The word “ Altcoin ” is an abbreviation of “Bitcoin alternative,” and thus describes every single cryptocurrency except for Bitcoin.
There are hundreds of altcoins and more appear every day. Altcoins can differ from Bitcoin in a range of ways. Some have a different economic model or a different coin-distribution method. Others use different mining algorithms. Several altcoins offer a more functional programming language to build applications on top of, while yet others offer more privacy compared to Bitcoin. And there are also altcoins that serve very specific, non-monetary use cases, like domain name registry or pointers to the data warehouse.
Nevertheless, there are a huge amount of altcoins that do not do much interesting at all. The wide majority of altcoins simply set up some parameters that do not matter much, or offer something unuseful. If, for instance, altcoin has more total amount of coins, this means that each individual coin is worth less.
Most altcoins offer no benefit over Bitcoin at all. Plus, they have less hash power securing them, involve fewer developers improving them and are usually less useful due to smaller network effects. And although many altcoins promise valuable characteristics, in fact it isn’t so.
In most cases altcoins are riskier than bitcoin. Their exchange rates are often more volatile, and during recent years, almost no altcoins have retained their value against bitcoin; the majority has come and gone. In addition, many altcoins can be viewed as frauds, if some altcoins can accomplish beneficial tasks, mostly created to enrich its investors.
How Can You Buy Altcoins?
As in the case of bitcoins, there are many ways to obtain altcoins. The easiest way to get altcoins is to accept them as payment for goods or services.
You can also trade for altcoins on cryptocurrency exchanges. Most exchanges use Bitcoin as an intermediary (although some of them include fiat pairs), so if you don’t have bitcoins you will need to obtain some before you can trade for altcoins.
Many altcoin communities also promote sales to boost the exposure of their coins and encourage new users to join their communities. This is a good way to buy coins if you have little or no market skills.