While Bitcoin’s meteoric rise of over 1,000 percent in value has made big headlines, it wasn’t one of the top five best performing cryptocurrencies in 2017. Ripple (XRP) was the highest performing, with a 36,018 percent rise in value. The other virtual currencies in the top five were NEM, Ardor, Stellar and Dash. This ranking compares the value of cryptoassets (both cryptocurrencies and tokens issued on the Ethereum blockchain). The Bitcoin price rise was ranked No. 13.
Ripple 2017 year gain: 36,018 percent
Ripple is a payment system that serves financial institutions. Its technology is designed to enable quick payment options, even across international borders. It launched in 2012 and is self-advertised as having a “five-year track record of stable technology and governance.” Public interest in Ripple increased notably at the close of 2017 as news spread about its growing list of partnerships with traditional financial institutions such as American Express.
NEM 2017 year gain: 29,842 percent
NEM (“New Economy Movement”) launched its blockchain technology and cryptocurrency XEM in 2014. The NEM “smart asset system” is designed to offer many services; it can manage financial assets or store transactions and records such as notarizations, supply chains and ownership records. It can also be used to launch new cryptocurrencies or tokens. Notably, in 2017, Hitachi partnered with Tech Bureau to adopt the NEM-based Mijin Blockchain platform to handle merchants’ membership loyalty programs. NEM’s 2017 growth was 29,842 percent.
Ardor 2017 year gain: 16,809 percent
Ardor (ARDR) is a blockchain platform built on technology from Nxt that launched in 2017. It offers a parent and child architecture in which companies can build Ardor-based services and products on the child chain that are secured by the main chain. Child chain data is “pruned to reduce the size of the blockchain,” which allows Ardor to be fast and scalable. Also, it attributes some of it efficiency to running on a proof-of-stake consensus, which eliminates mining competition. Its value rose 16,809 in 2017.
Stellar 2017 year gain: 14,441 percent
Stellar (XLM) is a global financial blockchain network that focuses on offering quick payment processing and low fees. It was founded in 2014. In 2017, Stallar.org joined IBM and a network of banks to launch a blockchain banking initiative in countries including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga. Stellar focuses on providing innovative banking solutions and financial access, “in particular to the more than 2.5 billion unbanked people in emerging markets across the world.” It also launched the Stellar Partnership Grant Program in 2017, through which it plans to give out millions in USD grants to organizations who will use its technology to “to improve the financial landscape and promote financial inclusion.” Stellar saw a 14,441 percent increase in value in 2017.
Dash 2017 year gain: 9,265 percent
The cryptocurrency and digital money system Dash (“digital cash”) offers private, instant payments with low fees that are based on a global blockchain network. Dash launched in 2014. It’s value rose 9,265 percent in 2017, when it made headlines for launching a blockchain research lab in partnership with Arizona State University. It also partnered up with digital payments provider, Alt Thirty Six, with an aim to serve “cannabis customers, merchants and vendors,” who are often in need of additional financial programs due to a dearth of conventional banking support.