance sheet before going public, FXStreet reported. The expectation that Ripple would announce its initial public offering after the SEC lawsuit has gained traction recently when CEO Brad Garlinghouse told CNBC that it would, in fact, explore the possibility of an IPO.
XRP’s price is down considerably compared to a year ago, and you can buy it for well under $1.
2. Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Coin price as of Oct. 5: $0.06323
Dogecoin originated as something of a joke, but it has become quite real for those who have profited from it. The coin is certainly “cheap” at less than $0.07 per coin as of Oct. 5, especially compared to its 52-week high of $0.3388.
Unlike many other cryptocurrencies that serve actual functions, dogecoin was created as a satirical take on bitcoin. Last year, the cryptocurrency rose sharply based on hype on message boards and tweets by Elon Musk. This is the same type of speculation that drove GameStop up by more than 400% in a single week in 2021.
Of course, that likely doesn’t matter to those who have generated real profits and who are still searching for “cheap” cryptocurrencies. And this one could pay off in the coming year. In December 2021, Musk announced in a tweet that “Tesla will make some merch buyable with Doge and see how it goes.”
That said, dogecoin has been hit hard by the crypto sell-off since the beginning of the year. Whether it can continue to pull out of the slump remains to be seen, but plenty of investors see the dip as a buying opportunity rather than a sign of doom.
3. Chainlink (LINK)
- Coin price as of Oct. 5: $7.75
Chainlink describes itself as enabling real-world data and off-chain computation to expand the capabilities of smart contracts while maintaining the upsides of blockchain technology — namely, its security and reliability guarantees. The chainlink price moves in fits and starts and currently sits at $7.75, down more than 71% year over year, giving investors a chance to buy cheap.
4. Uniswap (UNI)
- Coin price as of Oct. 5: $6.51
As a major player among decentralized exchanges, Uniswap automates the trading of decentralized finance tokens between coin holders, allowing anyone who holds coins to create a liquidity pool for any token pair they choose.
Although highly volatile, Uniswap has the advantage of having been an early player in the decentralized exchange space, U.S. News reported. It recently surpassed $1 trillion in total trading volume, albeit from just 3.9 million addresses, suggesting there’s plenty of room for growth.
5. Cardano (ADA)
- Coin price as of Oct. 5: $0.4259
According to Coinbase, Cardano is a blockchain platform built on a proof-of-stake consensus protocol called Ouroboros, which can validate transactions without high energy costs. Its developers say Ouroboros allows the Cardano network’s decentralization and provides the ability to sustainably scale to global requirements without compromising security.
Development on Cardano uses the Haskell programming language. The symbol for the Cardano token, ADA, comes from the 19th-century mathematician Ada Lovelace.
So far, Cardano has an impressive record. By late last year, it had processed over 20 million transactions with no downtime, according to InvestorPlace, and it recently launched ADACash, a rewards token that gained 10,000 users in less than a month.
Upcoming projects include a non-fungible token marketplace and an exchange for DeFi transactions. As of early September, over 1,000 projects were building on the Cardano blockchain.
An upcoming upgrade called Hydra should increase processing feeds dramatically, InvestorPlace reported, which could trigger higher prices. Although Cardano hasn’t announced a release date, previous statements suggest it could be out as soon as late 2022.
6. Polygon (MATIC)
- Coin price as of Oct. 5: $0.8303
Polygon is a decentralized application built on the Ethereum network as a way to expand Ethereum into a multi-chain system. Backed by Coinbase and Binance, Polygon could be the solution developers need to deploy decentralized applications faster, more efficiently and less expensively, Benzinga noted, calling MATIC the most promising “layer two” token — that is, one built on an existing blockchain.
All cryptocurrency investments are highly speculative, but it might be a good sign that MATIC showed resilience during an early December 2021 sell-off, surging 21% while other cryptos plummeted, U.S. News reported.
It has corrected since then amid increasing competition, but analysts say Polygon is backed by a strong team and sound technology, which makes MATIC a good bet in the longer term.
7. Stellar (XLM)
- Coin price as of Oct. 5: $0.1176
Stellar is its own payment network, and it uses stellar lumens as its currency on that network. While the network can be used by anyone, it was envisioned to connect financial institutions making large transactions. On the Stellar network, these types of transactions can be done nearly instantaneously at little to no cost, unlike with traditional, or even competing blockchain, networks.
The price of stellar lumens has been highly volatile over the past year, but industry analysts expect XLM prices to see gains in 2022. You can get a sense of where XLM might be headed by watching bitcoin — prices of the two cryptocurrencies often move in the same direction, according to InvestorPlace.
8. The Sandbox (SAND)
- Coin price as of Oct. 5: $0.841
The Sandbox is a blockchain-based metaverse — a virtual game that uses a “play-to-earn” model that lets users create, buy, sell and collect digital assets in the form of NFTs. They can also create and monetize their own games and earn SAND whenever someone plays them, Benzinga explained.
Pixowl created the game in 2011 to introduce blockchain to mainstream gaming, according to CoinMarketCap. Investors include Atari, Helix and CryptoKitties.
With the current hype around metaverses, blockchain games like The Sandbox might just be getting started.
9. Decentraland (MANA)
- Coin price as of Oct. 5: $0.6913
Decentraland is the token behind an Ethereum blockchain-based virtual reality game of the same name. Securities.io described Decentraland as a 3D virtual world where users buy land on which to develop and monetize content, buy goods and services and visit other properties.
As a metaverse innovator, Decentraland has been signed by Versus Entertainment to help develop its film adaptation of “The Infinite Machine,” which tells the story of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Variety reported.
With a $1.29 billion market capitalization, this cryptocurrency project isn’t exactly child’s play.
10. NEAR Protocol (NEAR)
- Coin price as of Oct. 5: $3.57
NEAR Protocol is a layer-one blockchain designed to be a community-operated cloud computing platform with faster transaction speeds, better output and increased interoperability compared to competing blockchains, according to CoinMarketCap.
Although it lacks the maturity of some of this list’s other blockchains, the collective tasked with updating the initial code and releasing the updates aims to make a highly secure platform that can manage high-value assets like money and identity while providing functionality for “everyday people.” NEAR recently rolled out its own stablecoin, $USN.
A proof-of-stake mechanism called Doomslug secures the platform without driving up costs, and Nightshade technology splits up the blockchain’s transaction history to speed up processing, Benzinga reported. The project has the potential to reduce barriers to Web3 adoption — Web3 being the catchphrase for a blockchain-based internet. To that end, NEAR Protocol recently partnered with Google Cloud. Google Cloud will provide technical support for NEAR Foundation grant recipients as they develop and scale their Web3 projects and decentralized applications, according to Fintech Finance News.
Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.
Data is accurate as of Oct. 5, 2022, and is subject to change.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.