What are Altcoins?
The term Altcoins stands for “alternative coins” and refers to all those cryptocurrencies that have followed Bitcoin - the original cryptocurrency - that captured the world’s imagination. All subsequent coins have been termed “altcoins”.
What are digital coins?
A digital coin is an asset that is native to its own proprietary blockchain. The best known examples are Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin. Digital coins are generally used as a means of transferring value between counter-parties, just like fiat money. They are not designed to serve any other purpose, though they do have other valuable attributes, such as transaction speed, security, anonymity and low transaction costs. Coins differ from digital tokens.
What are the most popular altcoins?
Aside from Bitcoin, the most popular altcoins are Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple (XRP), EOS and the Bitcoin forks - Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV. These coins are all covered here under the Top 10 Cryptocurrencies on Crypto On-Ramp.
The list below covers popular altcoins that you should be aware of. Each of these are in the top 50 cryptocurrencies by market cap.
Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- Stellar is an open source, decentralised network for digital currency to fiat money transfers, which allows cross-border transactions between any pair of currencies.
- Stellar was made to support digital representations of any currency, but it also has its own built-in token, called the ‘lumen’, created to fill a special role in the network. You need lumens to use Stellar.
- By design, Stellar requires that each account hold a small number of lumens at all times.
- Unlike the tokens of other blockchains, lumens aren’t mined or awarded by the protocol over time. Instead, 100 billion lumens were created when the Stellar network went live. However in November 2019, the overall lumen supply was reduced. Now there are about 50 billion lumens, total, in existence and no more lumens will be created.
- Cardano is home to the ADA cryptocurrency, which can be used to send and receive digital funds.
- Cardano is not only a cryptocurrency, but also a technological platform that will be capable of running financial applications currently used every day by individuals, organisations and governments all around the world.
- Cardano will also run decentralised applications (dapps), services not controlled by any single party but instead operate on a blockchain.
- Cardano is a blockchain project that claims to have been developed from a scientific philosophy and the only one to be designed and built by a global team of leading academics and engineers.
- A major innovation of Cardano is that it will balance the needs of users with those of regulators, and in doing so combine privacy with regulation.
- The vision for Cardano is that its new style of regulated computing will bring greater financial inclusion by providing open access for all to fair financial services.
- Tron is a blockchain-based decentralised platform that aims to build a free, global digital content entertainment system with distributed storage technology, and allows easy and cost-effective sharing of digital content.
- Tron was founded in 2017 by a Singapore based non-profit organisation called the Tron Foundation.
- By using features of blockchain and peer-to-peer (P2P) network technology, Tron attempts to bridge the gap between content creators and content consumers by eliminating intermediaries.
- The Tron network uses its own cryptocurrency called Tronix (TRX).
- Tronix (TRX) can be stored in wallets that support the Ethereum blockchain, such as MyEtherWallet.
- Tronix (TRX) can be used by content consumers to pay for the content they want to access. These coins would then go to the content producers’ accounts, where they can be exchanged to other cryptocurrencies, or can be used to pay for blockchain services.
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Ethereum Classic is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts - applications that can be run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship or third party interference.
- Ethereum Classic consists of a cryptocurrency (ETC), a blockchain ledger and an ecosystem of applications and services that run on top of it.
- Ethereum Classic originated as the result of the hard fork of Ethereum and its currency, Ether, after the 2016 DAO attack on Ethereum.
- Ethereum Classic is traded as ETC rather than ETH.
- Ethereum Classic provides a way to manage digital assets without the need for intermediaries, such as banks and other financial institutions.
- ETC allows uncensorable smart contracts to be written, deployed and executed; it is said to enable programmable money.
- NEO was founded as AntShares in China in 2014 and was rebranded "NEO" in 2017. It is a blockchain-based platform that supports its own cryptocurrency and enables the development of digital assets and smart contracts.
- NEO is a cryptocurrency and smart contract platform that supports applications written in a variety of programming languages.
- Fees for deploying and running smart contracts on NEO are paid with GAS, a separate token.
- NEO’s Onchain technology was designed to be regulator-friendly with a centralised approach that is quite different from that of most cryptocurrencies.
- Assets can be easily digitised on the NEO blockchain in an open, decentralized, trustworthy, traceable and transparent manner that is free of intermediaries and their associated costs.
- Users are able to record, buy, sell, exchange or circulate various kinds of assets.
- The NEO platform allows for linking the physical asset with an equivalent and unique digital avatar on its network. NEO also supports the protection of assets. Those assets registered on its platform have a validated digital identity and are protected by law.
- IOTA is a distributed ledger platform, designed to record and execute transactions between machines and devices in the Internet of Things (IoT).
- The IOTA ledger uses an indigenous cryptocurrency called MIOTA to account for transactions on its network.
- IOTA uniquely does not feature an underlying blockchain, but rather utilises directed acyclic graph technology. This key innovation is known as ‘Tangle’, a system of nodes used for confirming transactions. IOTA claims that Tangle is faster and more efficient than typical blockchains.
- Through this technology, IOTA transactions are always free, regardless of the size of the transaction itself. This technology also allows for scalability and faster processing times, as well as theoretically limitless transactions. These are all issues which have plagued Bitcoin.
- IOTA does not want to not limit itself to just financial transactions, but also to allow the movement of any data from one machine to another.
- Cosmos is a decentralised network of independent parallel blockchains - an ecosystem of blockchains that can scale and interoperate with each other.
- Cosmos seeks to act as a mediator between independent blockchains operating on its decentralised network.
- Before Cosmos, blockchains were independent and unable to communicate with each other.
- Atom (ATOM) is the main cryptocurrency that exists on the Cosmos platform and is designed to facilitate communication, scaling and inter-operation between independent blockchains.
- Cosmos sees itself as ‘the Internet of blockchains’ operating on its single platform.
- NEM evolved in 2015 as a fork-out version of another cryptocurrency and payment network platform, NXT. NEM is a technology that seeks to provide an efficient way to manage assets and data easily and at low cost.
- NEM is operated by a Singapore-based non-profit organisation called NEM.io Foundation.
- NEM, or the New Economy Movement, wants to develop a smarter and more technologically-advanced blockchain. NEM has its own cryptocurrency, called XEM.
- NEM’s blockchain platform has been designed for scale and speed. NEM’s permissioned private blockchain delivers fast transaction rates for internal ledgers, whilst its consensus mechanism and Supernode program ensure that NEM’s open, public blockchain can scale without compromising throughput or stability.
- What is Dogecoin? Dogecoin was introduced in 2013 to bring a sense of fun into the cryptosphere - something that a lot of people could relate to. The idea centred on a blockchain platform where people could have a sense of belonging and fun. Dogecoin features a likeness of the Shiba Inu dog from the "Doge" internet meme as its logo.
- Dogecoin quickly developed its own dedicated online community and its market capitalisation rose accordingly.
- Compared with other cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin had a fast initial coin production schedule: 100 billion coins were in circulation by mid-2015, with an additional 5.256 billion coins every year thereafter. By mid-2015, the 100 billionth Dogecoin had been mined. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, where scarcity has a positive influence on value appreciation, Dogecoin is designed to depreciate, in the same way that quantitative easing (i.e. printing new money) impacts fiat currencies.
- While there are few mainstream commercial applications, the currency has gained traction as an internet tipping currency, by which social media users grant Dogecoin tips to other users for providing interesting or noteworthy content. Dogecoin has recently gained significant attention after a TikTok user began urging followers to buy Dogecoin, claiming they could "all get rich" by pushing its value to $1 per coin. The #TikTokDogecoinChallenge has since attracted hundreds of thousands of views on the app and began trending on Twitter, pumping Dogecoin's volume and price. COR prediction: it'll all end in tears!
- Dogecoin is a decentralised, peer-to-peer digital currency that can easily be exchanged online.
- Dogecoin operates the proof of work (PoW) consensus mechanism.