Bitcoin (BTC) is the world’s most popular cryptocurrency and the largest by market cap. However, the top coin has been in a downtrend since November 2021 and has a number of limitations, most notably a lack of support for the smart contracts that have enabled NFTs, DeFi, crypto gaming and more.

A growing number of projects are now building on Bitcoin to expand its utility and chart a new future for the original crypto. These high-risk “new Bitcoin” alternatives can sometimes have more upside potential and offer faster, cheaper and greener transactions than the original BTC.

New Bitcoin alternatives

Let’s take a closer look at five of the new Bitcoin alternatives that are bringing Bitcoin into the future.

1. Bitcoin BSC (BTCBSC) — Moving Bitcoin onto the BNB Smart Chain for faster and cheaper transactions

Bitcoin BSC is a newly-launched project that retools Bitcoin for Binance’s BNB Smart Chain. It’s a BEP-20 token that’s compatible with a huge range of crypto wallets, DApps, DeFi protocols and more.

Source: Bitcoin BSC

Source: Bitcoin BSC

Part of what makes Bitcoin BSC worth mentioning is that transactions on the BSC blockchain cost less than transactions on both the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains.

Bitcoin BSC is also advertised to be far greener than Bitcoin, using less than 0.01% as much energy. The protocol is secured by a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism rather than Bitcoin’s proof-of-work, so there’s no computationally expensive mining required.

Instead, BTCBSC investors are promised the option to stake their tokens to the project to validate transactions to receive additional BTCBSC coins.

Right now, BTCBSC is on presale at priced at $0.99. The Bitcoin BSC project has gotten off to a strong start, raising more than $1 million its first week.

2. BTC20 (BTC20) — Ethereum-based Bitcoin alternative with wide compatibility for DeFi and more

BTC20 is another emerging Bitcoin clone project that’s migrating BTC onto a faster, cheaper blockchain with support for proof-of-stake validation and smart contracts. In this case, the blockchain underlying BTC20 is the widely used Ethereum blockchain.

There are several benefits to reinventing Bitcoin on Ethereum. As an ERC-20 token, BTC20 is compatible with almost all major crypto wallets, DeFi protocols, crypto gaming platforms and decentralized marketplaces.

Source: BTC20

Source: BTC20

BTC20 has slightly higher transaction costs than Bitcoin BSC, largely because the Ethereum blockchain is so heavily used. However, there’s a major convenience factor to having all of the biggest projects on one chain.

The BTC20 presale sold out more than $6 million worth of tokens at $1 per token and was listed on Uniswap in August. The current BTC20 price is $1.20.

3. Bitcoin SV (BSV) — Greener proof-of-work blockchain processing 50,000 transactions per second

Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision, better known as Bitcoin SV or by its token BSV, recycles the original Bitcoin code to try to build a newer, faster and cheaper blockchain.

Source: Bitcoin SV

Source: Bitcoin SV

The biggest and most consequential change that Bitcoin SV makes is allowing larger block sizes. This has a massive impact on the protocol’s throughput. Bitcoin SV can process up to 50,000 transactions per second compared to around 7 transactions per second for Bitcoin.

It also dramatically lowers the effective energy cost of mining. It would take mining thousands of blocks on Bitcoin to achieve what mining a single block on Bitcoin SV does. So potentially, Bitcoin SV found a way to make proof-of-work validation far more environmentally sustainable, avoiding the carbon-emission concerns that plague Bitcoin.

Bitcoin SV’s blockchain also enables support for smart contracts and Bitcoin NFTs. It’s quite forward-looking and has an active development team behind it, so it could adapt to changing crypto industry conditions in a way that Bitcoin cannot.

BSV is currently priced at $30.5, down 42% over the past year.

4. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) — 2017 Bitcoin hard fork held by Grayscale Investments

Bitcoin Cash was an early fork of the Bitcoin blockchain that’s still going strong today. It adopts the same principle as Bitcoin SV of using larger block sizes with more transactions to reduce costs and speed up processing.

Source: Bitcoin Cash

Source: Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash can currently manage around 200 transactions per hour. While that pales in comparison to Bitcoin SV, there are benefits to being more established. Bitcoin Cash was launched in 2017 and has a market cap of $3.75 billion, compared to less than $600 million for Bitcoin SV.

Notably, Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. That means it contains the same data as the Bitcoin blockchain up until the fork took place in 2017. This isn’t the case for most other Bitcoin alternatives, which started from scratch when they launched.

The price of BCH is up nearly 50% over the past year, with a lot of that gain coming around a court decision in favor of Grayscale Investments’ spot Bitcoin ETF. Grayscale has a Bitcoin Cash trust that some investors think could eventually be turned into its own spot ETF.

On top of that, the launch of a Bitcoin spot ETF has the potential to prop up all Bitcoin alternatives. An ETF makes the crypto market more accessible to everyone, and a subset of new investors are likely to start exploring Bitcoin alternatives that offer faster transactions and more features.

5. Bitcoin Gold (BTG) — Bitcoin hard fork that makes mining accessible to all

Bitcoin Gold arose from another 2017 hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. At the time, ASIC processors were making Bitcoin mining increasingly challenging and boxing out individual miners. In the new world of ultra-heavy-duty mining equipment, only VC-backed miners could make money from Bitcoin mining.

Source: Bitcoin Gold

Source: Bitcoin Gold

Bitcoin Gold addressed this by modifying the mining algorithm to make it easier for transaction blocks to be mined. The project also limited mining to GPU processors, which are relatively affordable and already installed on many modern gaming computers and consoles.

In effect, this created a version of Bitcoin that’s mined by individuals, not corporations. It looks a lot more like the early days of Bitcoin than Bitcoin does today.

This approach has kept Bitcoin Gold relatively small, and it currently has a market cap of only $222 million, according to CoinMarketCap. However, BTG has a devoted following and it’s one of the only proof-of-work projects remaining for which individual miners can be reasonably competitive.