Bitcoin dominates over other digital currencies today, but the data suggests its market share will drop significantly in the next few years.
When it comes to the future of money, there is a growing consensus that cryptocurrencies are set to play a major role. One cryptocurrency, in particular, has entered the public lexicon as the go-to digital asset: Bitcoin.
But the cryptocurrency market is significantly more complex than the public lexicon might suggest. And while there have been plenty of studies examining the role and future of Bitcoin, there have been few that explore the broader cryptocurrency market and how it is evolving.
Today that changes thanks to the work of Abeer ElBahrawy at City University in London and a few pals who have examined the cryptocurrency market as a whole and say that it is significantly more complex and mature than many had thought. The evolution of this market even bears a remarkable similarity to the evolution of ecosystems in many other areas, providing some insight into the way the cryptocurrency market might change in the future.
First some background. The big challenge with digital currency is to prevent unauthorized copying. Cryptocurrencies use two mechanisms to prevent this. The first is to publish every transaction in a public record and to store numerous copies of this ledger online in a way that allows them all to be automatically compared and updated. This prevents double spending—using the same bitcoin to buy two different things.