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AltCoin: All you need to know about Altcoins

What is Altcoin?

Altcoin is a blend of two words which are alt and coin. Alt, in this case, is the short form of alternative and the coin means currency. When the two words are put together, they infer a category that is alternative to Bitcoin which is the primary digital currency. After the success of Bitcoin, many peer-to-peer digital currencies emerged to imitate Bitcoin’s success.

Most of the altcoins use the essential building blocks as Bitcoin. Some of the altcoins have a different monetary policy that is built into the currency, and it encourages different treatment and uses. Also, the policies for Altcoins function differently compared to Bitcoins. Some of the altcoins deter GPU (graphics processing unit) or ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) mining. Also, an altcoin blockchain may store different metadata on the coin’s former transactions and may allow the coin to be repurposed as a substitute asset. Since Bitcoin initiation, there have been approximately 500 altcoins formed. Some of them include Blackcoin, Peercoin, Vericoin, NXT, Litecoin, and Dogecoin among others.

The first altcoin that was created is namecoin. The primary purposed for namecoin was to decentralize domain name registration which made internet censorship more difficult. However, it also functioned as currency. Below are top six most popular altcoins discussed in detail:

Ethereum

Vitalik Buterin conceptualized Ethereum. It is the second to Bitcoin in the cryptocurrencies hierarchy. Just as Bitcoin, it is distributed via a blockchain network. However, there are some significant technical differences between the two. One of the most significant difference is that Ethereum and Bitcoin differ in capability and purpose.

Bitcoin blockchain is used to track the ownership of digital currency, and it offers only one specific application of blockchain technology. On the flip side, Ethereum only runs the programming code of any decentralized application.

The core innovation for Ethereum is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) which is a Turing complete software that permits anyone to run any program regardless of the programming language. What is required in this case is enough memory and time.

The EVM has provided a more efficient and more straightforward way of creating a blockchain application. Additionally, Ethereum allows the development of thousands of different applications on one platform instead of having to come up with an original blockchain for every new use. Some of the companies that are exploring Ethereum include BP, Intel, JP Morgan, Samsung, and Microsoft.  

Ripple

From its inception, the ripple has attracted a great deal of venture capital. It provides global financial settlement solutions to exchange value the same way information is transferred in the modern society giving rise to the internet of value. Ripple solutions have lowered the total cost of payment by allowing the banks to transact straight and instantly. Ripple is more energy efficient and faster compared to Bitcoin. Unlike Bitcoin which acts as a decentralized currency exchange, Ripple was designed to act as a centralized currency exchange.

Litecoin

Litecoin is almost identical to Bitcoin except in a few key areas. Litecoin was conceptualized to improve  Bitcoin’s vital areas. At the beginning of 2017, Litecoin, was the biggest contender for replacing Bitcoin as the most popular cryptocurrency, until Ether surpassed it.

The most significant difference between Bitcoin and Litecoin is the processing speed and faster transaction. Mining in terms of energy use is easier. Litecoin is nicknamed the silver to Bitcoin’s gold.

Monero

Monero was invented to deal with the privacy features that are missing in Bitcoin. It works best for individuals who prefer great anonymity. The introduction of ring-signatures ensured that the transactions were completely untraceable. 

Dash

Formerly, Dash was known as Darkcoin. It was later changed to dash which is a combination of two words which are digital and cash. Dash can also be dubbed as the internet cash in hand. Dash is very fast, and its transactions are instant. Just as Monero, Dash is a secretive version of Bitcoin and it offers more anonymity because it works on a decentralized master code network which makes transactions almost untraceable. Dash can be the best option if people start using it only to receive and send digital cash.

Factom

Factom is the first decentralized system that provides an unchangeable record-keeping system. Its distributed ledger technology creates a data layer on top of the Bitcoin blockchain fortifying millions of real-time records in the blockchain with a single hash using cryptographic separation. Factom has been used by businesses and governments to document information so that it cannot be backdated, deleted or modified. Hence, it maintains user privacy in a gradually digital world.

Where to get Altcoins

  1. Accepting them as payment for services and goods
  2. They can be traded for on cryptocurrency exchanges. Some of the most trafficked exchanges include
  1. Sponsor giveaways which work for those who do not have marketable skills.