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Is the Influx of Alternate Crypto Currencies a Bad Thing?

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If you have been following the crypto currency scene, you have likely seen that we are going through yet another pretty big influx of alternate currencies that are being created at a pretty quick rate. While this seems like a pretty bad thing on the surface, that is not completely true.

I think the best way to view the crypto scene is as one that is going through an early stage of evolution. We are evolving the market by constantly adding new and better features to the coins we use, and we are always working towards pushing the boundaries that were once thought to not even be possible to get past. For example, there is a somewhat new coin called Huntercoin that is not mined through traditional methods only, but also has another awesome benefit: it is part of a game that utilizes the block chain for movements, changes, etc. to the character. Coins that are mined within the game (through game play, and human interaction) can then be brought back out to the real world to be turned in to tradeable currency. This pushes the boundaries by showing that coins can be earned and used in alternate methods than just solely as a form of cash. Instead, we can turn them in to new and exciting adventures. And with this being seen now, there is no telling where the true end is; it is all based on how creative developers can be with their ideas.

The Base of Bitcoin

As far as I am aware, nearly every coin created so far is based on Bitcoin in some way or another. Even if it is not considered as a Bitcoin “clone,” like the scrypt, scrypt-jane, etc. coins, they all come from the same place when it comes to forming a base of which to work from. This is important to understand because it means that there is essentially a framework, allowing much faster development. Now, this brings with it some good and bad of its own, just like any other framework.

Good. The framework is completely open source. Anyone and everyone can see the actual source code that is being used for Bitcoin and other currencies, and anyone can take that and compile it themselves. What is happening out there in the world is easily seen, and we can work as a massive community to help strengthen it and make it better. On top of this, the Bitcoin protocol has, for all intents and purposes, proven itself as being pretty viable. We can argue that the financial aspect of it may not work in the long term (say 100 or so years), but the simple fact is that Bitcoin works great for what it is meant to do; although it does have its flaws as well (like sometimes having ridiculously slow transaction times). With that said, these are all minor flaws that can be changed either in new coins that are created or by altering the Bitcoin source itself, although this would require a majority vote due to the way mining works. In any case, the possibilities here are truly endless; all it takes is someone with a good enough idea and the ability to prove its worth to the community, and the changes can be made.

Bad. The bad part about this is that the framework is often not being used as it should be. A framework should be like a bare bones version of something that is built upon to create awesome applications. Sadly, this does not appear to be happening with Bitcoin as much as you would expect from the open source software field. Instead of using it as guidance, much like we would a writing prompt of sorts or an outline, most people that create new coins are pretty much just doing a copy and paste with minor changes here and there that require no real source changes. For example, changing the block times, increasing or decreasing the rewards, etc. While all of these are resulting in new coins, they do not bring anything new to the table; they are the same thing that we are used to and do nothing to really benefit us.

Pushing to the Next Level

To really push crypto currencies up to the next level, something has to happen: people need to quit messing with what they feel comfortable with, and start pushing the bar higher and higher. Try out new things. Experiment. And bring ideas to life that otherwise may not have even been thought as feasible. After all, Bitcoin itself would definitely fit in this category. Who thought, even two years ago, that Bitcoin would be at the state that it is right now? Pretty much nobody. If they did, they would have snagged every coin on the market back when they were pretty much free.

What I am trying to say here is that the coins themselves being created is not necessarily a bad thing, although it can be if they are just clones of what we already have. By creating newer and better options, though, we are able to find applications that actually give good benefits. Things like helping out with cancer research and DNA protein folding. These things can benefit society as a whole, while still giving the awesome currency exchange we can currently use Bitcoin for. And the more uses one of these coins has, the better off its chances are of survival. Bitcoin is still the big dog right now and likely will be for some time, but it could be taken over at any point by another coin that is deemed as being more beneficial to us as a society. It is these coins that we should be striving towards making a reality, and be pushing for becoming a viable solution.

Bitcoin Can Coexist

A lot of people do not realize this but Bitcoin can hold its own right now. Even if another coin starts to make its come up in the world, that does not mean that Bitcoin is going to crash. We can have tons of different ones that are viable, and all of them can be used by people on a regular basis. Bitcoin can be used as a store of wealth, and Worldcoin can be used for sending funds quickly and easily from one person to another, for example. This idea that only one coin can make it and all of the rest will fail is a little off. We even have many different currencies as it is, such as the USD, AUD and CAD. Just because they are different does not mean that all but one are worthless. The same goes with the cryptos; I think that what is more important than how many we have is how they are used. As long as each currency ends up with its own place in the world, it is possible for it to contain value. As a great example of this, there are some coins that have caps in the billions. These are perfect for things like micro transactions (in games) and gambling without the requirement of risking a large amount of money. While you can, of course, still risk or spend a lot of money by using a massive amount of these coins, the sheer number of them opens up more doors to smaller amounts being viable. While we can not give someone a fraction of a cent in real money, we can do that with something like Dogecoin or Devcoin. Most transactions are going to be bigger than that, but it is still nice to have options. The massive number of ways that this can be used to create new monetization methods is astounding; all it takes is for someone to show viability in one. And that is just a matter of time!

Only the Strongest Will Survive

We are seeing a ton of new coins pop out, but most are going to die off. The strongest ones, though, will succeed. And much like Bitcoin was in the beginning, it can take a while before we see the true potential of a new coin that is released, and before the community starts to push it forward. A coin that we see now that might have already died can easily be resurrected and take its place in the crypto world. In fact, an example of one of these that has gone through this (although on a pretty small scale) is Growthcoin. While it is still not widely accepted yet, it is a prime example of how a coin can die and come back to life a couple of months down the road and start to get support. Despite the creator of it disappearing after its launch, others have taken over updating the source and getting the ball rolling once again.

It is hard to say for certain which coins are going to make it, because what a lot of people do not realize is that being new and exciting is not all that is required. It also requires the community to back it up. To see an example of this, take Primecoin. While it has a pretty cool concept to it, the community just does not appear to want it very much. Vertcoin is another interesting concept, in that it is very ASIC resistant. We may see this one pick up in the near future due to the Scrypt based ASICs that are being released in large numbers now, but we also may not. Just because it solves a problem does not mean that it is going to get the recognition it should. And on the other hand, we have Dogecoin. This is a coin that really brings nothing new to the table, but it does have a very large community to help back it. This has made the coin quite successful, and has proven that as long as there are enough people standing behind an idea, they can help make it work.

Preparing for the Future

With new tools being released that make launching a new coin even easier, and multiple developers that are willing to create them for a small amount of money, we can expect many more coin releases to happen. When something is as easy to do as this is, a lot of people that do not know very much about the crypto scene and how it works are going to keep jumping on board in the hopes that they can make it rich by releasing a coin and cashing out before its value drops. The goal, as an investor or even just someone who cares about the future of our cryptos, should be to avoid these. Stick with the coins that you believe have potential to them. Whether or not they have value right now, they might in the future. But this idea a lot of people have of quickly mining each new coin that comes out is a bit ridiculous, and it causes a lot more spread of wealth to the coin owners that are going to end up dragging the money back out of Bitcoin, therefore lowering the value of the coins that are designed (and released) for the more long term users. We need to support the long term ideas; not short term. And the only way to do this is to support the coins that have shown that they deserve it, rather than those that we are hoping will make us some quick money.

Conclusion

The massive number of new coin releases is quite annoying, but it is also to be expected. With so many developers around the Bitcoin and other crypto scenes, and with the coins themselves being based on open source software, it makes sense that people are going to keep attempting to make the next big thing. And, of course, there are those that care about nothing other than releasing a coin to make money off it as soon as possible. With all of these things out there, and the numbers constantly rising, it is important to show loyalty to the coins we feel are going to make it. For example, Bitcoin, by far, has the lowest chance of failure out of any coin since it is so widely accepted at stores (like Overstock and Tiger Direct). On the other hand, I0Coin is an example of one that just does not have any real value to us right now.

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