Marco Verch / Flickr

With a list of nearly 2,000 altcoins, it can be difficult for investors to maneuver through the noise to find worthwhile investment opportunities.

While each investor has his or her own way of evaluating the potential of an altcoin, one particular method that continues to stand out: real-world adoption. This often overlooked metric is integral to finding what average users are willing to use, as all the technological innovation in the world ultimately means nothing if users don’t adopt the platform.

This becomes particularly interesting when you consider that many of the smart contract platforms found within the top-20 coin list are struggling to build a user base for the decentralized applications on their networks. Therefore, it is key to identify the projects actually growing their user numbers, to better estimate market capitalization rankings in the future.

Here are 5 altcoins that are beginning to see real-world adoption.

XRP (XRP) | $0.528 | $21 Billion Market Cap
CoinCodex

Description: Love it or hate it, Ripple’s XRP stands as one of the top altcoins in terms of large-scale adoption potential. Currently, more than 100 financial institutions have joined the RippleNet, and the upcoming launch of its xRapid product will bring its real-world usage to incredible highs. (more)

AltDex 100 Ranking: 2

Steem (STEEM) | $0.8927 | $248 Million Market Cap
CoinCodex

Description: Steem, a blockchain-based rewards platform for publishers to monetize content, is currently the leading social network-driven altcoin. It’s first major application, SteemIt, has already scaled up to an almost 1,000,000 person user base with 70,000 daily active users. The Steem team also recently announced the release dates for its Smart Media Tokens (SMTs), a native digital asset, similar to ERC-20 tokens, on the Steem blockchain that can be quickly launched by anyone to help monetize online content and create incentives to encourage desired user behavior. (more)

AltDex 100 Ranking: 34

Basic Attention Token (BAT) | $0.1763 | $176 Million Market Cap
CoinCodex

Description: BAT is the token associated with the Brave Browser, a privacy-first, blockchain-based platform that aims to supplant the current giants like Google Chrome. The Brave platform, which recently surpassed 10 million downloads, leverages BAT to facilitate publisher adoption by providing a digital currency alternative to ad revenue. At the same time, users that browse on Brave can reportedly earn up to $70 per year just for performing normal daily activities. Interestingly, BAT is reportedly planning to commercialize Twitter and Reddit posts through a tipping-feature that will overlay the platforms. (more)

AltDex 100 Ranking: 41

Pundi X (NPXS) | $0.001491 | $170 Million Market Cap
CoinCodex

Description: Pundi X’s entire business model is real-world utility, as it has developed a number of Point-of-Sale solutions for the easy use of cryptocurrency in payments. Pundi X has reportedly shipped began shipping its terminals to international retail market in Korea, Singapore, and Switzerland. The project is also targeting the Brazillian market, as well as releasing the XPASS card, which functions similar to a debit card to allow users to use their cryptocurrency removed from Pundi X terminals.

AltDex 100 Ranking: 42

Kin (KIN) | $0.000075 | $57 Million Market Cap
CoinCodex

Description: The cryptocurrency built by the team behind the Kik messaging app has proven to be one of the fastest growing in terms of adoption. The Kin ecosystem has been growing rapidly in recent months, even recently passing the total daily active users of all Ethereum (ETH) decentralized applications combined. Just this week, Perfect365, the number one augmented reality beauty app with more than 100 million users, revealed that it has joined the Kin ecosystem to integrate KIN into its platform. (more)

AltDex 100 Ranking: 91

Final Take

Given the speculative nature of the cryptocurrency market, savvy investors may benefit from reviewing the altcoins that stand to gain the most when mass adoption kicks-in. While the 5 projects described above are a good place to start, it’s always important to continue monitoring other major projects as their networks become more mature.

Related: The Complexity Barrier to Decentralization and Cryptocurrency Success
Photo: Marco Verch / Flickr

Disclaimer: This article’s author has cryptocurrency holdings that can be tracked here. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.