The world of Bitcoin is a technological one, which means it’s full of change.
Bitcoin is open source, so not long after it was first released, other versions of the blockchain began cropping up.
The Dawn of Altcoins
Some have persisted, while many have died off. The likes of Dogecoin, Litecoin, and many others is simple enough: they are Bitcoin with some modifications.
In the case of both Litecoin and Dogecoin, the supply model is different from Bitcoin, which has a strict hard cap of 21 million coins.
Litecoin occasionally acts as a test bed for new ideas from Bitcoin. Litecoin was able to implement the Lightning Network before Bitcoin actually did, even though it was an innovation built to scale Bitcoin.
Then there are projects that were built from scratch because Bitcoin wasn’t built for what they wanted to do. Projects like Monero, which comes from another project called Bytecoin, and projects like Ethereum.
In the case of Monero, developers wanted extreme privacy. In the case of Ethereum, decentralized applications. Other platforms have risen in the wake of Ethereum as well, such as Tron, EOS, NEO, and more.
The Age of dApps
These platforms are important because they offer decentralized applications, a key innovation toward mass adoption.
Decentralized applications create the potential for everyone to interface with the blockchain at some level, often needing very little, if any, understanding of cryptocurrency.
dApps can serve general purposes with some enhancements, due to the innovations of the blockchain. For example, there are dApps that offer encrypted word processing, and dApps that offer reasonably good investments, such as MakerDAO.
Whatever your goal, dApps can be a part of it.
But they became infeasible on the Bitcoin blockchain due to transaction fees, which are excessive considering how much Bitcoin is worth.
Therefore chains like Ethereum and EOS have risen to fill the void, with any of the dApp-supporting blockchains processing thousands of transactions an hour.
The Future is Alt
For better or worse, it’s likely that there will be more, not less, blockchains moving forward into the future.
Major companies are also releasing blockchains, just look at Baidu and Alibaba.
The trend will likely continue, and markets like Binance, which list a lot of assets, will continue to get more diverse. BInance has its own blockchain, of course, which in turn supports blockchain tokens that can even lead to new blockchains themselves.