Promising Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Alternatives
Bitcoin revolutionized online commerce and has allowed people to wrest back control of their money supply from federal governments. In the process, its price skyrocketed from pennies in 2009 to over $1,000 in late 2013. If you were one of those people lucky enough to invest as little $50 or $100 in Bitcoin in 2009, then by now you are a multimillionaire. If you’re not, then you have probably spent the bulk of the last year banging your head into a wall and hating yourself for not putting your life savings into Bitcoin the moment you first read about it.
However, just because you missed out on the Bitcoin craze does not mean that you have lost the chance to get in on the ground floor of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin was the first and most publicized cryptocurrency to appear online, but it is by no means perfect. Many developers have built upon the foundation of Bitcoin to offer cryptocurrency alternatives that offer different and improved features than Bitcoin. Since 2013, hundreds of cryptocurrencies have appeared on the market. Most of them are poor copies of Bitcoin, and many of them are little more than inside jokes. However, several newer cryptocurrencies—including Quark, Darkcoin, Ghostcoin, and Huntercoin—appear quite promising and are under-the-radar enough to offer newcomers to cryptocurrency an exciting investment opportunity.
Two of the biggest complaints about Bitcoin are that it only offers 1 type of encryption and could thus theoretically be hacked and that Bitcoin transactions take longer to process than most people would like. Quark, developed in mid-2013, does not suffer from these shortcomings. Unlike Bitcoin, which can take more than 10 minutes to process a transaction, you can send and receive Quark in less than 30 seconds on average. Moreover, the Quark developers implemented 9 rounds of hashing, which makes the network much more secure than Bitcoin’s.
Aside from its excellent features, Quark differentiates itself from other cryptocurrencies by offering a vibrant community that is optimistic about the future of the cryptocurrency and actively involved in promoting Quark and adopting newcomers into the community. If the price of Quark temporarily falls, you do not have to worry about other community members panicking and abandoning the currency. Most of the people who have money invested in Quark truly believe that it is a viable alternative to Bitcoin and plan to make sure that it reaches its full potential.
Bitcoin has been hailed as an important step in liberating people from dependancy on governments and other outside influences. Bitcoin transactions are more difficult to track than traditional online payments, but unfortunately they are not fully anonymous. The developers of Darkcoin recognized this problem and have created a revolutionary new process, called DarkSend, which will allow Darkcoin owners to send and receive their currency with complete anonymity. Though some people might argue that Darkcoin is morally reprehensible because it will allow people to pay for illegal activities without being caught, many hail its developers for offering users privacy in a world where privacy by-and-large no longer exists. Like Quark, Darkcoin also offers a network that is faster and more secure than Bitcoin's,. Although Darkcoin transactions take about 2.5 minutes to process compared to Quark's 30 seconds, Darkcoin offers 11 rounds of security compared to Quark's 9.
Darkcoin is currently available for purchase on several major exchanges, including Polionex and Cryptsy, but as of the writing of this article DarkSend has not been fully completed yet. Once the full DarkSend client launches, you should expect Darkcoin prices to steadily increase, so you should seriously consider investing in Darkcoin before the launch of Darksend.
When it comes to cryptocurrency, one of the biggest headaches is the amount of your computer’s energy supporting the network can consume. People who support the network are rewarded for their work—which is known as mining—by randomly acquiring currency as their computers successfully process transactions. This can be a very lucrative business, but it is also very expensive—people who mine Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies invest thousands of dollars in computers designed specifically for mining—and are not energy efficient.
Launched in March 2014, Ghostcoin may have a foreboding name, but there is nothing scary about this cryptocurrency. Ghostcoin's name stems from the fact that compared to other CPU-intensive cryptocurrencies, it runs like a ghost. What Ghostcoin really does is offer an energy-efficient alternative to Bitcoin, known as a “Proof-of-Stake” or a POS minting hybrid. If you have a computer tailor-made for mining, then you can use it, but that is not the only way to support the network. When you have your Ghostcoin wallet open, it will automatically connect to the network and process transactions, but it will not overheat average computers like many other cryptocurrency miners do. In fact, you will probably not even notice that it is running. In return for helping support the network, you will occasionally receive Ghostcoins as a reward. However, you can only receive rewards that are commensurate to the percentage of Ghostcoins you own compared to the total number in circulation. This encourages people to hold on to their Ghostcoins rather than immediately selling them once they receive them, which over time could drive the price up. Because Ghostcoin is such a new currency, now is a perfect time to get involved and invest in what promises to be a viable alternative to Bitcoin.
Of all the Bitcoin alternatives, Huntercoin is perhaps the most innovative and unique. You mine Huntercoins by keeping the desktop wallet open. However, instead of watching a confusing computer algorithm, you get to play an enjoyable competitive online game against other Huntercoin owners. Rather than receiving random payouts when your computer successfully processes a transaction, you and the other players will explore a virtual online world, seeking to find coins which you can take to an in-game bank, which will transfer them to your desktop wallet balance. You can either search for coins yourself, or you can kill other players and take their coins before they can reach the bank. Huntercoin’s website even has a forum where you can form clans and alliances for the game. Since Huntercoin launched, it has really begun to gain popularity among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Though it is more of a niche product than some of the other cryptocurrencies listed above, the fact that it is so unique will likely cause it to have tremendous staying power, while other cryptocurrencies may rise and fall.
Which of these Promising Cryptocurrencies Appeals Most to You?
Bitcoin was the first prominent cryptocurrency to gain the public's attention, but it is doubtful that it will be the last. In the wake of Bitcoin's popularity, many coin developers have sought to improve upon the basics of Bitcoin and offer a more fulfilling and feature-laden experience to newcomers. Quark offers security and speed, Darkcoin offers anonymity--a priceless commodity, Ghostcoin presents a lightweight platform that will not take up your computer's processing power, and Huntercoin offers a cryptocurrency experience that is just plain fun. Could one or more of these promising cryptocurrencies become the "Next Bitcoin?" Only time will tell. If you missed out on the Bitcoin bonanza, then you missed out on a tremendous investment opportunity. Before discounting alternative cryptocurrencies as just another fad, ask yourself: do I want to make the same mistake again?
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