Bitcoins may be the most famous crypto-currency with a growing fan base and developed infrastructure. But there were about 710 other currencies out there in 2016. Even though some fell along the way, others seem to potentially challenge bitcoin’s reign. These alternatives (also called altcoins) have their own particular algorithms and characteristics. Darkcoin (now dash), was developed as a completely anonymous bitcoin version. For several industry commentators, altcoins also play a very important role in the world of crypto-currencies. This is as they inspire further decentralization, competition, and innovation. Here are some among the most famous altcoins.
Also called XRP, this is the second largest digital currency taking market capitalization into account. Ripple labs built the currency and protocol as an alternative to the traditional modern banking system. It was created to be free of additional fees, human errors, and delay. Ripple is aiming to expand on what was started by bitcoin, by aiming to be above a simple digital currency. It is the first open transaction network in the world, serving shared transactions and accounts record of all kinds that are decentralized. By developing this global ledger, ripple does what the internet has done for every form of information, for money and currencies. Ripple brings the money history to full circle. It isn’t mined in the same way as bitcoins. Instead, it’s generated through a method called consensus, which needs ‘comparatively small computing power’.
Litecoin, another Bitcoin Alternative
This is among the first altcoins to be created. It has a varying hashing algorithm to bitcoin, and a unit is worth less than bitcoin does. This has proven to make the crypto-currency very popular. The altcoin was created in 2011, just two years after bitcoin was created, by a former Google employee. It was made to be a version of bitcoin that enjoyed more accessibility. Where just 21 million bitcoin has been earmarked to be created, 84 billion litecoin has been earmarked to be generated, making it a lot more lightweight and abundant.
Litecoin transactions are also significantly faster than those of bitcoins. But one con is that this altcoin is given to price swings that come at alarming levels. The alarming price swings have made enthusiasts become cautious with this one. In late November 2013, it jumped by 400% in just a single week for its value to peak at $40. But it has since slumped back slowly with its value currently remaining around $1.4.
BitShares is a trading platform that uses a currency called BitAssets and operates on the peer-to-peer trading model. With BitShares, a firm can give up the regular Wall Street IPO and issue shares in the form of digital tokens instead. These crypto-tokens, which could be available in various currencies like BitEuro and BitUSD, can then be traded on the Bitshares trading platform. BitShares provide traders with the opportunity to transact in the value of their favorite commodity or currency without relinquishing the convenience and privacy of the blockchains. For users in general, the altcoins offer daily interest rates that surpass or rival majority of savings banks.
The normal question that brings the comparison between altcoins and bitcoins is whether bitcoins are still profitable. It’s a matter of taking several figures and deciding on your break-even point, that way, you will know whether its altcoins or bitcoins that is better for you.