Using our site, you already have familiarized yourself with everything about cryptocurrency. You have learned that bitcoin is by far the most popular cryptocurrency today (2018), there are lots of other cryptocurrencies available. These are known as Altcoins.
In this section, the goal is to help you make sense of why alternative coins exist in the first place while there is a strong and functional cryptocurrency already in place. But before we get into the details of altcoins, here is a brief piece to formally introduce you to altcoins. After this piece, you can navigate to other articles, choose the one you feel covers an area you are curious about and skip right to it.
What are alternative coins?
To understand it fully, let’s start by breaking down the name. ‘Altcoin’ is simply a combination of two simple words alt and coin. Alt, in this case, is the short form of the word alternative. Coin, on the other hand, refers to currency. Put together; the two words form a word that refers to and represents a category of cryptocurrency apart from Bitcoin. They are “alternative coins” for Bitcoin.
In many ways, altcoins resemble Bitcoins. They are peer-to-peer, require a mining process to be created, provide cheaper and efficient ways to complete network transactions, and work using blockchain technologies. But even with their overlapping features, each alternative coin sports distinct and unique features.
It was the success of bitcoin back in 2009 that facilitated the creation and emergence of similar cryptocurrencies that followed.
Why do we need altcoins?
Bitcoin is considered as the best solution to cryptocurrency by many. But while it has a great following and loyalty base, it has some flaws. It is these flaws that led to the emergence of the over 1000+ altcoins (as of 2018).
The improvements and differences enable Altcoins to compete with Bitcoin to some extent by providing additional features designed to surpass the limitations of bitcoins. For instance, an Altcoin like Litecoin and Fastcoin feature a blockchain that is updated in less than a minute. These transaction times are way faster than that of Bitcoin which consequently leads to faster speeds in e-commerce.
However, while Altcoins can be considered as improvements of Bitcoins in one aspect or the other, it is important to remember that most of the coins are super specific and can only be used to achieve a specific purpose.
But that aside, what most are finding exciting is that with altcoins, you never know which will be at the top in a few months, weeks or even days to come. In this particular race, there is no finish line. The competition is all about who can meet the needs of its users the best.