Bitcoin has practically become a home brand given its predominance in modern parlance. At one time, it was the secret of computer geeks and libertarians that dreamed of a currency to invest in that was free of government or big bank regulation that limited real-world fiat currencies. However, the crypto has now found mainstream success, with brokerages like Robinhood now allowing anyone to invest, making the days of programming computers to mine for it long gone. This is not to say it is not a valuable investment financially; it just lost its identity as “fringe anti-establishment finance.” As classic punk rockers would look towards the pop-punk acts of the early 2000s, so too would many early bitcoin miners view us booking hotels using our online wallets. Should one wish to recapture the feeling of being a first mover in the cryptocurrency market and grow their assets, there are several popular alternatives to choose from.
First, we have Bitcoin Cash, which, while similarly named, is distinct from Bitcoin. It was created in 2017 after Bitcoin investors experienced a schism having to do with Bitcoins scalability or the number of megabytes in each block. In simple terms, some wanted to make Bitcoin transactions faster by any means necessary, and so they created a new offshoot currency. It is also available on some brokerage apps though it has a current lower market value than regular Bitcoin, making it easier to invest in.
Libra marks the private sector’s entry into cryptocurrency as it is both created and forwarded by a subsidiary owned by the social media giant, Facebook. Not much is known as yet as its launch was pushed back to January of next year; what is known is that there will be different versions based on the popular real-world currencies like Libra US Dollar and Libra Euro. According to CNBC, this crypto has already apparently sparked central banks and regulators’ ire due to its potential interference with current monetary policies and encouragement of laundering. Libra ironically proves to capture the anti-establishment vibes even while owned by a mega-corporation.
Litecoin can be seen as a combination of the best parts of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash in that it is decentralized, is becoming more and more widely used, and has fast transaction rates due to its block size. It was created by an MIT grad and former Google Engineer that clearly took notes from Bitcoin and predicted the issues that would later cause its schism. It can apparently be mined with consumer-level hardware, meaning one need not invest in top of the line servers that need to be submerged underwater to prevent overheating.
Finally, we have Ethereum, the second most popular crypto in the world. An open-source platform similarly dubbed Ethereum created it with the intention that it would be used in its fraud-free, unregulated, anti-third party platform. This currency can only be used to trade in its marketplace or buy other existing cryptos, making it the most mysterious and unique of the bunch.