Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: With thousands of cryptocurrencies around, it’s hard to separate the chaff from the wheat. In this post, I’ll cover the best Bitcoin alternatives around, and show you how I evaluate different coins.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: Altcoins are a class of cryptocurrency that refers to everything other than Bitcoin. There are tens of thousands of altcoins that meet this definition, the most popular of which is Ethereum. Since Bitcoin currently makes up around 40% of the total crypto market cap, that means more than half of the crypto market’s value is made up of altcoins.
Because there are so many altcoins, they vary wildly in price, function, and potential investment value. They range from established products to obscure projects that were never meant to be taken seriously.
Altcoins vs. Bitcoin
Altcoins vs. Bitcoin 10 Bitcoin alternatives: The main difference between Bitcoin and altcoins is that while Bitcoin can be incrementally changed to deal with the evolving ways people use blockchain technology, altcoins offer developers an opportunity to depart more quickly from the path laid by Bitcoin.
There are a few things that make altcoins different from Bitcoin, but the most glaring is that Bitcoin is a lot older and as mentioned earlier, makes up a larger share of the crypto market.
This also means that Bitcoin has more of a track record, which may be more appealing to long-term investors who may see newer altcoins as a riskier investments. That said, because altcoins aim to be more advanced than Bitcoin, they may be the preferable option for some.
Categories of altcoins
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: Besides the ones mentioned above, other altcoins have emerged that promise to be even faster, more decentralized, more scalable, more secure, or a combination of all these core cryptocurrency tenets. The result is a dizzying ecosystem of altcoins that’s hard to categorize, but can be roughly broken down into these four buckets:
- Native cryptocurrencies
Categories of altcoins: Bitcoin alternatives: Native cryptocurrencies are coins that were originally created to run on a specific blockchain network. Bitcoin is a native coin (you’ll see a native coin, currency, cryptocurrency, and token used interchangeably; it’s the “native” part that’s important here) because it is the currency that’s used on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, is the native coin of the Ethereum network. To run applications like smart contracts on the Ethereum network, you’ll need to pay a transaction fee in ether.
Binance coin (BNB), currently the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, is yet another native coin, as it’s the currency used on the Binance Chain. Binance is currently the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, and its users can greatly benefit from owning BNB. For example, trading fees are reduced by 25% when paid with BNB, and small amounts of cryptocurrencies that would otherwise be untradable can be gathered and converted into BNB.
Categories of altcoins: Bitcoin alternatives: A token is a unit of value that operates on an existing blockchain and can be used for specific purposes within that environment. Using tokens is similar to going to an old-school arcade: You exchange your U.S. dollars for tokens that are only accepted by those video games.
Chainlink, for example, is built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, and developers can use it to convert real-world data into a blockchain-friendly format that can be read by smart contracts and vice versa. LINK is the token that’s used to pay for Chainlink’s services. So, if an investor believes the demand for smart contract-based services is going to rise, they might buy LINK; the more Chainlink technology is used, the thinking goes, the higher the demand for LINK, which could send its value higher.
Another example is the Uniswap platform, a decentralized exchange built on top of the Ethereum system. Centralized exchanges require deposits into an account or wallet that’s connected to the exchange. However, a decentralized exchange enables direct peer-to-peer trading from one personal wallet to another. UNI is the token of the Uniswap exchange, and it’s what’s known as a “governance” token — holders of UNI can vote on proposals that determine how Uniswap will operate, similar to the way traditional shareholders have a say in corporate governance.
Another form of token is the nonfungible token, or NFT, which is not a cryptocurrency per se but a unique digital asset that can function as a collectible or a way to record the ownership of a piece of content.
Categories of altcoins: Bitcoin alternatives: Stablecoins were developed to offer the advantages of cryptocurrencies and tokens without price volatility. They accomplish this by tying their value to an existing fiat currency, one-for-one. Tether, the largest stablecoin by market cap, is tied to the U.S. dollar; one tether will always equal one U.S. dollar.
You won’t earn any profit through price appreciation with stablecoins, but there are plenty of applications for a coin whose value doesn’t rise and fall by the minute. For some, stablecoins offer a way to hold funds in a crypto exchange and easily convert them into another cryptocurrency, rather than converting from U.S. dollars. Others may use stablecoins to easily send and receive funds globally.
But perhaps the most popular use for them today is in decentralized finance or DeFi. Essentially, DeFi platforms let users lend stablecoins to others and earn interest in return, all without the need for an intermediary like a bank. What’s more, some platforms incentivize users by offering tokens, such as the governance tokens outlined above, on top of the interest they receive.
Meet the altcoins: Bitcoin alternatives: Many exchanges have greatly simplified this process. On Coinbase, for example, it’s currently free to convert U.S. dollars into the stablecoin USD coin (USDC), after which it will start earning 0.15% APY. (Note that this rate is subject to change).
Categories of altcoins: Bitcoin alternatives: In a cryptocurrency blockchain, groups of recorded transactions (the public ledger) are organized into blocks, and each block is connected to the next via complex cryptography. For a new block to be appended to the existing chain, all the previous transactions in all the previous blocks must also be verified, and there must be a consensus that all is right with the chain.
This consensus is required for the list of transactions as well as the rules that govern the blockchain network. And when a group decides it wants to change the rules, it can validate a split in the chain; this is a fork. A new chain emerges, ready to start logging transactions under the new rules agreed upon by those who chose to validate the fork. Meanwhile, the other prong of the fork keeps going on as normal.
Forks can happen over and over again, creating new protocols and cryptocurrencies all the while. Bitcoin cash is a fork of the original Bitcoin blockchain, while Ethereum Classic is a fork of the Ethereum system. Dogecoin is a fork of Luckycoin, which was a fork of Litecoin, which was a fork of Bitcoin.
So, as an investor, if you like the ideas, rules, and changes found in a fork of an existing blockchain, you could buy that fork’s currency in the hope that it rises in value.
What to consider before buying altcoins
- Before diving into any altcoin, take the time to read through what the organization behind it is trying to accomplish. Ask yourself:
- Does the altcoin seem like a plausible way to improve upon Bitcoin?
- If it’s token, does it have a real-world application?
- If it’s a stablecoin, how are you going to use it?
- If it’s a fork, why was it created and do you agree with that decision?
Meet the altcoins: Bitcoin alternatives: Be warned that this is a nascent market where a shakeout is inevitable. Some of these projects will fail — there’s already a crowded graveyard of dead altcoins — and some will succeed.
That’s why financial pros often put altcoins in the “alternative investments” column: something you might dabble in if you’ve already got a healthy, diversified investment portfolio.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives
- Bitcoin Cash
- Binance Coin
- Shiba Inu
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: Every time we talk about bitcoin, Ethereum tags along with it. Not just on discussion but on price trends as well. With amazing underlying blockchain technology and a decentralized ledger system, Ethereum has positioned itself as the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and adoption. Unlike bitcoin’s distance from financial institutions, bans use Ethereum’s blockchain to expedite the validation and settlement of transactions just as easily as investors use the Ethereum network. Besides, Ethereum 2.0 has emerged as the sole solution to address the emerging energy consumption and environmental issues of the 21st century.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: Bitcoin Cash has marked a milestone as one of the first altcoins that emerged and successfully traded off from bitcoin. The cryptocurrency emerged as a solution to the unsettling issues between bitcoin developers and miners. Bitcoin Cash got split from bitcoin’s chain and created its own path toward adoption and growing market capitalization. Incepted in August 2017, the virtual token addresses some of the pressing concerns of bitcoin including scalability, transaction speed, etc.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: Often called a ‘meme coin,’ dogecoin is the first cryptocurrency that came out from the Shiba Inu joke that trended on the internet years back. After maintaining a low profile for many since its inception in 2013, dogecoin showed its potential in 2020 when it was accepted as a payment model among sports teams and entered AMC theaters. Besides, big names like Elon Musk and Mark Cuban are the biggest drives of dogecoin’s price. A single tweet from them could make the DOGE price go berserk.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: Tether is born out as the brainchild of people who thought that the cryptocurrency market was very volatile and unsettling. As the foremost stablecoin, the tether is pegged to the US dollar and experiences fewer fluctuations compared to bitcoin. This alone makes cryptocurrency the best alternative to bitcoin. Launched in 2014, tether allows users to experience the blockchain network while also encrypting their investments against major price surges and falls.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: Privacy coins are virtual tokens that can take transaction anonymity to another level. Similarly, Monero has emerged as a cryptocurrency that could knock off bitcoin as a great alternative. Although the blockchain network is decentralized, anybody can view the sender and receiver of cryptocurrencies over the network. However, Monero works in a different way as it demands ring signatures and multiple signees to view the transactions. This makes knowing the sender and receiver extremely difficult.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: Referred to as the ‘silver to bitcoin’s gold,’ Litecoin was launched in 2011 with many of its functionalities similar to bitcoin. Litecoin was created by an MIT graduate and former Google engineer, Charlie Lee. With an open-source global payment network, Litecoin can add faster blocks compared to bitcoin, which contributes to its faster transaction time.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: Although the decentralized nature of the cryptocurrency market is the power it holds, some people are variant of it because of that. Since it doesn’t come under any central authority and stays away from regulations, new investors show hesitancy to adopt it. However, Ripple could be their best choice. Ripple aims to offer some kind of sagey as has connected its platform with banks and financial institutions.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: Cardano is a platform that is capable of running financial applications currently used every day by individuals, organizations, and governments from across the globe. Besides, the eco-friendly and transparent nature of Cardano makes it the perfect alternative for bitcoin. Cardano has also proved its potential as one of the best cryptocurrencies over its long-term price surge.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: BNB is the cryptocurrency promoted by the Binance Coin exchange. Unlike bitcoin which just acts as a cryptocurrency, Binance Coin is both a virtual token and a crypto exchange platform that could pump up value based on its market performance. Besides, the platform also incentivizes users with BNB coins over transactions, enhancing the circulation of the token as much as possible. Binance Coin’s offers and leniency in trading fees also impact the value of the BNB coin.
Meet the altcoins 10 Bitcoin alternatives: The final entrant on the list is Shiba Inu. This meme-based cryptocurrency has overtaken its long-stood rival dogecoin in the past month with an 800% price gain. Although we are not sure about its fluctuations as SHIB was only launched in 2020, its currency performance in the market has outperformed many top cryptocurrencies. Besides, Shiba Inu has recently entered the top 10 list and maintains its ninth position.
Check Also: Quick Guide On Cryptocurrency
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the importance of altcoins?
Altcoins are alternative cryptocurrencies that were launched after Bitcoin’s success. They generally project themselves as better replacements for Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s emergence as the first peer-to-peer digital currency paved the way for many to follow.
What happens to altcoins if Bitcoin goes up?
In the digital currency space, it’s common for many coins and tokens to move in similar patterns. When bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, goes up, other digital tokens tend to increase in value as well.
What are the use cases of altcoins?
They could be used as a means to gain access to a service, facilitate transactions, or earn rewards on a network.
How do altcoins gain value?
Cryptocurrencies gain their value based on the scale of community involvement. Cryptocurrency gains value if the demand for it is higher than the supply. When a cryptocurrency is useful, people want to own more of it, driving up the demand. Since people want to use it, they don’t want to sell it.
What is the most useful altcoin?
Solana is one of the best altcoins and fastest-growing blockchains globally, with over 400 projects spanning DeFi, NFTs, Web3, and more. The network is extremely fast with 400ms block times and scalable with less than one cent transaction costs, helping its token soar more than 7,700%.