Altcoin

DEFINITION of 'Altcoin'

Altcoins are the alternative cryptocurrencies launched after the success of Bitcoin. Generally, they project themselves as better substitutes to Bitcoin. The success of Bitcoin as the first peer-to-peer digital currency paved the way for many to follow. Many altcoins are trying to target any perceived limitations that Bitcoin has and come up with newer versions with competitive advantages. There is a great variety of altcoins.

BREAKING DOWN 'Altcoin'

"Altcoin" is a combination of two words: "alt" and "coin"; alt is short for alternative and coin signifies currency. Thus together they imply a category of cryptocurrency that is alternative to the digital currency Bitcoin. After the success story of Bitcoin, many other peer-to-peer digital currencies have emerged in an attempt to imitate that success.

Many of the altcoins are built up on the basic framework provided by Bitcoins. Thus most altcoins are peer-to-peer, involve a mining process and offer efficient and cheap ways to carry out transactions on the web. But even with many overlapping features, altcoins vary widely from each other. 

Even with many close competitors, Bitcoin is still leading the virtual currency pack. Newer and more innovative versions are getting launched that offer modifications in areas like transaction speed, privacy, proof-of-stake, DNS resolution and more. A few of them have gained popularity; the rest are lesser-known. Examples of altcoin include Litecoin, Dogecoin, Peercoin, Feathercoin, Zetacoin, Novacoin, etc. Litecoin is seen as the closest competitor to Bitcoin. 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Bitcoin

    A digital or virtual currency that uses peer-to-peer technology ...
  2. Trade Hill Exchange

    A Bitcoin exchange launched in June of 2011. Trade Hill Exchange ...
  3. Mt. Gox

    One of the world's leading Bitcoin exchanges, launched in July ...
  4. Bitomat

    A Polish-based bitcoin exchange. Bitomat was the first Bitcoin ...
  5. Bitcoin Wallet

    A Bitcoin wallet is a software program where Bitcoins are stored. ...
  6. Britcoin

    A U.K.-based Bitcoin exchange. Britcoin was the first Bitcoin ...
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    Countries Where Bitcoin Is Legal & Illegal (DISH, OTSK)

    Although bitcoin has been in existence for five years, most countries still do not have consistent laws regulating the cryptocurrency. However, a few countries have banned bitcoin altogether.
  2. Investing

    Analyzing Bitcoin in 2016

    Discover the market dynamics behind bitcoin's latest price recovery in late 2015 and why its underlying value is expected to remain strong in 2016.
  3. Insights

    How Bitcoin Can Change The World

    Bitcoin has the potential to not only create savings for consumer, but also to transform global transactions.
  4. Insights

    Are There Taxes On Bitcoins?

    Here is a short guide to the tax implications when using or investing in bitcoins in the US.
  5. Investing

    The Rise And Fall And Rise Of Bitcoin

    A look at the reasons behind the recent spectacular surge in bitcoin prices.
  6. Trading

    Ways To Earn Bitcoins

    There are many ways to earn and own Bitcoins other than just buying them on a Bitcoin exchange.
  7. Markets

    Bitcoin Vs. Litecoin Vs. Dogecoin: Comparing Virtual Currencies

    Read about several of the world's most widely used cryptocurrencies, and learn more about how they function and perform in the marketplace.
  8. Trading

    How To Trade Forex With Bitcoin (XOM, EXPE)

    We look at ways to trade forex with bitcoin and the pitfalls in doing so.
  9. ETFs & Mutual Funds

    Bitcoin ETFs: How Do They Work?

    ETFs offer a cost-effective, safe and hassle-free way to invest and trade bitcoins as stocks, without worrying about the security of digital wallets.
  10. Insights

    Bitcoin Extends Rally, Breaks Through $700

    Bitcoin​, the blockchain​-based digital currency has extended its recent rally and is now exceeding $700, giving it a "market cap" of just under $11 billion.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the risks of investing in Bitcoin?

    Learn how Bitcoin is an unregulated, uninsured and unregistered private digital currency that can be used as a speculative ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are the advantages of paying with Bitcoin?

    Learn how payments made with Bitcoins offer certain advantages over standard currency, including user anonymity, no taxation ... Read Answer >>
  3. Is Bitcoin legal in the US?

    Learn about the legality of Bitcoin as a form of payment in the United States, as well as how it is produced and concerns ... Read Answer >>
  4. What does a block chain record in a bitcoin exchange transaction?

    Read about the bitcoin blockchain, a public ledger shared among all bitcoin users that records the information of every single ... Read Answer >>
  5. How does a block chain prevent double-spending of Bitcoins?

    Find out how double-spending is prevented in the Bitcoin server and how transactions are posted and verified on the Bitcoin ... Read Answer >>
  6. Is it safe to buy Bitcoin and how can I trade the currency to my advantage?

    I have some petty cash to spare and I am intrigued by the whole concept of Bitcoin currency. I did some research on it and ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Sell-Off

    The rapid selling of securities, such as stocks, bonds and commodities. The increase in supply leads to a decline in the ...
  2. Brazil, Russia, India And China - BRIC

    An acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. It has been speculated that by 2050 these four ...
  3. Brexit

    The Brexit, an abbreviation of "British exit" that mirrors the term Grexit, refers to the possibility of Britain's withdrawal ...
  4. Underweight

    1. A situation where a portfolio does not hold a sufficient amount of a particular security when compared to the security's ...
  5. Russell 3000 Index

    A market capitalization weighted equity index maintained by the Russell Investment Group that seeks to be a benchmark of ...
  6. Enterprise Value (EV)

    A measure of a company's value, often used as an alternative to straightforward market capitalization. Enterprise value is ...
Trading Center