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.
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 btc-e.com. 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,.
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 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.