A Beginner’s Guide to Vertcoin
Per its website, “Vertcoin is a decentralized currency owned by its users,” a P2P cryptocurrency in the same vein as Bitcoin and Litecoin. Like its two predecessors, Vertcoin exists solely as a currency, and it uses proof of work to reach distributed consensus.
Unlike its two predecessors, however, Vertcoin is dedicated to keeping its mining functions decentralized, so contrary to most PoW coins, it’s ASIC resistant.
Branding their project as “The people’s coin,” Vertcoin’s team believes that ASIC resistance invites a fairer, more democratized currency for both users and miners. Along these lines, Vertcoin sports its very own 1-click miner, a program meant to make mining more accessible to the general public.
So what makes Vertcoin tick, and how can it guarantee ASIC resistance?
How it Works
Vertcoin’s whole shtick is that it completely bars miners from using ASIC hardware to mine on its blockchain. This means that Vertcoin takes us back to the good ole days when all you needed was a decent graphics card or your computer’s processor to get into the mining game.
When Vertcoin first started out back in 2014, it employed the Scrypt-N algorithm to reach its PoW consensus. Since then, ASICs specific to Scrypt-N have surfaced, so the Vertcoin team had to start from scratch.
When they did, they cooked up the Lyra2RE algorithm, forking Vertcoin on December 13th 2014 to updates the core software. According to Lyra2RE’s whitepaper, the new algorithm allowed the team “to change memory usage and time cost independently, giving us more leverage against ASICs.”
The team continues to explain Lyra2RE’s ASIC resistance towards the conclusion of the white paper:
“Unlike Scrypt-N, time cost and memory cost are separated, giving us independent control over both parameters. ASICs have been far easier to develop for Scrypt-N than they will be for Lyra2RE because increasing the N-factor of Scrypt simply involves doing more iterations of the algorithm. Under Lyra2, whilst increasing the time cost only involves more iteration, increasing the memory requirement means that any potential ASIC device would have to physically be designed with more memory for each thread. In the future, if ASICs ever were developed for Lyra2RE, we would simply have to fork to a higher memory requirement and those ASICs would no longer properly function.”
Since implementing Lyra2RE, the team upgraded to Lyra2REv2 with another hard fork on August 10th 2015. This update was necessary because a botnet had taken control of 50% of the network’s hashing power.
So far, Lyra2REv2 has done the trick to keep ASIC miners at bay. As such, the only viable mining hardware is either a GPU or CPU.
Vertcoin 1-Click Miner
If Vertcoin is “The people’s coin,” then the 1-Click miner is the people’s mining program. 1-Click miner is a software so easy to that your great aunt Sally could use it to mine Vertcoin.
You can download the 1-Click miner on Vertcoin’s website. Once you have it downloaded, you’ll need to enter a wallet address for your mining rewards, select a mining pool to join, and designate whether you’ll be mining with a GPU or CPU. After this basic setup, you’ll be able to run the miner and start earning Vertcoin.
We’ve got a more detailed guide on this process here, just in case your great aunt Sally needs a nudge in the right direction.
This feature is more theoretical than technical, as MobileCash is the only coin that is merge mineable with Vertcoin. So we’re not sure how this would pan out on a larger mining network like Litecoin or Bitcoin’s own.
But at least in theory, this feature allows miners to mine more than one blockchain at a time. Effectively, every hash that a miner submits contributes to either currency’s total hash rate, and this results in solving cryptographic algorithms on both networks.
How Vertcoin Stacks Up to Its Big Brothers
Here’s a little chart we threw together so that you can evaluate each coin’s specs:
|Block Time||2.5 minutes||10 minutes||2.5 minutes|
|Reward Halving||840,000 (~4 year)||210,000 (~4 year)||840,000 (~4 year)|
|Difficulty Adjustment||Every block||Every 2016 blocks||Every 2016 blocks|
|Atomic Swaps||In development||In development||In development|
Vertcoin Trading History
Like most all pre-2015 coins, Vertcoin took a deathblow after Mt. Gox was hacked, throwing the entire market into a crypto winter.
As such, it was relatively inactive until the revival last spring/summer. Since then, it has had steady climb up the market cap ladder. After reaching an all time high of $10.14, it’s made a slow decline back from a $424mln market cap to its current ~$300mln valuation.
As of writing, it trades for $7.26.
Where to Buy Vertcoin
Unfortunately, Bitcoin is about the only currency you can use to exchange Vertcoin. LiteBit.eu has a VTC/EUR trading pair, but this only accounts for 0.61% of total trading volume. Bittylicious offers GBP and EUR trading pairs, but these both account for even less trading than LiteBit.eu.
Where to Store Vertcoin
Once you’ve bought yourself a chunk of Vertcoin, you’ve got a few storage options. For hardware wallets, the Ledger Nano S offers Vertcoin support. If you want a software wallet, you can download Vertcoin’s core wallet or its Electrum derivative. If you fancy a mobile wallet, Coinomi has you covered.
Vertcoin Roadmap and What’s to Come
The Vertcoin team has a number of roadmap milestones slated for the coming year. They include:
- Expanding exchange support, developing a mobile and browser wallet, and integrating Vertcoin into the Trezor 2 hardware wallet
- Implementing off-chain Atomic Swaps (they’ve run successful Atomic Swaps with Vertcoin and Litecoin)
- Implementing Lightning Network transactions
- Introducing stealth address as a part of the merkelized abstract syntax tree (MAST) addition
So far, the Vertcoin team has stayed on top of updating Vertcoin’s core software to ensure that the currency remains ASIC resistant. In addition to the 1-Click miner, ASIC resistance really makes this coin feel like its looking out for the little guy, keeping Vertcoin’s community open to crypto enthusiasts of all knowledge and skill levels.
If there’s credence to Litecoin playing silver to Bitcoin’s gold, perhaps Vertcoin is trying to ingratiate its way as the bronze of the bunch (sorry Dogecoin). It’s already had a successful atomic swap with Litecoin, and the team is committed to introducing Lightning Network transactions and atomic swaps with its wallet upgrades in the new year. As long as these developments are successful, there may be a case to be made for Vertcoin’s bronze medal status amongst its two top 10 peers.
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