Bitcoin and Its Alternatives: A List of Cryptocurrencies

Which are the other cryptocoin currencies worth looking at?

If Bitcoin is gold, then Litecoin would be silver, and Dogecoin and Peercoin would be copper. After that, there are dozens upon dozens of other cryptocurrencies that have spawned since the 2009 advent of Bitcoin. 

During cyber attacks, hackers often insist victims pay a ransom using cryptocurrency (also known as digital currency.) Here are a few examples of the cryptocurrencies available. 

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Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Science Picture Co. / Getty

Hashing algorithm: SHA2
Stock Exchange Tag: BTC
Total Coins to Be Issued: 21 million  (approximately the year 2040)
Discovery Time for Each New Block:  10 minutes
Reward for Each New Block: 25 coins
Current Market Value Per Coin: ~$2539.00 USD

Pros: Highly recognized, can spike in value; extremely high profitability for the people that were early adopters in 2009.

Cons: The BTC double-spending glitch worries some people; extremely difficult to earn money as a miner unless you have expensive and server-level hardware; electricity cost is prohibitive if you do not have discount access to power.  The value of BTC can also drop sharply.

Notes: Criminals gave Bitcoin a bad name in 2013 because BTC was used to move large volumes of illegal money on the Silk Road drug website. Similarly, the mismanagement of the Mt.Gox exchange service also gave the general public a fear around BTC trustworthiness. More »

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Litecoins
Litecoins.

Hashing algorithm: Scrypt
Stock Exchange Tag: LTC
Total Coins to Be Issued: 82 million  
Discovery Time for Each New Block:  2.5 minutes
Reward for Each New Block: 50 coins
Current Market Value Per Coin: ~$39.70 USD

Pros: Faster blockchain discovery rate, very possible for individual users to use consumer-level hardware to make a small income mining Litecoins; the larger cap on total coins will reduce the compulsion for people to hoard Litecoins.

Cons: You will need an AMD Radeon video card to mine Litecoins; GPU and nVidia hardware mining is not profitable

Notes: Litecoins were designed using Bitcoin code but with much faster algorithm confirmation and much more mining accessibility for consumers with personal computers.   More »

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Feathercoin
Feathercoin: one alternative to Bitcoin.

 Hashing algorithm: Scrypt
Stock Exchange Tag: FTC
Total Coins to Be Issued: 336 million  
Discovery Time for Each New Block:  2.5 minutes
Reward for Each New Block: 200 coins
Current Market Value Per Coin: ~$0.08 USD

Pros: Like Litecoins and Dogecoins, Feathercoins are very possible to mine by consumer-grade hardware;

Cons: Not as profitable as Litecoin and Dogecoin mining, but if Feathercoin value and adoption jumps then early adopters will be rewarded with investment payoffs. More »

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Dogecoin
DOGE: Dogecoin cryptocurrency.

Hashing algorithm: Scrypt
Stock Exchange Tag: DOGE
Total Coins to Be Issued: 100 billion  
Discovery Time for Each New Block:  1 minute
Reward for Each New Block: 250 coins
Current Market Value Per 1000 Dogecoins: ~$2.53 USD

Pros: Designed to be a 'tipping' currency  (high volumes of movement, low coin value);  very easy for a user to mine with consumer-grade hardware; if you can keep the electricity costs down, Dogecoins can be a reliable small passive income for computer enthusiasts.

Cons: You will need an AMD Radeon video card to mine Dogecoins; GPU and nVidia hardware mining is not profitable

Notes: The pronunciation of 'Doge' is controversial. The coin itself is named after a dog meme; the mascot of Dogecoins is the Japanese Shiba Inu dog; Dogecoin miners are affectionally called 'Shibes'.

Dogecoin uses Comic Sans MS font and bad English grammar as part of its identity.

Since its launch in December of 2009, Dogecoins have achieved remarkable market capitalization value on the stock exchange.  There is a friendly appeal to this tipping currency, and it shows in how many people are participating in its mining and use. There are even free places on the Web called 'Doge faucets' that give away small amounts of Dogecoins for free.

Dogecoins became world famous during the winter Olympics in Sochi because Dogecoin donors sponsored the Jamaican bobsled team to the tune of $30,000 USD. More »

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Peercoin
PPC: Peercoin cryptocurrency.

Hashing algorithm: SHA256
Stock Exchange Tag: PPC
Total Coins to Be Issued: no limit  
Discovery Time for Each New Block:  10 minute
Reward for Each New Block: 100 coins
Current Market Value Per Coin: ~$2.55 USD

Pros: Uses 'proof-of-stake' in addition to proof-of-work to distribute new coins. This reduces the likelihood of large mining farms dominating the creation of new coins and bullying the small guy out of rewards.

Cons: The deflationary/inflationary aspects of Peercoin make it very sensitive to how much user adoption it achieves.

  More »

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Megacoin
Megacoin: an alternative to Bitcoin.

Hashing algorithm: Script
Stock Exchange Tag: MEC
Total Coins to Be Issued: 42 million  
Discovery Time for Each New Block:  2.5 minutes
Reward for Each New Block: 25 coins
Current Market Value Per Coin: ~$0.26 USD

Pros: Has spiked in value over time; could become a big investment payoff for people that mine MEC now while the hash difficulty is low.

Cons: Plagued by rumors that Kim Dotcom is behind this altcoin. More »