Bitcoin mining is intentionally designed to be resource-intensive and difficult so that the number of blocks found each day by miners remains steady. Individual blocks must contain a proof of work to be considered valid. This proof of work is verified by other Bitcoin nodes each time they receive a block. Bitcoin uses the hashcash proof-of-work function.
There are hundreds of altcoins (CoinMarketCap listed 478 at the time this guide was written), and more appear each day. Most altcoins are little more than Bitcoin clones, changing only minor characteristics such as its transactions speed, distribution method, or hashing algorithm. Most of these coins do not survive for very long. One exception is Litecoin, which was one of the first altcoins. In addition to using a different hashing algorithm than Bitcoin, Litecoin has a much higher number of currency units. For this reason, Litecoin has branded itself as “silver to Bitcoin’s gold.”

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Semantics: “Altcoin” isn’t the name of a cryptocurrency. Rather, the term “altcoin” describes any cryptocurrency alternative to Bitcoin. For example, Ripple, Litecoin, and Ethereum are all technically “altcoins.” With that in mind, people generally use the term to describe coins with lower market capitalizations. On this site we say “major alt” if we mean coins with the top market caps that aren’t Bitcoin, and we say “minor alts” to describe all other cryptos. See a list of altcoins.

Setup and configuration was super easy. Just a little help from the great folks in support and had my allocation questions answered. I am thinking of upgrading already, but will probably run for a while first. I really like that mining output can be split into different cryptocurrencies. Even if in the end of the 2 years I earn the investment back I'm basically converting it into Crypto and supporting the whole movement at the same time and to top it off it is using renewable energy to do so!
Thanks to some great partnerships we have established with hardware producers, as well as to our large scale purchases, we get better prices on our employed technology. This means we buy the hardware cheaper than the market price. What also bears great importance, considering the maintenance costs, is the storage of the miners: we have several farms around the globe, and each location was chosen to fulfill two important criteria: cheap electricity supply and little or no need for cooling.
When creating a new website, one doesn't make a new protocol unless it is necessary. For example, HTTPS is an encrypted version of HTTP, therefore it is useful and necessary. When creating an app such as "DarkSend", one doesn't need to make a new protocol such as "Darkcoin". This is synonymous to making an HTTPS alternative (eg. HTTPSX) for your new encrypted chat website and not adding any new security or functionality to HTTPSX.

I won't delve too deeply into the history of Bitcoin or its hordes of both unique and flash-in-the-pan spinoffs, but I do want to point out that you can't actually mine Bitcoin with regular computers anymore. It requires specialized and expensive hardware called ASICs. However, you can mine other coins and convert them to Bitcoin through a variety of exchanges and services. You can also earn Bitcoin by "lending" your computer's processing power to services like NiceHash which pay out in Bitcoin. But that's another rabbit hole for another time!

Bitcoins are mined with powerful computer hardware and software. A maximum of 21 million Bitcoin will be available, after which no further bitcoins will be produced. The algorithm which governs the production of Bitcoin limits the quantity that will be produced, and the rate at which they will be produced. It is a finite commodity – there is a fixed amount, and that ensures that greater demand will always prop up the price. In this way, it is similar to other finite commodities such as crude oil, silver, or gold.

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