The term Bitcoin is very much part of the lexicon and you would have to travel a long way to find someone that has never heard of the term. This is true even if you are unsure what cryptocurrency is. It is written about in the press, has a legion of fans and makes the news and financial news headlines regularly for its dramatic price drops and impressive price booms.
All this said Bitcoin is not the only game in town. There are other cryptocurrencies which collectively are known as Altcoin. They work on the peer 2 peer model and involve mining to unlock blocks. They set themselves apart from Bitcoin by using different algorithms to provide proof of work and different ways to unlock blocks by offering different ways to sacrifice energy. Some, offer more anonymity. In essence, however, they are all cryptocurrency in the end.
They even have their own training platforms and comparison sites such as Bestbitcoinexchange and so on.
Anyone can create a cryptocurrency. Right now there are over a 1500 Altcoins available. Here are some examples.
Litecoin was branded upon its 2011 release as ‘silver to Bitcoin’s gold’. It set itself apart from Bitcoin in the following ways:
- More coins can be mined. Litecoins allows for 84 million coins to be mined rather than Bitcoin’s 21.
- Coins can be approved faster. Litecoin allows 1 coin to be approved every 2.5 minutes compared to Bitcoin’s 10.
- Litecoin uses a less memory demanding proof of work algorithm than Bitcoin’s algorithm called Scrypt.
This looks pretty good on the surface and yet Bitcoin’s price is the one that most in the world of finance follow. At the time of writing 1 Litecoin equals $91.19 USD and 1 Bitcoin equals $7,932.49 USD. If you want to know more about Bitcoin the site www.bitcoin.org gives valuable information.
Highs and Lows
Bitcoin is like an emerging market in the early 20th century. Investors saw their investments plummet and soar before becoming more stable over a period of decades. If we look at its history the same pattern can be seen. These dramatic price increases and decreases show that it moves and shakes while the others do not seem to take off. At least not yet.
Altcoins are at the end of the day are the imitator, the pretender to the throne. They may offer better anonymity but they don’t offer a viable alternative to fiat currency at the moment. Bitcoin is the only one taking leaps in that direction. Ok, it stumbles along the way but you do get the feeling that it is inevitable that Bitcoin will play a far larger role in world currency and finance than it does at the moment.
With this in mind, it is fair to say that Bitcoin might not be the only game in town but it is probably the only one worth playing. The others are not in the same league as it and given that currencies have been started and mothballed and you’ve probably never heard of them, Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency to concentrate on.