Bitcoin Variants – Why there are so many of them?

There are plenty of cryptocurrencies around, and you can even create one yourself in minutes. Out of all these cryptocurrencies, there are plenty that come with the “Bitcoin” label that you will think are associated with Bitcoin.

 

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Picture Source: DigitalTrends.com

 

The Answer

The answer key is at the end of this article. If you got all of them, congratulations – I hope your obsession with cryptocurrency isn’t damaging your social life. Otherwise, you’re probably wondering why there are so many cryptocurrencies that call themselves “Bitcoin Something,” and there are several answers.

Bitcoin Forks

“Forking” software means creating a new software project using the exitent code in order to improve or fix something. In cryptocurrency these forks are quite popular because:

  • coding blockchains is hard
  • If you hold the forked cryptocurrency, you often get an equivalent amount of the new cryptocurrency, since the ledger has been copied over as well as the base code.

Some Bitcoin forks, like Litecoin and Dogecoin, decided to rebrand themselves, but many have elected to advertise their Bitcoin roots.

Bitcoin is a household name, while knowledge of many other blockchain projects is limited to the crypto-curious. Using the name, then, provides an instant (if sometimes undeserved) credibility boost to the new coin. This isn’t an automatic red flag, though. Some Bitcoin clones really are legitimate efforts to improve on the original.

Bitcoin Scam

Because of the free reputation points, the Bitcoin label is popular for scam-coins. These forks pretty much only exist so the creators can grab some money. Probably the best-known of these was Bitcoin Platinum — a coin designed by a South Korean teenager trying to profit off the Bitcoin market. Hopefully he at least got an A in computer science.

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
  • Bitcoin Diamond (BTD)
  • Bitcoin Private (BTCP)
  • BitcoinDark (BTCD)
  • Bitcoin Atom (BCA)
  • Bitcoin Green (BITG)
  • Bitcoin Plus (XBC)
  • BitcoinZ (BTCZ)

Practically speaking, there is no limit. Anybody with the willingness to learn about blockchains and clone the Bitcoin code can do it, whether you’re a computer scientist or a Korean high school kid. Making a valuable, functioning product is not so easy, but even low-value coins can still be hugely inflated in an environment where most investors aren’t very familiar with the product. Given the rate at which these coins are coming out, though, the biggest future challenge may be finding a new word to put after Bitcoin.

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