Forget Ethereum: Say Hello to NEM, a Burgeoning Cryptocurrency That Rose Nearly 28,000% in 2017 – The Motley Fool


Forget Superman: If there’s something more powerful than a speeding locomotive right now, and capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound, it’s the cryptocurrency market. Since the end of 2016, the aggregate market cap of all cryptocurrencies has exploded by as much as 4,500%. By comparison, it would take broad-based stock indexes multiple decades to deliver similar returns.

The rise of blockchain technology lifts cryptocurrency valuations

Though there is no single catalyst that can be pinpointed for the rapid rise in cryptocurrency valuations, a lot of credit has to go to blockchain technology. Think of blockchain as the infrastructure that underlies most digital currencies. It’s the digital and decentralized ledger responsible for logging all transactions without the need for a financial intermediary, which is almost always a bank.

Bicycle chains with binary code interconnected to one another to represent blockchain technology.

Image source: Getty Images.

The rise of blockchain technology has come about to potentially correct a number of flaws seen with current payment networks. These include the aforementioned transaction fees that banks take while acting as a third party during a transaction, and lengthy transaction settlement times, which are especially prevalent in cross-border transactions.

Meanwhile, blockchain transactions are being processed and verified 24 hours a day, seven days a week, leading to transaction settlement times that are markedly faster. Also, without a middleman, transaction costs are expected to be significantly lower. And don’t forget that added bit about blockchain