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October 3, 2022

Explainer: What are Alternative Coins (Altcoins)?

Since the introduction of Bitcoin, a whole new category of digital assets has been inspired by the idea of a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment network that is trustless and decentralized.

Since that time, hundreds of brand-new cryptocurrencies known as altcoins or alternative coins have been introduced into the crypto ecosystem.

Alternate cryptocurrencies, or “Altcoins,” are digital currencies that are not Bitcoin. The altcoin with the greatest widespread adoption is Ethereum. Ether is also the OG altcoin.

So What Are Altcoins?

In broad use, the term “altcoin” refers to any and all cryptocurrencies that are not Bitcoin (BTC).

However, due to the fact that the vast majority of cryptocurrencies are derived from Bitcoin, some individuals consider all cryptocurrencies that are not Bitcoin to be altcoins.

Some alternative cryptocurrencies, such as Ether, verify transactions and open new blocks using consensus techniques that are distinct from Bitcoin’s.

Other cryptocurrencies, like Litecoin, seek to differentiate themselves from Bitcoin by introducing novel or supplemental features or functions.

Understanding Altcoins

The name “Altcoins” is a portmanteau of two terms: “alt” stands for “alternative,” and “coins” refers to “crypto.” Together, these words form the term “Altcoin.”

When taken together, they suggest the existence of a subset of cryptocurrencies. One of which is an alternative to the virtual money known as Bitcoin.

Many other peer-to-peer digital currencies have developed after the advent of Bitcoin in an effort to replicate that crypto’s level of popularity.

A large number of alternative cryptocurrencies are developed using the foundation that Bitcoin provides. Therefore, the majority of alternative cryptocurrencies are peer-to-peer and call for a process called mining.

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In which users solve complex issues in order to break blocks, and provide methods of carrying out online transactions that are both safe and cheap. But altcoins are quite different from one another, despite the fact that they have many qualities in common.

Types of Altcoins

There are several distinct categories of alternative cryptocurrencies available today, such as stablecoins, memecoins, utility tokens, and governance tokens. The way a crypto operates and the problem it solves determines the sort of altcoin it is. When investigating altcoins, the following are the most common kinds of cryptocurrencies you’ll come across:


Stablecoins are a kind of crypto that are pegged to the value of a fiat currency or another asset. The vast majority of stablecoins seek to simulate the value of the US dollar by being tied to it. The coin’s issuer will act to stabilize the price if it ever swings. Stablecoins are cryptos designed to keep their value constant, however, they are seldom chosen as an investment. They are chosen over traditional currencies for saving and remittance purposes. Stablecoins may be lent out and earned interest on using certain savings protocols.


Memecoins are a parody or funny take on more regular forms of digital currency, as suggested by their namesake. They usually become famous in a short amount of time, and their rise to prominence is often exaggerated online by renowned influencers or investors looking to take advantage of short-term profits. According to the amount of their trade, Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) are the two biggest memecoins in the world.

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Governance Tokens

Governance tokens are a kind of crypto that confer voting rights on its owners, allowing them to have a say in the direction the project takes in the future. In most situations, these tokens provide you the ability to propose ideas that are relevant to the crypto and vote on those proposals. All of the holders of the crypto have a vote in the matter. Therefore, decisions are not decided by a single centralized authority. This contributes to the crypto’s status as a decentralized initiative.

Utility Tokens

Within a network, utility tokens are what are used to pay for various services. For instance, they might be used toward the purchase of services, the payment of network costs, or the redemption of awards. One example of a utility token is Filecoin, which can be used on a network to purchase storage space and ensure that the information is kept private. Ether, often known as ETH, is a kind of utility token. It is intended to function as a kind of transaction fee payment inside the Ethereum blockchain and virtual machine.


  • Find ways to improve upon the shortcomings of another coin.
  • Improved chances of survival
  • There are thousands of options available.
  • Provide large potential levels of return.
  • A wide variety of alternative cryptocurrencies, each of which has its own special use and distinct benefits over the others.

Closing Thoughts

Altcoins continue to see a rise in frenzy despite the fact that there are literally hundreds of them already in circulation. Altcoins as a whole should continue to chip away at market share from the leader, even if the entire “cryptocurrency pie” continues to increase. This is true despite the fact that no one coin may be able to topple Bitcoin’s status as the main cryptocurrency (for the time being).

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If you are going to include cryptocurrency in your portfolio and you have the time to explore various cryptocurrencies, you should think about buying altcoins to diversify your holdings. Some alternative cryptocurrencies are the result of ambitious efforts that aim to provide more applications than Bitcoin, which is mainly used as a medium of exchange. Because not all alternative cryptocurrencies are as well-known. The price of those that do become popular might potentially climb by a greater amount.

There is a precedence for discussions about the future of altcoins and crypto in the events that led to the creation of a dollar that was issued by the federal government in the 19th century. There were many different types of regional currencies that were used across the United States. Each was distinguished by a certain quality and was backed by a particular instrument.