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Bitcoin struggles as alt-coins rocket

Although the bitcoin price continued its recovery and edged higher overnight, it was its rival cryptocurrencies that stole the headlines.

At the time of writing the bitcoin price is up slightly to US$14,792.28.

Whereas Ripple (XRP) has built on its previous gains with a massive 36% rise to $3.26, cementing its position as the second largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalisation of over US$126 billion.

Ripple is now half the size of bitcoin, which has a market capitalisation of US$250 billion according to Coin Market Cap.

There were also solid gains overnight for world’s third largest cryptocurrency ethereum. It is up 6.5% over the last 24 hours to reach US$933.

The gains from these so-called “alt-coins” mean that bitcoin’s share of the US$700 billion cryptocurrency market has now fallen to the lowest level in its history.

Why are alt-coins on a tear?

I suspect that a lot of traders have begun to realise that bitcoin’s technology has a lot of issues and that it has little chance, in its current form, of being a currency that can be used in day to day life.

At present a bitcoin payment takes over an hour to settle, which isn’t acceptable. You couldn’t possibly expect to pay for your pizza at Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd. (ASX: DMP) or your dog biscuits at Greencross Limited (ASX: GXL) with it in the future.

Whereas the emerging alt-coins, and Ripple in particular, are very efficient. A payment with Ripple settles within 4 seconds for example and the technology is scalable.

It is for this reason that I would sooner buy XRP than bitcoin if I were a cryptocurrency trader.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Greencross Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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