by Nick Donahue - December 6, 2018

Top 8 Important Crypto Launches of 2018

As we enter the third quarter of 2018, we have decided to comb through the past and upcoming crypto launches. Below we have provided a summary of 8 of the most important crypto launches of this note. Let’s dive in.

Brave Browser

It’s not everyday that a new web browser launches. Back in 2008, Google launching its Chrome browser was big deal. Fast forward 10 years and Chrome has over 2 billion active installs. But there has been backlash again Chrome — both from people worried about their privacy and others who call the browser a memory hog.

Brave, a new internet browser started by Firefox cofounder Brendan Eich, is looking to solve those problems. Their browser was originally launched back in 2016, but in June 2018 Brave launched a beta that allows a set number of advertisers to display ads in the browser — and allow users to get a cut — providing users control over their privacy and sharing in the profits for the first time in a web browser.

Importantly, Brave represents one of the first mass-market crypto products that has gained significant adoption. To date, Brave has 3 million active users. While Brave has made significant progress since its launch, there’s still a long road ahead for it to contend against heavyweights like Safari, Edge, Chrome, or Firefox itself.

Cardano IELE Testnet

Cardano (ADA) has a $3.4 billion dollar market cap and is the 8th largest crypto at the time of writing. It’s safe to say that when Cardano makes a change, people listen. On July 30, the Cardano project tested the IELE Testnet.As the project says, IELE is a “virtual machine, with its attendant low level language, designed to execute smart contracts on the Cardano blockchain.” The result is a high throughput chain that can implement smart contracts.

This development is significant because it may mark the onset of a “platform war” where previous blockchain platforms like Ethereum may face competition from a newer generation of blockchain technologies. When developers consider a particular blockchain to build decentralized apps (dAPPs) on, a key consideration may be performance as well as interoperability.

Charles Hoskinson, Cardano’s founder, was also a cofounder of the Ethereum project. Currently IOHK — Cardano’s parent company — also manages the Ethereum Classic blockchain.

Augur Prediction Market App

Augur’s prediction marketplace is a public test of an interesting theory. The idea is that crowds may outperform experts in predicting key events. Use cases for Augur may be: political forecasting, event hedging, market predictions (for stocks and crypto), as well as weather prediction. Augur is one of the most popular ICOs from 2017 that has a working product in the market.

Additionally, Augur is already at work predicting current events, news outlets reference predictions made on the Augur network as well. Augur is a rich source of sentiment data, because at the end of the day, it’s a form of gambling. There’s very direct economic incentives for predicting the right results for events. Augur users buy and sell shares for the outcomes they predict, users who predict the correct outcome may cash out their shares for a profit.

The project also represents a real-world use case of oracles. Oracles are trusted data fees that bring external information into smart contracts. Augur is a relatively early experiment on the efficacy of decentralized oracles as well as the need for a prediction marketplace.

Coinbase Custodial Services

Coinbase is one of the most well-known crypto companies. Started in 2012, the Silicon Valley-based company has raised more than $200 million dollars and boasts more than $20 billion dollars worth of crypto assets in its custody.

Most recently, Coinbase has announced Coinbase Custodial Services — an offering designed for institutional investors. Coinbase provides an easy-to-use interface for consumers to trade popular cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ether. But the company also manages the popular exchange GDAX (now called ‘Coinbase Pro’). Their move into custodial services for institutions represents a move to allow institutions to safely store cryptocurrency funds.

With this latest product, the company is targeting hedge funds, family offices, and others looking to get exposure to crypto in a secure, compliant manner. Features of Coinbase Custody include: on-chain segregation of crypto assets, cold storage of tokens, and robust auditing and reporting.

Bitcoin Trial Lightning Network

The Bitcoin Lightning Network aims to solve one of bitcoin’s significant drawbacks as a currency. By offer an additional layer off Bitcoin’s main blockchain, Lightning aims to drastically speed up remittances made in Bitcoin.

As of July 10, one hundred merchants have been selected to participate in the Lightning Network pilot program. Adoption of the Lighting Network increases the feasibility of Bitcoin becoming a widely adopted currency, allowing it to “cross the chasm” from early adopters to the majority of consumers. Every blockchain project runs into scalability issues and Lightning may be a viable long-term solution that has importance beyond BTC itself. By leveraging a second chain, the theoretical limit of transactions per second across any blockchain can be dramatically improved.

Coingate, the Lithuanian crypto payments provider, is staging the trial of the Lightning Network.

Zug Swiss Municipal Vote

The Swiss city of Zug has always been a crypto-forward region, earning it the nickname of Crypto Valley. The region houses a number of crypto startups and, in 2016, they even began accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as a valid form of payment for certain government services.

In another first, Zug has reportedly become the first Swiss municipality to vote using blockchain technology. The vote will allow individuals to cast their ballots from their mobile devices, leveraging the city’s eID system that was introduced late last year.

While many in other countries are arguing about the merit of crypto, Switzerland — and Zug in particular — has dove head first into acceptance. We look forward to future updates coming from the City of Zug and its local crypto projects.

This may represent a big movement as we look ahead towards streamlining municipal and election voting in nations across the world. This also symbolizes a large step forward for blockchain as organized governments are starting to implement blockchain technology as a solution for problems in the public sector.

The (Pending) Bitcoin ETF

An Exchange-Traded Fund, or ETF, is an investment instrument that tracks a certain set of commodities, bonds, stocks, currencies, or an index. ETFs are popular because of their low fees and their liquidity; they are traded like common stocks on an exchange and are subject to similar market forces that influence stock price.

For example, a common ETF is Vanguard S&P 500 ETF — which has the ticker symbol VOO. By purchasing this single asset, investors have exposure to all of the 500 companies in the Standard & Poors index.

The Chicago Boards Option Exchange, or CBOE, has submitted an applicationto obtain an ETF license for bitcoin. The ETF is being offered through VanEck and SolidX, which are the investment firms that have previously attempted to obtain the same license in the past.

The key separating factors in this new ETF submission stem from the fact that the new application takes into past criticism from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC fears large quantities of retail investors risking their capital without sufficient research, as well as the fact that stolen bitcoins may be impossible to recover. The new ETF application address these concerns with two precautionary measures.

First, shares of the ETF represent 25 bitcoins — making the ETF positioned more towards institutional investors, not common retail investors. And second, the Bitcoin assets in the fund would be secured with $25 million dollars of primary coverage and $100 million dollars of excess insurance coverage to protect investor funds if assets are stolen.

ETFs represent legitimate opportunities for institutional investors of investing in bitcoin — and other cryptos in the future. Several institutions have commented on ETFs, including JPMorgan referring to them as the “Holy Grail for owners and investors”. Investment firms would purchase Bitcoin ETFs at the same exchanges, and following the same regulatory processes, of traditional assets. This reduces the compliance headache and allows firms to both invest and receive returns in fiat, simplifying their tax situation.

This may significantly amplify trading volume of cryptocurrency assets and have a positive effect on prices.

Hilo Crypto Insight Platform

The most important aspect of investing in cryptocurrencies is research. With thousands of cryptos, and new projects launching seamingly every week, we are always looking for new ways of learning and vetting facts about token projects.

Hilo is a social platform designed specifically to help crypto enthusiasts in their pursuits. Whether you’re a newcomer or an expert, the Hilo insight platform brings together the tools needed to power crypto research and the real-time gathering of crypto information.

When we say social, we mean that Hilo allows users to track crypto influencers, learn about what’s in their portfolios, and discuss all things cryptocurrency — something not seen yet in the crypto world. We’re also excited about their feature to provide alerts for comments, price changes, token events, and more.

The Hilo team is launching their crypto insights platform on August 1, 2018 — and we are eagerly counting down to that point.


So far in 2018, we have seen a record number of initial coin offerings. Combined, they have raised over $6.2 billion dollars! If you are interested in learning more about crypto, and closely following the ICO market, be sure to check out Hilo.

We have been hard at work building the Hilo platform that merges the best parts of a social network and crypto community together with detailed statistics and metrics. To learn more about Hilo and the HILO token, please visit the resources below: