Bitcoins might be the name on everyone's lips right now, but did you know that Bitcoin is merely the tip of the cryptocurrency iceberg ? There are more that 600 cryptocurrencies. For those not in the know, cryptocurrencies are basically decentralized and anonymous peer-to-peer digital currencies that implement cryptography as a central security feature. Cryptocurrency coins are "mined" with computers by solving complex mathematical equations called "hashes"
The success of Bitcoins has led to the development of many alternative cryptocurriencies, often called "altcoins". Most of these altcoins offer their own take on the Bitcoin protocol, and are interesting in their own right. It helps, too, that most of these are still cheap and much easier to buy or mine.