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Top 8 Bitcoin Alternative Cryptocurrencies You Can Use

Bitcoin may be the world’s best-known and most-used cryptocurrency, but it has been under intense pressure of late, having forked once already just a few short weeks earlier. As expected, the currency lost quite a bit of market-cap after the fork, but more trouble may well be on the horizon for the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. According to recent reports, not only is the Bitcoin blockchain likely to see a further fork going forward, some researchers are now also claiming that Bitcoin transactions may not actually be as anonymous as many believe them to be. While it’s unlikely that any of the controversies will actually undermine Bitcoin’s standing as the world’s preeminent cryptocurrency, many are wondering if they can switch to other options for their online payments in order to maintain their privacy. That being the case, here are the top 8 Bitcoin alternative cryptocurrencies you can use.

THE Best Bitcoin Alternatives Out There

1. Ethereum (ETH)

Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is an open-source, decentralized blockchain-based computing platform that is known mostly for its own cryptocurrency token called ‘Ether’. The platform enables users to create a tradeable digital token that can be used as a currency, or even a central bank that can actually issue currency. It also enables developers to build and run smart contracts and distributed applications without any outside interference. Ethereum went live only a couple years ago, but within a year of becoming operational, was hard-forked into two blockchains after the infamous attack on the DAO project, resulting in the creation of Ethereum (ETH) and Etherium Classic (ETC). With most of the original Etherium backers, including founders Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood, moving onto the new Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, it currently has a market-cap of over $31 billion, second only to the mighty Bitcoin, making it a leading Bitcoin alternative.

2. Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin is a decentralized peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that’s powered by open source software released under the MIT/X11 license in October, 2011 by former Googler, Charles Lee. It was originally inspired by Bitcoin and, has quite a few similarities with the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, but the adoption of Segregated Witness and Lightning Network has allowed Litecoin to reduce block generation times to about 2.5 minutes (compared to Bitcoin’s 10 Minutes), thereby reducing bottlenecks and facilitating payments about four times faster than Bitcoin. One of the best features about Litecoin is Wallet encryption, which allows users to secure their wallets in a way that allows them to view their account balance and prior transactions, but are required to enter a passcode to be able to actually spend their money.

3. Dogecoin (Doge)

Dogecoin probably has the most interesting backstory of all cryptocurrencies combined. Back in December 2013, the currency was introduced as a bit of a joke by combining Bitcoin with a viral internet meme called ‘Doge’, which featured the picture of a Shiba Inu accompanied by a multicolored text in broken English, written in Comic Sans font. Like Litecoin and unlike Bitcoin, Dogecoin also uses Scrypt instead of the more traditional SHA-256 algorithm, potentially allowing “merged mining” with other compatible currencies. While some SHA-256 currencies also allow the practice, it’s relatively much less common.

4. Faircoin (FAIR)

Faircoin is part of the grand socially-conscious vision of a Spain-based co-operative organization called the Catalan Integral Cooperative, or the CIC. It uses the blockchain technology of Bitcoin, but with a more socially-constructive design. Unlike other cryptocurrencies on the list, Faircoin relies on neither mining or minting new coins, as they are “both competitive systems”, instead using certified validation nodes, or CDNs, to perform block generation in more ecologically responsible, equitable ways that “facilitates the development and expansion of a new postcapitalist economic system based on collaboration”. Instead of proof-of-stake or proof-of-work, Faircoin uses what it calls ‘proof-of-cooperation’ to verify all generated coins.

5. Dash (DASH)

Formerly known as XCoin and Darkcoin, Dash, a portmanteau of the words ‘Digital’ and ‘Cash’,  is an open source, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency, much like Bitcoin. However, it promises quite a few improvements over Bitcoin with features such as ‘InstantSend’ and ‘PrivateSend’. According to the developers behind Dash, the former enables users to complete financial transactions almost instantaneously without relying on a centralized authority. As for ‘PrivateSend’, it protects the privacy of users by obscuring the origin of funds by executing several transactions at once, making it unclear whose coins are going to who. According to Dash’s official website, the currency uses a “2-tier architecture” to power its network. The first tier consists of “miners who secure the network and write transactions to the blockchain”, while the second tier includes the “masternodes which enable the advanced features of Dash”.

6. Peercoin (PPC)

Peercoin is based on the Bitcoin protocol and shares much of its source code, but instead of relying solely on the proof-of-work system to verify mined coins, it implements a proof-of-stake system that gives an advantage to miners who already have more coins to begin with. Another important distinction between Peercoin and Bitcoin is the fact that the former doesn’t have a hard cap on the number of possible coins, but is designed to “eventually attain an annual inflation rate of 1%”. As its name suggests, Peercoin is also a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, with its source code released under the MIT/X11 software license.

7. Ripple (XRP)

Released in 2012 and based upon a distributed open source protocol, Ripple is a real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) that actually has its own cryptocurrency called Ripples (XRP). It is one of the most well-known and largest cryptocurrencies with an overall market cap nearing $10 billion. On its website, Ripple says it enables “secure, instant and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks”. Like Bitcoin and basically every other entry on our list today, Ripple also is decentralized, and counts the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) among its validators, with mainstream financial organizations,  like UniCredit, UBS and Santander among its users.

8. Monero (XMR)

Originally launched as a fork of Bytecoin in 2014, Monero (formerly BitMonero) is yet another open-source cyptocurrency that has already gained a steady following since its release. It is a proof-of-work cryptocurrency that works on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and FreeBSD. Monero isn’t actually based on the Bitcoin protocol, unlike most of the cryptocurrencies on our list today, but on the CryptoNote protocol, which has major algorithmic differences with Bitcoin in terms of its obfuscation. Like Bitcoin, however, Monero also focuses on privacy and decentralization, but unlike the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, it also allows scalablity by not having any hard-coded block size limit. To prevent excessive increases in block sizes, a block reward/penalty mechanism is built into the protocol itself.

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