I wince every time I hear bitcoin reaching new milestones in value - and I don't think I'm alone.
'Bitcoin hits $300' - I shudder.
'Bitcoin reaches $500 milestone' - I cringe.
'Bitcoin tops $1000' - I could cry.
I think of the missed opportunity - my poor foresight. Why didn't I buy 1000 bitcoins when they were $0.50 each? That $500 outlay would now make me a millionaire.
So is it time to invest in one of the many other alternative currencies that are doing the rounds? Getting in on the action while they're still cheap and making my fortune years down the line? I don't think so.
Bitcoin has proven itself to be fairly sound security-wise (tales of lost wallets are a user fault - and I'd argue that occurrences of hacked wallets are still a drop in the ocean compared to total transaction values) and because it is so sound - I don't think
there's enough room for an alternative currency to muscle in.
And for another currency to gain enough value to make it a worthwhile investment it'll require a few things - but in short - it must be better than bitcoin.
Saying that - a few alternative currencies are gathering momentum - and value. Litecoin has seen a staggering rise in USD value over the last few weeks, Namecoin seems to be doing similar - Peercoin, Quarkcoin, WorldCoin etc. much the same.
But they don't have the legs to keep up that rise in value - they'll need to prove their worth to retain it and that can't be done as long as bitcoin holds the top spot.
If you're a short-term punter with a little cash to spare - might be worth sticking it on the lesser-known currencies and making a quick buck - but only if you're planning to sell just as quick as you bought - for everyone else? I'm sure that ship has sailed
- time to make our millions elsewhere.