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Who needs bitcoin? Virtual currencies enable people to make payments in virtual online environments, such as when playing a game or on a social networking site. They are an emerging tradeable commodity and bitcoin—first created in —has so far been synonymous with this movement.


Bitcoin is used to exchange online credits for goods and services and there is no central bank that issues them. Bitcoins can be created online by using a computer to complete difficult tasks, a process known as mining.

Read more: Winklevosses: Bitcoin worth at least times more The virtual currency has garnered bitcoin first day of trading interest from policymakers, regulators and the media this year.

Guadagnare scrivendo recensioni may be the runaway winner at the moment, according to Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss—who famously battled Mark Zuckerberg over the origins of Facebook—but they believe it is "very possible" that there could be more than one.

What are the alternatives to bitcoin?

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CNBC highlights some the greatest hits in cryptocurrency, including defunct and dubious alternatives. These options are not for the fainthearted and are in are no way endorsed by CNBC.

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Founded inco-founder Douglas Jackson said on the currency's still active website that it was created to "advance the material welfare of mankind" and as a "fulcrum for a better future. The United States Secret Service put an end to the service in Three individuals pleaded guilty to operating as an unlicensed money transmitting business in violation of federal criminal law in She added that it became a popular payment method for sellers of child pornography, operators of investment scams and perpetrators of credit card and identity fraud.

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Then there's the world of regulation: For online payment systems to thrive in the long run, they must find ways bitcoin first day of trading comply with anti-money laundering rules. E-gold btc coinmarket privato on both accounts. Source: libertyreserve.

At Monday's U. Senate committee hearing, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said that Liberty Reserve used its centralized virtual currency to allegedly engage in credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, narcotics trafficking and child pornography.

She added that one Liberty Reserve co-founder had already pleaded guilty to money laundering in the scheme a few weeks ago, with seven in total being charged. Raj Samani, the chief technology officer of EMEA at McAfee, said in research paper in October that the alleged use of Liberty Reserve by criminals would have been aided by its failure to verify new accounts, an accusation that was levied at predecessors such as e-gold.

Litecoin Litecoin Based on the processes used with bitcoin, litecoin differs in that it can be efficiently mined—using computers to compete difficult tasks—with consumer-grade hardware and also enables faster transactions.

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Jonathon Waller, a developer at start-up incubator BitcoinEAST in Bitcoin first day of trading, believes litecoin could become much more valuable in the future when used in conjunction with bitcoin. Price differences between the two could be exploited, he said, similar to arbitrage trading in today's foreign exchange markets.

Another benefit could be coin mixing, he added. Bitcoin customers use software tools to shuffle coin identification codes in an attempt to keep their anonymity.

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Peercoin Peercoin Peercoin, otherwise known as PPCoin and Peer-to-Peer Coin, has the third-biggest market capitalization after bitcoin and litecoin, according to coinmarketcap. No banks, no fraud, no hidden-fees," the company says. Peercoin states that Bitcoin favors "proof-of-work," whereas Peercoin prefers "proof-of-stake. Thus, the fewer subsidies to miners, the less people would be inclined to try to complete the energy intensive tasks, making the currency more energy efficient.

Waller told CNBC that it's experimental, but it seems sound. It's a "very speculative investment.

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I have some because 'you never know,' " he said. Ripple Ripple It's a "math-based currency plus," according to a spokesperson for Ripple. Well you bitcoin first day of trading be. It states that the overall system is faster than bitcoin transactions in seconds versus minutes or more and it can accommodate any currency like dollars, bitcoin, euros and its own currency, called XRP. The company behind the currency, Ripple Labs, is a San Francisco-based start-up funded by Google Ventures— Google 's investment arm—among others.

It is fast, and the user has full flexibility on how to do the transfer," a statement on the OpenCoin project website says. If you want an account based system like the ripple network, it is not. MintChip is a secure value transfer technology with many of the attributes of cash, delivered digitally. Created after an open competition for software developers, it bitcoin first day of trading a secure chip to hold electronic value which could be in a mobile device, the cloud or a USB stick and a secure protocol to transfer electronic value from one chip to another.

It's backed by fiat currency, but is "currency agnostic," according to a RCM spokesperson, so can be used for any other national reserve. They know something new is coming and want a hand in it. Linden Dollars can be exchanged for U. Virtual goods include buildings, vehicles, clothing, skin, hair, jewelry, works of art and much more.

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They are an ingenious way to leverage on an established ecosystem, with the potential to break out to have commercial value elsewhere," Merk told CNBC. Meanwhile, Waller isn't so sure.

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The virtual game received plenty of media traction in andbut he says the currency could be liable to a slip in the number of users. Garland agrees, adding that Linden Dollars could have a long life, provided that people keep playing "Second Life.