Binance Coin and Bitcoin Cash
Collectively, “altcoins” are gaining ground on their bigger cousin. Individually, they are gaining traction among users, gathering communities of developers and users often deeply devoted to their goals.
Bitcoin now accounts for around 60% of the $240 billion crypto market, down from nearly 90% just over two years ago. That fading dominance reflects tough times for the original cryptocurrency since its late 2017 apex.
Bitcoin has almost doubled in value this year, rallying nearly 30% in recent days to touch its highest level in ten months on Tuesday. But last year it lost three-quarters of its value.
That volatility has put off mainstream investors from pension funds to asset managers who are seen as crucial to bitcoin’s growth from speculative token to established asset.
Bitcoin has also struggled for traction as means of payment, its intended usage. Few but cryptocurrency diehards go shopping with the digital currency.
Enter the altcoins.
Binance Coin and Bitcoin Cash, Tether, Monero and Dash: The diversity of their names reflects myriad protocols and groups of users, traders and developers behind them.
They also suffer from high volatility and few are used for mainstream payments. But playing out in their growth is a slow-burn tussle that analysts and academics describe as a race to find the answers to bitcoin’s flaws. It’s one that could shape the evolution of cryptocurrencies and related technologies like blockchain.