Cryptocurrencies are definitely in this season, and unless there's some giant calamity around the corner, recent history would indicate that they are here to stay. Bitcoin price is achieving new milestones every few weeks, there are new crypto related poker projects popping up everywhere and many poker professionals claim that if you're not investing anywhere between 10 to 50% of your poker funds in cryptocurrencies your bankroll management strategy is most likely not +EV in the current environment.
While many would say that it was a long time coming, cryptocurrencies entered the mainstream - as well as the poker world - rather abruptly and because of that, many players don't know that much about them. The fact that Bitcoin success spawned literally hundreds of imitators doesn't really help the case. In this article, we're going to present you a basic overview of the most popular and most promising cryptocurrencies currently available on the market.
The one that started it all. Bitcoin is credited as the world's first cryptocurrency and it's the main reason for the digital coin boom that we're experiencing today. At its core, Bitcoin is a decentralized, digital currency that only exists online. The maximum amount of BTC is capped at 21 million, with around 17 million currently in circulation.
This market cap that's a result of Bitcoin's initial design has a few interesting properties. While it's true that cryptocurrencies exist in a sort of a legal gray area and the lack of regulation contributes to their volatility, the fact that there are only so many Bitcoins that can exist on the market, makes it so the cryptocurrency is deflationary. There's no government that can print more Bitcoin, and there's no need for any financial entity to oversee Bitcoin due to the blockchain technology that acts as a giant ledger that every BTC user contributes to. There's no 'Bitcoin emission' run by some bank and that prevents inflation.
Ethereum is arguably the second most popular cryptocurrency currently on the market. While ETH is a relatively new invention it's one of the main reason why the word 'blockchain' gained so much traction in recent months. While BTC was designed from the ground up to be a decentralized form of currency, Ethereum serves many other functions.
It has a programming language built into its blockchain which, for example, enables the creation of poker rooms with decentralized random number generation algorithm. If you find all this complicated, well it's because it is. Cryptocurrencies are hard to understand even on a surface level which is one of the reasons why so many people are still reluctant to invest in them.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash is another top dog in the cryptocurrency world as far as value is concerned. The fact that the name of this currency sounds confusingly similar to Bitcoin is no accident. Without going too much into the technical side of things, Bitcoin has some issues with scalability that are compounded by its popularity. In order for the blockchain to work properly, every user has to keep a ledger of every BTC transaction at all times which means that some limit of transactions for any given period of time has to be set, otherwise the ledger might be too big for individual users to store.
In the case of Bitcoin that limit is relatively restrictive - enter Bitcoin Cash. Both currencies are remarkably similar to each other, the main difference being that Bitcoin Cash developers aimed to address some of the scalability issues of Bitcoin, they succeeded and managed to eventually attract the miners making BCH another successful cryptocurrency and a good potential investment.
Lastly, let's talk a bit about Litecoin "the silver to Bitcoin’s gold". It's another old cryptocurrency that aimed to serve a similar function to Bitcoin while addressing some of the scalability issues mentioned above. Litecoin has a few technical advantages over BTC.
It's cheaper and more efficient for the small transactions than its older brother. It also has the advantage of a transparent origin. LTC was designed by a former Google employee Charlie Lee. He's a real person that you can find and interact with on social media which in the world of cryptocurrencies serves as a welcomed bit of reassurance.