I have been a vocal enthusiast of cryptocurrency for years now, so much so that now I write about it every chance I get. However, when I write about cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin, I occasionally get some flak in the comments. Some Bitcoin lovers can be bizarrely, sometimes hilariously, hostile towards altcoins. The comments range from calling whatever coin I’ve highlighted a “scam,” to being admonished for supposedly distracting from Bitcoin, to being angrily ordered to stop “shilling for altcoins.”
Make no mistake, I love Bitcoin. As the glorious trailblazer of the new age of financial technology and the unquestioned champion of the crypto world, the legendary Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation will always be near and dear to my heart. However, I have still spared plenty of affection for other cryptocurrencies, as I believe that they are an increasingly important complement to Bitcoin’s frontrunner role. For several important reasons, I proudly accept the label of “altcoin shill.”
Competition is good for cryptocurrency
The main reason to support diversity in the cryptocurrency world is because of the positive effects of competition. In the world of fiat currency, the people are forced by law to use government-issued money, removing all incentive to make sure that money retains its value or is useful to its users (especially in countries with strict capital controls like China and Iceland). One of the chief benefits of using Bitcoin is the access to an alternative that it represents, a way out of the downward spiral of fiat devaluation. However, if Bitcoin stands alone in the brave new world of cryptocurrency, it too can become uncompetitive. If viable alternatives exist and are used, Bitcoin has to constantly improve or be replaced.
Altcoins can do things Bitcoin can’t
While flexible, Bitcoin was designed with a specific purpose and set of considerations. Other cyptocurrencies have the ability to build on that basic premise and improve on it, or deviate altogether. Auroracoin benefits from a pre-mined “airdrop” distribution combined with regional branding to expand cryptocurrency in Iceland in ways Bitcoin was unable to. Dash uses a masternode system to provide a more democratized system of development, and provides additional features such as integrated coin-mixing and zero-confirmation transactions. Ethereum transcends the barriers of cryptocurrency’s definition altogether. And Dogecoin does… well, let me know when you figure that out. All of these altcoins provide value beyond Bitcoin’s capabilities.
What if Bitcoin fails?
Finally, there exists a very real possibility of a world without Bitcoin. While the likelihood of the giant of the crypto world going away anytime soon is very slim, we cannot rule out a continuing unresolved block size limit issue (or any as yet unforeseen problem that might arise) rendering the currency uncompetitive enough as to be abandoned. Diversifying the pool of available and readily-used altcoins reduces the risk of cryptocurrency losing the battle once its fearless leader is slain.
I love Bitcoin. But I love cryptocurrency more, and I believe its continued success hinges on the vibrancy and diversity of its ecosystem. The more amazing creations can come out of blockchain technology, the better. Because of that, I’m a proud altcoin shill, and you should be too.