Bitcoin And Its Cryptocurrency Challengers: Money Or Mania?

In the beginning, there was Bitcoin.

We’re some way from that beginning now but we’re still looking at cryptocurrency Genesis. Spawned by the first coin’s astonishing price gains and by the increasing use of the underlying blockchain technology, new species are emerging to fight for dominance. And it seems the emergence rate will only increase.

Some of the newer, so-called ‘altcoins’ promise faster transaction speeds and lower costs – two areas where Bitcoin efficiency has lagged. Some seek to occupy niches Bitcoin has been unable to fill. Some offer greater security. Some are frankly weird.

But whatever they do (or aspire to do), altcoins are eating into the original’s market share. Go back to late 2013 and Big Brother Bitcoin accounted for 96% of total cryptocurrency capitalisation, according to Now it’s down to just 35%, much of its lunch wolfed down by a plethora of newer alternatives.

Here we take a look at those alternatives, and at Bitcoin itself, to try and assess the similarities and differences on offer in Cryptocurrency Eden (market cap data taken on January 9, 2018):


Brought into being following 2008’s financial crisis, Bitcoin was supposed to offer a decentralised money supply operating outside the jurisdiction of traditional monetary authorities. The value of its token started to rise exponentially in 2017. Bitcoin futures contracts have been offered by the main US exchanges since December 2017, giving the cryptocurrency a new level of market credibility

Total Market Cap:$255 billion


Another relative old timer, with us since 2011. At the time, the hardware you needed to mine bitcoins was specialised and expensive, making it tough for the average investor to get involved. Litecoin’s underpinnings attempted to widen access to the point where anyone with a decent desktop could take part.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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