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The largest, newest & strangest alternatives to BitCoins.
A what-now coin?
With locally elected councils, the BBC and even actual countries creating their own virtual currencies it seems the so called "crypto-currencies" or online currencies are here to stay, and multiply.
You've probably already heard of BitCoins, an online "crypto" currency that has at times seen values jump over 400% in under a year (remembering big falls also), this has lead to calls from the main-stream media that such currencies are too unstable to be considered a real currency, however others also point to the fact that it's now been five years that BitCoin has been trading. It might surprise you to know just how many rivals there are now of the alternatives or the so called "alt-coins".
Below we'll take a look at some of BitCoins new siblings however first of all, just how big are BitCoins now? A rather staggering $7 billion marketcap and each BitCoin being worth over 400 euros.
Now that probably got your attention, $7 billion from nothing in 5 years is not to be sniffed at (the BitCoin site, found here), of course with the dawn of the BitCoin it meant similar new virtual currencies would also spawn, so who out of the pack are even close to the size of the BitCoin?
Second in popularity to the BitCoin are LiteCoins, whilst Bitcoins are at $7 billion, litecoins are only just approaching half a billion, exchanging at 10 euros per coin. They were launched two years later in 2011 with the idea of basically attempting to improve upon BitCoins.
LiteCoins were made with a number of differences to BitCoins, one of note being to favour CPU "miners" over graphic card miners.
A "miner"? A Virtual hmm? A what-now-Coin?
If you're totally new to the concept of virtual currencies I'll try to give a brief explanation in two paragraphs,
Virtual currencies work much like actual real currencies, the idea being that their actual "worth" is the value we place upon them, or what they can actually purchase for us. As soon as currency is tradable to other currencies whatever the rate it then has "worth".
BitCoins, LiteCoins and more than 50 other similar currencies have sprung up over the last 5 years (2009-2014) that are all worth a varying amount to real world currencies, the process used to generate and regulate the "coins" is usually that people "mine" the coins by running a program in the background on their PCs that produce a small amount of the currency for them to use.
3rd : The Icelandic, AuroraCoin
At an $86 million marketcap, the AuroraCoin was created in response to the Icelandic government's control and what equates to an 100% tax on citizens attempted use of virtual currencies.
The vast majority of the coins will be shared out equally to every citizen of Iceland March 2014, they currently trade at a very healthy 6 and a half euros each. Launch date and currency home found here.
4th : PeerCoin
Currently up to a $77,000,000 marketcap, peercoin has the difference that there is no set limit of mineable coins with the aim of a set annual 1% inflation rate.
There current value is two and half euro per coin, not bad for a currency that only appeared in August of 2012.
An easier or more interesting way to get Coins?
A couple of days ago I did find an alternative to "mining" which lets you still get involved with at least a few of the new currencies, it's still in beta and only been running since feb '14. Users simply register with an e-mail address and user name then get a tiny amount of some of the e-Coins, can be found here, as e-Coins have a very volatile worth that "tiny" amount can sometimes suddenly not be so tiny. The site, qoin, only offer bitcoins, litecoins and about 5 others though it does appear more are on the way.
5th : The Tipping Coin, a DogeCoin
DogeCoin a currency printed with the face of a internet meme (popular media) was launched with the idea that a large number of coins will be "mined" within 2014, this means each is only worth 0,0008 euros, however it has become used as a form of "tipping" for good content on certain sites.
Always useful to have a strong flow of a virtual currency on a daily basis meaning it's one to watch for the future.
Some of the more Obscure New Currencies
There's fast approaching over 200 new virtual currencies either in development or in launch, here's a few of the more obscure,
A previous Libertarian and Republican Presidential candidate, now also immortalised in a virtual currency, actually quite valuable at 3 and a half euros each, who knows the future prospects for the currency, especially if Ron decides to run again.