As the bitcoin frenzy continues and warning signs grow louder, the flood of money is increasingly spilling into alternative cryptocurrencies.
While bitcoin currently makes up more than half of the total cryptocurrency space by market capitalisation, a number of so-called "alt-coins" have piggybacked off the mania to post massive gains in value over recent months.
With the price of a single bitcoin testing the US$20,000 ($28,486) mark before dropping off in recent days, many investors are now eyeing off its smaller cousins.
"This rally is about more than just bitcoin," writes Motley Fool analyst Sean Williams. "It's about the emergence of other coins and underlying blockchains that have the potential to effect positive change."
Bitcoin's value has risen by more than 1900 per cent this year to reach a market capitalisation of more than US$310 billion ($441b). The total market capitalisation of all cryptocurrencies now sits at US$624b ($888b), according to Coinmarketcap.
Earlier this week, bitcoin cash, a "fork" of the main bitcoin line intended to allow for faster and cheaper transactions, saw its price surge in the wake of news that the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange would support the rival currency.
Currently the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation at US$84b ($119b), ethereum has posted astonishing gains of 11,225 per cent over the past 12 months, from just US$7.68 ($10.94) this time last year to nearly US$870 ($1,239) at the time of writing.
Ethereum is slightly different — and in the eyes of some investors, more valuable — than bitcoin in that while bitcoin is geared towards consumer payments, ethereum's "smart contract" technology is designed to facilitate more complicated interactions between a number of parties.
"It has numerous potential internal end uses such as reconciliation," CNBC wrote in May.
"A smart contract on the ethereum network is merely a way for people to make agreements and automate enforcement, all on a distributed network of computers. The contract is essentially an operating procedure that aids efficient management.
"John Hancock Financial, for example, is experimenting with a tailored version of ethereum to keep track of compliance with know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations in its wealth management unit."
The controversial offshoot of the main bitcoin development line was created on August 1, 2017, with every bitcoin holder at that date effectively becoming owners of the new currency as well.
The price of bitcoin cash more than doubled this week following the announcement that Coinbase was adding support for the new currency, with the price at the time of writing sitting at around US$3,600 ($5,127). The third-largest cryptocurrency now has a market capitalisation of more than US$61b ($86b).
But Coinbase subsequently announced it was investigating employees for potential insider trading over suspicious price increases in bitcoin cash in the hours prior to the announcement, fuelling community distrust.
Many hardcore bitcoin supporters are highly suspicious of bitcoin cash and its key promoter Roger Ver, the chief executive of Bitcoin.com who once spent 10 months in a US prison for selling explosives on eBay.
Currently the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation at US$36b ($51b), ripple has exploded in value over the past 12 months by around 15,350 per cent to reach US$1 ($1.42) per unit of "XRP", the ripple native currency.
Unlike bitcoins, which are "mined" by computers on the network at a set rate to a fixed 21 million out to the year 2140, ripple is "pre-mined", with 100 billion units in existence, 20 billion of which were retained by the creators, the founders of Ripple Labs.
The ripple distributed ledger platform, tailored towards financial services companies, has won growing support from major banks. "The ability to transfer from one currency to another instantly becomes possible with the XRP as the intermediary currency," writes The Motley Fool. "Clearly, there's a lot of excitement surrounding ripple."
New York Law School professor Houman Shadab told American Banker in 2015 distributed ledgers like ripple were "at least for now" more attractive "because of the control they afford over the system".
"They're not subject to the vagaries of price volatility of the underlying currencies," he said. "And also they have a more secure, distributed authentication process that doesn't rely on the incentives of miners who authenticate transactions based on the value of the currency."
Number five by market capitalisation at just under US$18b ($25b), litecoin has likewise exploded in value, up around 8930 per cent on this time last year to US$331 ($471).
Litecoin is another "fork" of the main bitcoin line created in 2011, designed to allow for faster transaction confirmation. The currency took a hit this week, however, with the revelation by its founder Charlie Lee that he had sold all of his stash, citing "conflict of interest".
In a Reddit post on Wednesday, Mr Lee said he had "sold or donated" all of his stash. "Whenever I tweet about litecoin price or even just good or bad news, I get accused of doing it for personal benefit," he wrote.
"So in a sense, it is conflict of interest for me to hold LTC and tweet about it because I have so much influence ... For this reason, in the past days, I have sold and donated all my LTC. Litecoin has been very good for me financially, so I am well off enough that I no longer need to tie my financial success to litecoin's success."
Speaking to the New York Post, Mr Lee said he was not "abandoning ship". "If anything, I'm more committed than ever," he said. "This just removes the distraction."
Currently in sixth place by market capitalisation at US$14.7b ($20.9b), IOTA is another distributed ledger cryptocurrency, but this one focuses on payments between machines on the so-called "Internet of Things", hence the name.
IOTA's price has increased by about 722 per cent over the past 12 months to US$5.25 ($7.48), with much of that gain in the past month since the launch of its "data marketplace" in partnership with the likes of Microsoft, Bosch, Samsung and Fujitsu.
"IOTA is the first distributed ledger technology (DLT) to go beyond a blockchain — it enables machines to securely transact data and money with each other for a micro fee," writes VentureBeat.
"Imagine a car that, from sensor data, retrieves information from Bosch about a malfunctioning car part. This isn't a pipe dream. IOTA technology has already enabled more than US$10b ($14b) in transactions and is being used for feeless micropayment-based electric vehicle charging, parking and more."