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I'm seeing lots of bitcoin-esque alternatives mentioned here. What alternatives exist and how do they differ from Bitcoins?

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closed as too broad by Greg Hewgill, Turbo, Salvador Dali, Murch, Stéphane Gimenez Feb 12 at 12:26

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Worth mentioning this answer. –  Lohoris Apr 15 '13 at 7:13
    
Lohoris' link can be summarized by a deeper link, a "List of all cryptocoins" on bitcointalk.org. –  pyramids Nov 28 '13 at 14:05

5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

There are a number of other cryptocoins in use alongside Bitcoin, the most notable are:

  1. Testnet Bitcoins (used only for testing Bitcoin applications, but they are an important mention) - they work exactly the same as Bitcoins.
  2. Namecoins - coinage used as a distributed naiming system blockchain. Their most notable feature is that they can be merged mined with Bitcoins.
  3. LiteCoins - "silver to Bitcoin's gold" - their blocks are generated every 2,5 minutes, and their hashing algorithms are more CPU-friendly (mining with graphic cards doesn't work well with those).
  4. SolidCoins - 2 minute blocks, there isn't a limit on how many coins will be generated, CPU friendly, difficulty is adjusted more often, close-source. The SolidCoins have undergone a "reset" recently and have earned themselves a negative reputation for how some issues were handled.
  5. GeistGeld - 15 seconds blocks, making it the fastest alternative crypto-currency.
  6. I0coin - they don't list any difference from Bitcoins on their website
  7. Ixcoin - same parameters as Bitcoins, asides more coins being generated each block (thusly, all 21M coins will be generated sooner)
  8. Tenebrix - CPU friendly, a few million coins pre-minted

A list of them is also maintained on the Bitcoin Wiki.

There is a relative ease in creating new cryptocoins, as you can just tweak the main client, encode a new genesis block and start your alternatives with small effort.

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5  
Worth mentioning that SolidCoins variants are closed-source, to the best of my knowledge. And Tenebrix had a few million coins pre-mined. There was a thread over at the alternative currency subforum that compared the coins. bitcointalk.org/index.php?board=67.0 –  ripper234 Nov 5 '11 at 13:14
    
Also worth mentioning Solidcoin is not completely p2p. –  Amin Nov 14 '11 at 9:03
    
Solidcoin is not closed source, although the lead developer often does nor post incremental changes to the code to a source distribution network (i.e. github) because githug received a C&D from someone in the bitcoin community but you can see the bottom of the downloads page for the source code. (wiki.solidcoin.info/wiki/Downloads#Source) It is worth noting that the code within v2.0, although derived from bitcoin has not broken any licensing agreements, but anyone interested in the currency can download the source and review it if that have questions. –  RLH Apr 17 '12 at 2:05
    
Also, the dev team is currently in the process of re-writing a client and server version of the currency and there is even a plan to rebrand the coin. The re-write will be nearly 100% free of any original bitcoin code. Follow along at solidcointalk.org/topic/589-solidcoin-v30-major-announcement –  RLH Apr 17 '12 at 2:08
    
Can you place this link somewhere prominent in your answer: en.bitcoin.it/wiki/List_of_alternative_cryptocurrencies –  ripper234 Mar 24 '13 at 14:44

There is also TimeKoin; see www.timekoin.org

  1. 5 minutes per block; twice as fast as bitcoin
  2. No pre-mined coins.
  3. Does not waste CPU cycles for minting coins. Coin minting is controlled by time.
  4. Each coin is indivisible; so each TimeKoin is like one Sathoshi.
  5. Currently only 450,000 coins in existence.
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What does it mean "controlled by time", doesn't make much sense to me. –  Lohoris Mar 23 '13 at 7:43

Currently the most comprehensive list is curated here:

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The best competitor is probably ppCoin (PPC) http://www.ppcoin.org. I'm surprised it has not been mentioned.

ppCoin has a lot of advantages over bitcoin, including:

  • power efficiency
    • BTC currently uses more power than a nuclear reactor, which is a horrible shame [check the power stats on blockchain.info and compare them to the output of Three Mile Island (wikipedia)]
    • However, PPC uses proof-of-stake mechanism, which means the network can survive (and grow) without burning up CPU/GPU/ASIC cycles.
    • Bitcoin's power problem won't end with ASICs. Soon everyone will have tons of ASICs using just as much power. BTC will always use the max power that is profitable. The more BTC is worth, the more power will be used. This is scary and bad for the environment.
  • security enhancements
    • proof-of-stake secures the network if mining decreases in long term when little new money is created
    • in BTC when mining ends transaction processors are incentivised to compete for transaction fees, which means ignoring each other's verified transaction blocks. This can lead to destruction of the network. PPC solves this by destroying transaction fees and simply providing incentive trough mining.
    • N.B. Some will say that PPC is not decentralised because its checkpointing process is centralised, in that the PPC developers add checkpoints with each release of the official PPC software. However, this is a fallacy. Bitcoin uses the same type of centralised checkpointing mechanism, i.e., through the released software. Thus, PPC is no worse than BTC in this regard. Decentralised checkpointing is a hard problem. There is an interesting paper "Bitter to Better" by some folks at Stanford suggesting a better decentralised checkpointing mechanism.
  • mechanisms to encourage actual use of the currency and survival of the network
    • mining is always encouraged (mining is always profitable, even in the long term)
    • transaction fees are not collected by transaction processors, but destroyed in order to counteract the currency created by mining.
    • Thus, the money supply should remain constant (after it reaches a certain point)

The last point is really relevant because bitcoin users tend to horde than spend.

  • ppCoin mining pool: ppcpool.bitparking.com

  • ppCoin exchange: ppcexchange.bitparking.com

It's profitable and you can mine a lot of coins quickly, but most importantly there's a lot of long-term potential for growth.

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and your affiliation with ppCoin would be...? –  7anner Jun 24 '13 at 18:46

There is a design specification (but not yet working code) for AnonyMint a.k.a. AnonyCoin.

Claims to fix what are claimed to be fatal flaws in Bitcoin.

UPDATE: the algorithm for the stability of value has been added.

P.S. I am the designer and I designed it in one day, after learning from scratch about Bitcoin the previous day.

Anonymously downvoting because you think something is a threat to Bitcoin is irrational, because the best way to protect the future of Bitcoin is to enumerate and improve its weakness. However, the schedule of Bitcoin 's debasement is non-negotiable.

Anonymously downvoting because this is not yet a released product is a mockery considering my specification is much superior to TimeKoin's incomprehensible description, yet its answer above has an upvote. And the comprehensive list includes many alternatives in various states of development.

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Why exactly would it be more difficult for an attacker to get a large number of hard-drives than a large number of ASICs? P.S. Why do you always complain about downvotes, then post irrelevant qualifications? –  Nick ODell Mar 23 '13 at 15:33
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@NickODell because everybody already has a hard-drive :wink:. That was explained in the linked description. I don't want to get in a pointless argument about "Those who talk, don't build". I've built a lot of really intense s/w since 1986 across any genre that I choose to dive into. Note the linked description doesn't yet explain the self-adjusting model for the debasement to control stability and counter the "volatility attack". I'm working on it now & will edit my answer. –  Shelby Moore III Mar 23 '13 at 15:54
    
@NickODell there is also some directly related experience from 2008 and Bittorrent. I cringe to link to that, since I've learned so much since then, but the technical point I made there was valid. –  Shelby Moore III Mar 23 '13 at 16:01
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@NickODell let me expound a bit to make it more clear for those who can't reason the 2nd and 3rd order effects. TPTB are not likely to need to take down P2P currency until it becomes a threat, which means a significant % of the population using it. In that case, you want to maximally leverage the resources the population already has against the attacker, i.e. millions of hard-drives. Capiche? –  Shelby Moore III Mar 23 '13 at 16:09

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