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I've just heard about another digital currency called Litecoin, which I believe to be based on Bitcoin, are there any more alternatives to Bitcoin & Litecoin?

  1. Any one got a list?
  2. A reason why the alternatives are better and/or worse?
  3. With what intentions where they created.
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Forum user xorxor maintains a list:

A reason why the alternatives are better and/or worse?

The secret sauce for Bitcoin is how the proof of work approach allowed it to be a decentralized digital currency. This approach allows "truth" to be determined by consensus of the network. This also makes it vulnerable should the majority of the network not be honest.

Keep that in mind first and foremost when considering any alternatives.

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    Don't confuse consensus with a majority vote. Almost everything in Bitcoin achieves consensus by having all nodes checking every rule and individually reaching the same conclusion. Only for the one thing where this isn't possible (the order of otherwise valid transactions), a voting mechanism called mining is used. – Pieter Wuille Apr 14 '13 at 9:40
  • Good point. Any actions by miners would be invalid if it wasn't acceptable to the economic majority who will pay the miners for their coins after they mature (which takes a duration of about 24 hours after the block is mined.) – Stephen Gornick Apr 14 '13 at 10:02