Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin might revolutionize the economy through enabling peer-to-peer based transactions by abolishing the need for a trusted intermediary. As for now, Bitcoin remains to be the best recognized cryptocurrency, in particular in terms of market capitalization. However, as this paper shows, there are plenty of alternatives. This paper outlines the historical roots which have led to the creation of privately emitted, cryptography based digital currencies. Additionally, this paper discusses future possible hurdles of the development of cryptocurrencies and outlines features which might influence the success of a cryptocurrency. Insights into the beginning of cryptocurrency development are gained by analysis of the publicly available DOACC dataset. The paper does so by providing an overview of the techniques and mechanisms used by cryptocurrencies. It shows that newly created cryptocurrencies tend to be very similar in some properties in the early stages but new features and more diversity developed in more recent years. Additionally, newly created cryptocurrencies tend more and more to create a fixed number of coins before the initial announcement in order to sell these in Initial Coin Offerings. Even when the amount of premining increases over years, it remains at lower levels on the aggregate.

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