There are thousands of cryptocurrencies nowadays. Coingecko.com tracks more than 10,100 different coins and Messari provides data on nearly 22,500 digital currencies. Anybody can launch a new crypto, either based on fresh research or by forking an existing project. The Fool made fun of the low barriers to entry way back in 2014.
However, the vast majority of these coins should not be seen as true investments. Only a small handful of cryptocurrencies can be expected to hold or gain value over time. A larger group would like to make a dent in the crypto market but are speculative ideas at best. I wish them luck but staying on the sidelines until further notice.
And then there’s the massive, teeming horde of silly cryptos I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot rubber chicken. Some cryptocurrencies can be playful experiments, while others take on a more serious approach. However, amid the vast landscape, there are also those who seem more interested in quick profits than genuine innovation. These rudderless projects can be downright dangerous places to invest your hard-earned cash.
Let me point out one cryptocurrency in the gray area, that may have good intentions behind it but doesn’t belong in any serious investor’s crypto portfolio. It’s a well-meaning rebel, hoping to shake up the crypto market with different ideas — but this coin doesn’t stand a realistic chance against the real industry giants.
Back to the roots
Industry giant Bitcoin (BTC -1.20%) has evolved over the years. Its code has been updated through several hard forks, introducing new features and patching dangerous bugs. The developer community hasn’t always agreed on the best way forward, so what we call Bitcoin today is the largest and most widely accepted version of a code tree with several branches.
One of the Bitcoin forks is different from the rest. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s a good thing. Bitcoin SV (BSV -2.44%) sees itself as the one true Bitcoin, supposedly making the standard Bitcoin project a rebel with ideas that break the original design.
I’m all for introducing different ways of doing things. I’m less excited about protecting an outdated design just because it’s the traditional way of doing things. That’s what we have here.
Bitcoin SV’s background
First, Bitcoin Cash (BCH -1.30%) was created when Bitcoin introduced the segregated witness technology, or SegWit. Then, Bitcoin SV split off from the Bitcoin Cash project as the payment-focused cryptocurrency adopted new privacy protection features.
Bitcoin SV stands for “Satoshi’s Vision,” a nod to Bitcoin’s anonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. What you see in this project today is indeed closer to the Bitcoin of 2017 than any other cryptocurrency. But the official Bitcoin changes are useful. They make the transaction system faster and safer.
The original invention isn’t necessarily perfect. That’s why the U.S. Constitution has amendments, software companies issue bug-fix patches over time, and authors rely on editors to check their facts and fix typos.
And that’s why Bitcoin in 2023 isn’t the same thing as Bitcoin in 2017. The Satoshi’s Vision coin is rolling back upgrades, not cementing a perfect operating model.
What’s that Bitcoin SV ticker doing in your portfolio, Anders?
Now, I still have some Bitcoin SV in my portfolio, because Coinbase (COIN -4.65%) won’t let me sell it or convert it into other cryptocurrencies. It’s just an unintentional side effect of holding some Bitcoin in 2017, and sticking with the resulting Bitcoin Cash in 2018. That doesn’t mean I recommend it or would ever spend a penny on actually buying Bitcoin SV.
I don’t see any value in this potentially dangerous preference for older technology. By rolling back or sidestepping these upgrades, Bitcoin SV potentially exposes its users to vulnerabilities that have been identified and corrected in the main Bitcoin chain. Please stay away from Bitcoin SV, even if you find a way to actually trade it.
Anders Bylund has positions in Bitcoin, Bitcoin SV, and Coinbase Global. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Bitcoin and Coinbase Global. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.