So, what is going on here?
People considered bitcoin their best choice, resulting in a self-reinforcing loop whose ramifications are still being felt today.
Those choices are based on a simple question: which of the currencies to which I have access most likely helpful?
There are two types of utility for bitcoin. Predictability is one of them. People convert their local currencies to bitcoin because they want to store a value unaffected by local political and economic conditions. Bitcoin’s fixed token supply and largely unchangeable monetary policy are well established, putting it out of control for most governments.
Liquidity is another reason, which may be even more significant. People want to know that there will still be someone willing to purchase at market value if they wish to sell.
So, even though bitcoin is very costly in local terms, it is the consensus alternative. People can and do buy other tokens, but the “long tail” of cryptocurrency investing is exceptionally diverse and becoming more so as the number of tokens to choose from grows. Since there is little or no consensus, they are more theoretical. That may change, but bitcoin’s so-called first-mover advantage and network effect have proven to be extremely strong. To put it another way, bitcoin is extremely valuable because it is widely used.