Bitcoin is the most successful cryptocurrency because it is the best known and has the highest market capitalization; However, there are also other very popular cryptocurrencies with characteristics and particularities that make them unique and very attractive.

The word ” altcoin ” is an abbreviation of ” alternative to Bitcoin “, therefore it is used to describe any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin.

Each altcoin is distinguished in at least one characteristic of Bitcoin and there are hundreds (or thousands) of altcoins. Most are simple Bitcoin clones, with some minimal change, and usually do not last long. But there are also other very popular ones that stand out for innovative features that enhance the experience of many users.

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Some popular altcoins

Litecoin: It is based on Bitcoin, but it differs from it in 3 characteristics. First, the transfers are faster and lighter than in the case of Bitcoin. Second, the litecoins network is 4 times wider than that of bitcoins, which means that the total of litecoins will reach approximately 84 million. Finally, the algorithm used is different and lighter. Many call Litecoin the Bitcoin’s silver.

Ethereum: It is a decentralized platform in which the creation of agreements of intelligent contracts between peers is allowed.Developers can create and publish decentralized applications in the network, which gives a great value to ether (Ethereum currency), since there are many practical uses of the platform.

Ripple: E s a credit system based on P2P transfers. Each member functions as an autonomous bank with the ability to give and receive credit.

Dash: It is a cryptocurrency that stands out for offering instant and private transactions. It has a system of self-government and financing that allows the network to pay any person who adds value. It is also known as DarkCoin.

Monero: It is another currency that emphasizes the privacy of users who make transactions. It was created in 2014 under the name of BitMonero, and days later it changed its name to Monero.

NEO: Known formally as Antshares, and often referred to as the Chinese Ethereum. NEO is the first open source decentralized cryptocurrency and Blockchain platform launched in China.

You can see a list of all (or almost all) the cryptocurrencies in CoinMarketCap , along with their price, capitalization and transaction volume.

Importance of altcoins

The altcoins contribute constantly to decentralize the cryptocurrency community. Thanks to them, new functionalities are created every day that generate competition for Bitcoin and make its developers stay active and in continuous innovation.

You could say that altcoins work like laboratories and allow the cryptocurrency community to grow every day.

How to get altcoins?

Like Bitcoin, there are exchanges that market altcoins, the most popular being Bittrex and Poloniex . They have hundreds of cryptocurrencies that can be exchanged for bitcoins, ethereum and other currencies.

The price of the altcoins is usually more volatile than Bitcoin and investing in them is a challenge that only risk lovers can take on. Its price can vary in a high daily percentage because the markets are smaller than Bitcoin. There are agents capable of influencing the markets through the purchase and sale of large quantities and other speculative movements.

In many occasions you can get altcoins for free as a reason to promote the launch of a new cryptocurrency and related application. This is a good opportunity to get altcoins if you do not have a lot of capital to invest.

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