Numerous crypto enthusiasts firmly believe that the greatest challenge to Bitcoin’s maximalist “victory” – an achievement unimaginable without mass adoption – comes not from the regulatory caprices of various governments or the ill-intentions of central bankers, but rather from competing cryptocurrency protocols.
A better Bitcoin would therefore be something that not only improves upon Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper and the evolved currency we know today, but that would also demonstrably create global awareness and use-cases above and beyond his/her/their creation.
A “Better Bitcoin”
The question here is obviously not whether decentralized payment protocols superior to Bitcoin’s can be created. There are indeed scores of such initiatives out there, some claiming to offer better privacy, others trumping the “king” on scalability, speed or you-name-it.
A recent example in this regard is Distributed Technologies Research’s Unit-e, developed by some of the brightest minds of the top US universities and sponsored by Pantera Capital and Credit Suisse (!).
Capable of processing up to 10,000 transactions per second, Unit-e is clearly Bitcoin’s superior in this regard, and apparently in several other respects as well.
The real question is however: can anything out there realistically deny – through technological prowess alone – Bitcoin’s very real 10 year head start toward mass adoption?
Furthermore: what exactly does this advantage entail?
Bitcoin Is Proven
Bitcoin is the most recognizable brand of the cryptosphere and while that factors in heavily, there’s much more to BTC’s success recipe.
The top crypto by market cap has been around for more than 10 years now. Thus, more so than any competitor, it is PROVEN technology.
Having weathered everything the real world thus far has thrown at it – in the shape of hard forks, corporate takeover attempts, government bans and good, old-fashioned FUD – it currently stands triumphant (though weather-beaten) and that matters.
To beat Bitcoin, a technologically superior altcoin needs to one-up it in this regard too, and that may be extremely difficult – if not impossible – to accomplish.
Bitcoin Is Not Static Technology
As Tone Vays once put it: the power of BTC resides in the fact that it has some the brightest minds of the world backing it, and constantly working on it. These people aren’t sitting on their hands.
Second-layer technologies, such as the Lightning Network, promise to solve the issue of scalability and speed. An excellent article in CoinDesk summed up many of the improvements that are being implemented to the Bitcoin protocol on an ongoing basis, from sweeping up dust addresses to SegWit – what developer Jameson Lopp described as “lots of small improvements adding up over time to large improvements”.
So is a “Better Bitcoin” really needed?
It most certainly is.
The way things are currently shaping up though, Bitcoin itself is best candidate.
The author is invested in Bitcoin, which is mentioned here.