There are over 1000 different crypto-currency or crypto-asset projects in existence at the moment. Here is a summary of the major ones and later, I will be adding some that just happened to hit my radar. It is not supposed to be objective and complete. Instead, I provide you with my opinions and bias that formed as a result of my reading and research and provide what comes to me as the most important and significant about each of them.
What is Bitcoin (BTC)?
Bitcoin BTC is the blockchain and project on which Satoshi Nakamoto implemented his vision of Bitcoin. After he left however, Bitcoin developers continued to make changes to the Bitcoin protocol to a point where, personally, I no longer think it resembles and represents the Bitcoin that Nakamoto wrote about in his Whitepaper that describes what Bitcoin is, its key features and its incentives.
What is going for Bitcoin BTC?
- Most people think it is still Bitcoin.
- Many people are still promoting it as Bitcoin.
What is going against Bitcoin BTC?
- Even though many people still think and promote Bitcoin (BTC) to be Bitcoin, in my opinion, BTC has lost most of what makes Bitcoin as it was initially written and described by Satoshi Nakamoto in the Bitcoin Whitepaper. BTC is Bitcoin in name only.
- The stranglehold of Blockstream, the Bitcoin development team and their financial backers on the direction of the project have taken Bitcoin into a path which will doom Bitcoin BTC from being useable and adopted in the long-run, in my opinion.
- Changes and initiatives such as Segwit, the Lightning Network, and discussions of removing the supply limit of Bitcoin, are warning indicators that people behind the development and implementation of Bitcoin (BTC) now are trying to re-create the same power and structure that we already have, on the blockchain. They just want to do it where they get to have the power, influence and control. They do not seem to care about minimising fees and making Bitcoin BTC a currency for everyone, around the world to use, something that Satoshi Nakamoto clearly aspired to achieve.
What is Ethereum?
It is a cryptocurrency project focussed on incorporating smart contracts.
What is going for Ethereum?
- Being able to program contracts and control the release and transfer of cryptocurrency based on the terms of a programmable agreement, is something that can open a wide range of applications across all industries and so, it is a worthy goal.
- It is just as recognised as Bitcoin (BTC).
- Lots of big money has invested in it already, this means lots of people promoting it.
What is going against Ethereum?
- Ethereum has problems scaling to the dismay of many investors, developers and users. But then again, scaling is a problem for almost all cryptocurrency projects. The only one I think that can scale is Bitcoin SV at the moment.
What is XRP?
It is a cryptocurrency project that focusses on solving problems associated with banking and the banking systems.
What is going for XRP?
- The problems it is trying to solve are huge, and if solved, they can make things more efficient for banks and the banking system, which in turn, offer potential gains for investors, XRP holders and its end-customers, us.
- The people behind them strike me as more professional, as well as legally and financially more aware than most projects.
What is going against XRP?
- There is debate over XRPs decentralisation. Ripple Labs and its executives try to distance themselves from XRP to make it look as though XRP is an independent cryptocurrency. My personal view is that at the moment, Ripple exerts too much ownership, power and control over the cryptocurrency and its eco-system; therefore, I do not consider them as decentralised. One can argue that many other projects also are supported and backed by only one or a couple of huge investors. Still, I do not see a path for Ripple-XRP to ever really be "decentralisable".
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
What is Bitcoin Cash?
This project started when a group of Bitcoin supporters, investors and users saw that Bitcoin (BTC)'s ability to be used as cash was being eroded by the changes that Bitcoin developers began implementing since about 2017. They forked Bitcoin — including its history of transactions — so that they can continue to develop Bitcoin as digital cash.
You read it often times from sources who support BTC that BCH have somehow stolen or taking advantage of the Bitcoin brandname or goodwill. I want to point out that forking Bitcoin is allowed, despite the protestations of BTC fans who do not understand this basic feature of open-source software. It also protects against the hijacking of Bitcoin as a project because other people can always fork it when they feel it is not going the right direction.
What's going for Bitcoin Cash?
- One of Bitcoin's earliest investor, promoter and supporter is Roger Ver. His tireless efforts to get people and businesses to actually use Bitcoin has been carried over to Bitcoin Cash when he, along with many like him who believed that Bitcoin is digital cash, diverted their efforts to developing Bitcoin Cash. In this spirit, the Bitcoin Cash community targetted businesses to use Bitcoin Cash as cash. They managed to achieve some success in Australia and South Korea and Japan doing this.
- I also agree that the use and adoption of a cryptocurrency to pay for everyday goods and services is key to the success of a cryptocurrency project. A true digital, open-source cash that is cheap and easy to send anywhere in the world is still a need that remains unfulfilled.
What is going against Bitcoin Cash?
- Last time I looked into it, the project is undergoing internal conflict between its users, investors and developers. Much of it stems from the fact that they are still tinkering around with the Bitcoin Protocol. In this regard, BCH is similar to BTC in the sense that they are still more or less play-things for developers. How can businesses and enterprises begin building on their protocol when the protocol is very likely to be changed every few months? Huge entities like corporations and governments cannot develop on such fragile, fickle, protocols. Here, I am persuaded more by BSV's approach to "lock the protocol to keep it stable". Everyone else can develop on top of it.
Bitcoin Satoshi Vision, Bitcoin SV (BSV)
What is Bitcoin SV?
Bitcoin SV supporters split from Bitcoin Cash when they noticed that Bitcoin Cash is getting bogged down with changing the Bitcoin Protocol yet again. They believed that Bitcoin could scale with the original protocol that Satoshi Nakamoto released initially. They were laughed at and ridiculed by Bitcoin BTC and Bitcoin Cash BCH investors and developers.
It took a team of BSV developers about a year to re-write the Bitcoin protocol back to as close as they can get it to the original. On February 2020, Bitcoin SV's developers successfully implemented BSV to run on a protocol based on the original. Months on, they have shown that Bitcoin SV has one of the cheapest transaction costs compared to Bitcoin BTC and BCH. It is fast to send, and it can handle large numbers of transactions simultaneously. In other words, Bitcoin SV works as Bitcoin should.
Every argument made about, and in support for Bitcoin before 2017, can be made for Bitcoin BSV because it is the only project in existence now that is committed in implementing Bitcoin as it was described in the original Bitcoin Whitepaper.
What's going for it?
- It works, and it scales.
- BSV sets the protocol in 'stone'. This solves a lot of issues regarding decentralisation, ownership and control. It removes the power and incentives towards a group of people trying to influence and hijack Bitcoin by removing their ability to change the protocol.
- The trap with BTC between 2017-2018 was that most people were mesmerised with its meteoric price rise and the focus became more about the price. It made it hard for developers and entrepreneurs to focus on activities that brought in rewards in the longer term. It seemed more rewarding to buy Bitcoin BTC, hold and watch its price go up.
- Naturally, many BSV fans get excited by the increase in BSV's price, but trading it is dampened down. If you look into the messages promoted in their campaigns, they encourage and support developers and entrepreneurs to build on the network instead. Create things that will make life easier. Do business on the blockchain. I believe this is what matters for Bitcoin to succeed: Focus on the utility, use and adoption. The rest will follow. This is a healthier attitude for a cryptocurrency community to have.
What's going against BSV?
- Many articles and opinion pieces published online paint BSV in a negative light. Over time, however, people will notice that the attacks on BSV are mostly personal attacks on Craig Wright. Arguments that focus on attacking the person, instead of his ideas, is a big sign of weakness to me. It is becoming clearer that Craig Wright was right on many fronts. His hard-headed assertion and insistence that Bitcoin's original protocol could scale, for example, is now proven to be correct. Bitcoin SV now has the capacity exceeding that of Bitcoin BTC and Bitcoin BCH.
This is not a complete list and I will revise this when I have more time. But if you are new to cryptocurrencies, this may lead you towards your early readings.
What about you — Which is your favourite cryptocurrency and why?