The last few days have been wild for cryptocurrency, and King Bitcoin keeps breaking one all time high after another. The good news is that Bitcoin breaking ATHs generates interest and media publicity that draws new users to crypto. Although Bitcoin might be one one of the most well known cryptocurrencies (and the first crypto that many people hear of), I also believe that Bitcoin Cash has a number of interesting features that make it a great introductory or "starter-crypto" for onboarding new users and getting them started.
What is Bitcoin?
Since this article is designed for beginners, I want to do an extremely brief recap of what Bitcoin is and why it matters. Bitcoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer, electronic currency that can be sent anywhere in the world without the permission of governments, central banks, or other financial intermediaries. As the first cryptocurrency that was developed, Bitcoin gained a huge following, has wide name recognition, and is currently the most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap.
At this point, you may be wondering, “ if Bitcoin is such a great cryptocurrency, then why do we need other cryptocurrencies?” The answer to this question is that different cryptocurrencies have built off the basic example of Bitcoin and added or removed certain features that are designed to make them more useful for specific purposes. For example, Bitcoin Cash, which is based on Bitcoin, made several changes that are intended to make it more user-friendly for frequent, daily purchases...hence the “Cash” terminology.
What is Bitcoin Cash?
For those of you who may not know about Bitcoin Cash, the first question that you may be wondering is ”‘What is Bitcoin Cash?” The short answer is that Bitcoin cash can do most everything that Bitcoin can do. In fact, Bitcoin Cash is a descendant of the original Bitcoin and borrows many of the same features. For example, both Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin (BTC) are created by a decentralized mining process that prevents government inflation of the money supply. Both of these cryptocurrencies can be sent anywhere in the world as a peer-to-peer form of payment. Both have a finite cap of 21 million coins.....the similarities go on and on.
Although Bitcoin cash inherited much of its underlying philosophy and programming from the original Bitcoin, there are two key features that I believe make it more well-suited to frequent transactions and introducing people to cryptocurrency.
The first major difference is that Bitcoin Cash has an extremely low transaction fee. At the time of writing, the transaction fee for an average Bitcoin transaction is about $5.30 USD while the BCH transaction fee is about 1/100 th of a USD. I believe the significantly lower transaction fee makes Bitcoin cash much more well suited for frequent, small purchases. Can you imagine buying a coffee for $5 with traditional Bitcoin and paying a $5 transaction fee? In that scenario, the transaction fee would be almost the same as the total purchase price of the product. That's not convenient at all!
By contrast, the transaction fee with Bitcoin cash is so low that not only can you buy a coffee, you can send micropayments as tips. For example, the newly released Bitcoin Cash based website noise.cash allows users to send micro-tips as low as .01 USD. This is something that simply wouldn't be possible with traditional Bitcoin or even Ethereum as the transaction fees would be many times higher than the actual value sent.
The second major difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash is that because Bitcoin Cash has such a large block size, it is almost guaranteed that your transaction will be picked up and included in the next block. With traditional BTC, you may wait several hours or days for your transaction to be picked up. Thus, although both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash both have a 10-minute block time, a transaction with Bitcoin Cash will most likely settle far before a transaction from traditional Bitcoin.
I think that hands-on experience and learning by doing are two of the best ways for helping beginners get started in cryptocurrency. Ethereum and traditional Bitcoin are absolutely fantastic cryptocurrencies, but their transaction fees and high cost make them more costly to play around with for beginners. With Bitcoin Cash, I can easily send a few cents worth of value to a new crypto-currency user, and they can practice sending this to other people without having to worry about losing a significant amount of money if they send some crypto to the wrong address or if they underbid for an ETH gas fee. It's even possible to create your own SLP token with just a few cents of Bitcoin Cash - again, that's just one more way that BCH does a good job of giving beginners the ability to experiment and learn about crypto without breaking the bank.
Additionally, having strong community support and encouragement is essential for onboarding new cryptocurrency users, and I have found BCH to be a strong, supportive community. Perhaps most importantly, a new user's first steps into cryptocurrency should be free. What I mean by this is that users who aren't completely sure about cryptocurrency may be worried about losing their funds or being hacked or something like that. Allowing users to earn a little bit of free cryptocurrency maybe the little push that they need to get started and the whole crypto ecosystem.
I know from first-hand experience that I became interested in cryptocurrency after learning that I could receive free cryptocurrency through the Brave browser. Had it not been for that small initial push, I may never have ventured into the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Therefore, I think that Bitcoin Cash based sites like read.cash and noise.cash are incredible because they give new users the ability to earn a bit of crypto simply for writing blog posts or tweets without having to put any of their own money on the line.
True, there are other sites such as Publish0x and Uptrennd that allow users to earn other forms of cryptocurrency. However, as those sites use ERC-20 (Ethereum) based tokens, it costs the admin team a significant amount of money to send the payouts which means that a new user will have to wait a while before receiving their first crypto. Although I wholeheartedly recommend sites like Publish0x and Uptrennd, for someone who is just getting started in crypto, it can be very encouraging to get their first payments almost instantly from a site like noise.cash.
In summary, there are many different cryptocurrencies each with its own unique advantage. This article is in no way intended to claim that Bitcoin Cash is the best cryptocurrency, but rather to show that Bitcoin cash does have several specific advantages that may be helpful and useful to people who are learning about cryptocurrency for the first time. Specifically, the low transaction fees enable newbies to practice sending, receiving, and earning cryptocurrency without having to worry that they are going to make a mistake and lose a large amount of money.
A Note About Other Coins
Undoubtedly, many other cryptocurrencies are designed to function as a quick, easy method of payment. Dash and Nano specifically come to mind, and although they both offer unique advantages, I chose to focus on Bitcon Cash for a few reasons. First, it has name recognition due to its lineage that is derived from Bitcoin. In my opinion, it is easier to explain to a beginner how some updates were made to a coin they know and trust (Bitcoin) than trying to explain a totally new coin that they have never heard of and may not trust. Second, Bitcoin Cash is currently in the Top 10 cryptos while DASH and Nano are ranked 40 and 56 respectively. While ranking does not necessarily mean one coin is better or worse than another, the rankings may be helpful for reassuring a beginner that a coin is legitimate. Likewise, I am unaware of any sites where beginners can earn "free" DASH or Nano to get started at low cost.
As always, thanks for reading!