By Leslie Quander Wooldridge
April 6, 2021
I refuse to say “sh*tcoins” when referencing the altcoin market. And it’s not because of the very…colorful phrasing. It’s because when people use this term to describe any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin—and I’ve heard people do it—it’s closed-minded. And misleading. And, frankly, ridiculous.
In full disclosure: I currently hold Bitcoin. I understand how valuable it is to the space and that it’s the number one cryptocurrency by market cap. I understand that it’s increased in value a staggering amount over the years, since it was first available for pennies, and that it’s brought gains and even wealth to its holders.
I also understand that Bitcoin can be used as an anti-inflationary instrument, and that people can view it as digital gold. But just because these things are true doesn’t mean all other cryptocurrencies are trash. Having a preference for cake doesn’t mean there’s no place for ice cream.
Some Altcoins Show Promise
Today, I also hold altcoins and respect their place in this ecosystem. And many knowledgeable people in the space do, too.
For instance, there’s Ethereum, and its native token ether, which—despite record high gas fees in 2021—has remained the number two cryptocurrency by market cap. It notably allows the building and running of smart contracts and decentralized applications and lays a foundation for innovation. (Enter decentralized finance, built onto Ethereum and allowing increased access to financial services.)
And there’s Vechain, a blockchain-powered supply chain platform that reportedly has had partnerships with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, BMW Group (yes, that BMW), LVMH, and more.
Of course, these are examples of just a few cryptocurrencies in a market of thousands. And many cryptocurrencies probably won’t survive, with scams also an issue. In fact, people have seen their portfolios wrecked when alt coins have suddenly plunged during market cycles, or when scams have slithered in. And volatility can be rough.
But some altcoins have offered real gains. And many companies in this space are employing bright minds and creating technology that has—and could someday have—real utility. For these reasons, it would be short-sighted to write off this entire segment of the market.
Plus, even if you’re a believer in Bitcoin and only Bitcoin—which has a record that trends up over time—from an investment perspective, certain altcoin gains of 10X, 50X, and even 100X-plus in a market cycle are nothing to sneer at. That means some altcoins can be part of a well-researched investment strategy. (Read this story to learn more about exit strategies and the value of engaging with a smart community. And please consult a financial professional if you have questions about your specific situation.)
The Bottom Line
While Bitcoin has the longest track record, we at least should be willing to learn about other digital currencies. And be open to questions when they come up, as opposed to emotionally writing off everything but BTC.
All that said, if you still think Bitcoin is the be-all and end-all to cryptocurrency, and there’s no room in your portfolio for anything else…cool. It’s your wallet. As adults in this space, we won’t all agree, and we need to do what’s best for our own circumstances.
But what’s not cool is when people berate every single altcoin when talking to others, especially to new people in the space. Or when people taunt those interested in any altcoins and use phrases like “have fun staying poor.”
While we can seek to help educate people and share our thoughts, we don’t need to put down an entire market segment to do it. At least not rudely. (Note: This is why it’s so important to do your own research. You may disagree with what you hear—even from writers like me—but at least you’ll have your own basis for the decision.)
So yeah, it’s time to stop saying sh*tcoin. Bitcoin has its longstanding place and can have correlation to altcoins, but it’s not the only cryptocurrency of note. In a market that’s approaching $2 trillion (as I write), other cryptocurrencies have their places, too.
Leslie Quander Wooldridge is a writer, editor, speaker, and coach whose articles have reached tens of millions of readers. Visit her at www.lesliequander.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @lesliequander.