Bitcoin came into existence in 2009 as the first cryptocurrency. It didn’t take long for other cryptocurrencies to be created based on Bitcoin source code as it’s freely available. All those other cryptocurrencies are called altcoins. The first altcoins were often a copy of bitcoin with minor adjustments but as the technology matured, they used different consensus mechanisms to create blocks and validate transactions. A big game-changer was Ethereum with its smart contracts that are now fuelling everything from gaming, NFTs and DeFi. As of November 2021, there are over 14,000 cryptocurrencies, with the main types of altcoins including mining-based cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, security tokens, and utility tokens.
As altcoins like Ethereum, Solana and Luna are increasingly creating their own unique innovations, it’s time to ask whether the term altcoins, should still have the same connotation as they should be considered on part with bitcoin.
Why should you care?
Bitcoin is the grandfather of cryptocurrencies but much of the innovation and new use cases are coming from altcoins and will continue to play an increasingly important role in the world of crypto.