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.
Mining cryptocoins is an arms race that rewards early adopters. You might have heard of Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency that was released in early 2009. Similar digital currencies have crept into the worldwide market since then, including a spin-off from Bitcoin called Bitcoin Cash. You can get in on the cryptocurrency rush if you take the time to learn the basics properly.
Many Bitcoin enthusiasts argue that altcoins are completely unnecessary and will not succeed because they cannot rival the infrastructure Bitcoin boasts. However, altcoins serve an important role. Decentralization is one of Bitcoin’s most prominent goals, and altcoins further decentralize the cryptocurrency community. Moreover, altcoins allow developers to experiment with unique features. While it is true that Bitcoin can copy these features if the developers or community desires, fully-functioning altcoins are much better “cryptocurrency laboratories” than Bitcoin’s testnet. Finally, Altcoins give Bitcoin healthy competition. Altcoins give cryptocurrency users alternative options and forces Bitcoin’s developers to remain active and continue innovating. If users do not feel that Bitcoin satisfies their digital desires, they can adopt an altcoin. If enough users left Bitcoin for a particular altcoin, the Bitcoin developers would have to adopt the features the community desired or risk losing its place as the preeminent cryptocurrency.
Created by a former Google engineer, Litecoin is the silver to Bitcoin’s gold - it’s fast, efficient, and perfect for tiny transactions and day-to-day expenses. Litecoin uses the Scrypt algorithm, and is mined with specialized ASIC hardware. You can also receive Zcash, Dash, and other cryptocurrencies for your output using the AUTO-Mining Allocation feature in our dashboard.
According to BitPay, a Bitcoin Payment Service Provider, as of November 2013 there are over 14,000 merchants currently accepting bitcoins. Two years ago this number stood at few hundred. The number of transactions facilitated by Bitpay increased tenfold in 2014 and crossed the 50,000 mark in November. The payment processor said that 6,296 bitcoin transactions occurred on Black Friday last year, up from only 99 transactions the year prior.
The reward for doing so -- a miner's fee if you will -- is payment in that block's coin. The payment is based on how much their hardware contributed to solving that puzzle. Where do the coins come from? By design, that's exactly how the coins are created. The block is solved and coins and distributed fairly to miners. This increases the coin's supply.
Bitcoins are mined with powerful computer hardware and software. A maximum of 21 million Bitcoin will be available, after which no further bitcoins will be produced. The algorithm which governs the production of Bitcoin limits the quantity that will be produced, and the rate at which they will be produced. It is a finite commodity – there is a fixed amount, and that ensures that greater demand will always prop up the price. In this way, it is similar to other finite commodities such as crude oil, silver, or gold.