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

The Complete List of 1500+ Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

UPDATED: This article was updated April 6, 2021 by Web Webster   From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 text message and online chat abbreviations to...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

UPDATED: This article was updated April 6, 2021 by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a...

Windows Operating System History & Versions

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

What are the 5 Generations of Computers?

UPDATED: This article was updated on April 6, 2021 by Web Webster   Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments...

Hackerspace Definition & Meaning

What is a hackerspace? A hackerspace, also known as a hacklab, incubator, or hackspace,...

Random Access Memory (RAM)...

UPDATED: This article Updated April 6, 2021 by Web Webster   Random Access Memory (RAM)...

OEM – original equipment...

UPDATED: This article was updated April 6, 2021 by Web Webster OEM (pronounced as...