Virtual-Currency Craze Spawns Bitcoin Wannabes

Gary Thomas plans to get rich off virtual currencies — but not bitcoin. The electrical engineer is betting big on newcomers like alphacoin and fastcoin.Mr. Thomas started trading the digital currencies from his home outside Boston earlier this year. He said he is convinced this is his ticket to fortune, even after an earlier attempt — investing in Internet stocks during the dot-com bubble — ended in disaster.”I think this is a point in history that will never be repeated,” said Mr. Thomas, who is in his 50s. “These things will take off like nobody will imagine.”A “cryptocurrency” craze has spawned more than 80 entrants, from peercoin and namecoin, to worldcoin and hobonickels. In October and November alone, developers launched gridcoin, fireflycoin and zeuscoin. Bbqcoin has enjoyed a renaissance after a false start in 2012. Litecoin, launched in 2011, has turned into the strongest bitcoin alternative.

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