What Are Altcoins? A Beginner's Guide to Alternative Crypto

What Are Altcoins? A Beginner's Guide to Alternative Crypto
Photo by Jamie Street / Unsplash

What Are Altcoins?

The term "altcoin" is short for "alternative coin," and it refers to any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. Altcoins are often created to address some of the perceived shortcomings of Bitcoin, such as its slow transaction speed or high energy consumption. Some altcoins also offer new features or functionality that Bitcoin does not have.

The first altcoin, Namecoin, was created in 2011. Since then, there have been thousands of altcoins launched, with new ones being created all the time. Some of the most popular altcoins include Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple.

Altcoins are often divided into two categories: forks and original projects. Forks are altcoins that are created by copying the code of an existing cryptocurrency and making some changes. Original projects are altcoins that are created from scratch.

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of altcoins that are focused on solving specific problems in the cryptocurrency space. For example, there are altcoins that are designed to improve scalability, privacy, or security. There are also altcoins that are designed to be used for specific applications, such as decentralized finance (DeFi) or non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

As the cryptocurrency space continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see even more innovative altcoins being created in the years to come.

What is a Shitcoin?

A shitcoin is a derogatory term for a cryptocurrency that is considered to be worthless or of very low quality. Shitcoins are often created with the sole purpose of making money for the creators, and they may not have any real-world use cases.

There are many factors that can make a cryptocurrency a shitcoin. These factors include the project's technology, the team behind the project, and the overall market sentiment for the cryptocurrency.

If you are considering investing in a cryptocurrency, it is important to do your research and avoid shitcoins. There are many legitimate altcoins available, so there is no need to take the risk of investing in a shitcoin.

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Here are some of the most recent trends in the altcoin space:

  • DeFi: Decentralized finance (DeFi) is a rapidly growing area of the cryptocurrency space. DeFi applications allow users to lend, borrow, and trade cryptocurrencies without the need for a central authority. Some of the most popular DeFi altcoins include Uniswap, Aave, and Compound.
  • NFTs: Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a type of cryptocurrency that represents a unique digital asset. NFTs can be used to represent anything from artwork to in-game items. Some of the most popular NFT altcoins include CryptoKitties, NBA Top Shot, and Axie Infinity.
  • Privacy coins: Privacy coins are altcoins that are designed to protect the privacy of their users. These coins often use advanced cryptography to obscure the sender, recipient, and amount of each transaction.
  • Scalability: Scalability is a major issue facing the cryptocurrency space. As the number of users and transactions increases, the blockchain networks of many cryptocurrencies become congested and slow. Some altcoins are specifically designed to address the scalability issue. For example, the Solana blockchain uses a unique consensus algorithm that allows it to process thousands of transactions per second.
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI crypto altcoins are a new breed of cryptocurrency that are powered by artificial intelligence (AI). These altcoins use AI to improve their functionality in a variety of ways, such as optimizing trading strategies, analysing market data, and developing new applications. Some of the most popular AI crypto altcoins include SingularityNET, DeepBrain Chain, NeuralChain, AIOZ, and Safuu. These altcoins are all still in their early stages of development, but they have the potential to revolutionise the crypto industry. As AI technology continues to develop, we can expect to see even more innovative AI-powered cryptocurrencies in the future. These altcoins could have a significant impact on the way we use cryptocurrencies, and they could even help to make the crypto space more accessible to a wider range of people.

These are just a few of the most recent trends in the altcoin space. The cryptocurrency space is constantly evolving, and it will be interesting to see what new altcoins and technologies emerge in the years to come.

Photo by Shubham's Web3 / Unsplash


Altcoins are a diverse and rapidly evolving group of cryptocurrencies. There are many different altcoins available, and each one has its own unique features and benefits. It is important to do your research before investing in any altcoin, and to be aware of the risks involved.

If you are new to cryptocurrencies, it is a good idea to start by learning about Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the most established cryptocurrency, and it is a good way to get a feel for how cryptocurrencies work. Once you have a basic understanding of Bitcoin, you can start to explore other altcoins.

For more about altcoins, be sure to follow the Crypto Unplugged Podcast.

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