Bitcoin’s true purpose is argued about. Some believe it is a store of value similar to gold, and that transaction fees should not matter due to this. Others, however, believe it is meant to be digital cash. When you hand over cash to a gas station cashier, there is no record besides the receipt. No one necessarily knows where that dollar now is, or where it came from. With Bitcoin, this is not exactly the case. Convenient use of Bitcoin involves a certain amount of publicity regarding one’s transactions. This can be minimized, but there are alternatives to Bitcoin for times, or everyday use, which make it easier to conceal transactions.
Today we will discuss one called Monero. Monero is not a Satoshi-based cryptocurrency, but instead it was originally a fork of Bytecoin. One of the immediate benefits of Monero, for the purpose of this article, is that, while it has a blockchain similar to those seen in other cryptocurrencies, the destination and source of funds is not immediately apparent to the public in the same way it is with Bitcoin. Now, the designers of Monero understand that parties may want to reveal the details of a transaction to a third party, and thus parties are able to generate and distribute what is called a “view key.”
The price of Monero and others, including Dash, has enjoyed rises as of recent times while Bitcoin has experienced chaos as well as network congestion. A whole discussion can be had about the effect of the Bitcoin network and value on the interest and price of alternative cryptocurrencies, but the point is that for the purpose of privacy it can be relatively easy and cheap to move into Monero and back out in Bitcoin, or at some exchanges, directly into cash. The obfuscation of transactions relies on both ends of a transaction, so there is still an element of human trust in privately transacting via the Monero network, but the fact that the information is not immediately public makes the cryptocurrency much more like cash.
Dash is also more privacy-focused than Bitcoin. It also has the ability, for the benefit of traders, to transact instantly, within seconds, whereas with Bitcoin – there will always be a delay. Worth mentioning: Serious insufferable swings in Bitcoin price are less likely than with alternatives.
Cryptocurrency as a whole is still very new, and Bitcoin is the first, and probably best, implementation to date. The market has room for more than one option, and this is proved by the recent gains in alternative cryptocurrencies in terms of market share in the space. If Bitcoin ultimately goes the way of gold and becomes harder for people to enter, less expensive (to enter) cryptocurrencies may be an option for some. Ease of use, added privacy features, and other facts may also contribute to the ultimate rise of rivals to Bitcoin. It is hard to see a future where most alternatives get anywhere near the value or utility rate that Bitcoin will continue to expand and enjoy, but it is possible to see perhaps a dozen truly viable alternatives thriving and simultaneously growing.