Virtual currencies are hot
The Bitcoin market is hot these days as many investors flock to the decentralized digital currency. But because there is only a fixed number of Bitcoin, and the majority of it is tied up by early adopters, investors who are looking to make a new entry into the cryptocurrency space may need to consider other alternatives while they wait for inventory to free up.
Litecoin was started in 2011 and is the second largest decentralized digital currency after Bitcoin. Although Litecoins are more difficult to obtain than Bitcoin, the two can often be exchanged for one another, which can be hugely valuable in situations when there is a Bitcoin outage.
Litecoin differs from Bitcoin in that it takes less time to process transactions, which is a strong positive as speed is of huge importance in the financial markets. It is estimated that 84 million Litecoin will be produced as a result of data mining – a number that is substantially higher than the estimated 21 billion Bitcoin in existence. Such a high volume of Litecoin could decrease its value, but it does give investors a higher chance of obtaining the cryptocurrency.
Feathercoin is an open source digital currency that is actually based on Litecoin. It will eventually have a total of more than 330 million coins and is generated at a rate that is four times faster than Litecoin.
The major difference between Feathercoin and Bitcoin is that Feathercoin uses a Scrypt hash function for its proof-of-work and operates within a 2.5 minute block target versus Bitcoin’s 10 minute target. This faster rate block target allows for transactions to be processed at a much faster rate than Bitcoin.
Terracoin is one of the more difficult cryptocurrencies to obtain because it uses a SHA-256 algorithm, which is more difficult to mine than Scrypt used in Litecoin and Feathercoin. This makes the currency nearly impossible to mine on anything other than a higher end machine and causes it to have a slower mining rate than Scrypt-based currencies. According to the Terracoin website, no more than 42 million Teracoin will be released.
Keeping up with the times
The value in all of these currencies is that they allow for instant payments around the world without having to go through a central financial institution. While each have their pros and cons, investors now have a variety of currencies to choose from and can quickly send and receive payments in the increasingly digitized financial age.