Liquid and WBTC
The Liquid sidechain is actually made for fast and private transactions for exchanges. But so far, only a few exchanges use it, which is why its usefulness is manageable. In addition, the L-BTC running on the Liquid sidechain have also been fitted into the BTCPayserver and can also be transferred from user to user thanks to the Blockstream Green wallet. Handling should be easier than with Lightning, and transaction fees are stable and low. However, acceptance in trading is close to zero. L-BTC have very limited usability, and transferring back to the mainchain is often laborious.
The acceptance of WBTC tokens running on Ethereum is similarly meager. While you can transfer Bitcoins as tokens on Ethereum faster and cheaper with any Ethereum wallet. But you won’t often be able to pay with them in commerce; there is no grassroots movement comparable to Lightning. After all, WBTC tokens open up access to smart contracts and DeFis on Ethereum for you.
A fourth alternative to onchain transactions would be a wallet like BitBucks. If you and your friends use BitBucks, you can transfer bitcoins to each other for free and in real time. However, this only works from BitBucks user to BitBucks user and is accordingly very centralized. There is no acceptance in trade yet. But since Bitcoins are not frozen at BitBucks, but can be transferred onchain as well as internally, it can be a good idea to keep some money in the BitBucks wallet to exchange money among friends.
More is More
Overall, it is quite complicated to move out to other tiers with Bitcoins. Each tier has its advantages and disadvantages and needs its own software, without covering all transactions in everyday life. The many tiers break the unity and universality of normal Bitcoin transactions, which does complicate its use. Therefore, it might be easier for you to use another cryptocurrency instead of Bitcoin – if you are ideologically ready for it.
Blockchains without Bitcoin
As soon as you get involved in using another coin, you are faced with another awkward question: which of the twelve thousand coins should you choose? Now, you should definitely not make the mistake of shouting the question into the world via Facebook, Telegram or Twitter. Because there, numerous people will not recommend the coin that is most useful for you, but the one in which they themselves are most deeply invested.
Purely pragmatic considerations are decisive here: You want a cryptocurrency that can do as much as possible the same as Bitcoin. There should be good wallets. The coin should be widely accepted in trade and traded on many exchanges, so that it is directly or indirectly easy to exchange it for euros. If the currency is technically brilliant, that’s good, but it’s secondary. A technologically wizard cryptocurrency will not help you at all if it is not well usable and widely accepted.
- For example, Tron, EOS, Ava, or Cardano could theoretically scale very well, and coins like Pirate, PivX, or Monero boast standout privacy.
- But there are rarely many good wallets, acceptance in trading is virtually non-existent, and liquidity on exchanges is very low.
- Monero makes the most sense here, but even there it is often difficult to switch to fiat, and you will find far fewer traders and wallets that work with Monero.
- So let’s take a pragmatic look at the cryptocurrencies that are most likely to replace Bitcoin in your everyday life.
The closest alternative to Bitcoin is Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency. There are excellent wallets for the desktop and for mobile devices. Just about every trading platform lists Ether, including Bitcoin.de, and the order books usually achieve decent liquidity. Since BitPay also accepts payments in Ether, there should hardly be a payment service provider for cryptocurrencies where you cannot pay with Ether. The acceptance is thus quite broad and is hardly inferior to Bitcoin. Bitwala’s wallet with bank account also accepts Ethereum as the only other cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin, as does Trastra, the wallet with debit card, and Wirex, a similar service. Thus, only seconds separate Ether from supermarket payments.
Confirmations on Ethereum only take 15 seconds, which gives you peace of mind faster than Bitcoin; however, most Ethereum wallets are bad at recognizing unconfirmed transactions, so payment can actually take a bit longer. Thanks to dApps, you can exchange Ether for stablecoins directly in a wallet like Alphawallet or get paid interest, ENS addresses also let you get paid to a domain name instead of an address, and dApps like Tornado.cash let you strengthen your privacy. However, Ethereum also suffers from the same syndrome as Bitcoin on some days: The blockchain is overloaded. Then transaction fees can easily reach 20-30 cents, and you may also wait a bit if the fee setting is wrong.
Ethereum is one of the most traded Cryptocurrencies, you can trade it at FTX for example. You can read a review at https://www.bestbitcoinbroker.net/en/ftx-com/.
Personally, I prefer to use Bitcoin Cash than Ethereum. This is perhaps because I can use Bitcoin trusted wallets like Electron Cash for it, and unconfirmed transactions are processed in a fraction of a second. Like Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash has a broad wallet infrastructure, trades on almost all exchanges, and enjoys very wide acceptance in commerce. In addition to BitPay, just about every payment service provider processes Bitcoin Cash. Bitwala does not accept Bitcoin Cash, but Trastra and Wirex do. Overall, I have only had positive experiences with BCH so far. Payments are fast and cheap, and the general acceptance is high.
Litecoin and Dash
It’s relatively similar with some of the longest serving altcoins like Litecoin and Dash. These two coins have decent wallet infrastructure – there are Electrum variants for them as well, for instance – they are traded on most exchanges and accepted by most payment service providers. However, not by BitPay, which is why a decent portion of acceptance points are gone. While Litecoin can still be exchanged directly to a debit card via Trastra, Dash is not accepted there. Litecoin can also be found on Wirex, but not Dash. Even though Dash finalizes transactions faster, for example to exchanges, thanks to Chainlocks, Litecoin might still be the better choice. However, Litecoin’s development has come to a virtual standstill, and its usage has stagnated. Therefore, I myself see no pragmatic reason not to use Bitcoin Cash instead.
Unlike Litecoin and Dash, BitPay has recently started accepting Ripple or XRP. This makes Ripple one of the most widely accepted cryptocurrencies among payment service providers. XRP is also widely accepted by exchanges, although not quite as widely as Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash.
For instance, you won’t find XRP on Bitcoin.com yet. Personally, I find the wallet infrastructure on Ripple a bit thin and have some reluctance towards the creation and distribution of XRP tokens by the Ripple company.
That said, XRP could work for everyday use as well. Apps like the XRPTipBot could be a nice help in this regard, and so could the switch via Trastra.
In itself, Bitcoin SV would also be a good choice. There are extremely user-friendly wallets like Handcash, excellent web wallets like MoneyButton, and Electrum SV is also an Electrum variant. Thanks to Paymail, it is extremely easy and convenient to pay one’s acquaintances continuously with Bitcoin SV without sacrificing privacy, and thanks to the absolutely negligible fees, BSV payments are as good as free. In terms of its own infrastructure, Bitcoin SV might be one of the most suitable coins. You can find out more at https://coinmarketcap.com/en/currencies/bitcoin-sv/.
The problem, however, is the lack of acceptance. BitPay and most payment service providers ignore BSV, CoinGate accepts it, but my user experiences were very unsatisfactory compared to Bitcoin Cash. At ShopinBit, you can also pay with BSV, but you have to go through detours. BSV is also far from being as widespread on exchanges as the other currencies mentioned here; some globally large exchanges still do not list the currency, and on others the liquidity is constantly very low. BSV cannot be deposited at Bitwala, Wirex and Trastra either, making the important step to debit cards for many impossible.