Top cryp­tocur­ren­cies you can mine

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Bit­coin was the first and is by far the largest cryp­tocur­rency, with a mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of $133-odd bil­lion. How­ever, it has spawned many more, and these are the cur­rent big­gest al­ter­na­tives. Val­ues here are, as ever, volatile as any­thing.

ETHEREUM

Launched in 2015 and sub­ject to huge re­cent growth, Ethereum is cur­rently worth about $34 bil­lion (£25 bil­lion). It uses a script­ing lan­guage, which can be executed over the network, mak­ing it an ideal plat­form for other ap­pli­ca­tions.

Bit­coin cash

Split from Bit­coin ear­lier this year, Bit­coin Cash’s coins are cur­rently wortth around 15 per­cent of the value of the orig­i­nals, or $20 bil­lion (£15 bil­lion) as a whole. Bit­coin Cash (BCH) uses a larger block size to in­crease the speed of any trans­ac­tions.

LITE­COIN

Worth over $3.8 bil­lion (£2.8 bil­lion), Lite­coin is tech­ni­cally very sim­i­lar to Bit­coin, al­though tweaked to be faster – trans­ac­tions are cur­rently about four times quicker. It was launched in 2011, which makes it one of the orig­i­nal cryp­tocur­ren­cies.

DASH

Worth about $3.4 bil­lion (around £2.5 bil­lion), Dash is sim­i­lar to Bit­coin, but uses a two-tier struc­ture of min­ers and mas­tern­odes. Self­fund­ing and self­gov­ern­ing, it op­er­ates a de­cen­tralised busi­ness model known as a DAO.

ETHEREUM CLAS­SIC

This was born out of a fork of Ethereum after the DAO Ethereum spin-off project had $50 (£37) of its Ether to­kens stolen. Ethere­rum Clas­sic is the orig­i­nal Ethereum blockchain, and is cur­rently worth around $1.7 bil­lion (£1.26 bil­lion).

BIT CON­NECT

Launched in Fe­bru­ary 2016, BitCon­nect has seen huge growth since, with coins jump­ing 1,800 per­cent in six months, and cur­rently worth $624m (£461 mil­lion) in to­tal. BitCon­nect in­cludes the fa­cil­ity to earn in­ter­est on lent coins.

MONERO

Based on dif­fer­ent tech­nol­ogy to Bit­coin and a fork of Byte­coin, Monero ex­pe­ri­enced huge growth thanks in part to its use on the dark­net mar­ket Al­phaBay (now de­funct). Cur­rently worth about $2 bil­lion (£1.5 bil­lion).

ZCASH

Un­der a year old and al­ready worth $792 mil­lion (£585 mil­lion), Zcash’s blockchain can hide the amounts and re­cip­i­ents, or make selec­tive dis­clo­sures to third par­ties – mak­ing it handy for com­ply­ing with money-laun­der­ing and tax reg­u­la­tions.

BYTE­COIN

Not to be con­fused with Bit­coin (BTE ver­sus BCN). The first cur­rency based on the Cryp­toNote pro­to­col, which is be­hind a num­ber of coins. Old for a cryp­tocur­rency, it’s been around since 2012, and is cur­rent val­ued at $234 mil­lion (around £173 mil­lion).

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