Digital currency puts the power back in the hands of the user and breaks free of centralized and governing agencies. You own the private and public keys that make up your address - and nobody can take them away from you. Selecting the right option, however, depends on how you will use it. For some, you need to crowdsource or create contracts, and for others, it’s purely transactional. By understanding the benefits of each option and matching the right ones to your needs, you can make a more informed choice. We hope this list of cryptocurrencies has been informative, make sure to check out our other blog posts for more info on how cryptocurrency works!
A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency designed to work as a medium of exchange. It uses cryptography to secure and verify transactions as well as to control the creation of new units of a particular cryptocurrency. Essentially, cryptocurrencies are limited entries in a database that no one can change unless specific conditions are fulfilled.
If I like an ICO, read the white paper, research the founders, google it for hours, and come away with a good vibe, I will put a small amount of Ether (or whatever currency) on it and see where it goes as a long term play. 90% of the time it just ties up money that would have been better spent holding the coin. Further, you can often buy the token cheaper on the open market using a platform like EtherDelta. Further, you can often wait until it is listed on a major exchange and then buy it.
An initial coin offering (ICO) is a controversial means of raising funds for a new cryptocurrency venture. An ICO may be used by startups with the intention of avoiding regulation. However, securities regulators in many jurisdictions, including in the U.S., and Canada have indicated that if a coin or token is an "investment contract" (e.g., under the Howey test, i.e., an investment of money with a reasonable expectation of profit based significantly on the entrepreneurial or managerial efforts of others), it is a security and is subject to securities regulation. In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency (usually in the form of "tokens") is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies, often bitcoin or ether.[47][48][49]
One of the most important problems that any payment network has to solve is double-spending. It is a fraudulent technique of spending the same amount twice. The traditional solution was a trusted third party - a central server - that kept records of the balances and transactions. However, this method always entailed an authority basically in control of your funds and with all your personal details on hand.
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Litecoin: Litecoin is probably the second most important digital coin [true in 2015, it is still relevant today]. It had the third-highest market cap as of June 2015, but today it sits closer to 7. Despite the decline, CPU mining is still sort of possible, people know what a Litecoin is, it uses essentially the same technology of Bitcoin, and it costs about 1/50th – 1/100th of what Bitcoin does (depending on the day). A Litecoin is a lot like a Bitcoin before the whole ‘Silk Road‘ controversy, or as some people would say “a Litecoin is like a Bitcoin except with a value closer to what a reasonable person would expect a digital coin to have in a rational market.”
The validity of each cryptocurrency's coins is provided by a blockchain. A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.[23][26] Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block,[26] a timestamp and transaction data.[27] By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way".[28] For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.