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Who needs bitcoin? Check out these virtual currency alternatives

Litecoin

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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.

"Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet currency that enables instant payments to anyone in the world," the company states on its website.

Jonathon Waller, a developer at start-up incubator BitcoinEAST in Japan, 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.

Litecoin