Bitcoin isn’t the only crypto, or even the first virtual currency envisioned. Hashcash, B-money, and bit gold are three influential precursors. But Bitcoin was the first to turn heads among the general public and maintain interest. By one count, more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies existed in January 2021. Yet as of writing this, Bitcoin’s total market value is more than double that of the next most popular coin, Ethereum. With this ever-increasing market, why is Bitcoin still on top? Here’s why Bitcoin still rules.
Bitcoin Was Created Solely as a Viable Money System
For starters, Bitcoin was conceived as an electronic cash system. Ethereum was intended not as a rival cryptocurrency but as a platform for distributed app development using Bitcoin’s blockchain technology. In fact, according to Investopedia, Ethereum is “the largest and most well-established, open-ended decentralized software platform.” Bitcoin had no other plan than to become a money system. Its singular focus is likely one reason it leads the crypto sphere.
Altcoins such as Ripple, Litecoin and stablecoins have plans other than simply being a money system as well. Dogecoin, for example, wasn’t conceived as a serious electronic cash system. According to co-founder Billy Markus, it was “created for sillies” in about three hours. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has sound foundational finance principles at its core and has been described by experts as “a well-thought-out, well-distributed store of value that’s lasted for 12 years.” This means that Bitcoin’s main use starts and ends with being an alternative money system, which is much easier for the general public to understand.
Like gold, Bitcoin becomes increasingly harder to mine as we get closer to hitting the 21 million limit that can ever be mined. This scarcity aids its value. Ethereum, on the other hand, has no mining limits, meaning that there is more instability capable of happening to Ethereum than with Bitcoin. The price fluctuates more based on the adoption of the network than in just holding Ether.
Bitcoin Is The Most Popular
Since Bitcoin’s introduction in 2008, it has grown to be the global brand-name crypto. Ever-increasing acceptance and recognition worldwide have formed a robust feedback loop: The longer Bitcoin remains the brightest star in the cryptocurrency universe, the more familiar it becomes to the public and the more comfortable financial institutions become with it. One blockchain consultant recently stated that “Bitcoin is widely recognized by hedge fund managers and banks now as a hedge against inflation and macroeconomic instability.”
Taking a look at the Google Trends for some of the biggest names in cryptos shows just how much more popular Bitcoin is compared to all the others.
Bitcoin’s huge publicity head start over other cryptocurrencies has allowed Bitcoin to establish itself in a way its competitors have not. So many of the small cryptos have gone bust, becoming Dead Coins. As of January 2021, it’s thought that almost 1,900 have failed. While so many smaller coins are failing, Bitcoin continues to grow due to its constant spotlight in the mainstream media, along with greater adoption and acceptance within the U.S. and worldwide.
Other Contributors to Bitcoin’s Rule
A plethora of other factors contributes to Bitcoin’s unique appeal. New all-time high prices and total market value for Bitcoin are exponentially higher than those of other cryptocurrencies. There’s the lingering mystery surrounding the identity of Bitcoin white paper author Satoshi Nakamoto. Who doesn’t love a good mystery? And thanks to its staying power, Bitcoin has an entrenched community, trendsetting lingo, and unflagging mainstream media/social media/blogosphere chatter. Loyalists feel they’re on the inside of something big that’s getting bigger. It’s not just a cryptocurrency–it’s a defining characteristic, not unlike your taste in music. When you know about that little band about to make it big before anyone else, it’s a badge of honor.
Being a part of Bitcoin makes you part of an in-the-know tribe that is part of a movement bigger than themselves.