see how it gave way to more than 20,000 cryptocurrencies

Key facts:
  • Today the first altcoin on the market is trading at USD 1.80.

  • Its birth in 2013 gave rise to more than 20,000 cryptocurrencies on the market.

Today marks the 9th anniversary of the launch of the first altcoin, whose name at that time was Mastercoin. This historic event, which occurred on July 31, 2013, is remembered in the community for having given way to more than 20,000 cryptocurrencies on the market. Also, being the source of one of the most popular meme terms in the bitcoin community: shitcoins.

Let’s start by exploring what this concept is all about. Said English term, which puts together the words “filth” (shit) and “coins” (coins)It is used by the community to derogatorily refer to any cryptocurrency “worthless” real or of dubious origin. Precisely because they consider that it is a financial asset that is useless, that it was created without purpose or that it seems to be a copy of other cryptocurrency projects.

Despite this strong negative charge that the bitcoiner community has credited, the market is full of so-called shitcoins and they are appreciated by many as an investment.. This is why some prefer to call them “altcoins”, which means “alternative currencies”. This is how any cryptocurrency other than bitcoin (BTC) is called, which has been the first in history and the most successful.

According to CoinMarketCap, there are currently more than 20,000 altcoins on the market. The vast majority of them are barely worth thousandths of cents. To get a comparative idea, the price of bitcoin is at least 1,300% higher than the rest. However, they still proliferate and are part of the offer that decentralized finance and the Internet have for users around the world. But do you know how this whole ecosystem started? Well, let us tell you.

Mastercoin was the first “shitcoin” on the market

You could say that the world of altcoins or shitcoins started in 2012 when Seattle computer science graduate JR Willet posted the idea for the Mastercoin project. This proposed to use the Bitcoin network as a protocol layer to extend its interactions and functions. In other words, to build a decentralized financial market in Bitcoin and expand its monetary possibilities, just as we see today that the world of cryptocurrencies is shaping up.

In addition to posting the idea, Willett opened a discussion forum on this topic and helped address issues with the Bitcoin network. Thus, his Mastercoin plan got a lot of interest in the community and the following year he started raising funds by issuing the first ICO in history. This acronym in English means “initial coin offering”, a phrase that refers to an activity carried out by a company to finance its projects through the offer of tokens, shares or votes in the future of the business.

Through the ICO, everyone who invested in the project by sending bitcoin to their address received 100 times their investment in mastercoins (MSC), the platform’s token, in return. Also, some of them got an added bonus as a bonus for early adoption.

The project was a complete success at the beginning, achieving a collection of 4,740 BTC. At the time, this figure was equivalent to about USD 500,000 given that bitcoin was worth around $105 back then. In this way, Mastercoin was launched exactly 9 years ago, on July 31, 2013.

Altcoins plagued the market after the origin of mastercoin 9 years ago

The initial demand for Mastercoin caused it to get a rapid price increase that soon fell apart. After the disagreement of the investors in the policies of the organization and the emergence of other cryptocurrencies in the market, its success became short-lived and, little by little, it began to be relegated.

That led to the Mastercoin protocol being renamed Omni Layer in 2015, in search of refreshing its image. Today the OMNI cryptocurrency (former MSC) is trading on the market at USD 1.80, as can be seen in the following graph of its historical behavior. Its maximum price was at the beginning, in 2013, when it was worth USD 200. In other words, it never experienced its golden age again.

This has been the behavior of omni since the year of its inception. Source: CoinGecko.

Since then, the biggest breakthrough for altcoins came when Ethereum hit the market in 2014. Its ICO raised $18 million worth of bitcoins in the first 24 hours and continued to gain market share over the years. Today its cryptocurrency, ether (ETH), is the most valued altcoin, trading at around USD 1,700, despite the fact that in 2017, in the midst of the rise of BTC, many gained popularity and hundreds of ICOs were carried out.

History has shown that new shitcoins or altcoins tend to emerge when bitcoin rises in value, and there are many who take advantage of these events to speculate on them.. However, there are several that disappear when there are bearish cycles and generate huge losses for the communityas is expected to happen this crypto winter. Because of this, it is always important to research the true value of a coin and understand its usefulness before investing in any ecosystem project.

Meanwhile, none of the altcoins that fill the market has managed to surpass the originator of this ecosystem: bitcoin, which at the time of writing this article is trading at USD 23,800, according to the CriptoNoticias calculator.

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