For those who have followed the creation an development of cryptocurrencies over the past decade, you’ve noticed the rise of several different versions of cryptocurrencies following the lead of Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency released with a decentralized ledger.
While most of the news in the cryptocurrency world has focused on the goings on of the original Bitcoin, there has been plenty of other buzz about others that have come on the scene, even recently, including Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, and several others.
The total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies grew to over $200 billion in 2019, up from less than $18 billion just three years prior. As of the start of 2020, Bitcoin is well in the lead with $156.5 billion. Following Bitcoin are notable cryptocurrencies that include:
- Ethereum: $17.5 billion
- Ripple (XRP) $9.8 billion
- Bitcoin Cash: $5.8 billion
- Bitcoin SV: $5.5 billion
- Tether: $4.1 billion
- Litecoin: $3.6 billion
- EOS: $3.4 billion
- Binance Coin: $2.6 billion
- Monero: $1.1 billion
Each of these cryptocurrencies are in some way unique and distinguishable from each other, including which hash algorithm they use, which language they’re developed in (most popular is C++), and which implementation of blockchain they use. The combination of their internal strengths and the trust that the market places in their security, in public policy, and in the many other elements of the complicated ecosystem in which the digital currencies exist allow these various versions of the same concept to proliferate, or to become obsolete.
Not every cryptocurrency implementation has survived the complex environment of digital coinage. Bitcoin Classic is an example of misfortune (due to bad timing or other circumstances) coming to a cryptocurrency proposal. The Bitcoin Classic fork of the Bitcoin Core was created in February of 2016 “with the clear intention of coming back to the coin that Satoshi indicated as his goal”. The Bitcoin Classic fork started to gain traction shortly after its initial launch, but then saw its usage quickly decline. By November, 2017, work on the Bitcoin Classic implementation of Bitcoin was over.
Bitcoin Classic’s 2017 Announcement: We’re Done
In their “Bitcoin Classic shutting down” notification that was published on November 9, 2017, Bitcoin Classic’s release manager Tom Zander urged users to migrate to other wallets or nodes as development updates to keep in sync with the main Bitcoin chain were winding down in the following weeks. The most recent update to the Bitcoin Classic Github repository took place just following that announcement, with Zander shortly thereafter removing his contact information from the official Bitcoin Classic website.
What Does Bitcoin Classic’s Demise Mean for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency?
The capability of any cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, to grow is dependent upon scalability. The goal of Bitcoin Classic was to facilitate that growth by correcting what was seen by its developers as divergence from the original plan of Bitcoin’s founder, pseudonymed Satoshi Nakamoto.
Developers tend to be highly opinionated people. Although the failure of Bitcoin Classic was regarded by its developers and others as a sort of permanent failure for scaling Bitcoin, there are lots of other smart people working on solving the problem of scalability. Bitcoin Cash ultimately won enough support to survive what Bitcoin Classic did not.
Other solutions for scalability, including ones that involve increasing the sizes of blockchains, are likely to allow Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies that follow its lead) to move the industry forward.