It would appear to me that this current downturn may soon be  over. So let's consider which are the good coins to invest in and which  projects look viable. The growth which we have experienced in the past  couple of years plus the potential which the technology is offering  cannot be ignored. Just take a look at the cryptocurrency marketcap now  when compared to the second quarter of 2016…up over $274 billion.

This  growth has just been amazing and shows that the market remains  resilient despite the recent downturn. So, how should you ascertain  which of the myriad of currencies to invest in? Certainly bitcoin will always offer potential growth in the medium to long term and I  myself do have some in my portfolio. But if you are looking for better  gains, then altcoins and the technology behind them are worth  considering.

A few projects go beyond the function of simply being  able to transfer value and they offer sustainable solutions by way of  decentralized processes. The advent and growth of blockchain technology  is going to change the way we do business forever. The genie is  certainly out of the bottle.

When looking at a potential coin  investment, the first question to ask is does this project fulfill a  need? Then, is there a good chance of mass adoption Does the project  have an infrastructure by way of a capable team behind it? Being able to sustain growth and adapt to the fast changing technology are critical.

Some  projects will burn out and be of little intrinsic value or use after a  short period. Therefore the potential investor must look at where he  feels the project will be in say, a year. Will there still be a demand  for this kind of service or is it just a flash in the pan? Who are the  competitors in this particular arena? Will one project soon supplant the  other? How long has this coin been in existence for and are the team  behind it regularly releasing updates? Well, if the coin has been actively around in excess of 2 years, then the survival chances of the project are looking pretty good.

Those projects which are based  upon a platform are the more significant ones and should be given  consideration when it comes to investing. A coin which has only a feature or two will not have the longevity of those coins which are platform-based. Ethereum is a good example of a platform-based project with people being able to build applications on it and use it for smart contracts.

The Particl Project (which is another coin in my portfolio) also offers an all-inclusive  platform with many features. There is a decentralized ecommerce setup with confidential transactions, encrypted communications and the  possibility to build dapps which can be integrated into the Particl  Desktop. Atomic Swaps allow for many different cryptocurrencies to be  used on the platform, inclusivity being paramount here. Built on the  latest Bitcoin Core Codebase, this privacy coin benefits from the  former's stability and security. The main feature of the coin itself is  its anonymity and when combined with the rest of the platform, it makes  for an excellent setup.

Another aspect to consider when investing,  is what type of return can you get with your chosen coin? Will you run  with either a Proof of Work (PoW) coin or Proof of Stake (PoS) coin?  Bitcoin gets a lot of negative publicity about the amount of electricity  (at times exaggerated) needed to mine new coins. Admittedly, it is an energy draining process which requires a lot of computing power.

Whilst  there are other PoW coins out there which can be mined with a lot less power consumption than mining bitcoin, I myself prefer the PoS concept.

Moreover, Particl Cold Staking, which is basically offline staking, let's you  delegate your coins to staking nodes which stake on behalf of another  wallet without being able to spend the coins. Currently I can enjoy a  4pct annual return and once the Marketplace goes mainnet, I will  additionally have a share of the listing fees. This does not require any  special computing power or special chips, just a server or even a  Raspberry Pi will do. This makes the Part token an attractive  investment, not only because of the staking rewards but also, due to the  breadth and scope of the platform itself, an ongoing appreciation in  value of the token cannot be ruled out.

Certainly there are other privacy coins out there such as Monero, Dash and Zcash,  but these are feature-based coins only without any type of integrated  infrastructure. They are good for the transfer of value but they will  eventually be out-performed by coins which have more to offer by way of  their platforms.

Another coin with a lot of potential is Ark.  With an infrastructure which is a perfect example of a real-use case,  the platform offers blockchain solutions for everyone. These blockchains  can readily be created by anyone in just a few minutes.

With mass  adoption in mind, the team have incorporated many different coding languages and blockchains to give the best experience to users. Arkuses "SmartBridges" which allow blockchains, which are basically  incompatible, to work together. So with this system, Ark can therefore  trigger events on other chains. Users who want to deploy a blockchain  for their own project will find the SmartBridge already built in.

Ark uses the Delegated Proof of Stake (dPos) consensus algorithm. Similar to the PoS used by the Particl Project,  big computing power and concerns about electricity consumption are not  part of the mix. As the name suggests, the network is secured by  delegates of which there are presently 51, all of whom are elected by the token holders themselves. The delegates are rewarded for confirming  blocks and they in turn share these rewards with those who have voted  for them. The project will go far by bringing blockchain technology to a  point where it can be easily accessible to all.

There are some  good opportunities out there and in the not too distant future, I believe that mass adoption of cryptocurrencies will soon be upon us. But let's not forget the naysayers, the doubters and the non-believers. When it comes to trash talking innovation, this was even taking place  around 1879 when the American Register published an editorial informing readers

"it is doubtful if electricity will ever be [widely] used" because it was to expensive to generate."

So in general terms, when  considering to put your hard earned cash into a project, do your  homework. Invest with your head and not with your heart. Don't simply ride on a coin which is flavor of the month as you will most likely end  up with a bad taste in your mouth.