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What are Altcoins?

After the raging popularity and success of Bitcoin in the digital market, it was pretty obvious for the competitors to step in. Altcoins, in a way, can be considered as competitors to Bitcoin. They basically showcase themselves as better substitutes of Bitcoin.

As the name suggests, altcoins mean “alternate coins”, they are alternate cryptocurrencies which came in after Bitcoin. They have emerged as various other peer-to-peer cryptocurrencies to replicate the success of Bitcoin. These altcoins have been created by following the basic framework of Bitcoin.

After the emergence of altcoins, Bitcoin is now just one of the many cryptocurrencies trying to be a highlight in the market. Blockchain was originally discovered by the creator of Bitcoin and now it is freely adopted by hundreds of cryptocurrency creators (altcoin developers).

The question that arises is what even is the use of creating altcoins when we have Bitcoin(?)

According to all the creators of altcoins, Bitcoin has a lot of technical problems. Creation of various altcoins is just an attempt to eliminate the problems faced while using Bitcoin.

For example, one of the drawbacks of using Bitcoin is that its transactions are costly and time-consuming. To eliminate this, altcoin creators made sure that the cryptocurrencies created by them do not have these disadvantages and prove to be a better substitute to Bitcoin.

Further, the “proof of work” verification method of Bitcoin uses up a large amount of energy. Altcoin developers are finding different verification methods which saves up this energy resulting in better and more efficient potential cryptocurrencies.

However, there are many altcoins which boast about themselves and try to prove that they are better. Some minor insignificant changes which do not matter much does not make an altcoin great.

For example, if an altcoin boasts about finding blocks faster than Bitcoin, it just results in lesser security due to the increased speed. If improving on one aspect degrades another, then in no way can it be termed as ‘improvement’ or ‘betterment’.

 

But few altcoins have really made a difference and today they are listed among the top ten cryptocurrencies because of their constant, valuable and significant improvements. Here’s a brief description about some of the biggest altcoins:

LITECOIN (LTC) – Litecoin was launched in 2011, it was one of the first cryptocurrencies that captured the market after Bitcoin. It is popularly known as “silver to Bitcoins gold”.

It is an open source global payment network that is not controlled by any central authority and uses “scrypt” as a proof of work, which can be decoded with the help of CPUs of consumer grade.

The factor which has listed litecoin  among the top cryptocurrencies is that it generates blocks faster and hence offers faster transactions.

Litecoin has a constant growing number of investors due to this benefit. As on July 19, 2018, Litecoin had a market cap of $5.03 billion and a per token value of $87.56.

 

ETHEREUM (ETH) – Ethereum, launched in 2015, is a decentralized software that offers the benefits of enabling Smart Contracts and Distributed Application to run without the hassle of downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party.

The applications on Ethereum run on its blockchain generating cryptocurrency, ether. It can be used to compensate participant mining nodes for computations performed and can be transferred between accounts.

In 2016, ethereum was split into two separate blockchains – Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). Its value grew over 30% in 2017.

 

ZCASH (ZEC) – Zcash was launched in the latter part of 2016, as a decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency which claims “If Bitcoin is like http for money, Zcash is https.” It gives us the benefits of privacy and transparency of transactions.

Zcash offers extra security or privacy where all the transactions are recorded and published on a blockchain just like http, but details such as sender, receiver, and amount remain private.

 

DASH (DASH) – Dash was launched in January 2014 and was originally known as Darkcoin because it is a covert cryptocurrency. Later on, it was named Dash which came from “Digital Cash”.

The transactions that take place in it are completely anonymous because it works on a decentralised master code network, making the transactions untraceable. Due to this advantage of dash, it experienced huge fan following in a small period of time.

RIPPLE (XRP) –Ripple was launched in 2012 and it is real-time global settlement network that offers instant, certain and low-cost international payments.

The main highlight which settles ripple apart from Bitcoin and other altcoins is that its method of confirmation is unique and doesn’t require mining. This helps in reducing the usage of computing power and minimizing network latency.

Altcoins have now become extremely popular due to their constant improvements from Bitcoin. If we try to foresee the future, we might actually see altcoins conquering the digital currency market.

There is nothing so special about Bitcoin which will force people to use it if something better comes in its way.

People might actually switch to altcoins! Presently, there are thousands of altcoins under development, aiming to make themselves efficient and popular. They also aim to make digital currency the future. Big things are coming in the future, better to keep your seatbelts tightened and enjoy the altcoins news!

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