Wait, what? more virtual coins? YES! Why? Hey, you dont want all your eggs in one basket do you? These coins all have different reasons and benefits for their development. These cryptocurrencies listed below are the top 5 major players after bitcoin. These are also known as ALT coins or Alternative Coins.
LITECOIN (LTC) - https://litecoin.org/
Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet currency that enables instant payments to anyone in the world. It is based on the Bitcoin protocol but differs from Bitcoin in that it can be efficiently mined with consumer-grade hardware. Litecoin provides faster transaction confirmations (2.5 minutes on average) and uses a memory-hard, scrypt-based mining proof-of-work algorithm to target the regular computers and GPUs most people already have. The Litecoin network is scheduled to produce 84 million currency units.
One of the aims of Litecoin was to provide a mining algorithm that could run at the same time, on the same hardware used to mine bitcoins. With the rise of specialized ASICs for Bitcoin, Litecoin continues to satisfy these goals. It is unlikely for ASIC mining to be developed for Litecoin until the currency is widely used.
PEERCOIN (PPC) - http://peercoin.net/
Peercoin is an open source peer-to-peer Internet currency. It enables instant payments to anyone! No banks, no fraud, no hidden-fees. Just money the way it should be.
Peercoin's major distinguishing feature is that it uses proof-of-stake/proof-of-work hybrid system. The proof-of-stake system was designed to address vulnerabilities that could occur in a pure proof-of-work system. With Bitcoin, for example, there is a risk of attacks resulting from a monopoly on mining share. This is because rewards from mining are programmed to decline exponentially, which may decrease the incentive to mine. As miners decline, the likelihood of a monopoly increases, which leaves the network vulnerable to a 51% attack (a 51% attack is when a single entity possesses over half the mining share, which would allow this entity to double-spend coins). With a proof-of-stake system, new coins are generated based on the holdings of individuals. In other words, someone holding 1% of the currency will generate 1% of all proof-of-stake coin blocks. This has the effect of making a monopoly more costly, and separates the risk of a monopoly from proof-of-work mining shares.
NAMECOIN (NMC) - http://namecoin.info/
Namecoin is an open source decentralized key/value registration and transfer system based on Bitcointechnology (a decentralized cryptocurrency).
It allows you to securely register and transfer arbitrary names (keys), no possible censorship! Attach values (data) to the names (currently up to 520 bytes, will be extended). Trade and transact namecoins, the digital currency NMC.
Although Namecoin can be used as a currency, it is mainly intended to be used as a decentralized DNS. Domain names are registered by paying a small fee (to stop spam and leave domains for future users) of 0.01 NMC, they are then updated for the first time, after this the person owns the domain, which can only be removed from them if they choose to transfer it. Domain names must be updated every 250 days, or they will expire.
FEATHERCOIN (FTC) - http://feathercoin.com/
Feathercoin bypasses the old banking system by using peer-to-peer technology. Payments are borderless and can be processed by anyone with affordable computer hardware using free software. This work is rewarded with new Feathercoins which are issued by the network. It is based upon Litecoin which has been inspired by Bitcoin in turn. It supports checkpointing for network protection which is derived from PPCoin.
Payments are fast, global, and secure with near zero payment fees. Therefore merchants don’t have to pass on the cost of business to you the customer meaning you are able to enjoy spending less on the things you love.
PRIMECOIN (XPM) - http://primecoin.org/
Primecoin is the first scientific computing cryptocurrency, a project derived from Bitcoin but with novel non-hashcash proof-of-work that mines prime numbers. Primecoin was created by software developer Sunny King in July 2013. Primecoin was inspired by Bitcoin, and it shares much of the source code and technical implementation of Bitcoin.
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You can learn about all of the top 30 or so cryptocurrencies right here...