Top cryptocurrencies you can mine
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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).