Cryptocurrency Options Other Than Bitcoin Thriving
Bitcoin may be in its boom phase, except for recent events in December, but it is not the only cryptocurrency to be riding the wave in the past few months. As the media chatter around Bitcoin continues to intensify, many other cryptocurrencies have been benefiting in price. Bitcoin was the first to emerge in the scene but it has been estimated that there are some 80 other cryptocurrencies in existence or close to being launched.
As he buzz around Bitcoin reaches more people, there are new users signing up to take advantage of the cryptocurrency boom. It has driven up prices of these alternative currencies, also known as altcoins. Litecoin has been touted as the Bitcoin alternative but there are several others making their way up the ladder as well.
Pros and Cons of Alternatives
None have come anywhere close to matching Bitcoin’s price of recent months. Litecoin was at a modest $30 to Bitcoin’s $800 plus just a few weeks back. And when Bitcoin dived, Litecoin followed suit mainly due to the fact that Bitcoin is the fiat currency intermediary for trading in Litecoin. There are concerns that these altcoins may be diluting Bitcoin’s chances of seriously replacing or at least matching fiat currency someday.
But there is no doubt that fiat currency is not going anywhere, not anytime soon nor for the foreseeable future. Altcoins should not be blamed. Some say that more altcoins are beneficial. It brings in more users, allows developers to tweak new altcoins to overcome Bitcoin’s shortfalls and can immediately capitalize on the groundwork done by Bitcoin.
However, there is also the risk that the shortfall of one altcoin could tarnish the image of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies at large. It is also open to greater manipulation with scams that could see users out of pocket. While the entire concept was to avoid a single central authority, cryptocurrencies at large may be dangerous without some regulatory body to weed out the ‘good’ from the ‘bad’.
The Future of Altcoins
While many feel that the future of altcoins will strongly follow that of Bitcoin, it is unlikely that all the altcoins that we know of today or that will be developed tomorrow will survive the long haul. Some are sure to carve new paths in ways that Bitcoin has not as yet achieved but others could also be so severely compromised that there may be caution extended towards Bitcoin as well.
Many options are not necessarily bad for the cryptocurrency scene. We live in a world where each country has its own currency. While cryptocurrencies may not share the same characteristics as fiat currency to make a couple hundred types viable, it is allowing greater interest in cryptocurrencies at large.
There is no doubt that Bitcoin alone will not dominate the cryptocurrency scene in the long term. The cryptocurrency hype has caught on and many users, often with lesser resources, may look at altcoins over Bitcoin. What is important to note is that Bitcoin has a larger user, and therefore support base. Altcoins are a viable alternative but not every single altcoin that is emerging.
There will be the winners and the losers at times but altcoins should not be shunned entirely. Some have distinct advantages over Bitcoin and could someday even surpass the first cryptocurrency in existence. It will be interesting to see where and how these altcoins will carve their niched.
The fact is that price alone is not the only factor. Furthermore Bitcoin has limitations. Altcoins have by no means overcome all of Bitcoin’s shortfalls but it has tried to address Bitcoin problems that arise. There is hope that someday there will be at least one stable and highly valuable cryptocurrency, if it is not Bitcoin itself. A single digital currency that can maintain a squeaky clean image and not experience the same obstacles that has been seen of late.