The way the cryptocurrency markets price things, each coin is famous for the one thing it does best. Many of them have been pigeonholed in this way, doubling down on their key offering, hoping that will save their usefulness and provide their investors with increasing valuations long-term.
Here’s the snag, though: it doesn’t matter. A single special feature won’t be enough to keep any one project afloat. Your favorite coin has to do better.
Most cryptocurrencies are evolving to include the same key features
After the first round of copycat coins came around, Bitcoin’s many children began to adopt differentiating features. Leading up to the great altcoin boom of 2017, many of these were one-trick ponies, Bitcoin knockoffs that did one thing differently, whether that was advanced privacy, faster transactions, tokenized assets, and so on. Now, however, these are starting to become more common across the spectrum of different projects. Many coins have advanced privacy functions. Ethereum, Bitcoin SV and now soon Dash have some sort of human-readable usernames. The days of resting on your laurels are over.
NOT having the same set of key features will spell doom
This means that falling behind the pack on the base slate of capabilities will be fatal in the future. Every coin will be expected to be able to scale, to have fast reliable transactions, to be resistant to 51% attacks, etc. Some projects, like Zcoin, have taken this to heart, borrowing Dash’s masternodes, ChainLocks, deterministic masternode lists, and more in order to be able to fully focus on state-of-the-art privacy. Developers who are too stubborn, lazy, or without foresight to follow suit in some way will see their work fade away unrecognized.
This doesn’t bode well for the Bitcoin knockoffs
It almost goes without saying that the many Bitcoins will probably not fare too well under this circumstance, apart from the original. With a focus on remaining as unchanged as possible, the lack of special features will automatically exclude theses projects from the discussion when businesses and communities seek to build upon them. Right now we’re in the largely speculative phase of the market, but that can only last for so long.
What Will Matter?
The best implementation of a key feature
Now, while this seems to contradict the whole point of this piece, it doesn’t. Having a special feature won’t get you ahead, but having the BEST implementation of an element that’s highly demanded can. Give, for example, usernames: an ugly, difficult to set up and use, or feature-poor username setup used by most projects can fall to one that gets everything just right, right enough to tip the scales and attract new users to the cryptocurrency industry. This likely won’t be in a mundane area like scaling or security, but in something like the aforementioned usability.
The marriage of that feature with a single killer use case
Now, a feature standing above the rest won’t be enough to guarantee success. It has to be paired with a great implementation of a much-desired use case. For example, in the case of usernames, pair it with an extremely elegant payment app/wallet. For privacy, pair it with a highly-demanded adult site or another mainstream service that nonetheless demands transactions not be traceable. For speed of finalization and low transaction cost, pair it with a micro-remittance or charity social platform allowing users around the world to buy goods and services for the needy in real time and on video. And so on.
Whether it’s priced in or not, the race is on for usability. No one cares about your favorite cryptocurrency’s special feature. Everyone has it. But can it do that one thing better than anyone else, and is that used by a really elegant product? If so, you may have struck digital gold.
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