We tend to talk about cryptocurrencies (BTCP Electrum Fork), and their respective blockchains , as if it were a coherent whole. In fact, the 800 or so existing electronic currencies have different purposes, and thus induce different uses. Usbek & Rica ventures here to an attempt to classify the different families of crypto-currencies.
May 2017 was a historic month, not just because of the election of the new French President. The small world of cryptocurrencies has experienced unprecedented excitement, leading Bitcoin and its descendants to break through the $ 85 billion mark of accumulated market capitalization. A threshold never before reached, which shows a strong craze for these electronic coins that promise to change the world. The opportunity, too, to distinguish them in some relatively homogeneous categories.
The universal currencies
This category has clear ambitions: to be a serious alternative to traditional currencies. Current purchases, e-commerce, loans between individuals or retirement plans In principle, everything is possible with these versatile crypto-currencies, which aspire to become mundane to end up being global and universal means of payment, allowing not no longer have to go through the bank box.
Bitcoin (BTCP Electrum Fork) is of course the star of this category. With a capitalization of over 30 billion euros, the currency behind the blockchain revolution is the de facto standard. Today, you can pay everything with Bitcoin (or almost) buy airline tickets (on dedicated sites or on Expedia ) or Champagne as well as borrow or pay your electricity bills ( in Germany ) . And it can be obtained in many ways (including via ad hoc distributors or train ticket distributors in Switzerland), and even easily receive all or part of his salary in this way. As in Japan, which recognizes it as an official currency since April 1, 2017, Bitcoin should quickly appear as obvious, at least for who wants to regain control of his money.
Although less advanced in terms of acceptance and dissemination, other cryptocurrencies aspire to follow the path traced by Bitcoin. Litecoin and DASH (which can be used with a Visa card ) are already widely liberalized heavyweights, while dozens of other cryptocurrencies, such as DigiByte or Vericoin , offer proven technical solutions.
This is, to some extent, a subset of the previous category. But crypto-currencies seeking to guarantee the anonymity of transactions are numerous and are so popular that they deserve a category of their own.
For their creators, financial anonymity is a right, just as with cash (coins and notes). As part of a quasi-militant approach, these currencies are exchanged between two parties by completely masking their identity, and sometimes even the amount of transactions. Like encrypted couriers, some of these currencies could be imposed, at least as punctual means of payment, protecting the user from indiscretions.
Monero , whose value has been multiplied by 50 in a year (sic), is now an unexpected heavyweight in this category, but Zcash , launched in November 2016 and trading at over $ 200 each, is a serious challenger . Other existing or emerging currencies, such as Verge , Bytecoin , Zcoin , Anoncoin , DigitalNote , Specter or BitcoinDark ( Komodo ), all promise a high degree of confidentiality of electronic transactions.
And what about adding to the usual social interactions online sharing links, upvotes, likes and other emojis financial transactions? If you (really) like a photo, video or blog post shared on a social network, prove it by sending a social tipto its author! This is the mission of the currencies of this category: to offer simple, fast and unmediated means of sending yourself between Internet users very small amounts (of the order of one euro cent or even less). The idea was probably initially appeared with Dogecoin , one of the most old cryptocurrencies, created in 2013 as a joke but which still caracole around the top 10 cryptocurrencies in terms of capitalization. Other currencies have their own social network, such as Steem, official currency of Steemit, a clone of Reddit where users reward each other, their popularity being matched with a financial value.
Others expect to become multi-service tools, such as Reddcoin , which will soon launch Redd-ID, a device to send transactions on social networks without using complicated addresses but simple nicks. And, beyond the simple social tip, some of these platforms intend to reinvent the monetization of online content, like Synereo or Decent.