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More than half of top cryptocurrencies have no function, study shows

The study comes amid a market-wide crash for bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies

Anthony Cuthbertson
Friday 17 August 2018 13:15 BST
What is Bitcoin and why is its price so high?

Less than half of all cryptocurrencies actually serve any useful function or provide "real value" to the public, according to a study of the top 100 cryptocurrencies.

Research by Invest in Blockchain, a cryptocurrency analysis site, looked at the most valuable cryptocurrencies in terms of their market capitalisation. Only 40 were found to have working products.

"We evaluated each project's status, looked at its roadmap, checked its release history, and compared completed features to what the team promises to deliver in the future," the researchers said.

"A working product is active and available to the public... There are many projects in the top 100 [claiming] to have a 'working product' by a loose definition. [But] the mere existence of a product does not necessarily mean that the product is working."

The study comes amid a market-wide crash, with bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies continuing to fall in value since markets shifted direction at the beginning of 2018.

One thing all of the top 100 cryptocurrencies have in common is that they're built on top of a blockchain – a type of online ledger that was first described bitcoin's 2008 white paper.

However, simply building a blockchain is not enough to meet the criteria for utility set by the researchers.

Among the projects that were found to have working products were popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, litecoin and bitcoin cash, as well as smart contract platforms like ethereum.

Less well known coins like the privacy-focussed Zcash and ZenCash also featured on the list of cryptocurrencies with a working product.

Functionality of these coins include secure transaction technology and in-built chat messaging services.

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