What is the Difference between Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

What is the Difference between Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies. In this article we will compare bitcoin with different other cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin vs. Litecoin

Over the past several years, public interest in cryptocurrencies has fluctuated dramatically. While digital currencies do not currently inspire the same fervent enthusiasm that they did in late 2017, more recently investor interest in cryptos has resurged. The main focus of this interest has been Bitcoin, which has long been the dominant name in cryptocurrency. Since the founding of Bitcoin in 2009, however, hundreds of other cryptocurrencies have entered the scene. Although it has proven increasingly difficult for digital coins to stand out given the level of crowding in the field, Litecoin (LTC) is one non-Bitcoin crypto which has managed to stand up to the competition. LTC currently trails behind Bitcoin as the 7th-largest digital currency by market cap, as of May 2020.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Bitcoin has been the dominant name in cryptocurrencies since 2009, but Litecoin and hundreds of others have joined the fray as well.
  • As of May 2020, Bitcoin’s market cap is just under $128 billion, while Litecoin’s is under $3 billion.
  • Litecoin can produce a greater number of coins than Bitcoin and its transaction speed is faster, but these factors are largely psychological boons for the investor and don’t impact the value or usability of the currency.
  • Bitcoin and Litecoin use fundamentally different cryptographic algorithms: Bitcoin uses the longstanding SHA-256 algorithm, and Litecoin uses a newer algorithm called Scrypt.

Similarities Between Bitcoin and Litecoin

On the surface, Bitcoin and Litecoin have a lot in common. At the most basic level, they are both decentralized cryptocurrencies. Whereas fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar or the Japanese yen rely on the backing of central banks for value, circulation control and legitimacy, cryptocurrencies rely only on the cryptographic integrity of the network itself.

Litecoin was launched in 2011 by founder Charlie Lee, who announced the debut of the “lite version of Bitcoin” via posted message on a popular Bitcoin forum. From its founding, Litecoin was seen as being created in reaction to Bitcoin. Indeed, Litecoin’s own developers have long stated that their intention is to create the “silver” to Bitcoin’s “gold.” For this reason, Litecoin adopts many of the features of Bitcoin that Lee and other developers felt were working well for the earlier cryptocurrency, and changes some other aspects that the development team felt could be improved.

Proof of Work

One important similarity between these two cryptocurrencies is that they are both proof of work ecosystems, meaning that the underlying process by which both bitcoin and LTC are mined is fundamentally similar (though not exactly the same, as we will see below).

Storage and Transactions

For an investor, many of the basic elements of transacting with bitcoin and LTC are very similar as well. Both of these cryptocurrencies can be bought via exchange or mined using a mining rig. Both require a digital or cold storage “wallet” in order to be safely stored between transactions. Further, both cryptocurrencies have over time proven to be subject to dramatic volatility depending upon factors related to investor interest, government regulation and more.

Differences Between Bitcoin and Litecoin

Market Capitalization

One area in which Bitcoin and Litecoin differ significantly is in market capitalization. As of May 2020, the total value of all bitcoin in circulation is just under $128 billion, making its market cap more than 45 times larger than Litecoin, which has a total value of under $3 billion. Whether Bitcoin’s market cap strikes you as either high or low depends largely on a historical perspective. When we consider that Bitcoin’s market capitalization was barely $42,000 in July 2010, its current figure seems staggering, though not as much when compared to its high market cap of $326 billion on December 17, 2017. Nonetheless, though the total number of bitcoins is worth substantially less now than it was two years ago, Bitcoin as a network still dwarfs all other digital currencies. The closest competitor is Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, which has a market cap of around $19.4 billion. Thus, the fact that Bitcoin enjoys a significantly higher value than Litecoin is in itself not a surprise, given that Bitcoin is so much larger than all other digital currencies in existence at this time.

Distribution

Another of the main differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin concerns the total number of coins that each cryptocurrency can produce. This is where Litecoin distinguishes itself. The Bitcoin network can never exceed 21 million coins, whereas Litecoin can accommodate up to 84 million coins. In theory, this sounds like a significant advantage in favor of Litecoin, but its real world effects may ultimately prove to be negligible. This is because both Bitcoin and Litecoin are divisible into nearly infinitesimal amounts. In fact, the minimum quantity of transferable Bitcoin is one hundred millionth of a Bitcoin (0.00000001 Bitcoins) known colloquially as one “satoshi.” Users of either currency should, therefore, have no difficulty purchasing low-priced goods or services, regardless of how high the general price of an undivided single Bitcoin or Litecoin may become.

Litecoin’s greater number of maximum coins might offer a psychological advantage over Bitcoin, due to its smaller price as of yet for a single unit.

In November 2013, IBM executive Richard Brown raised the prospect that some users may prefer transacting in whole units rather than in fractions of a unit, a potential advantage for Litecoin 8 Yet even assuming this is true, the problem may be solved through simple software changes introduced in the digital wallets through which Bitcoin transactions are made. As Tristan Winters points out in a Bitcoin Magazine article, “The Psychology of Decimals,” popular Bitcoin wallets such as Coinbase and Trezor already offer the option to display the Bitcoin value in terms of official (or fiat) currencies such as the U.S. dollar. This can help circumvent the psychological aversion to dealing in fractions.

Transaction Speed

Although technically transactions occur instantaneously on both the Bitcoin and Litecoin networks, time is required for those transactions to be confirmed by other network participants. Litecoin was founded with the goal of prioritizing transaction speed, and that has proven an advantage as it has grown in popularity.

According to data from Blockchain.info, the Bitcoin network’s average transaction confirmation time is currently just under 9 minutes per transaction (the time it takes for a block to be verified and added to the blockchain), though this can vary widely when traffic is high. The equivalent figure for Litecoin is roughly 2.5 minutes. In principle, this difference in confirmation time could make Litecoin more attractive for merchants. For example, a merchant selling a product in exchange for Bitcoin would need to wait nearly four times as long to confirm payment as if that same product were sold in exchange for Litecoin. On the other hand, merchants can always opt to accept transactions without waiting for any confirmation at all. The security of such zero-confirmation transactions is the subject of some debate.

Algorithms

By far the most fundamental technical difference between Bitcoin and Litecoin are the different cryptographic algorithms that they employ. Bitcoin makes use of the longstanding SHA-256 algorithm, whereas Litecoin makes use of a comparatively new algorithm known as Scrypt.

The main practical significance of these different algorithms is their impact on the process of “mining” new coins. In both Bitcoin and Litecoin, the process of confirming transactions requires substantial computing power. Some members of the currency network, known as miners, allocate their computing resources toward confirming the transactions of other users. In exchange for doing so, these miners are rewarded by earning units of the currency which they have mined.

SHA-256 is generally considered to be a more complex algorithm than Scrypt, while at the same time allowing a greater degree of parallel processing. Consequently, Bitcoin miners in recent years have utilized increasingly sophisticated methods for mining Bitcoins as efficiently as possible. The most common method for Bitcoin mining consists of the use of Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICS). These are hardware systems that, unlike the simple CPUs and GPUs which came before them, can be tailor-made for mining Bitcoins. The practical consequence of this has been that Bitcoin mining has become increasingly out-of-reach for the everyday user unless that individual joins a mining pool.

Scrypt, by contrast, was designed to be less susceptible to the kinds of custom hardware solutions employed in ASIC based mining. This has led many commentators to view Scrypt-based cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin as being more accessible for users who also wish to participate in the network as miners. While some companies have brought Scrypt ASICS to the market, Litecoin’s vision of more easily accessible mining is still a reality, as a good portion of Litecoin mining is still done via miners’ CPUs or GPUs.

While Bitcoin and Litecoin may be the gold and silver of the cryptocurrency space today, history has shown that the status quo in this dynamic and emerging sector can change in even a few months. It remains to be seen whether the cryptocurrencies with which we have become familiar will retain their stature in the months and years to come.

Bitcoin vs Ripple

While bitcoin remains the clear leader among cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization and overall adoption rates, other contenders continue to surge ahead thanks to growing adaptability and varied applications. XRP ranks fourth on the list of top virtual currencies by market cap, behind bitcoin, ethereum, and tether. XRP is often referred to as “Ripple,” although technically Ripple is the name of the company and network behind the cryptocurrency, and XRP is the cryptocurrency.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at what distinguishes XRP from bitcoin and other top digital tokens.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Ripple is the company that is behind XRP, the cryptocurrency itself.
  • Bitcoin transaction confirmations may take many minutes with high transaction costs, while XRP transactions are confirmed in seconds with little cost.
  • XRP is a technology that is mainly known for its digital payment network and protocol.
  • Many major banks use the XRP payment system.

Bitcoin vs. XRP

Bitcoin operates on a public blockchain ledger that supports a digital currency used to facilitate payments for goods and services. Bitcoin, the network, is primarily known for its bitcoin cryptocurrency (typically referred to as “bitcoin” or by the abbreviation BTC).

The bitcoin network is based on the blockchain concept, a public ledger of verified transactions and record-keeping. Miners verify transactions on an ongoing basis and add them to the bitcoin blockchain which serves as a ledger of all 8 activity across the network. In exchange for their time and the computing power necessary to validate the ledger in this way, miners are rewarded with BTC upon successfully validating certain quantities of transactions.9

XRP, on the other hand, is a technology that is mainly known for its digital payment network and protocol. Aside from the cryptocurrency XRP, Ripple is perhaps even better known as a payment settlement, asset exchange, and remittance system that works more like SWIFT, a service for international money and security transfers that is used by a network of banks and financial intermediaries.10 2

Transaction Validation

Instead of using the blockchain mining concept, the Ripple network uses a unique distributed consensus mechanism through a network of servers to validate transactions. By conducting a poll, the servers or nodes on the network decide by consensus about the validity and authenticity of the transaction. This enables almost instant confirmations without any central authority, which helps to keep XRP decentralized and yet faster and more reliable than many of its competitors.

While the bitcoin network is accused of being energy-hungry due to its mining system, the Ripple system consumes negligible power owing to its mining-free mechanism.

Processing Times and Costs

While bitcoin transaction confirmations may take many minutes and may be associated with high transaction costs, XRP transactions are confirmed within seconds at very low costs BTC has a total supply of almost 21 million cryptocoins, and XRP has a total of 100 billion pre-mined cryptocoins.

Mining and Circulation

Bitcoin uses a proof-of-work system and mining for releasing new BTC tokens, forming an essential part of the validation process, while all of the XRP tokens are pre-mined. For this reason, XRP mining does not exist in the same way that bitcoin mining does.

The cryptocoin release mechanism is different for both BTC and XRP. While bitcoins are released and added to the network as, and when, the miners find them, a smart contract controls the release of XRP.

Ripple planned to release a maximum of 1 billion XRP tokens each month as governed by an in-built smart contract; the current circulation is over 50 billion. Any unused portion of the XRP in a particular month will be shifted back to an escrow account. This mechanism ensures that there will be no possibility of misuse due to an oversupply of XRP cryptocoins, and it will take many years before all the cryptocoins will be available.

Similar to the bitcoin transaction processing fee, XRP transactions are charged. Each time a transaction is performed on the Ripple network, a small amount of XRP is charged to the user (individual or organization). The primary use for XRP is to facilitate the transfer of other assets, though a growing number of merchants also accept it for payments in a way similar to accepting bitcoins.

Real-World Applications

While bitcoin is seeing increasing use by individuals and organizations as a virtual currency, the Ripple payment system is more popular among banks. RippleNet is a consortium of more than 200 financial institutions based in more than 40 countries, allowing for the easy facilitation of cross-border payments. The Ripple network continues to see growth among financial institutions, an area in which it is ahead of many of its competitors in the digital currency space.

Overall, XRP is better for lower processing times and lower transaction charges than bitcoin .

Bitcoin vs. Ripple Example

To understand both with real-world comparisons, below are some analogies.

Peter, living in America, visits Walmart and pays for his purchases in US dollars. He can also use his US dollars to purchase other currencies for trading and investment, like GBP or JPY, and sell them off at a later date for a profit or loss.

Bitcoin is an equivalent digital currency an alternative to real-world US dollars, for example. Peter can make a purchase and pay for it in bitcoins, or he can purchase bitcoins for trading and investments and sell them off at a later date for profit or loss, just like trading any other fiat currency like the GBP or JPY.

If Peter in America wants to send $100 to Paul in Italy, he can do so by instructing his American bank to execute the transaction. After taking necessary charges, Peter’s American bank will issue instructions using the present-day SWIFT system that will credit Paul’s Italian bank account with the equivalent euros (or USD). This process may involve high charges at both ends and takes a certain number of days for processing.

Enter Ripple, the payment and settlement system that also has a currency, the XRP.

Ripple’s payment system uses XRP tokens for the transfer of assets on the Ripple network. The same $100 can be converted instantly by Peter to equivalent XRP tokens, which can be instantly transferred to Paul’s account over the Ripple network.

Upon suitable verification and authentication of the transaction by the decentralized Ripple network, Paul will receive the XRP tokens. He will have the option to convert it back to USD’s or any other currency of his choice, or even retain it as XRP tokens. The verification process is faster than those of bitcoin and traditional money transfer systems.

The Bottom Line

While Ripple works in a bit more complicated way, the above example explains its basic workings. The Ripple system scores better than the bitcoin network for its lower processing times and lower transaction charges. On the other hand, BTC is generally more widespread and better known than XRP, giving it the advantage in other ways.

Bitcoin remains a truly public system that is not owned by any single individual, authority, or government. The Ripple network, although decentralized, is owned and operated by a private company with the same name. Despite both having their unique cryptocurrency tokens, the two popular virtual systems cater to different uses.

Bitcoin vse Bitcoin Cash

Since its inception, there have been questions surrounding bitcoin’s ability to scale effectively. Transactions involving the digital currency bitcoin are processed, verified, and stored within a digital ledger known as a blockchain. Blockchain is a revolutionary ledger-recording technology. It makes ledgers far more difficult to manipulate because the reality of what has transpired is verified by majority rule, not by an individual actor. Additionally, this network is decentralized; it exists on computers all over the world.

The problem with blockchain technology in the Bitcoin network is that it’s slow, especially in comparison to banks that deal with credit card transactions. Popular credit card company Visa, Inc. (V), for instance, procèsses close to 150 million transactions per day, averaging roughly 1,700 transactions per second. The company’s capability actually far surpasses that, at 65,000 transaction messages per second.

How many transactions can the bitcoin network process per second? Seven.² Transactions can take several minutes or more to process. As the network of bitcoin users has grown, waiting times have become longer because there are more transactions to process without a change in the underlying technology that processes them.

Ongoing debates around bitcoin’s technology have been concerned with this central problem of scaling and increasing the speed of the transaction verification process. Developers and cryptocurrency miners have come up with two major solutions to this problem. The first involves making the amount of data that needs to be verified in each block smaller, thus creating transactions that are faster and cheaper, while the second requires making the blocks of data bigger, so that more information can be processed at one time. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) developed out of these solutions. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how bitcoin and BCH differ from one another.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Bitcoin is limited by transaction processing time, an issue which has caused rifts between factions within the bitcoin mining and developing communities.
  • Bitcoin Cash was started by bitcoin miners and developers concerned about the future of the bitcoin cryptocurrency, and its ability to scale effectively.
  • While bitcoin blocks are limited to 1 MB, BCH blocks are 8 MB.

Bitcoin

In July 2017, mining pools and companies representing roughly 80 percent to 90 percent of bitcoin computing power voted to incorporate a technology known as a segregated witness, called SegWit2x. SegWit2x makes the amount of data that needs to be verified in each block smaller by removing signature data from the block of data that needs to be processed in each transaction and having it attached in an extended block. Signature data has been estimated to account for up to 65 percent of data processed in each block, so this is not an insignificant technological shift. Talk of doubling the size of blocks from 1 MB to 2 MB ramped up in 2017 and 2018, and, as of February 2019, the average block size of bitcoin increased to 1.305 MB, surpassing previous records. By January 2020, however, block size has declined back toward 1 MB on average. The larger block size helps in terms of improving bitcoin’s scalability. In September 2017, research released by cryptocurrency exchange Bit Mex showed that SegWit implementation had helped increase the block size, amid a steady adoption rate for the technology.

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash is a different story. Bitcoin Cash was started by bitcoin miners and developers equally concerned with the future of the cryptocurrency and its ability to scale effectively. However, these individuals had their reservations about the adoption of a segregated witness technology. They felt as though SegWit2x did not address the fundamental problem of scalability in a meaningful way, nor did it follow the roadmap initially outlined by Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous party that first proposed the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrency. Furthermore, the process of introducing SegWit2x as the road forward was anything but transparent, and there were concerns that its introduction undermined the decentralization and democratization of the currency.

In August 2017, some miners and developers initiated what is known as a hard fork, effectively creating a new currency: BCH. BCH has its own blockchain and specifications, including one very important distinction from bitcoin. BCH has implemented an increased block size of 8 MB to accelerate the verification process, with an adjustable level of difficulty to ensure the chain’s survival and transaction verification speed, regardless of the number of miners supporting it.

Bitcoin Cash is thus able to process transactions more quickly than the Bitcoin network, meaning that wait times are shorter and transaction processing fees tend to be lower. The Bitcoin Cash network can handle many more transactions per second than the Bitcoin network can. However, with the faster transaction verification time comes downsides as well. One potential issue with the larger block size associated with BCH is that security could be compromised relative to the Bitcoin network. Similarly, bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency in the world as well as the largest by market cap, so users of BCH may find that liquidity and real-world usability is lower than for bitcoin.

The debate about scalability, transaction processing and blocks has continued beyond the fork which led to Bitcoin Cash. In November of 2018, for example, the Bitcoin Cash network experienced its own hard fork, resulting in the creation of yet another derivation of bitcoin called Bitcoin SV. Bitcoin SV was created in an effort to stay true to the original vision for bitcoin that Satoshi Nakamoto described in the bitcoin white paper while also making modifications to facilitate scalability and faster transaction speeds.

The debate about the future of bitcoin appears to show no signs of being resolved.

Bitcoin vs Ethereum

Ether (ETH), the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, is arguably the second most popular digital token after bitcoin (BTC). Indeed, as the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, comparisons between Ether and BTC are only natural.

Ether and bitcoin are similar in many ways: each is a digital currency traded via online exchanges and stored in various types of cryptocurrency wallets. Both of these tokens are decentralized, meaning that they are not issued or regulated by a central bank or other authority. Both make use of the distributed ledger technology known as blockchain. However, there are also many crucial distinctions between the two most popular cryptocurrencies by market cap. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the similarities and differences between bitcoin and ether.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Bitcoin signaled the emergence of a radically new form of digital money that operates outside the control of any government or corporation.
  • With time, people began to realize that one of the underlying innovations of bitcoin, the blockchain, could be utilized for other purposes.
  • Ethereum proposed to utilize blockchain technology not only for maintaining a decentralized payment network but also for storing computer code which can be used to power tamper-proof decentralized financial contracts and applications.
  • Ethereum applications and contracts are powered by ether, the Ethereum network’s currency.
  • Ether was intended to complement rather than compete with bitcoin, but it has nonetheless emerged as a competitor on cryptocurrency exchanges.

Bitcoin Basics

Bitcoin was launched in January of 2009. It introduced a novel idea set out in a white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto-bitcoin offers the promise of an online currency that is secured without any central authority, unlike government issued currencies. There are no physical bitcoins, only balances associated with a cryptographically secured public ledger. Although bitcoin was not the first attempts at an online currency of this type, it was the most successful in its early efforts, and it has come to be known as a predecessor in some way to virtually all cryptocurrencies which have been developed over the past decade.¹

Over the years, the concept of a virtual, decentralized currency has gained acceptance among regulators and government bodies. Although it isn’t a formally recognized medium of payment or store of value, cryptocurrency has managed to carve out a niche for itself and continues to coexist with the financial system despite being regularly scrutinized and debated.

At the start of the cryptocurrency boom in 2017, Bitcoin’s market value accounted for close to 87% of the total cryptocurrency market.

Ethereum Basics

Blockchain technology is being used to create applications that go beyond just enabling a digital currency. Launched in July of 2015, Ethereum is the largest and most well-established, open-ended decentralized software platform.

Ethereum enables the deployment of smart contracts and decentralized applications (dapps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party. Ethereum comes complete with its own programming language which runs on a blockchain, enabling developers to build and run distributed applications.

The potential applications of Ethereum are wide-ranging and are powered by its native cryptographic token, ether (commonly abbreviated as ETH). In 2014, Ethereum launched a presale for ether, which received an overwhelming response. Ether is like the fuel for running commands on the Ethereum platform and is used by developers to build and run applications on the platform.

Ether is used mainly for two purposes-it is traded as a digital rrency on exchanges in the same fashion as other cryptocurrencies, and it is used on the Ethereum network to run applications. According to Ethereum, “people all over the world use ETH to make payments, as a store of value, or as collateral.”

Key Differences

While both the Bitcoin networks are by the distributed ledgers and cryptography, two technically many ways. example, transactions on the Ethereum network may contain executable while data Bitcoin network transactions are generally only notes. Other differences include block time (an ether transaction confirmed seconds compared minutes bitcoin) and algorithms that they on (Ethereum uses ethash while Bitcoin SHA-256).

Ethereum networks are different with respect their overall aims. While was created as alternative national currencies and thus aspires be medium of exchange and value, Ethereum was intended as a platform to facilitate immutable, programmatic contracts, and applications via its own currency.

BTC and ETH are both digital currencies, but the primary purpose of ether is not to establish itself as an alternative monetary system, but rather to facilitate and monetize the operation of the Ethereum smart contract and decentralized application (dapp) platform.

Ethereum is another use-case for a blockchain that supports the Bitcoin network, and theoretically should not really compete with Bitcoin. However, the popularity of ether has pushed it into competition with all cryptocurrencies, especially from the perspective of traders. For most of its history since the mid-2015 launch, ether has been close behind bitcoin on rankings of the top cryptocurrencies by market cap. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that the ether ecosystem is much smaller than bitcoin’s: as of January 2020, ether’s market cap was just under $16 billion, while bitcoin’s is nearly 10 times that at more than $147 billion.

Bitcoin or Altcoin: Can One of Them Replace Fiat?

Many in the cryptocurrency community have spent years predicting that digital currencies will someday take the place of fiat currencies. But mainstream economists tend to

view cryptocurrencies with more than a bit of disdain. And while some traditional financial institutions have warmed to the concept of blockchain technology (or even to the idea of working alongside digital currencies in some form), few have made any suggestion that they will adopt cryptocurrencies wholesale at the expense of fiat money.

While cryptocurrencies have yet to fully take over in the real world in a way that enthusiasts have predicted, there are nonetheless some signs that various currencies are making it in the traditional business space, even if only to a limited extent.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Cryptocurrencies have emerged as a major source of investor enthusiasm over the past decade, with some investors predicting that one or more tokens will eventually supersede fiat currency.
  • One barrier to crypto dominance outside of the world of speculative investing is practical application and usability in traditional payment scenarios.
  • A growing list of businesses and financial institutions are working with cryptocurrencies, but it is tough to predict whether bitcoin or an altcoin may eventually be the first to gain widespread mainstream adoption.

Of course, if one or more digital currencies does end up “making it” in the real world in this way, it’s likely that investors in the cryptocurrency will see great rewards for their early adoption. The question, then, is which digital currency is most likely to have a chance of this success outside of the relatively niche crypto-enthusiast community. Below, we’ll explore some of the possibilities.

Bitcoin

For many, the original major cryptocurrency bitcoin is the one that remains most likely to see mainstream adoption on a large scale. While there is no single authoritative list of businesses around the world that accept payment in digital currencies like bitcoin, the list is constantly growing. Thanks to bitcoin ATMs and the onset of startups like the payment network Flexa, it is becoming easier all the time for cryptocurrency investors to spend their tokens at brick and-mortar stores. Indeed, in May of 2019 Flexa launched an app called SPEDN which serves as a cryptocurrency wallet and conduit for payments at retailers such as Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) and Nordstrom, Inc. (JWN).¹ In this way, bitcoin has outpaced all other digital currencies currently on offer, making itnthe most usable digital currency in the mainstream business world at this point, at least when it comes to payments.

Altcoins

Altcoins, or digital currency alternatives to bitcoin, tend to see lower levels of acceptance among major companies. Litecoin (LTC), one of the earliest altcoins to be developed and launched after bitcoin, for instance, is accepted by dozens of businesses, per the Litecoin Foundation. However, a glance through this list reveals that few of these businesses are major international corporations and that most of the entrants on the list are cryptocurrency exchanges and specialized online stores. This is fairly representative of many other altcoins as well.

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that a list of dozens of companies is far from exhaustive. For this reason, it’s helpful to look to other resources to get a glimpse of where things stand. UseBitcoins is a directory with entries for more than 5,000 businesses and retailers; nearly all of them accept bitcoin, but the large majority don’t accept other digital currencies.³

Coinmap suggests that some 75 businesses in New York City currently accept bitcoin payments. Some of these work exclusively with bitcoin, even going so far as to house their own bitcoin ATMs.

In the end, it’s difficult to assess which cryptocurrency may be able to break into the mainstream business space most decisively. Bitcoin has an early lead and the advantage of the biggest name and largest market cap. However, altcoins continue to grow in popularity relative to bitcoin. For the time being, nocryptocurrency has effectively overtaken fiat in any part of the world. In the end, it may be payment apps like SPEDN which most dramatically open up cryptocurrency payments to real-world applications. If that is the case, because SPEDN in particular allows paymen in multiple cryptocurrencies besides bitcoin, it could be that no single digital token will be the first to make it into the mainstream.

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