Three of the most famous cryptocurrencies that most people have heard of are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Not only have they survived longer than many others, but they have all maintained their strong positions in the rankings of most valuable cryptocurrencies. Each one has its own unique attributes that they hope will help them compete in an extremely volatile market.
Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency out there and also the original. Created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, Bitcoin is an uncensorable form of money that can be sent peer to peer anywhere in the world, without the need for a third party.
These unique attributes have garnered interest from libertarians, crypto-anarchists, and people unsatisfied with the current status quo of the economic system. It has also received derision from classical economists who point to the volatile price fluctuations as a clear example of a bubble in progress.
Despite being labelled “dead” on numerous occasions, Bitcoin has continued to survive and ultimately thrive. Not only is the price higher than most ever imagined, but there are now whole industries and conferences built around this one invention that was released on a mailing list all those years ago.
As a piece of software, Bitcoin continues to develop and evolve. New ideas such as the Lightning Network and Schnorr Signatures hope to help continue pushing Bitcoin further mainstream, with the ultimate goal being to overthrow the current fiat system. Such lofty goals have caught the attention of US congressmen who have called for cryptocurrencies to be made illegal due to fear of the US losing its hegemony through the use of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
Criticism of Bitcoin is usually aimed at the Proof-of-Work hashing algorithm and the size of the network. Proof-of-Work is energy intensive, and many people have accused Bitcoin of being a waste of precious resources in a time when global warming is on the forefront of many people’s minds.
Ethereum is the creation of Vitalik Buterin and doesn’t directly compete with Bitcoin in terms of its money properties. Instead, the smart contract-based platform has been labelled as a potential “world computer”. Despite this, for many people, cryptocurrencies are merely investment vehicles, meaning the underlying technology often gets overlooked for the price.
Ethereum has seen significant growth in price the same way as Bitcoin has. It has also created plenty of hype and excitement. Due to the nature of Ethereum, it is possible to build tokens on top of the platform. Many cryptocurrencies on the market today are ERC-20 tokens that use Ethereum as a base layer.
Whilst Ethereum has struggled to…
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