Altcoins VS Bitcoin — Can BTC Ever Be Surpassed?
At one point, we have all been crypto virgins, unaware of the extensive potential the cryptocurrency world has to offer. Even then though, we had heard of Bitcoin and probably assumed there was a bit more to the whole story, yet naming just one cryptocurrency apart from BTC has been a true challenge.
Stats don’t lie – there are more than 105 million BTC owners, over 200 million opened bitcoin wallets, and over 50 million active bitcoin traders.
And while there are over 10,000 cryptocurrencies out there to choose from, the majority of them don’t come close to BTC – not in market capitalization nor adoption. There is one thing these 10,000 fellows have in common, though – they are all called altcoins.
The key difference between altcoins is in their project objectives and which chain they exist on. Most altcoins do not exist independently. They are built on top of a layer 1 platform like e.g. Ethereum, Avalanche, or Solana. Altcoins include all cryptocurrencies that are not Bitcoin.
Comparing Market Caps
Market capitalizations naturally vary daily but currently – Bitcoin (BTC) is the number one cryptocurrency with an impressive market cap of over $820,000,000,000.
The next one in line is Ethereum (ETH) with a market cap of over $370,000,000,000. Ether is the first among altcoins and therefore the world’s most famous altcoin. Most people see ETH as the only true competitor for BTC’s superiority, and the biggest Ethereum enthusiasts believe that one day, it’ll be ETH that will take over the crypto world, and therefore the market itself.
Currently, lucky number three is Tether (USDT) – the most adopted stablecoin. Stablecoins are very important for the crypto ecosystem by being a perfect bridge between fiat money and cryptocurrencies – they are also a great and necessary hedging mechanism, especially in times of immense price changes. Tether is not particularly different from other dollar-pegged stablecoins – its value is $1, and its current market cap is just over $78,000,000,000.
Other well-positioned currencies are exchange tokens, other stablecoins, protocol tokens, and memecoins. Why? Demand in crypto, in contrast to other industries, is not always easily explained and rational. Yes, there are perfectly sane, practical reasons why certain cryptocurrencies are in high demand, but often it’s just the global community’s hype for a coin or a project.
The Hype Factor
The crypto market is – no surprise – very volatile. Cryptocurrencies are being traded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all over the world. Sometimes, whale transactions can affect the current value; sometimes, it’s something the American President has said; and sometimes, it’s just Elon’s tweets.
Be that as it may, cryptocurrencies’ value is highly susceptible to external factors and can crash or skyrocket at any time. It’s not a completely illogical market, of course, just a very sensitive one.
A great example of this is Dogecoin (DOGE), currently ranked as the 12th cryptocurrency by market cap. DOGE was no more than a simple memecoin, something created out of pure fun. Then Elon Musk got curious about it, and suddenly, half the world was buying Dogecoin.
Bitcoin still has the biggest and most vocal community – people who are true believers and find BTC the future of finance, and therefore the world. This transmits to ‘normies’, people who are completely out of the crypto world but still can sense the hype.
Ethereum’s community is also vast and diverse since the network itself is highly adopted and used for a lot of different blockchain-based projects. Ether, as a currency, is therefore in high demand and utilized daily.
Centralized projects and currencies tend to have a lot less hype – they are used for their practicality. Often needed but in contrast to the core crypto values of decentralization and anonymity, centralized projects do not usually have viral communities.
In theory, yes, it’s possible to have a cryptocurrency that will change the crypto world so much that everyone will want to own it. Nonetheless, bitcoin technically made crypto and is, in a way, the industry’s father and founder. Being the first sometimes is more than enough.
Can Crypto Be Bigger Than Bitcoin?
Even if we assume that BTC will never be surpassed in total market capitalization – does that mean bitcoin is bigger than crypto?
Probably not. At this moment, crypto is so big that no single part can cause it to break, not even BTC. A bearish market for bitcoin e.g. means a great day for stablecoins. Revolutionary blockchain protocols are being born almost every day now, and even traditional financial institutions are switching lanes.
The world is simply going meta, and nobody can avoid it. Personal choices count, local realities as well, but it’s inevitable – the future of our world is digital. We can surely count bitcoin as one of the key triggers, along with technology in general and societal factors.
Everybody is, naturally, curious to learn which project is the next global phenomenon, where to invest, how much… Truth is, we make both good and bad decisions. The best thing about crypto is that it’s still a young industry, plus you can always try again.
Okay, what’s to take away from this article? Firstly, yes, bitcoin is almost a synonym for crypto, especially in the eyes of ‘normies’. And that’s okay – we have all been there at some point.
It’s very hard to imagine that someday, more people will know about currency x than BTC, yet it’s not impossible. In any case, while being its most renowned ambassador, bitcoin doesn’t define the crypto world. In 13 years, we have really come far – from 1 to 10,000 cryptocurrencies.
And we’re not even mentioning blockchain projects in science, education, healthcare, and various other industries. What about CBDCs, NFTs? It’s growing beyond our imagination, much bigger than we could possibly grasp in 2009. So, buckle up, crypto enthusiasts. This is only the beginning.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not legal, accounting, or financial advice. The information should not be construed as investment or trading advice and is not meant to be a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any cryptocurrencies.