An introduction to Vertcoin

ASIC mining is a much talked about and debated subject. Vertcoin is one cryptocurrency leading the charge against ASIC mining

When Bitcoin was first released, many people were extremely fortunate and clever enough to begin mining the young cryptocurrency. At the time, mining was possible using nothing more than a basic PC. However, as the mining industry grew, specific Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) began to become more and more common. Vertcoin is one cryptocurrency that is directly opposed to this.

ASICs took the ability of mining away from the average person and turned mining into its own huge industry. Coins such as Monero or Siacoin have also fought back against ASIC mining, but let’s explore Vertcoin and how it has attempted to achieve this.

What is Vertcoin?

Vertcoin was created in 2014 and is directly opposed to ASIC mining. Mining of Vertcoin can be achieved through Graphics Cards that are widely available. Vertcoin’s aim in dismissing ASICs is to remove any fears of mining centralisation, which has often been an accusation that has been thrown towards Bitcoin. Vertcoin, like Monero, is willing to implement hard forks on the network to ensure that it stays ASIC resistant.

One key benefit of the launch of Vertcoin is that there was no pre-mine, no ICO, and no airdrop. Such initial launches using any of these techniques are often fraught with danger. Pre-mines can mean that those who have created the cryptocurrency can end up holding substantially large bags. ICOs and airdrops have come in for their own criticism as well, often due to their distribution models.

Vertcoin was created by David Muller and uses a Proof-of-Work hashing algorithm and SegWit as well. Vertcoin has decided against scaling through bigger blocks and it is following the lead of Bitcoin by implementing a version of the Lightning Network as a second-layer solution to scaling.

The unique selling point of Vertcoin lies within the simplicity of its mining. The company has created the Vertcoin ‘one-click miner’. This is a simple program that allows you to begin mining the cryptocurrency with ease and on a computer that doesn’t require too much grunt.

Being a decentralised cryptocurrency means that so long as you have the skills required, you could help with the development of the coin. Vertcoin has a wide range of community avenues including Discord and a fairly popular and active Reddit page.

Complications with Vertcoin

As Vertcoin doesn’t allow for the use of ASICs on its network, this means that the hash rate is always going to be lower than some of the larger cryptocurrencies. A low hash rate means that the coin is easier to 51% attack.

Vertcoin suffered such an attack as reported by Coin Rivet in December. Due to Vertcoin’s lower hash rate, it would cost approximately $115 per hour to 51% attack. Compare this to Bitcoin, which costs approximately $250,000 per hour, and you can see why this can be an issue.

Of course, Vertcoin is not alone in being 51% attacked. Coins such as Ethereum Classic have suffered a similar fate and are still managing to survive in the Wild West world of cryptocurrencies.

The 51% attack on Vertcoin highlights the delicate balancing act that cryptocurrencies have to contend with. If mining does become centralised, then you lose that key component of cryptocurrencies – decentralisation. Yet on the other hand, if you are not able to have enough hashing power on your network, then you are susceptible to attacks anyway, making your decentralisation pointless in the first place.

Price history

Vertcoin is currently sat at 155 on CoinMarketCap’s cryptocurrency rankings. It has a market cap of just over $28 million and is currently averaging between $500,000 to $1.5 million worth of volume per 24 hours.

Like practically every other cryptocurrency, Vertcoin enjoyed a meteoric rise in value during 2017 and early 2018. It reached an all-time high of over $8 but is now ranging between around $0.60 to $0.50.

The coin is available on some of the bigger exchanges such as Bittrex and Poloniex.

Conclusion

Unlike many cryptocurrencies, Vertcoin aims to provide transparency and fairness. Its launch, without an ICO or pre-mine, shows this from the start. Having been around for five years now and still floating around the top 200 cryptocurrencies also shows that the coin has some staying power.

Its key ethic of decentralisation and ASIC resistance is admirable. One difficulty for the cryptocurrency is how to separate itself from the multitude of other cryptocurrencies out there, in particular the elephant in the room – Bitcoin. Although Vertcoin allows for average individuals to mine the cryptocurrency, it seems unlikely that this will be enough to convince  the masses of the cryptocurrency’s potential.

In spite of this, it is positive to see a cryptocurrency that is holding on to the philosophies and key values that began the whole movement.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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