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All About Bitcoin Mining: Road To Riches Or Fool's Gold?

Other Crypto Currencies

ASIC-based mining hardware will soon dominate Bitcoin mining, relegating GPU-miners to the dustbins of history.

To the dustbins of history? Not so fast. There are other crypto currencies for which GPU-based mining rigs are still useful, and profitable, too.

Litecoin (LTC)

The Litecoin crypto currency was created in October 2011 and intentionally inherits beneficial features from the Bitcoin currency, while also making a few changes, all of them deemed improvements.

For instance, while there will be only 21 million Bitcoins, ever, eventually there will be a total of 84 million Litecoins. The block spawning interval has been cut from 10 minutes to 2.5 minutes, which leads to shorter confirmation times, making Litecoins more suitable for over-the-counter purchases (for instance, for a cup of coffee).

The core algorithm of the Litecoin crypto currency is not SHA-256, but Scrypt. Scrypt is quite memory-intensive. The underlying idea was to intentionally keep FPGAs and ASICs out of Litecoin mining, at least for the foreseeable future, thus ensuring that a purchase of graphics cards for Litecoin mining does not wind up being such a short-term investment, as in the Bitcoin universe. As a rule of thumb, a graphics card that can mine Bitcoins at 400 MH/s is capable of mining Litecoins at approximately 400 kH/s.

The Litecoin currency is gaining popularity and there are exchanges, for instance At the time of writing, a Litecoin (LTC) was worth about $2.95. 

Assuming the (fictitious) 230 W, 230 MH/s graphics card used throughout this article can also run the Litecoin mining algorithm at about 230 kH/s, about 0.5 LTC per day would be generated, or the equivalent of $1.50. Thus, GPU-based Litecoin mining is already slightly more profitable than GPU-based Bitcoin mining.

If you want to try out crypto currency mining but don’t want to invest in ASIC-based dedicated mining hardware, mining Litecoins would be an excellent place to start using your existing, paid-for, discrete graphics card,.

PPCoin (PPC)

The PPCoin crypto currency was created in August 2012 and has its roots in the Bitcoin currency, but was intentionally designed to be more energy-efficient than Bitcoin. Instead of using only a "proof of work" concept, PPCoin uses a combined "proof of work" and "proof of stake" concept, the latter being more energy efficient than "proof of work". During the inflationary phase, however, the well-known "proof of work" concept is used.

Namecoin (NMC)

Namecoin is based on Bitcoin and is a generic peer-to-peer name/value data store. One of its prime applications is protecting DNS information cryptographically, in a peer-to-peer way. It is possible to mine Namecoins while also mining Bitcoins.