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Are Bitcoin Clones like Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin or Bitcoin SV Still Relevant?

By Evan Jones04/26/2024

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Bitcoin is synonymous with the cryptocurrency market, anyone who knows what cryptocurrency is, knows what Bitcoin is. But the Bitcoin you know today as BTC isn’t the only Bitcoin asset out there. Disagreements within the Bitcoin community led to the creation of Bitcoin clones in the form of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV), and less directly, Litecoin (LTC) and Dogecoin (DOGE). 

Let’s first talk about what makes these Bitcoin clones, before diving into their relevance.

Bitcoin Clones?

Litecoin (LTC)

The first of the Bitcoin clones to emerge was Litecoin, which was created based on Bitcoin’s code. The main differences between Litecoin and Bitcoin are the hashing algorithm used for mining, the supply (84 million vs 21 million), and the block time (2.5 minutes rather than 10 for BTC). LTC has extremely low transaction fees, making it possible to use for micropayments and point of sale. 

LTC is still in the top 25 crypto assets by market cap, and it also mirrors Bitcoin’s emission schedule with its own halving events and is a proof of work crypto. It was launched in October 2011.

Dogecoin (DOGE)

Dogecoin, though not directly a clone of Bitcoin, is based upon Litecoin’s code, which in essence makes it a Bitcoin clone as well. Dogecoin also works using a proof of work consensus algorithm, but has an infinite supply. It was created in 2013.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

Bitcoin Cash was the first fork of Bitcoin (BTC). Constantly rising transaction fees on the original BTC network were becoming a bit of a problem for users. As a result, some users wanted to increase the size of each block (which in turn affects the number of transactions that can be included in each) to reduce these costs. 

The debate was never settled and so a hard fork took place on August 1, 2017. As a result, everyone that was holding BTC was given an equivalent amount of BCH.

What is a fork in crypto?

A fork occurs in crypto when there is a difference in opinion regarding the direction of a blockchain project (such as a desire to change the block size for Bitcoin). A fork requires a new chain to be created and allows for the old chain to still function, however, a new asset is required for the new one to function as well.

Bitcoin SV (BSV)

Bitcoin SV is a fork of Bitcoin Cash, which occurred in 2018. This time, some members of the community, mainly Craig Wright (a man who has claimed to be but has never been able to prove himself as Satoshi Nakamoto), wanted to further increase the block size of BCH to 128 MB from the 32 MB it started with (and was the reason it had forked from BTC). The result of this dispute was the creation of BSV from BCH.

BSV (read as Craig Wright) has long claimed to be the best Bitcoin, but there has been little to indicate that the blockchain is actually functional in the way that either BCH or BTC is. BSV has increased their block sizes all the way up to 2GB now, which has led to all sorts of issues, and isn’t considered to be necessary or beneficial. 

The blockchain has had to reorganize multiple times since its inception, meaning two miners discover a block simultaneously in a blockchain, causing a temporary forking in the network. Block reorganization often happens when a network is too slow to reproduce blocks efficiently, meaning that despite the claims of increased speed and efficiency due to block size, BSV is slow in actuality. BSV was delisted by many major exchanges including Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken, in 2019.

Are They Still Relevant?

As far as relevance goes for these Bitcoin clones, BSV is likely the least relevant of them. It has struggled since its inception and delisting from many major exchanges, and most testnet data shows it’s not any more efficient than BTC at processing transactions. 

Litecoin remains a top 20 cryptocurrency asset thanks to its low fees and fast transaction times, and though it is unlikely to ever usurp Bitcoin, it’s a nice alternative and is accepted by many online crypto platforms as a payment currency.

Bitcoin Cash sits in the top 15 crypto assets by market cap, and it is actually faster than Bitcoin along with having DeFi already functioning well on the network. It is also unlikely to usurp Bitcoin, especially since Bitcoin is adding more and more DeFi functionality, but it is still a very good chain that could be used by a good number of people in the future.

Dogecoin, somewhat surprisingly, is the most relevant of the Bitcoin clones. It’s in the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap, thanks to its status as the original memecoin. There is more development being done on Dogecoin than there was in the past because of this notoriety, which in term will keep DOGE relevant.

Closing Thoughts

Bitcoin has had a lot of competition for a long time now, but no competitor ever seems to be able to take its place at the top of the sector. As more and more development continues on the Bitcoin blockchain, including burgeoning Dapps and an NFT market, it will be harder for any of its clones to take its place. They may continue to be relevant over time, but Bitcoin will do its best to continue its role as the gold standard.

Article tags

Beginner
bitcoin
cryptocurrency
investing
Evan Jones

Author

Evan entered the crypto scene in 2017, attracted to the many disruptive possibilities that blockchain could have on current world systems. He has a keen interest in decentralized services, payment processing, and viable NFT use cases such as event ticketing. He spends his days writing with his dog Kobe under his feet, if not on his lap.

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