The following tweet from Alex Winter got me thinking – what defines a shitcoin?
3h ago I made a #BTC payment.
Default settings on Electrum.
Blockchair shows the TX sitting at priority 20k out of 22k. It probably won't be included in a block today.
My payment keeps losing value by the minute.
Is this a shitcoin? I think it is. ?
— Alex Winter (@realAlexWinter) March 9, 2020
Winter isn’t the first to charge that Bitcoin is, in fact, a shitcoin. John McAfee said as much just last month.
The concept of the shitcoin is prevalent enough to have its very own graveyard. The term has even been used by Calvin Ayre to inadvertently describe his favorite fork of Bitcoin, Bitcoin SV. But, what really makes a shitcoin? Just because you don’t like something, that doesn’t mean it has the same value as shit. And after all, even shit is valuable in the form of manure.
Labeling Bitcoin, which retains over half of the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies, as such seems a little far-fetched when considering its power and presence in terms of raw cash.
What Makes A Shitcoin?
Investopedia defines shitcoin in the following way:
[A] pejorative term used to describe an altcoin that has become worthless. Shitcoin value may disappear because interest failed to materialize because the altcoin itself was not created in good faith, or because the price was based on speculation.
Purely on this metric alone, Bitcoin cannot be a shitcoin – Bitcoin is the original coin and can never be considered an “altcoin.”
A shitcoin has to be defined as something nobody wants and nobody uses. Anything in the top ten cryptocurrencies falls out of this definition, based on trading alone. But, is the presence of trading the only thing that delineates a cryptocurrency from a shitcoin? No. There are other metrics to define a shitcoin.
Shitcoins are marked by a lack of innovation, as well as a weak market. They generally have two or three markets. If they work at all, they’re either not decentralized or vulnerable to 51% attacks. In every way possible, shitcoins underperform compared to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and even Ripple.
As Investopedia says, “shitcoin” is a pejorative, and therefore very subjective. While it’s not accurate for someone to call Bitcoin a shitcoin, it’s certainly to be expected.
Winter’s tweet didn’t have all positive responses, after all. One person directly contradicted Winter’s claims.
I've never paid more than 1sat/byte.
I've never waited more than 2 hours.
90% of my transactions confirm in the next block.
— ᵗᴮᵒⁿᵉ?⚡ (@TboneMacdonald) March 11, 2020
Why Bitcoin Is Not A Shitcoin
While that seems a weak reason to say that Bitcoin isn’t a shitcoin, it certainly is one. But there are better ways to defend Bitcoin’s honor.
Let’s start with the fact that there is high demand for Bitcoin. The same can’t be said for lesser cryptocurrencies, many of which would seem to have greater demand due to their use case scenarios. But this isn’t what we see in reality. We see Bitcoin trading $36 billion over the past 24 hours, compared with Bitcoin Cash’s $3.2 billion. We see a market dominance of 64%.
The market’s not all there is to it. You can fork a greatly marketed version of Bitcoin and still be dealing with a shitcoin. Bitcoin has something else that shitcoin’s don’t, a massive interest from developers, so much so that they vie for control of the repository.
Then there is the wide array of software built for and on Bitcoin. This is a feature of most top 10 cryptocurrencies. Don’t forget the mining interest in Bitcoin, which grows exponentially, as previously discussed.
All of these add up to the fact that Bitcoin is simply not a shitcoin. So, you had one bad experience. That doesn’t mean you get to change the definition of an insult to suit your needs.