Which cryptocurrencies deviate significantly from Bitcoin?

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Dash

Dash (originally known as Darkcoin) is a more secretive version of Bitcoin. Dash offers more anonymity as it works on a decentralized mastercode network that makes transactions almost untraceably. Launched in January 2014, Dash experienced an increasing fan following in a short span of time. This cryptocurrency was created and developed by Evan Duffield and can be mined using a CPU or GPU. In March 2015, ‘Darkcoin’ was rebranded to Dash, which stands for Digital Cash and operates under the ticker – DASH. The rebranding didn't change any of its technological features such as Darksend, InstantX. (Related reading, see: Top Alternative Investments for Retirement)

Ripple ()

Ripple is a real-time global settlement network that offers instant, certain and low-cost international payments. Ripple “enables banks to settle cross-border payments in real time, with end-to-end transparency, and at lower costs.” Released in 2012, Ripple currency has a market...

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About a week ago, I posted an answer on Quora that eventually got merged with the following question:

Which is better, to invest in bitcoin or ethereum and litecoins?

I wanted to expand on this answer and give you a few paradigms when thinking about how to value popular cryptocurrencies. Each paradigm comes with a different perspective and, ultimately, a different recommended investing strategy.

Before I get into that, I’ll briefly discuss the history of the three cryptocurrencies in this post.

Background: Recent History of Blockchains

Skip to the next section if you’re already familiar with these blockchains.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin was the original cryptocurrency blockchain, creating the entire industry we are talking about. It was released in 2008 and has the most marketing power behind it.

Despite the ecosystem growing widely, Bitcoin is still the most recognized and widely used brand in the industry.

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Bytecoin, the original anonymous cryptocurrency which successfully implemented Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell-endorsed Cryptonote, the technology used by leading anonymous cryptocurrency Monero, has made a strong comeback with a 250% percent increase in its price.

In merely three days, Bytecoin experienced a 5x increase in its market cap, increasing from around $80 million to $400 million. Such abrupt growth in market cap and value isn’t organic and the inconsistency of Bytecoin’s growth is evident in its trading volume. For years, Bytecoin hasn’t seen much trading across exchanges and trading platforms. By May, Bytecoin daily trading volume increased from $340,000 to a staggering $48 million.

Despite being the first and the original anonymous cryptocurrency, Bytecoin is relatively unknown to the modern cryptocurrency community, in comparison to Monero. This is because Monero is a forked and evolved version of Bytecoin, which deviated from the original Bytecoin...

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Ever since Bitcoin started to make it big as an alternative currency a wide range of competitors have hit the market. Like Bitcoin, they are all 'crytocurrencies'. They are also sometimes known as 'alt coins', which is a bit less of a mouthful.

A crytpocurrency is a distributed digital currency which is not controlled by a central authority (like a central bank), but instead is maintained and run through peer to peer transactions. The name 'cryptocurrency' comes from the fact that users run software which generates cryptographic keys to enable them to securely store, send, and receive currency.

Bitcoin has rocketed in value over the last year or so, and is starting to become a popular method for people to pay for things online or send money to friends and family around the world. But Bitcoin is not the only game in town, and its success has inspired a wide range of new start ups who hope that they can offer something new and different enough to muscle in on this brand...

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In this CoinDesk 2016 in Review special feature, CoinDesk contributor Frederick Reese gives an overview of trends in the digital currency and digital asset markets.

2016 has been an exciting year for cryptocurrencies.

With most of the major open-source currencies showing growth this year and with some expected to see significant expansion in 2017, 2016 reflects a loss of faith in traditional money systems in light of the global populism trend and a growing confidence in the underlying technologies in play for crypto transactions.

As the year comes to an end, CoinDesk took a moment to look at the best-performing cryptocurrencies by market capitalization for the year and the factors that affected the markets throughout the year.

For the sake of this analysis, we are looking at a review period of December 27, 2015 to December 26, 2016.

Bitcoin

Market Capitalization (Beginning of Year): $6,161,215,794
Market Capitalization...

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In my last article, I discussed how the market cap of many altcoins is deceiving as recently, there’s been a large run-up in the prices of a lot of altcoins. In this article, I seek to show how and why Bitcoin is different than all the other altcoins that exist.

How People Progress in Bitcoin

Having been involved in Bitcoin for a long time, I’ve noticed that there’s a pattern to how people think about Bitcoins as they discover more and more of the ecosystem surrounding it. Usually, the thoughts go something like this:

Wow, Bitcoin is amazing! There’s a limit to how many will ever exist and significant control over my own money. How do I get some?Mining sounds really cool. That sounds like where the money is going to get made. How do I get miners and start making some Bitcoin?Mining looks really hard and difficult. I guess it’s better if I just buy it. Now where can I go buy some?Awesome, now I own some Bitcoin, but what are all...
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Bitcoin source code is freely available and anyone can download it, make their changes and, roughly speaking, create a new cryptocurrency – a Bitcoin fork.

This is used by many people: some aim at the improvement of the network by adding functions they consider missing and thus creating a new coin; others only seek to gain from promoting their idea on the forums, attracting people so that as big amount of coin as possible will be bought during launch and the creator will earn some money in fiat currency or bitcoins (depending on which currency the new coin will be exchanged for).

Source code

Bitcoin client is written in C + +. To create a new cryptocurrency one has to have certain skills and abilities in programming. Changing a couple of lines of code will not get you anywhere. For example, co-founder of Dogecoin, a software engineer from Portland had to spend a few days of work to make a cryptocurrency not very different from Litecoin: the only significant...

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My old poll about the popularity of currency pairs had rather predictable results — EUR/USD, GBP/USD, the JPY pairs are the leaders. But how about the cryptocurrency trading? Can it be considered a part of the more traditional Forex scene? Given the fact that many FX brokers now support trading in crypto, should they be considered separate entities, or does BTC/USD or ETH/USD can be analyzed and traded on mostly the same rationale as EUR/USD and USD/CHF?

It seems to me that the majority of people acquainted with cryptocurrencies are predisposed to investing in them rather than speculating on an exchange or through a broker. A limited number of them (including me) might be also interested in using their crypto balances further to invest in margin funding on exchanges. However, with both the trading technology and the volumes advancing by leaps and bounds on a daily basis, more and more people should be switching to day trading or some other form of active trading in...

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On June 27, a major correction in the cryptocurrency market occurred, bringing the market cap of the cryptocurrency market below the $100 bln region.

All top 30 cryptocurrencies fell significantly in value, recording nearly 20 to 30 percent decline in market cap. Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies, also recorded substantial decline in value.

Bitcoin’s drop in value

As demonstrated by previous cryptocurrency market corrections, the decline in Bitcoin price has always led to the correction of the entire market.

Thus, when Bitcoin price fell from around $2,700 to $2,370, the cryptocurrency market underwent a major correction, with Ethereum falling from around $30 bln to $22 bln in market cap.

When evaluating the short-term fall of Bitcoin price, it is important to consider the analysis of two financial and security experts, Max Keiser and Andreas Antonopoulos.

On June 15, after a minor correction, in response to...

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Bitcoin might be the name on everyone’s lips right now, but did you know that Bitcoin is merely the tip of the cryptocurrency iceberg? For those not in the know, cryptocurrencies are basically decentralized and anonymous (or, at least, pseudonymous) peer-to-peer digital currencies that implement cryptography as a central security feature. Cryptocurrency coins are “mined” with computers by solving complex mathematical equations called “hashes”.

The success of Bitcoin has led to the development of many alternative cryptocurrencies, often called “altcoins”. Most of these altcoins offer their own take on the Bitcoin protocol, and are interesting in their own right. It helps, too, that most of these are still cheap and much easier to buy or mine.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that any of these altcoins will ever be as successful or as valuable as Bitcoin, but if you’ve been kicking yourself for missing the Bitcoin boat, you could do worse than check out one (or more) of...

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Bitcoin just hit a new high in value, and other non-traditional currencies are rapidly appreciating, but curb your enthusiasm.

So says Brown Brothers Harriman, acknowledging the rising market capitalization of Ripple, which has surged more than six-fold to $13 billion, and of Ethereum, which was worth about $700 million in January and recently was valued at more than $8.5 billion. But if these so-called crypto-currencies are hoarded, BBH notes, they cannot develop the critical mass of networking to fulfill the other functions of money as a means of exchange, BBH writes. UPDATED: Yet crypto-currencies still are praised by bulls as an alternative to fiat currencies, though neither is typically backed by gold or silver. BBH's Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy; Win Thin, global head of emerging market currency strategy; and Masashi Murata, emerging market currency strategist, write:

" ... There are several factors that may have spurred renewed interest in this...
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