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Top 10 global cryptocurrencies to watch in 2018

Construction Week and Avatrade round up the top 10 cryptocurrencies that could help your business in 2018

Cryptocurrency transactions are said to be cheaper than traditional options.
Cryptocurrency transactions are said to be cheaper than traditional options.

From solar projects to real estate developments, cryptocurrency is rapidly being adopted by the Middle East's business community. 

This January, ACWA Power adopted SolarCoin, becoming the first utility-scale generator to implement the blockchain-based digital asset and currency.

The Saudi Arabia-headquartered developer, owner, and operator of power generation and water desalination plants said in a statement that its adoption of the cryptocurrency would provide it with digital tokens for every MWh of solar energy it produced.

In February, it was revealed that up to 50 luxury apartment units in Dubai, priced in Bitcoin currency, had been sold out.

Entrepreneurs Michelle Mone and Doug Barrowman are the UK-based development team behind the Dubai Science Park homes. 

Of the 1,300 homes under development as part of Mone and Barrowman's project, 50 were available for purchase through Bitcoin

Home prices started at 15 Bitcoins ($120,000; AED450,000), with an upper limit of 45 Bitcoins ($360,000; AED1.35m). 

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are encrypted digital currencies that are transferred between peers.

In essence, they are a sequence of encrypted codes transmitted and stored over a network. All transactions are confirmed and stored on a public ledger, and the system uses other complex techniques to certify and validate the record-keeping process.

Cryptocurrency transactions are also said to be cheaper than traditional options. 

In the following pages, Construction Week rounds up the top 10 cryptocurrencies to look out for in 2018. 

This list has been produced in collaboration with online trading broker, Avatrade

Bitcoin Trading

This mega-powerful currency has not only opened the gate for other currencies, but also leads the cryptocurrency world with pride.

It is governed to make sure no extra Bitcoin is produced, as a maximum quantity of 21 Million Bitcoin units was agreed.

When introduced, the price of $1 was 1,309 bitcoins (BTC). The wheel has turned, and when Bitcoin breached the $2,000 barrier in 2017, meaning 1 BTC was worth $2,000, it was certainly a meaningful milestone to Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was created on August 1, 2017, and generated a new version of the blockchain with different rules. By switching from the main bitcoin blockchain to a new version, the software now has capacity for larger number of transactions.

Ethereum is more than just a currency – it’s like one giant computer housing many computers around the globe.

Ethereum can respond to sophisticated requests. Its ability to store revolutionary computer programs gives Ethereum an edge on Bitcoin and has attracted attention from banks around the world.

This, among other factors, has led to a jump of almost 1,000% this year. 


Ripple can be described as the next generation of payment networks.

Originally set up to engage financial industry leaders, the digital currency has been a leading technology so far.

Ripple is known to have advanced by 71% in a single day.

The very popular cryptocurrency, Dash, has been portrayed by many as Bitcoin 2.0.

This digital asset was developed to remedy some of the weaker parts of Bitcoin.

Developers added new features to Dash, making it faster and more anonymous to its predecessor Bitcoin.


Litecoin is similar to Bitcoin in many of its characteristics, and is also one of the more veteran cryptocurrencies in the market.

However, there are two main differences between Litecoin and Bitcoin – speed and amount. While it takes 10 minutes to create a Bitcoin block, Litecoin demands roughly 2.5 minutes to create a block – meaning four times the speed.

Moreover, Litecoin attracts many users as it can produce four times the quantity of Bitcoin. However, as Litecoin uses highly complex cryptography, mining it is often more complicated than other cryptocurrencies.


Monero (XMR) was created in April 2014 and focuses on privacy, decentralisation, and scalability.

It is a secure, private and untraceable currency system.

Monero uses a cryptography that ensures all of its transactions remain 100% unlinkable and untraceable.


Neo is the first decentralised, open-source cryptocurrency and blockchain platform launched in China in 2015.

It uses a unique blockchain algorithm similar to Ethereum’s model.


Focused on providing secure data communication and payments online, Iota is one of the new generation coins that aim to develop the decentralised blockchain technology even further than its predecessors.

The Iota blockchain has no blocks. Instead, it uses a system called Tangle, which allows free and instantenous transactions.

Its system can handle unlimited transactions and is overseen by the Iota Foundation, a non-profit for maintaining the cryptocurrency as a license-free technology. 


Zcash (ZEC) is a cryptocurrency which grew out of the Zerocoin project in 2016, aimed at giving crypto users a greater level of privacy.

Zcash payments are published on a pubic blockchain, giving users the option to hide some features of identity such as fund sender, recipient, and amount.

There is a fixed total supply of 21 million mined units (same as Bitcoin), 10% of which will go to Zcash’s stakeholders (founders, employees, advisors, and so on).


Qtum was developed by a Singapore-based foundation, and is an open source blockchain project.

It combines a modified Bitcoin Core infrastructure with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

By combining the two best parts of each, it is the merged toolkit for building trusted decentralised applications geared towards a business friendly blockchain.

Those following the digital currency can now agree on a platform that offers direction.

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Construction Week - Issue 725
Jan 19, 2019