Bitcoin vs Altcoins: Which Cryptocurrency Is the Most Usable as Money?
It’s no secret that most mainstream economists don’t think too highly of cryptocurrencies. Not only have Bitcoin, Ethereum and the rest produced the “greatest bubble in history,” but they’re “neither a serious method of payment nor a good way to store capital” — at least according to the Bank of America and Nouriel “Dr Doom” Roubini, respectively.
However, while traditional financial experts have spent countless hours complaining that the volatility of cryptocurrencies renders them unviable as actual currency, it is possible to use them as money in a wide variety of places and to spend them on everything from pizzas to shoes.
But which cryptocurrency is the most usable as money? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer to this question is Bitcoin, simply because it’s accepted as a payment more widely than any other cryptocurrency. But as this analysis will show, other currencies are being increasingly accepted by retailers and companies, and given their superior scalability, they may end up overtaking the original cryptocurrency in the coming months and years.
Bitcoin accepted here
There’s no single authoritative list of all the companies in the world that accept cryptocurrencies as payment, although there are a number of aggregators and websites that offer a general overview of who is accepting what. The most helpful is arguably Virtual Coin Squad, since even though it doesn’t quite boast the most extensive catalogue of merchants now accepting cryptocurrencies, it actually lists companies together with all the cryptocurrencies they accept. As such, it provides a clear insight into which cryptocurrency is the most widely used as a means of payment.
54 major companies currently accept cryptocurrencies, according to Virtual Coin Squad (although the real number is much higher), and only two of them — MazeFit (sportswear) and Shiny Leaf (cosmetics) — don’t accept Bitcoin. The other 53 — including Microsoft, Expedia, Mozilla, and Shopify — all accept BTC, while 25 accept Litecoin, 13 accept Ethereum, 14 accept Bitcoin Cash, 12 accept Monero, and 15 accept Dogecoin. In other words, Bitcoin is the most usable cryptocurrency as a method of payment, for the simple reason that any merchant that accepts any crypto is almost certain to accept Bitcoin, while the same can’t be said for other coins.
Of course, a list of only 55 companies isn’t exactly exhaustive, but there are other, more extensive resources which corroborate this picture. UseBitcoin is a directory of over 5,000 businesses and retailers that accept Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies), and while these aren’t viewable in a table that displays which merchants accept which currency, dipping in and out of specific listings reveals much the same principle: virtually all of them accept Bitcoin, but most of them don’t accept other cryptocurrencies.
The same goes with the information provided by Coinmap, which enables users to search a map of the world for businesses that accept cryptocurrencies. Here, a search of New York City, for example, reveals 136 such businesses within the central area of the city — overlapping Manhattan and Brooklyn. Many of these deal exclusively in Bitcoin, such as a number of delicatessens — e.g. Brooklyn’s Tony Deli, Big Boy Deli, and G Line Deli — that house their own Bitcoin ATMs.
Admittedly, a growing number of businesses worldwide are now accepting more than just Bitcoin, as explained to Cointelegraph by Bach Nguyen, the community manager at the Prague-based SatoshiLabs, which runs the Coinmap website:
“If I can speak for Prague and Czech Republic, we have been witnessing wider acceptance of cryptocurrencies. Places that have accepted Bitcoin before started accepting Litecoin or Ethereum. There are even ATMs which offer Bitcoin Cash. Though, Bitcoin is still dominant — it is the cryptocurrency that gets implemented first.”
Not only does this growth in acceptance of altcoins testify to the growing public familiarity with crypto, but it also results from the increasing prominence of cryptocurrency payment services tailored for businesses — such as Coinbase Commerce, which launched in February and which enables merchants to accept payments in multiple digital currencies. However, such merchants still remain in the minority — for the most part — once again signalling that if you want to pay your way though the world using only one cryptocurrency, your best bet is still Bitcoin.