A Look At Other Cryptocurrencies Beside Bitcoin
Cryptocurrencies have blown up in terms of popularity, usability and value. Bitcoin is the undeniable
face of digital currencies after its market debut back in 2009. Its decentralized peer-to- peer network
created a prototype that subsequent cryptocurrencies could incorporate into their own designs.
Cryptocurrencies are flooding into multiple e-commerce markets, ranging from travel, shopping,
investing and even online gambling. With the high demand and application pliability, it is only natural that more cryptocurrency forms have emerged in addition to Bitcoin. This post provides a good overview of the alternative cryptocurrencies available and their differences from Bitcoin.
Litecoin launched in 2011 and was one of the first to launch post-Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency was
created by Charlie Lee, a MIT graduate and former Google engineer, and modeled after Bitcoin’s open
source (with changes, of course). Litecoin’s network is also devoid of any central authority or financial institution. At the time of its founding, it was lauded as the ‘silver’ to Bitcoin’s ‘gold’. The first difference to note between Litecoin and Bitcoin is their algorithm, with the former running on Scrypt and the latter running on SHA-256. Scrypts are encoded blocks of information that are decoded by CPUS (miners, essentially). Perhaps the biggest difference is the mean block time between the two currency forms. Bitcoin’s average time to generate a block is 10 minutes, whereas Litecoin’s is 2.5. Litecoin’s Scrypt algorithms coupled with their faster mean block time fosters confirming transactions much faster than Bitcoin. The blockchain can handle a higher volume of transactions and do so without requiring any updates to the network. Interestingly enough, there is a rumor that Charlie Lee also created Bitcoin, although that rumor has been dispelled by the Litecoin founder.
Another viable cryptocurrency is Ethereum, or Ether. Ether launched in 2015 and has a more
comprehensive software platform that supports SmartContracts and Distributed Applications on the
network. Ether is also considered its own Turning-complete programming language running on a
blockchain. This helps developers build their distributed applications. As of now, Ether’s two main purposes are being traded as a digital currency and used inside Ethereum to run applications. Ether’s transactions are verified much faster than Bitcoin’s as part of their streamlined platform. The main difference between Ether and Bitcoin is that Ether is more than just a cryptocurrency. It is a platform that monetizes peer-to- peer contracts and digital applications. The two cryptocurrencies cannot truly be compared because Ethereum has a different purpose. It’s also worth noting that while there are several gambling sites that accept Ethereum, it’s most certainly not as popular as Bitcoin in the gambling arena. Whether or not that will change in time remains to be seen.
Dash is like Bitcoin’s stepbrother. Launched in 2014, Dash (originally called Darkcoin) created a more anonymous version of Bitcoin that runs on a decentralized mastercode network that makes transactions virtually untraceable. The cryptocurrency was rebranded as Dash back in 2015 and still offers the same anonymity that helped it gain its following. Dash’s blockchain supports more transactions at a time and features instant transaction verification.
Ripple is an interesting alternative to Bitcoin because it operates on a network that does not require mining. This cryptocurrency was launched in 2012 and facilitates international transactions with lower costs and faster processing times. Instead of a blockchain, Ripple utilizes a consensus ledger that reduces network latency and computer power usage. Whereas Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, Ripple is its own transaction network with its own digital currency known as ripples, or XRP. Ripple seems to appeal more to large business developers over individual consumers.
These are just a few examples of other cryptocurrencies. There are many more that possess distinctive
features and technical specs. Finding the right cryptocurrency involves pinpointing what your needs are, but in any case, there are plenty to choose from.