Altcoin Definition & Meaning

Altcoin refers to any brand of cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin. It encompasses all of the hundreds of cryptocurrencies that were created to be either a rival of or alternative to Bitcoin. Though Bitcoin has only been around since 2009, it’s gained increasing popularity as investors see the value of trading in a technologically managed, decentralized market. But different brands of altcoin contribute to that market as well. Having more than one form of cryptocurrency helps further decentralize the system. Instead of being managed by a governing body, cryptocurrency platforms are run by many high-performing computers that complete complex mathematical functions.

Cryptocurrency systems use blockchains to record transactions between sellers and buyers. Blockchains connect blocks of stored data regarding a transaction, which have cryptographic hashes. The next block will include the previous block’s hash and its own. Thus the blocks are connected in a chain. Every time a transaction occurs, all the computers in that cryptocurrency system add the transaction to their record of transactions. Any illegitimate transaction will be rejected when it clashes with the entire system’s records.

As Bitcoin is by far the most established form of cryptocurrency, few alternatives compare. Many altcoin currencies fizzle out after a short period of time, but there are a few well-known, established platforms. Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin are some of the notable ones.

 

Related Links

Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a contributor for websites such as Webopedia.com and Enterprise Storage Forum. She writes about information technology security, networking, and data storage. Jenna lives in Nashville, TN.

Top Articles

Huge List Of Texting and Online Chat Abbreviations

From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top...

How To Create A Desktop Shortcut To A Website

This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Creating a desktop...

The History Of Windows Operating Systems

Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems. We look at the history of Microsoft's Windows operating systems (Windows OS) from 1985 to present...

Hotmail [Outlook] Email Accounts

  By Vangie Beal Hotmail is one of the first public webmail services that can be accessed from any web browser. Prior to Hotmail and its...

Relational Database Definition &...

A relational database stores and connects data in tables and columns, emphasizing the...

Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL)...

What is COBOL? COBOL stands for Common Business-Oriented Language. It is a 60-year-old programming...

Shared Hosting Definition &...

Shared hosting is a web hosting model in which multiple sites occupy the...