Learning about cryptocurrencies and blockchain can be overwhelming. And, while we all want some Bitcoin, there’s a lot we might not know about. For example, what are tokens and altcoins? Well, in this article, we’ll tell you all about the most important and why they matter.
According to CoinMarketCap, there are about 9,000 altcoins. Still, new ones spawn every day. Some are real, and others are just plain scams. But, before we dive in, let’s talk about some important terms in this fascinating world.
These are some practical terms you should know.
First, let’s talk about cryptocurrencies. These digital currencies use cryptography to verify transactions. Then, each registry goes on a unique ledger, known as a blockchain.
It’s important to highlight that each blockchain supports its own cryptocurrency. In other words, they’re native assets to that blockchain protocol and don’t rely on other platforms. Some examples include Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
Sometimes, organizations take existing blockchain protocols and create their platforms on top of them for specific needs. ´They also make their own cryptocurrency based on pre-existing blockchains. By the way, these are called tokens and help with access or transactions within each platform.
If you want to know if you’re dealing with tokens or cryptocurrencies, ask yourself: is it independent, or does it use a pre-existing blockchain?
Finally, there’s the term altcoin: you can use this term for all those cryptocurrencies that are an alternative to Bitcoin, hence the name. And there are a lot of them out there. So, in this article, we’ll be going through 100 altcoins you should know.
The importance of forking in altcoins
Most, if not all, of the popular altcoins, come from an older one. But miners believe they can solve some of the original cryptocurrency’s issues.
So, they split, or fork, the existing blockchains into different versions, with different rules. There are two ways to do this:
- Hard forking is a complete separation from the original blockchain. Therefore, those who used the previous version might have to upgrade to a new platform entirely.
- Soft forking involves only protocol changes, so the original blockchain is still functional.
As you will see in this list, a lot of altcoins come from forking. Basically, miners feel they can improve on existing cryptocurrencies with their improvements. Also, in other cases, they might want to solve a specific need.
The 25 most important altcoins right now (and Bitcoin)
- Bitcoin (BTC): experts call it gold and cash all in one. It’s that big.
- Ether (ETH): fuel for the Ethereum world, one of the biggest platforms in crypto.
- Bitcoin cash (BCH): it’s a Bitcoin clone with bigger blocks for more transactions.
- XRP makes transactions easier by being a bridge between fiat currencies
- Litecoin (LTC): it’s silver to Bitcoin’s gold, plus, it’s faster.
- Dash (DASH): it’s a faster and more anonymous Bitcoin.
- Neo (NEO): it’s Chinese Ethereum.
- NEM (XEM) manages assets and data efficiently at a low cost.
- Monero (XMR): Highly anonymous, so secrecy is the name of the game.
- Ethereum Classic (ETC): it’s an Ethereum Clone born in 2016.
- mIOTA (MIOTA) works for transactions and payments in the world of the Internet Of Things.
- Qtum (QTUM): Imagine Ethereum’s contract functionality and Bitcoin’s security. So, the best of both worlds?
- OmiseGO (OMG): So, OMG wants to be the number one option for exchange transactions.
- Zcash (ZEC): this crypto validates transactions without revealing any compromising info, so it’s more private and anonymous.
- Lisk (LSK) is a token for easier mining and app development.
- ADA (ADA): Ada works in Cardano, a platform that offers more scalability, interoperability, and sustainability.
- Tether (USDT): Tether anchors or tethers to currencies like the dollar on a 1-to-1 value, known as a stablecoin, though it’s not always stable.
- Gemini Dollar (GUSD) claims to be the first regulated stablecoin, but…
- Paxos Standard (PAX) is a stablecoin that also came out that same day. So, who gets the bragging rights?
- Stellar Lumens (XLM): The lumen helps individuals transfer money instead of institutions.
- EOS (EOS): EOS tokens work as currency for developers in the EOS platform.
- Hshare (HSR): The Hshare token is for transactions within the Hypershare platform.
- Waves (WAVES): These tokens peg to real-life assets like stocks, intellectual property, and even Fiat currency.
- Stratis (STRAT): the Stratis token transfers value within the highly customizable Stratis platform.
- Komodo (KMD): Komodo uses the KMD token and allows users to create blockchains and sales.
- ARK (ARK): With the Ark token, users and businesses create their blockchains.
It’s a world full of scams.
The fact that users can create their altcoins leads to many creative cryptocurrencies. Usually, most are scams. But others, like meme coins, can gain immense popularity in a surprisingly short period. So, here are just some examples.
- BitConnect (BCC): Bitconnect was a Ponzi scheme platform that tricked thousands of users.
- OneCoin (ONE): was one of the first Ponzi schemes involving altcoins back in 2014.
- Safemoon (SAFEMOON): this altcoin promised safety and stability. But, it ended up being a pump-and-dump scheme.
- Monaco/Crypto (MNC) promises integration, even a credit card, but people don’t trust the company.
- GetGemz (GMZ) the GEMZ was crypto for the GetGemz social network, where you could trade for Bitcoin. It’s considered one of the top cryptocurrency failures of all time.
The surprising impact of Dogecoin
Some altcoins hit it off big. But there’s one that has taken the cryptocurrency world by storm. In case you haven’t heard of it, here it is:
- Dogecoin (DOGE): the mother of all meme coins, started as a joke. But it’s somewhat legit: it has even helped finance the Jamaican Bobsled team.
- Shibainu (SHIBAINU): like many altcoins, this one rose in value in just weeks then crashed as quickly as the hype began.
Of course, there are plenty of other spinoffs around Dogecoin, here are more examples. But, keep in mind that these are either on many watchlists for lack of credibility.
- Doge Token (DOGET)
- MiniDOGE (MINIDOGE)
- ShibaCOIN (SHIBACOIN)
- Tuna Dog (TUNADOG)
- FantasticBabyDoge (FBDOGE)
Though Dogecoin took the world by storm, its creator, Jackson Palmer, has since quit the cryptocurrency world. In fact, he’s lashed out against it, calling it a network of shady business connections that extract money from the financially naive.
Other altcoins you should know.
From solving a functional problem to making transactions more manageable, these altcoins work in various ways.
- Electroneum (ETN) Its motto is user-friendly and mobile-oriented, with almost instantaneous transactions.
- Bytecoin (BCN) Anonymity is its core philosophy. Interesting that privacy is so important in the crypto world.
- Steem (STEEM) Anybody can create and share content, and they earn Steem tokens, depending on how good they are.
- Ardor (ARDR): Ardor allows users to develop customized blockchains, using the Ardor token for transaction fees.
- Binance Coin (BNB): The Binance Exchange is one of the biggest globally, and BNB tokens are ideal for moving about in that ecosystem.
- Augur (REP): users receive payouts for predicting a winning outcome, while REP acts as a verification token.
- Populous (PPT): If you have an invoice to sell, you can use the PPT token in Populous, where transaction costs are lower and more secure.
- Decred (DCR) DCR’s strongpoint is decentralized governance, where every DCR holder could vote in block mining processes.
- TenX (PAY) if you want to combine the real world with crypto, TenX offers a physical debit card, plus a bank account and a digital wallet.
- MaidSafeCoin (MAID) blockchain cloud storage promises safer storage of all your information, using The MaidSafeCoin for transactions.
- Golem (GNT) Golem allows you to rent other people’s computers, and those who rent devices earn GNTs, to trade later for BTC, ETH, and USDT.
- Factom (FCT) Factom can upload businesses’ data on the blockchain, using the FCT for transactions. But, to use these, you must first own bitcoin.
- asic Attention (BAT): this advertising platform allows users, advertisers, and publishers to trade with BAT tokens.
- Uniswap (UNI): Uniswap gives users more control by reducing intermediaries and decentralizing exchanges.
- Zcash (ZEC): As you have seen, many cryptos promise more privacy. But this one even has Edward Snowden’s backing.
- BitShares (BTS): users convert their cryptocurrencies to stable assets, using the BTS token in between.
- Chainlink (LINK) closes the gap between the blockchain and the real world, using LINK tokens as payment for operators.
- Power Ledger (POWR) is a platform that trades energy in peer-to-peer form and, to access it, you must buy POWR tokens.
- NXT (NXT) allows mining and app development and storage, and the NXT tokens help you navigate this open system.
- Salt (SALT) Salt uses cryptocurrencies as collateral for loans, and you need the SALT token to access them.
- PIVX (PIVX) This Dash clone has no maximum coin supply, with the newly-minted altcoins spreading amongst users.
- Monacoin (MONA): the Litecoin-fork currency has a block creation that’s 90% faster than Bitcoin.
- Celo (CELO) promises to make it easier for your hot wallet to send and receive money, as well as use its token for purchases.
- Axie Infinity (AXIS) is a trading and battling game where you collect, grow and trade token-based creatures. That’s pretty creative.
- Solana (SOL): this token allows for transactions in the Solana ecosystem, which promises to fix Bitcoin’s weaknesses and make for a competitive platform.
- DigixDAO (DGD/DGX): The DGD is a security token, while the DGX is the commodity token with its value linked to a gram of gold.
- Polkadot (DOT): this is one of the newest altcoins that aims to create an ecosystem comparable to Ethereum.
- TRON (TRX) aims to create a free global entertainment system using blockchain, paying content creators with the Tronix token.
- Pancake swap (CAKE): you can exchange tokens to provide liquidity and get CAKE tokens as rewards.
- Mina (MINA) aimed to reduce computational requirements, and it’s one of the lightest blockchains around.
- Chilliz (CHZ) was the token within a social network called Socios dot com, which had impressive growth but then stalled and crashed.
- Veritaseum (VERI): users trade through the VERI token, but the platform is more famous for its controversial founder.
- Ripio Credit (RCN) is a token for bank-less loans through the Ripio platform.
- eGold (EGLD) helps you pay network fees and reward validators in the Elrond platform for swift transactions.
- SwissBorg (CHSB) is a token in the independent personal finance platform SwissBorg, which aims to revolutionize banking.
- Ravencoin (RVN): RVN tokens represent assets like securities, credit, and commodities on the Ravencoin platform.
- KAVA (KAVA) users lock cryptocurrencies to smart contracts, and those who put up collaterals receive KAVA tokens.
- Loopring (LRC) is just one of the many cryptocurrencies you can use on the Loopring platform, where you can trade cryptos and assets.
- Quant (QUANT) is part of a cost-effective platform where you exchange assets, including big names like Nvidia and Oracle.
- Holo (HOT) is a peer-to-peer communications platform that doesn’t require mining, plus the HOT token is expected not to experience inflation.
- Nexo (NEXO) is the token for instant cryptocurrency-backed loans through the NEXO platform.
- Bancor (BNT) is a token for converting from one crypto to another, without an external exchange, as part of the Bancor platform.
- Celsius (CEL) the CEL token helps perform tasks in an all-in-one financial services platform and even increase payout values outside of it.
- BitTorrent (BTT), originally a file-sharing site, is now a cryptocurrency focused on entertainment as part of Tron’s platform.
- Avalanche (AVAX) the AVAX token works as fee collection and incentive in the free-trade Avalanche platform.
- Tezos (XTZ) think of it as Ethereum with constant improvement, where you receive rewards based on how many XTZ you have.
- Terra (LUNA) the LUNA token helps stabilize stablecoins within the Terra platform.
- AAVE (AAVE) is a token in a lending system with lower rates, discounts, and instant loans.
- Klaytn (KLAY) is the token in the Klaytn platform for developing applications at minimal fees.
- SushiSwap (SUSHI) makes markets between any two pairs of cryptocurrencies, with the Sushi token as a reward for those transactions.
- Ontology (ONT) is the cryptocurrency that powers Ontology, where businesses can have smart contracts and still control sensitive data.
- BakerySwap (BAKE) Bake tokens are rewards for liquidity creators in the BakerySwap market maker.
- Revain (REV) the REV token incentivizes authors to review projects on the Revain platform.
- Year.Finance (YFI) is a lending and trading platform that uses the YFI token for locking contracts.
- Telcoin (TEL) is a token for e-commerce sites. The more TEL you got, the more incentives you get
- Ox (ZRX) ZRX works as payment for relayers and takers in the 0X (zeroX) automated market maker.
- Algorand (ALGO) is a faster, less consuming version of Bitcoin, plus Algo coins go to all users, not only miners.
- FTX token (FTT) is the token for the FTX crypto futures market, and if more trading happens, the FTT gains value.
- Crypto-dot-com Coin (CRO): this token allows users to pay to many globally available merchants through the crypto.com platform.
- Ziliqa (ZIL) is a token in Ziliqa, which accepts large transfers and microtransactions at high speeds.
- OKB (OKB) connects digital assets and investors globally
- Hedera Hashgrah (HBAR): this energy-efficient cryptocurrency pays for network services and protection.
So, there you have it: 100 cryptocurrencies and why it’s crucial to know them. The world of crypto and blockchain is fascinating, and it’s only going to keep growing.
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