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Altcoins Explained

Altcoins can be described as cryptocurrencies that are not Bitcoin ( Bitcoin USD). While they share some similarities with Bitcoin, they are also quite different. Altcoins may use a different consensus system to generate blocks and validate transactions. They also offer additional capabilities such as smart contract and low price volatility.

There are more than 14,000 cryptocurrencies as of November 2021. CoinMarketCap estimates that Bitcoin and Ether accounted for almost 60% of the cryptocurrency market as of November 2021. 1 Other altcoins accounted for the remainder. Altcoin prices tend to follow the Bitcoin trajectory because they are often derived using Bitcoin. Analysts believe that altcoin price movements will be independent of Bitcoin’s trading signals due to the maturation of cryptocurrency investing ecosystems, and the development new markets for these coins.

“Altcoin” can be described as a combination between the words “alternative”, and “coin”, and it includes all other alternatives to Bitcoin. The fundamental framework for Bitcoin and altcoins are similar. Thus, they share code and function like peer to peer systems are like a huge computer that can process large amounts of data simultaneously and perform transactions. Altcoins may also strive to be the next Bitcoin, by offering digital transactions at an affordable price.

There are many differences between Bitcoins and altcoins. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be created. Its philosophy and design were the basis for other coins. Its implementation is not perfect. proof-of-work (PoW), which is the consensus mechanism that creates blocks, is energy-intensive and takes a lot of time. The capabilities of Bitcoin’s smart contracts are also limited.

Altcoins overcome Bitcoin’s limitations and establish a competitive advantage. Several altcoins use the Ether is the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world by market capital. It’s used to pay for transaction costs and as gas in smart contracts on Ethereum blockchain. Altcoins address many of the criticisms of Bitcoin such as scalability, sustainability, and scalability. The much-anticipated launch Ethereum 2.0 has shown that altcoins are generally more scalable than Bitcoin.

Altcoins are able to differentiate themselves from Bitcoin by creating a market. Altcoins have attracted investors because they offer a viable alternative to Bitcoin. Investors expect to make more money as altcoins gain more users and increase in price.


Mining-based altcoins were created, as their names suggest. Mining-based altcoins rely on PoW to generate new coins. This is a way that systems solve difficult problems to create blocks. Litecoin and Monero are examples of mining-based altcoins. The majority of top altcoins fell under the mining-based category in early 2020. premined is an alternative to mining-based altcoins and is often part of an initial cryptocurrency offering. These coins are not made by an algorithm, but they are distributed before being listed on cryptocurrency markets. Ripple’s XRP is an example of a pre-mined cryptocurrency.


Since launch, volatility has markedly affected cryptocurency trading and usage. Stablecoins are designed to decrease volatility by linking their value to a basket, which can include fiat currencies and precious metals or other cryptocurrency. This basket acts as a reserve for holders to be redeemed in the event of a cryptocurrency’s failure or unforeseen problems. Stablecoin prices fluctuate within a narrow range.

Tether’s USDT and MakerDAO’s Digital Assets Initiative (DAO) are some notable stablecoins. Payment processing giant Visa Inc. ( V) announced in March 2021 that it would start settling transactions on its network using USDC over the Ethereum Blockchain. There are plans to expand this capability later in 2021.

Security Tokens

Security tokens look similar to securities that are traded on stock exchanges, but they have digital provenance. Security tokens are similar to traditional stocks and often promise ownership or dividend payouts to holders. Investors are attracted to these tokens by the possibility of their price appreciation.

Exodus, a Bitcoin wallet company, successfully completed a Securities and Exchange Commission-qualified Reg-A+ token offering and sold 75 million shares of common stock. It is an historic event as it is the first time that a digital asset security has offered equity in a United States-based issuing firm.

Meme Coins

Meme coins were created out of a joke or a humorous take on well-known cryptocurrency. These coins are often popular in a short time and are often promoted online by prominent crypto influencers or retail investors looking to make short-term profits.

Tesla, Inc. (TSLA), CEO and crypto enthusiast Elon Musk frequently posts cryptic tweets regarding the top meme coins Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, often significantly moving their prices. In October 2021, Shiba surged 91% after Musk tweeted a photo of his Shiba Inu puppy Floki on a Tesla. There was a spike in altcoins in April and May 2021. Many cryptocurrencies posted huge percentage gains based solely on speculation.

Utility Tokens

Utility tokens can be used to offer services within a network. They can be used to pay network fees or redeem rewards, as well as to buy services. Utility tokens are not like security tokens. They do not pay dividends and don’t share ownership. Utility tokens include Filecoin which can be used to buy storage space on a network.

Key Points

  • Altcoins is a term that refers to all cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin.
  • There are more than 14,000 cryptocurrencies as of November 2021. There are over 14,000 cryptocurrencies as of November 2021, according to CoinMarketCap.
  • Altcoins can be classified as mining-based, stablecoins or security tokens.
  • Altcoins could include mining-based cryptocurrencies that are not Bitcoin, as technology continues to improve.
  • Solana Coin and Binance Coin were the two largest altcoins in terms of market capitalization as at November 2021. 
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