Altcoin is an abbreviation for “Bitcoin alternative”. These are so called because most of them have the same features or they try to improvise on Bitcoins. Altcoins are being created every day and one can see new coins in the market with each passing day. Most of the altcoins cannot survive for a long time in the market due to various reasons. Even though some exceptions like Litecoin have entered the market, a majority of them are mostly the clones of Bitcoin. Litecoin is the only one among altcoins that has a different hashing algorithm and more number of currency units.
Many other altcoins have different features that set it apart from Bitcoin. For example, Ripple is an altcoin that allows users to make inter currency payments with ease. Another one called Darkcoin has been designed to aid in anonymous transactions. Some others such as the Mastercoin and CounterParty also make use of the Bitcoin blockchain itself.
Many cryptocurrency investors are of the opinion that altcoins can never rival its predecessor, the Bitcoin because of the infrastructure that the latter boasts of. Altcoins have a different role to play however. Developers can incorporate unique features in Altcoins and they serve as cryptocurrency laboratories. Also altcoins provide alternative options for investors and the makers of Bitcoin keep incorporating new features like crypto portfolio tracker into the coin in order to curb the competition.
Namecoin was the first altcoin to enter the market after the launch of Bitcoin. This coin acts as a cryptocurrency and also aids in decentralizing domain name registration. Some of the altcoins launched during recent times can be aptly called scam coins. These coins are designed and released to the public with the sole purpose of providing a profit only for its creators. They follow what is popularly known as the pump and dump scheme and such scam coins are very common these days in the cryptocurrency world.
A good altcoin will have certain unique features apart from the features in Bitcoin. It will also have a very good team behind it. While buying altcoins, you have to buy it from the creators who have a good track record; otherwise you might end up losing a lot of money. Some of the top altcoins in the market are Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Golem, Factom, Siacoin, Stratis, Monero, Ripple, Dash and Litecoin. Each of these has certain unique features which set it apart from Bitcoin and they are also designed to serve more than one purpose. While investing in them, one should however conduct a thorough research.