Rise of the Crypto-Coins

Bitcoin’s popularity has resulted in dozens of other similar crypto-coins (currencies). CoinMarketCap, a website that tracks these crypto-currencies lists some 43 of them at the moment, new ones are regularly added.

Bitcoin’s price has surged from just $17 earlier this year to over $1100 at the moment, all just within the span of 12 months. This confidence in bitcoin as the possible boundary-less currency for the future, has also affected the prices of other crypto-currencies. Most of them has seen a double digit growth in their prices for the past few months (if you don’t take into account the daily high volatility that they experience).

While it’s relatively easy to buy bitcoins now from sites like mtgox, btc-e and VirWox etc (here is a full list), it’s not very straightforward to buy the less established coins like litecoin, which has the 2nd largest market capitalization at the moment. Litecoin is being likened to “silver” by its supporters, while they consider bitcoin as “gold”.

Since these less popular crypto-coins are not sold on popular sites (yet), one way to buy them would be to buy bitcoins and then convert them into other crypto-coins. That means you could buy bitcoins from any other website and then import them to sites like BTC-E and BTER. Basically, you would be converting your bitcoins (BTC) into litecoins (LTC) etc. in these websites.

Word of caution: In case you decide to invest in crypto-coins, just keep these in mind:

  • Crypto-coins are highly volatile (even bitcoin).
  • Besides bitcoin, the rest of the crypto-coins are still in their infancy and most of them will probably die out and not take off.
  • Websites that offer trading services are not 100% secure, there have been many cases where people have lost their bitcoins to hacking, scams etc. So make sure you backup your bitcoins or better yet withdraw them and keep them in your “private wallet” rather than on those websites.
  • Buying bitcoin is not instant, at least the setting up of your account and account verification might take up to 48 hours in some websites. So plan in advance.