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Leading virtual currencies globally

The past year witnessed a rush for cryptocurrencies and there is no sign 2018 will be any different. According to a recent survey conducted by Blockchain and Forbes, 30 per cent of those in the 18-to-34 age bracket would rather invest in virtual currencies than in government bonds or stocks. Below are the leading virtual currencies.

1. Bitcoin

Bitcoin is now not only the most recognised and known cryptocurrency, but also the only digital currency that is most widely accepted and used in numerous transactions.

With a market cap of approximately $80 billion (Sh8.26 trillion) and a supply of more than 16.5 million Bitcoins, one Bitcoin (until recently) had a value of more than $4,800 (Sh495,336), making it the costliest virtual currency on the market. Recently, it hit a historic mark when its value peaked at a whopping $5,856.10 in October last year.

2. Etherum

Etherum is a rising star in the cryptocurrency world. Launched in 2015, it has quickly become the second largest digital currency in just over two years, booming in value and spurring the rise of hundreds of new rivals to Bitcoin. Notably, Ethereum has surpassed Bitcoin in terms of the number of transactions thus stands steadily and has all the potential to overcome the pioneer-cryptocurrency.

3. LiteCoin

Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet currency that enables instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world. It is an open source, global payment network that is fully decentralised without any central authorities.

The Litecoin blockchain is capable of handling higher transaction volume than its counterpart – Bitcoin. Due to more frequent block generation, the network supports more transactions without a need to modify the software in the future.

4. Namecoin

Namecoin is an experimental open-source technology which improves decentralisation, security, censorship resistance, privacy, and speed of certain components of the Internet infrastructure.

It was the first fork of Bitcoin and first to implement merged mining and a decentralised DNS (Domain Name System). It was also the first solution to the long-standing problem of producing a naming system that is secure and decentralised.

5. Primecoin

Primecoin is a form of digital currency secured by cryptography and issued through a decentralised mining market. Derived Bitcoin, Primecoin introduces a unique form of proof-of-work based on prime numbers. The prime number chains are of interest to mathematical research thus primecoin network is energy-multiuse compared to bitcoin.

6. Feathercoin

Feathercoin was created around 2013 and remains active despite a relatively small trading volume. It did not offer much in terms of uniqueness when compared to bitcoin and its other blockchain-based predecessors and was considered to be just another clone.

It takes about a minute to generate a block, confirming transactions in about one-tenth of the time as it does on the bitcoin blockchain. The reward for each block is 40 coins, distributed among the miners who solved it.

7. There are very few rules for Megacoin which was founded in 2013.. Megacoin is global, it faces no boundaries and connects people even from the most faraway places on earth. It has 42.00 million coins in circulation.

8. Quarkcoin

Although there is no ideal, Quarkcoin will continue to release coins in perpetuity after the initial 247 million are mined at an inflation rate of five per cent per year. Its mining schedule was developed to be quick to get it out of the hands of miners and into investors as soon as possible.

This has been accomplished as people buying it now are looking to invest for the long-term, not mine it and dump as the mentality for most coins these days. Quarkcoin generates a new block every 30 seconds compared to Bitcoin which generates one block every 10 minutes thus a very slow transaction time.

9. Peercoin

Unlike the rest, Peercoin does not have a hard limit on the number of possible coins, but is designed to eventually attain an annual inflation rate of one peercoin.

Peercoin seeks to be the most secure cryptocoin at the lowest cost, rewarding all users for strengthening the network by giving them a one per cent annual (pay per click) PPC return when minting.

Transactions are recorded in the Peercoin blockchain (a ledger held by most clients), a new block is added to the blockchain with a targeted time of 10 minutes (whenever a small enough hash value is found for the proof-of-work scheme), a transaction is usually considered complete after six blocks, or 60 minutes, although for smaller transactions, fewer than six blocks may be needed for adequate security. New coins can be created in two different ways, that is, mining and minting.

10. IOTA

Standing for Internet of Things Application, it is one of several cryptocurrencies making waves at the moment – as the digital currency market continues to grow. According to some industry observers, the cryptocurrency might become the fastest growing market in the next few years.

This cryptocurrency is quite different from other digital currencies.The main difference is that it is not available to buy directly with traditional cash – you can only trade it for another cryptocurrency. That means if you want to get your hands on some Iota, you first need to acquire something like Bitcoin or Ethereum.

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