Altcoins can differ from Bitcoin in a range of ways. Some have a different economic model or a different coin-distribution method, like altcoins that were given away to all citizens of a country. Others employ different proof-of-work mining algorithms, perhaps to resist specialized mining hardware — or maybe they don’t even rely on proof of work at all. Several altcoins offer a more versatile programming language to build applications on top of, while yet others offer more privacy compared to Bitcoin. And there are also altcoins that serve very specific, non-monetary use cases, like domain name registry or data storage pointers.
WPI has sophisticated software that can detect mining down to the I.P. address of the computer it is coming from. When a student mining operation is detected, "We have a process to bring them into our IT office, they sit down with our security officer, we explain what they might've done wrong, because this is a university, so we educate here," Patria said.
Sure. As discussed, the easiest way to acquire Bitcoin is to buy it on an exchange like Coinbase.com. Alternately, you can always leverage the "pickaxe strategy". This is based on the old saw that during the 1848 California gold rush, the smart investment was not to pan for gold, but rather to make the pickaxes used for mining. Or, to put it in modern terms, invest in the companies that manufacture those pickaxes. In a crypto context, the pickaxe equivalent would be a company that manufactures equpiment used for Bitcoin mining. You can look into companies that make ASICs miners or GPU miners. 
Transactions that occur on the network such as, “Alice sends 10 bitcoins to Bob”, are collected by a miner and bundled up into a block. The miner then verifies that all transactions in the block are valid, as if he attempts to submit a block with an invalid transaction, the block will be rejected. An example of an invalid transaction would be Alice sending 10 Bitcoins to Bob, even though she does not have 10 Bitcoins to send.
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