There is room for both generalists and specialists in life. Just having "room" is an understatement. Having both generalists and specialists are a necessity. Think of banking, ETFs, marketing, medicine, etc. Does the existence of the S&P 500 preclude the need for the Cathie Wood's ARKK? Do you want your primary care doctor guiding cancer treatments? The answer to both is a somewhat obvious "no," but the next questions should be "why?"
Crypto contains plenty of examples of blockchains sprinting toward their respective corners of specialization. What if Litecoin's opportunity is to sprint toward the epicenter of crypto. To be the best generalist among a constellation of specialty currencies. Either identity, if successfully implemented, secures a long-term future.
As investments, economics, medicine, or almost anything become more complex, the ability to be all things to all people diminishes. Trade-offs become inevitable. Priorities must be chosen at the neglect of alternate ideas or possibilities. You cannot walk two paths at the same time.
Outside of a slice of maximalists, Bitcoin or otherwise, most accept that within crypto there are niches. Those niches have their own gravity. Bitcoin has found and dominates the largest use case so far — hard money no one can control. When a competitor try to dislodge Bitcoin from its throne, they get crushed (Bitcoin Cash). Now, will Bitcoin Cash adapt and recover? I don't know that answer, but I do know BTC is still the only Bitcoin.
With the big dog and its role aside, what other prominent moneys are there in the cryptoverse? There are plenty of pre-mine and cash-grab coins, smart-contract platforms, oracle tokens, and more. These are frequently VC funded, along with profit motives for the founders. They are not first and foremost an attempt to be normal use money any more than trying to buy a pizza with shares of Gamestop. Excluding with wider cryptoverse and focusing exclusively on fairly launched currencies, some themes emerge representing different niches and use cases:
First and foremost, the most essential ingredient to a successfully censorship resistance money is that it can't succumb to a hostile takeover. Nodes, mining, and leadership should be dispersed.
What good is having censorship resistance if every time you transact, your transaction can be tracked and tagged to your name, address, and more. Although the transaction may complete, you are still susceptible to violence/law enforcement if they deem your transaction unlawful. This intertwines with the conversation of fungibility and the need for methods to make blacklisting unworkable.
They like the coin. Small dollar cost per coin, meme-power, and easy to understand principles of being part a coins "tribe" has created billions in market cap both in equities and crypto. Having a trustworthy and likeable brand is most important to hesitant newcomers.
Though many can argue why their favorite represents the best version of any particular factor. None can reasonably say they are best in every factor. Let's take four of the most prominent currencies into consideration.
Since inception, the goal was hard money outside of government control. With a hard cap of 21 million coins, Bitcoin's absolute scarcity is a primary feature. With robust proof of work mining with specialized ASIC miners, an unrealistic amount of upfront capital, ongoing power expenses, and logistical prowess would be required to coordinate and execute a successful attack on the network. With over 15,000 nodes, consensus rules and block validation are maintained globally and outside of any individuals control. The drawback to maintaining this decentralization is a limited block size that can lead to the cost to transact ranging from pennies to more than $50 depending on blockchain congestion.
With the genesis block mined in 2011, Litecoin was created with the intent to be digital silver in the same way Bitcoin is digital gold. Alternately, Michael Saylor has referred to both as digital property. At its core, Litecoin was created to provide a faster, cheaper, and more scalable version of Bitcoin. With a hard cap of 84 million coins to ever be mined, it is absolutely scarce. Due to its increased transaction capacity, average transaction fees have ranged from a fraction of a penny on most days to a maximum of about 5 cents during peak congestion.
Created with lighthearted intentions, Dogecoin has proved to be an easy and viral way to approach crypto. Dogecoin is fundamentally based on the code of its predecessor Litecoin, including having the same mining algorithm (Scrypt). It provided the blueprint for many viral copycats by having a loveable representative, an inflated supply to keep the dollar price to buy less than $1, and a simple mission statement to get behind of "do good every day." This large supply is created by a constant inflation of 5 billion coins per year forever, limiting its role as a store of value.
With a foundation of ring signatures and confidential transactions, Monero makes both participants and transaction amounts untraceable to provide the maximum amount of privacy. These features maintain absolute privacy and fungibility of coins. However, as getMonero.org explains, Monero continues to develop with goals of privacy and security first, ease of use of efficiency second.
Litecoin exhibits the best balance of the (8) characteristics of money.
Litecoin has always shared attributes demonstrated by Bitcoin and Doge. Decentralization, scarcity and robust mining are valued similar to Bitcoin. Lower barrier to entry through a higher coin supply and affordable transactions provide the ability for almost anyone (with or without tech knowledge) to own a whole coin and transact continuously on-chain — all without having the value of your holdings eaten away by excessive transaction fees. However, Litecoin historically has the same lack of privacy as Bitcoin and Dogecoin.
With the introduction of MimbleWimble (MWEB), Litecoin is now shifting its place in the crypto landscape — becoming the most versatile money that provides practical approaches to decentralization, privacy, and accessibility. Until now, both who you are transacting with and the amount being sent have been easily visible to anyone that can connect your identity to your wallet. With the introduction of MWEB, Litecoin joins Monero in the conversation of privacy as a human right, with the belief that no one should be able to peer into your wallet at will.
Next time you consider what to keep in your wallet, consider what is available that lets you:
All this can be done without managing a portfolio of currencies and while maintaining the simplicity needed for the average user. Though each specialist has its expertise and will continue to thrive within its niche, there is now an all-purpose currency available to the masses for everyday uses, Litecoin.
Vitamin Ł (@LtcBtc)