Bitcoin alternative, also commonly known as altcoin, refers to every piece of other cryptocurrency except for bitcoins. Altcoins are described as the alternative of bitcoins because, somehow, most altcoins aim to either substitute or develop at least one Bitcoin element.
Basically, there are hundreds of altcoins (around 400-500) and new one constantly appears each day. Also, altcoins are considered like Bitcoin clones, only altering minor features and characteristics such as its transaction speed, distribution system, or hashing algorithm. Despite being developed speedily, most of these altcoins don’t survive in the market, at least not for long.
One exception is the Litecoin, which is considered one of the most well-known and successful altcoins to be integrated in the cryptocurrency industry. It’s one of the first altcoins to be introduced and has managed to stay until now. Moreover, Litecoin uses a different hashing algorithm than Bitcoin. It also has a higher number of currency units. For such essential reasons, Litecoin is often considered the silver of Bitcoin’s gold.
The first altcoin to be made was Namecoin. It was created in 2011 with the primary purpose of decentralizing domain-name registration, making internet censorship much more challenging. Despite its short lifespan, it managed to become one of the most successful altcoins throughout its time.
Furthermore, just like Bitcoin and its volatility, altcoins also carry a great deal of risk, considering they are exponentially more volatile. Their low market caps or the total value of coins combined also makes altcoins susceptible to price manipulation, which makes it critical for investments.
However, there are some altcoins that stand out in terms of solid support from followers, high liquidity and keen developers continuously working in improving the coin’s source code. Such altcoins as Litecoin, Peercoin, Worldcoin, Feathercoin, and Dogecoin are some of the most prominent altcoins that have succeeded in creating a definite purpose, making them significantly useful among users, traders, and investors alike.