If you follow the cryptocurrency markets at all, you already know that 2018 has not been a great year. Leading cryptocurrency bitcoin has lost 74% of its value in 2018, and most other major cryptocurrencies have fared even worse. Year to date, Ripple, Ethereum, and Litecoin are down by 80%, 81%, and 85%, respectively, just to name a few of the other major tokens.
Having said that, there's still a lot of interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, and it's entirely possible that we could see a surge in bitcoin and some of the other major digital assets. However, instead of investing directly in cryptocurrencies, it could be a smart idea to put your money in a business that will do just fine no matter what happens in the cryptocurrency world, but that will do even better if the crypto world has a good year in 2019. With that in mind, here's why Square (NYSE: SQ), NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA), and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) could be worth a look while cryptocurrencies are down after a rough 2018.
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A crypto trading business and so much more
Square has evolved quite a bit over the past few years, from a niche manufacturer of payment processing hardware for small businesses into a lender, person-to-person payments facilitator and so much more.
Growth has not only been impressive but continues to accelerate. The company's adjusted revenue grew by a staggering 68% year over year in the most recent quarter, while payment processing volume continues to climb and subscription- and services-based revenue are 155% higher than a year ago. Plus, the Cash App remains a largely untapped source of potential revenue and cross-selling opportunities.
Speaking of which, Square started allowing its Cash App customers to begin buying and selling bitcoin in early 2018. While the company's $43 million bitcoin revenue during the third quarter isn't exactly a big needle-mover, if cryptocurrencies experience a resurgence, it could certainly evolve into a bigger piece of the pie.
This high-flying tech leader has been cut in half
Graphics chip leader NVIDIA has done extremely well in recent years thanks to booming sales for PC gaming and data center applications. However, another major application of graphics cards -- cryptocurrency mining -- has seen demand fall off a cliff as many mining activities are simply no longer profitable.
In a nutshell, the demand drop combined with an abundance of inventory has hurt pricing power. The company expects cash flow to be depressed for the next few quarters, at a minimum.
For now, NVIDIA is aggressively buying back shares to take advantage of its lower share price -- which is down by more than 50% from its 2018 high. And once the dust settles from the current supply and demand problem, NVIDIA will still have a thriving data center and gaming business to generate cash flow and has several potential future catalysts such as applications for self-driving cars, medical imaging, and robotics, just to name a few, as my colleague John Ballard recently wrote. And while cryptocurrency mining isn't a major revenue stream for the company right now, that could certainly change if bitcoin and other cryptocurrency prices rise to the point where mining becomes worthwhile once again.
Crypto investments and lots of room to grow
First off, Goldman Sachs has backed off from the actual cryptocurrency markets. In September, the investment banking giant reportedly scrapped its plans to open a cryptocurrency trading desk, mainly due the uncertain regulatory environment digital assets are facing right now.
However, Goldman does have substantial capital invested in blockchain- and cryptocurrency-related start-ups. For starters, in 2015 Goldman invested in Circle, a blockchain technology company which recently introduced a U.S.-dollar backed "stablecoin." And just recently, Goldman invested in digital asset custodian BitGo.
So, it's fair to say that Goldman is poised to benefit as blockchain technology evolves. In addition, the company also has a thriving business, including a rapidly growing but still young consumer banking business that could bring in tons of new customers over the coming years.
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Matthew Frankel, CFP owns shares of Square. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Nvidia and Square. The Motley Fool has the following options: short January 2019 $80 calls on Square. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.