Bitcoin still gets the lion’s share of the press, but there are many other cryptographic currencies that are now worth considering. Some of these, in fact, were specifically designed to address shortcomings that have been identified in the grandparent of all crypto-currencies.
The bank-friendly digital currency known as Ripple is likely the most prominent of these. A look at how this Bitcoin alternative and a variety of others aim to improve upon the original could help make the reasons for their appeal clearer.
Going Beyond the Dreams and Ambitions of the Original Bitcoin Enthusiasts
Bitcoin was originally envisioned as a digital-age alternative to fiat currencies that would go on to transform the world. While it has been undeniably influential in many ways, a number of drawbacks inherent to its design have started to weigh heavily on the minds of many fans.
The so-called “cypherpunks” who made up most of Bitcoin’s early adopters were not always the most pragmatic of people. While they were impressive in their earnestness and impassioned advocacy, many of the cryptocurrency’s original thought leaders were not overly interested in practical issues.
As a result, Bitcoin has begun to struggle in a number of respects, at least a couple of which will need to be addressed if it is ever to achieve its original goals. On the other hand, there are also now alternatives that were designed to avoid these problems in the first place.
Pragmatic Solutions to Problems Identified in Practice
The members of this new generation of cryptocurrencies tend to focus on resolving a number of longstanding issues with Bitcoin. Some of those that most often receive attention include matters related to:
- Scaling. Bitcoin was originally designed to support a high level of activity on its distributed network. Over time, it has become increasingly clear that this goal was simply not achieved. With Bitcoin transactions taking longer and longer to process, would-be replacements frequently emphasize speed.
- Legitimacy. Right from the start, Bitcoin has been associated with a variety of shady and outright illegal activities. A newer breed of crypto-currency is trying to avoid this problem through such means as forging relationships with established financial institutions.
While Bitcoin is not about to disappear anytime soon, alternatives that better address issues like these are gaining steam. That will likely prove to be good news for anyone who cares about cryptographic currencies.