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Inflationary vs. Deflationary Crypto: A Comparison

Published September 5, 2023 8:44 AM
Alisha Bains
Published September 5, 2023 8:44 AM

Key Takeaways

  • Inflationary and deflationary cryptocurrencies represent two distinct approaches to tokenomics.
  • The choice between inflationary and deflationary models depends on the cryptocurrency’s intended use.
  • Some cryptocurrencies aim to balance inflation and deflation, adapting their supply mechanisms to meet specific goals and market demands.
  • Tokenomics, including supply dynamics, plays a pivotal role in shaping the crypto landscape.

Understanding Inflationary Cryptocurrencies

Inflation, Explained

As the name implies, inflationary cryptocurrencies feature a built-in mechanism that gradually expands the overall amount of tokens. This model of inflation closely mirrors the conventional fiat currency system, in which central banks can print additional money, resulting in a gradual decline in the value of the currency.

Examples Of Inflationary Cryptocurrencies

  • Stellar (XLM): Stellar is another cryptocurrency that follows an inflationary model. Stellar Lumens (XLM), the native cryptocurrency of the Stellar network, has a fixed annual inflation rate of 1%. This means that each year, 1% of the total XLM supply is created and distributed among existing XLM holders. The goal is to encourage long-term XLM holding and network participation.
  • Cardano: Cardano (ADA) uses an inflationary approach and issues ADA tokens as incentives for network stakeholders and validators.

It is important to note that Ether (ETH) was an inflationary crypto before the Merge. This shift is attributed to its burn rate, where the amount of Ether consumed to maintain network activity exceeds the new Ether entering circulation.

Inflationary Cryptocurrency Implications

  • Encouraging spending: Inflationary cryptocurrencies may promote investment and consumption because holding onto tokens for an extended period of time could reduce their value.
  • Supply control: The adaptability of the token supply in the face of shifting conditions enables blockchain networks to undergo upgrades and transitions more smoothly.

Exploring Deflationary Cryptocurrencies

Deflation, Explained

Cryptocurrencies that experience deflation run on a distinct monetary system. Over time, their quantity of tokens is fixed or dwindling. This model of scarcity is intended to simulate the idea of limited resources, such as gold, where scarcity can increase the value.

Examples Of Deflationary Cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin: The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC), is the most well-known example of a deflationary digital asset. As more coins are mined, their maximum supply, which is set at 21 million coins, becomes rare.
  • BNB Coin (BNB): Originally an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum network, Binance Coin was later moved to its own blockchain. Because Binance periodically burns (destroys) a portion of the token supply, lowering the total amount of currency in circulation, BNB includes a deflationary component.

Implications of Deflationary Cryptocurrencies

  • Store of value: Because of its deflationary characteristics, which encourage users to hold it as a store of wealth, Bitcoin in particular is frequently compared to virtual gold.
  • Price volatility: Due to their scarcity-driven nature and appeal to both investors and speculators, deflationary cryptocurrencies may face more price volatility.

Differences Between Inflationary And Deflationary Cryptocurrencies

The token supply rises in cryptocurrencies through inflation, encouraging expenditure and network adaptability. Contrary to inflation, deflation emphasizes scarcity and the store of value by reducing supply. These variations have an effect on how users behave, how investors choose to invest, and how blockchain ecosystems view the economy as a whole.

Here are the key differences between inflationary and deflationary cryptocurrencies

Inflationary vs. Deflationary Crypto: A Comparison


A Balancing Act: Tokenomics

The intended use case and objectives of a cryptocurrency will determine whether to utilize a deflationary or inflationary model. To create balance, some cryptocurrencies even combine components from the two systems. The following are some strategies used by cryptocurrencies to strike this balance:

Emission Schedules

Fixed emission schedules that steadily decrease over time are included in some coins. In the early phases of network growth, this strategy offers flexibility while progressively turning deflationary.

For instance, Decred (DCR) features a declining emission schedule, which causes block rewards to diminish over time and move toward a deflationary paradigm.

Staking Mechanisms

Staking mechanisms are features that several cryptocurrencies add to incentivize users for holding and taking part in network security. Although they encourage long-term keeping, these rewards have the potential to contribute to inflation.

For instance, Tezos (XTZ) encourages users to actively participate in the network by combining staking rewards with a governance architecture.

Token Burns

An example of a cryptocurrency that employs token burning is XRP, the native cryptocurrency of Ripple. With regard to token burning, Ripple differs from several other cryptocurrencies in a unique way.

Token burning is a technique employed by Ripple to stop spam and malicious use of the network. A tiny amount of XRP must be destroyed (burned) for every transaction on the Ripple network as a transaction fee. This charge contributes to the eventual scarcity of XRP while also assisting in the prevention of network congestion and abuse.


There are many distinct types of cryptocurrencies, allowing a variety of possibilities with various monetary systems. While deflationary cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and BNB coins stress scarcity and serve as a store of wealth, inflationary cryptocurrencies like Stellar and Cardano incentivize spending and flexibility.

Overall, the decision between inflationary and deflationary cryptocurrencies depends on personal preferences, underlying economic theories, and the particular use cases these digital assets are designed to address. It’s critical for investors and consumers to understand these contrasts as the cryptocurrency market continues to develop in order to make wise choices in this fast-changing financial environment.


What’s the primary difference between inflationary and deflationary cryptocurrencies?
The key difference lies in their supply mechanisms. Inflationary cryptocurrencies increase their token supply over time, while deflationary cryptocurrencies reduce or cap their supply, leading to contrasting effects on value and user behavior.

How does the choice between inflationary and deflationary models impact a cryptocurrency’s use case?
It significantly influences a cryptocurrency’s intended purpose. Inflationary tokens are often geared toward fostering spending and network growth, while deflationary tokens prioritize store of value and scarcity.

Are there cryptocurrencies that strike a balance between inflation and deflation?
Yes, some cryptocurrencies adopt hybrid approaches, adjusting supply dynamics over time. They aim to combine the advantages of both models, tailoring them to specific use cases and goals.

What are the implications of tokenomics in the crypto market’s evolution?
Tokenomics plays a pivotal role in shaping the behavior of users, investors, and the overall ecosystem. It influences market dynamics, adoption, and even regulatory considerations, making it a critical aspect of the crypto landscape’s ongoing development.



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