Peercoin (PPC)

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Alternately known as Peer-to-Peer Coin and and PPCoin, Peercoin is the third major digital currency to claim its spot in the industry. Though it's inevitably compared to Bitcoin, Peercoin has a couple features that set it apart. First, it implements the proof-of-stake mining protocol, which means the amount you have invested in the currency will have a bearing on the rewards earned for mining. This is used in tandem with proof-of-work mining, which is solely based on the data blocks processed. Proof-of-stake uses less energy and time than proof-of-work mining, which is of particular interest to individual miners. Additionally, Peercoin has no mintage cap, unlike other currencies; it's technically set at 2 billion coins, but that's for record-keeping purposes only. This allows for a smoother rate of value inflation, and a potentially unlimited supply of coins.

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Peercoin was introduced in August 2012 by developer Sunny King. From the beginning, they've highlighted the proof-of-stake mining methods and the absence of a mintage cap in order to avoid the dreaded label of being “just another Bitcoin clone.” Thus far, it has worked, with more investors taking interest in it at a steady pace, giving Peercoin a coveted spot in the top three currencies in this active and fluid field.