Category Archives: Altcoin

Bitcoin, Altcoin and Cryptography explained

Bitcoin is the best known cryptocurrency at this moment, also called virtual money. Bitcoin is decentralized, this means there is no owner or central control. Transactions in the Bitcoin network are sent in a cryptographic form and processed by miners using computers and specialized hardware with huge calculating power.On this page the following subjects will be described:

How does the Bitcoin network work?What is an altcoin?Advantages of crypto currenciesCompare hardware wallets

The Bitcoin netword is based ona blockchain, an administration of all transactions between the different bitcoin addresses. Every 10 minutes a new block will be created, containing all transactions of these 10 minutes plus the previous block. Every transaction will exist forever (as long as the blockchain exists).

Along with the information of the transaction, other information can be added in a block. It is not possible to change or delete this information. Adding information will create many interesting user posibilities, which do not exist in other payment methods.

Bitcoins can be mined by using special hardware to translate encrypted codes. These codes represent all transactions in a block, and the miner who finds the block first will be rewarded with an amount of bitcoins (currently 12,5). The financial effort you have to put into mining, like costs for electricity and hardware, is called proof of work.

This makes the bitcoin blockchain super secure, because to alteror delete something in the blockchain you will have to input a greater proof of work than all of the current miners together. At that moment the total computing power (hash power) that is mining on the Bitcoin network is so incredibly huge, that for a single person, company, or even government, it is impossible to deliver more hash power to over ride the current mining operation.

Besides finding new blocks, miners will also earn on transaction fees. The most amount of bitcoins that will ever be found is limited to 21 million, and they will be harder to find because every four years the mining reward will be reduced by fifty percent. The value of bitcoin will not be affected by dilution, because the supply is limited. That understood, bitcoin can be a profitable investment in times of quantitive easing and you can store them safely on a hardware wallet.

Besides bitcoins, there are many altcoins on the market. An altcoin (alternative coin) is a virtual coin, same as bitcoin, based on cryptography. There are hundreds of different alt coins available and most of themhave the goal to become an improved version of Bitcoin.The best known alt coins are Ethereum, Lightcoin, Zcashand Monero, and are designed with a focus on a specific application. Some of these coins are certainly interesting, but the grand question is will they win the race with Bitcoin to become the most dominant coin. Bitcoin is by far the most famous and accepted coin. All the hardware wallets are also supporting some alt coins.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin contain big advantages compared to fiat money. A Bitcoin wallet is anonymous and so you dont have to provide your name and address. As long as you own the public key of the wallet, you have the power over the bitcoins you own.

Furthermore the transaction costs are extremely low and there is no 3rd party able to cancel your transaction. In a short period of time you can send an unlimited amount of money all over the world. Also, small payments are possible with Bitcoin, creating many new possible applications.

Maybe the most promising application, not known by many people yet, is the ability to add information into the blockchain. For example, you can make a house payment and directly register the ownership in the blockchain. Besides ownership you can also register other things like your identification.

In the future, Bitcoin and blockchain technology will create applications like smart contracts and automated payments between machines, changing the status quo. In addition, crowd funding will be raised to a new level.Bitcoin use can apply to many financial functions like store of value (gold, silver), hedging against crashes of stocks, other financial products, and of course, just as a payment system.

Reed more:

What is a hardware wallet?

Everything about security of your bitcoins.

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Bitcoin, Altcoin and Cryptography explained

Blockfolio Bitcoin Altcoin App on the App Store

Blockfolio offers complete Bitcoin and Altcoin cryptocurrency management, with easy to use tools to keep track of all your crypto investments. Get detailed price and market information for individual currencies and your entire portfolio all in one place.

Highlights of Blockfolio:

– Portfolio Overview: View all your cryptocurrency investments at once, and find detailed information on each coin.

– Price Notifications: Use alerts to get notified immediately when the price crosses a certain threshold.

– Charts and Orderbook: Candlestick charts, orderbook, and market details for every coin.

– Latest News Stories: Stay up to date with the latest Bitcoin and Altcoin news from CoinDesk, Bitcoin Magazine and more coming soon using our News reader.

– Over 2000 Cryptocurrencies: You can easily track over 2000 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash, Zcash, Tezos, NEM, NEO, IOTA, Monero, Ethereum Classic, OmiseGO, SNT, Qtum, Iconomi, Dogecoin, Golem, Waves, Stellar, DigixDao and many more!

– New Altcoins Added Regularly: Most new cryptocurrencies are added the same day they are added to the exchange.

– Add fiat currencies to your portfolio.

– Global Coverage: View your portfolio in over 30 fiat currencies!

About Blockfolio:

Blockfolio, LLC is a private company based in Los Angeles that provides mobile cryptocurrency services.

– Check us out at: http://www.blockfolio.com- http://www.facebook.com/BlockfolioApp- http://www.twitter.com/BlockfolioApp- Join our telegram group: telegram.blockfolio.com

Please dont hesitate to contact us at support@blockfolio.com for any issues you may have.

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ZClassic and the Bitcoin Private fork : altcoin

I’d like to get ya’lls take on what’s going on with ZCL this week. Please give me some feedback this is a collection of my thoughts and others’ – I’ve invested a good chunk of my portfolio with a time horizon of 30 days and want valued input on the logic.

ZClassic is moving through the elliot wave cycle and is growing nicely. Read below and you’ll see why it could 50x from here in the next month. As always please DYOR.

As of now $62 mil market cap. Around $33 or .00250 sats it’s holding up and accumulating and ready for the next leg up despite a very bloody market today which is a GREAT sign. 🙂

Somewhere between mid and late January there will be a fork of BOTH Bitcoin and ZClassic, combining into Bitcoin Private. Owning either bitcoin or zcl will get you 1:1 Bitcoin Private.

Most privacy coins have a couple billion dollar market cap Verge, Monero, Zcoin.

60 mil X 100 is $6 billion

Bitcoin forks can be worth some money. For instance, bitcoin diamond was worth $40. Bitcoin gold was worth $350, BCH is worth $3,000. Not only will people want free money but if you own a couple hundred ZCL, this could be super profitable!

Bitcoin Private won’t be premined (like this fake B2X bitcoin fork today) and looks to be extremely promising. Roughly 18.5 million coins total and a current projection of $300 / coin for 2018.

For the first time you have a hard fork off a zero knowledge proof chain, as well as BTC, but Zclassic is 0.2% the price of BTC. From the innovative investors perspective, the buy in price for BTCP (the fork chain) is tremendously cheaper with Zclassic. In fact it is so surreal at the moment that it wont last long. And BTCP is leveraging same mining tech as BTCG, so the miners are already there and ready to go. Zk snarks will continue on BTCP as well.

Seems to me this is a no brainer to buy in now.

What is Bitcoin private? Bitcoin private is a hard fork of BTC and ZCL. BTCP will have the same privacy technology as ZCL (zk-snarks). This means payments are published on a public blockchain, but the sender, recipient, and amount of a transaction remain private.

When is the hard fork date? End of January.

How will BTCP be distributed? If you have 1 ZCL, you keep 1 ZCL and get 1 BTCP, if you have 1 BTC (at $16k cost currently), you keep your BTC and get 1 BTCP

What is going to happen to ZCL after the hard fork? It will still exist, though we are unsure how its development will continue as of right now

Is there a premine or a founders reward? No

https://medium.com/chain-intelligence/the-resurgence-of-zcl-and-an-upcoming-hardfork-3ba65de3cf21

Disclaimer I am an investor in the project, and it is to my benefit that the project succeeds. That said I love community projects and privacy coins, so the project itself has huge potential regardless of price dynamics.

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ZClassic and the Bitcoin Private fork : altcoin

Altcoin Trustworthy Decentralized Cryptocurrency Exchange?

Altcoin.io is a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange that aims to offer better service than todays biggest exchanges. Find out how it works today in our review.

Altcoin.io is a cryptocurrency exchange thats currently in development. The exchange aims to be the first decentralized exchange built by traders, for traders.

As the name of the website suggests, Altcoin.io focuses on altcoins which typically refers to any coins that arent bitcoin:

Altcoin.io’s mission is to bring the entire altcoin community together to build something greatwith the purpose of bringing this market out of the shadows with transparency, trust, and honesty, explains the official website.

You can view screenshots of the exchange online at Altcoin.io. Those screenshots show BTC, ETH, XMR, and USDT as the four major markets currently available through the platform. In the Bitcoin market, youll see ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, DASH, XEM, XMR, MIOTA, and ETC, among other altcoins.

Overall, the Altcoin.io website has limited information about the project. However, you can submit your email address to the website to receive early access to the platform at some point in the future. Its not clear when the platform will be released.

Theres limited information about the exchange available online. Aside from a few screenshots and bullet points, we dont have much information about the exchange or how it will work. Theres no whitepaper. However, here are some of the key features that have been mentioned on the website so far:

Altcoin.io aims to provide better transparency than other exchanges. Today, the cryptocurrency space is filled with markets that are difficult to navigate. The altcoin space contains companies with limited business experience, yet find themselves in charge of cryptocurrencies with enormous market caps. Altcoin.io aims to bring a new approach to this industry that is both transparent and provides the best customer support in the business.

Altcoin.io plans to create an unparalleled user experience compared to other exchanges available today.

Like all exchanges, Altcoin.io emphasizes security. Their exchange is decentralized, so theres no centralized system to attack.

Altcoin.ios advisors include active cryptocurrency traders.

The Altcoin.io website isnt totally clear about whos running the company. The website features a subheading for Team, Investors, & Advisors. No specific positions are listed under that heading, although about 10 different people are listed.

Some of those people include Andrew Gazdecki, the current CEO of Bizness Apps; Alan Ezeir, a serial entrepreneur with multiple technology exits; Nick Pizpie Cote, an industry expert who has been trading bitcoin full time since 2013; and CryptoBull, a bitcoin investment analysis platform.

There isnt much to say about Altcoin.io at this point in time. The website features a basic overview of the companys broad goals for the platform. Theres no specific information available, and the platform seems to be in the early stages of development. We dont have a whitepaper, and the team section of the website makes it difficult to determine whos involved with the project and whos just an advisor.

Despite the lack of information, Altcoin.io lets users sign up for early access at Altcoin.io. Its unclear when the exchange will be available for early access.

In any case, you can learn more about the future cryptocurrency exchange by visiting online today at Altcoin.io.

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Altcoin Trustworthy Decentralized Cryptocurrency Exchange?

Morning Asian Altcoin Trading Roundup: the leader is Tron

Things are looking brighter during the Asian trading session this weekend. Bitcoin has done better than hold the pivotal $8k level, it has risen to just under $9,000. As usual the movements of Bitcoin are mirrored in the altcoin charts and most of them are trading higher this morning. The leading altcoin however is one that has taken a lot of flak recently. But with a 53% jump in less than 24 hours Tron is on a flyer at the moment.

Social media has been vicious to Tron and its founder. For some reason this altcoin has hit a nerve with the Facebook fanboys that have been bleating on about it for some weeks. It has probably suffered a greater FUD attack than any other cryptocurrency out there, with the possible exception of Verge, and this may be due to the huge attack of FOMO causing the coin to spike from virtually nothing to $0.25 on January 5.

Since then it has been on a downward slide with all other altcoins. Today however Tron is over 50% higher than its trading price the same time yesterday. Currently trading at $0.054 TRX has seen the largest upward movement in the top 25 altcoins this morning. Founder Justin Sun is very active on Twitter where he posts almost weekly updates about partnerships with small Chinese companies. The entertainments based altcoin could easily reach its previous all-time high if a bigger partnership gets announced.

TRX is predominantly traded on Binance which has over half the total volume. Its market cap is $3.6 billion which ranks it as the 16th most popular altcoin. $480 million has been traded in the past 24 hours, largely in South Korea. Other altcoins enjoying big jumps today are Ripple, Cardano, Stellar and Lisk.

More on Tron can be found here:https://tron.network/enindex.html

FOMO Moments is a section that takes a daily look at the top 25 altcoins during the Asian trading session and analyses the best performing one, looking for trends and fundamentals.

Southeast Asia based info-tech, cyber security, and cryptocurrency analyst with 15 years working in web technology and media. View all posts by Martin J. Young

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Morning Asian Altcoin Trading Roundup: the leader is Tron

Webinar: Bitcoin Overshadowed by Altcoin Surge – Nasdaq.com

DailyFX.com –

On December 22, 2017 the cryptocurrency market lost in excess of $200 billion to just over $420 billion while Bitcoin (BTC) traded below $11,000 as sellers hammered the market. Now two weeks later the cryptocurrency market has hit a new all-time high in excess of $700 billion, driven primarily by surging altcoins with Ripple (XRP) leading the charge.

Other topics covered in this week’s Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency webinar include –

If you missed this webinar and would like to know about future events, see the full DailyFX webinar schedule here.

— Written by Nick Cawley , Analyst

To contact Nick , email him at nicholas.cawley@ig.com

Follow Nick on Twitter @ nickcawley1

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets. Learn forex trading with a free practice account and trading charts from IG .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Webinar: Bitcoin Overshadowed by Altcoin Surge – Nasdaq.com

Bitcoin Mine News Bitcoin & Altcoin Mining & Trading News

Please share if you find this article interesting.People Selling ‘Fully Verified’ Crypto-Exchange Accounts On the Rise – Bitcoin NewsNewsOver the past few months, cryptocurrency exchanges across the globe have been swamped with new customers looking to trade or acquire digital assets. Trading platforms have been having a hard time keeping up with the new registrants. Users are complaining that identity verifications are now required and take weeks to process, while some exchanges are not accepting new customers at all. This has led to rise of individuals selling fully verified accounts for a variety of popular digital currency platforms.Also Read: Several Bitcoin Exchanges Are Closing Their Doors to New TradersAs Exchanges Stop Accepting New Registrants and Require Mo

Please share if you find this article interesting.BUY IOTA AND AIM FOR $5.5Its no doubt that it IOTA has been on a rough patch with sellers pushing prices lower. However, after that close above $4.2, just buy IOTA. Yes, and while at it aim for $5.5.Of course, after last weeks higher high, retracements and break outs, I was hoping LTC to spice up after waking up from a 2 week slumber but it didnt.Instead we are seeing a series of lower lows and that is okay since any reversal from $255 is a retest which is pretty inviting for buyers.Lets have a look at other alt coin chartsAS NEM BUY PRESSURE STUTTER FOCUS SHIFT BACK TO $1.35IOTUSD 4HR Chart for January 8, 2018Prices are pretty good and for NEM buyers, there is no reason to complain.Judging from last week-which by the

Please share if you find this article interesting.Chinese Authorities Ask Local Miners to Submit Monthly Status Reports – Bitcoin NewsRegulationXinjiang Province regulators have issued an official document informing local bitcoin miners to submit status reports on a specific schedule.Also Read:Japanese Virtual Currency Girls Spreading Cryptocurrency Knowledge An Orderly ExitBitcoin mining companies were told to write a status report before Jan. 5, according to a government notice signed by a Xinjiang committee in charge of overseeing internet finance risks (The Committee) that was circulated online and verified by people familiar with the matter.The document reads that:Xinjiang is home to multiple bitcoin miners, which are both energy-intensive and highly sp

Please share if you find this article interesting.Crypto Tax Tips To Start 2018 RightEven though cryptocurrencies are getting more and more exposure, their legislation seems to be a grey area for most governments, especially when it comes to declaring your income in digital currencies. The Internal Revenue Service, the US tax collection agency, has issued Notice 2014-21 stating that Bitcoin and altcoins are subjects to federal income and payroll taxes. So what to do with your crypto money and how to declare your taxes right?RecordsLets start with the dreary subject of records. Yes, that applies to crypto investors too. Youd better have some if you are thinking about taxes. If youve ever tried to tell the IRS I lost my receipt, you dont want to do it a second time.The I

Please share if you find this article interesting.This Week in Bitcoin: The Hunt for the Next Bitcoin Intensifies – Bitcoin NewsFeaturedWell, that just happened. What happened? Lets see: crypto penny stocks mooning. Centralized banking coins mooning. Long forgotten alt bags and even abandoned projects languishing on Cryptopia mooning. Basically everything that wasnt bitcoin mooning, bringing with it a new wave of zealots and maximalists, convinced that their coin is The One True Coin to lead the impoverished out of the wilderness and into Lamboland. Welcome to another week in bitcoin.Also read:Finance Guru James Altucher Is Launching a Cryptocurrency ExchangeMoon Rockets: Now Leaving HourlyAs the meme on 4chans /biz/ messageboard runs, He missed bitcoin. He miss

Please share if you find this article interesting.Vietnam Expedites Cryptocurrency Legal Framework Ready End of January – Bitcoin NewsRegulationThe government of Vietnam has taken steps to accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency regulation that will affect Bitcoin. The executive power in Hanoi has insisted that the framework should be ready by the end of January. Amendments to the tax code are expected to help tap into proceeds from virtual property and digital money.Also read: Cryptocurrency Mining Soars in Vietnam Over 7000 Rigs ImportedIndochina Catching UpThe new impetus was given by a high-ranking government official who insisted on hastening the legal process. Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has asked the Ministry of Justice and the State Bank to qui

Please share if you find this article interesting.New York Stock Exchange Moves on Bitcoin ETFsThe New York Stock Exchange has filed for permission to launch a number of Bitcoin-related exchange-traded funds (ETF) just one week into 2018.As reported by BusinessInsider, a filing sent to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission shows that the exchange intends to launch five different ETFs offering bull and bear futures contracts on the Arca stock exchange.These EFTs will be linked to the price of Bitcoin futures listed on the CME and CBOE exchanges, which launched Bitcoin futures contracts in December 2017:The target benchmarks value will be calculated as the last sale price published by the CME or the CBOE or any other US exchange that subsequently trades bit

Please share if you find this article interesting.Korean Government Starts Inspecting Major Banks for Crypto Regulation Compliance – Bitcoin NewsRegulationThe South Korean authorities will start inspecting major banks for their compliance with cryptocurrency regulations on Monday. This move follows the regulators recent announcement prohibiting the use of virtual bank accounts for anonymous trading.Also read:Russian Regulators Draft Law to Restrict Crypto Mining, Payments, and Token SalesInspecting 6 Major BanksThe South Korean Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), under the Financial Services Commission (FSC), and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said on Sunday, January 7, that they will jointly inspect 6 major banks for compliance of cryptocurrency regulation.

Please share if you find this article interesting.Exponential Growth: Cryptocurrency Exchanges Are Adding 100,000+ Users Per DayMajor Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading platforms within the global market have been adding more than 100,000 users per day.Many of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase (GDAX), Binance, Bittrex, Bitstamp and Kraken have struggled in dealing with the abrupt surge in demand for cryptocurrencies. Some exchanges have overhauled their systems to improve their scalability, while others have temporarily stopped opening new user accounts.Unexpected growth rateThis week, Changpeng Zhao, the founder and CEO of Binance, the global markets largest cryptocurrency exchange with a staggering $9.5 bln daily trading volume, revealed that it has ad

Please share if you find this article interesting.Coinbase Withdrawal Delays Leave Users Frustrated, Crying Foul – Bitcoin NewsServicesWhen you are dealing with platforms that are supposed to be the on-ramps to the money of the future its hard to accept worse performance than the systems of the past. Unfortunately, this an issue plaguing all major cryptocurrency exchanges at the moment with Coinbase being one of the leading examples right now.Also Read: Binance Exchange Disables New User RegistrationsCoinbase DelaysSan Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is experiencing several disruptions to its normal business operations. According to the companys status page, it is now facing transactions delays, wire processing delays and ID verification delays. Coin

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Bitcoin Mine News Bitcoin & Altcoin Mining & Trading News

Ethereum, Litecoin Prices Headline $20 Billion Altcoin Rally

Get Trading Recommendations and Read Analysis on Hacked.com for just $39 per month.

The cryptocurrency markets achieved another comprehensive advance on Tuesday, but breaking from recent norms the bitcoin price was not leading the rally. That honor belonged to the ethereum price and litecoin price, each of whom surged to all-time highs and helped catalyze a record day for the altcoin markets.

Nevertheless, bitcoin did make a slight advance and coupled with the $20 billion altcoin rally, the total cryptocurrency market cap soared from $444.3 billion to $467.8 billion.

This, incidentally, makes the combined value of all cryptocurrencies worth more than Chinese technology conglomerate Alibaba, whose founder, Jack Ma recently said that bitcoin is not for me.

The bitcoin price rallied after U.S. exchange CBOE launched regulated bitcoin futures contracts on Sunday, but the most prominent cryptocurrencys performance was a bit more tepid during the first full day of trading. After briefly rising above $17,500, the bitcoin price settled down to a present value of $16,906. This represents a daily increase of one percent and translates into a $283 billion market cap. January futures, meanwhile, were priced at $17,730 at the time of writing.

Notably, bitcoin futures trading currently represents little more than a blip in the market. While CBOEs $50 million in first-day volume was respectable for a nascent asset class, it pales in comparison to the $12 billion in trades that bitcoin exchanges processed during the same period.

Although ethereum has been in a sustained uptrend throughout the year, it has been unable to match bitcoins gains during the fourth quarter. Consequently, it has gradually lost market share, and at one point its corner of the market dropped below 10 percent.

Tuesday brought investors a welcome change. The ethereum price leaped by 16 percent, punching through the $500 barrier and briefly extending as high as $553 a new record before ebbing back to a present value of $540. Ethereum now has a market cap of $52.1 billion, raising its market share to 11 percent.

More than three-quarters of the top 100 cryptocurrencies rose against the dollar on Tuesday, including every coin and token within the top 10. Many of these gains constituted double-digit percentage increases, which was all the more impressive considering that bitcoin only rose one percent.

The bitcoin cash price rose nearly seven percent, bringing the third-largest cryptocurrency back close to the $1,500 mark, but its performance was eclipsed by the new fourth-largest cryptocurrency: litecoin.

Just days ago, litecoin was trading in the bottom half of the top 10, but it has assembled a breathtaking rally since the weekend. In the past day alone, the litecoin price has soared more than 58 percent to a new all-time high of $260. Litecoin now has a market cap of $14.1 billion, placing it ahead of both IOTA and ripple in the rankings.

Despite losing a spot in the rankings, IOTA did post a double-digit percentage increase for the day, rising more than 13 percent to $4.90. Ripple, meanwhile, increased 11 percent to $0.275. The dash price climbed by 10 percent, bringing it within striking distance of $800, and monero posted a similar movement to bring its price near $300. Next to litecoin, the NEM price returned the best performance of any top 10 coin or token, leaping by 27 percent to $0.546. Bitcoin gold, however, rounded out the top 10 with an increase of just two percent.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Ethereum, Litecoin Prices Headline $20 Billion Altcoin Rally

What is an Altcoin? – CryptoCurrency Facts

Altcoins Explained

Believe it or not, Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency! There are thousands of cryptocurrency alternatives to Bitcoin available today each with unique differences, functionalities, and purposes.

Semantics: Altcoin isnt the name of a cryptocurrency. Rather, the term altcoin describes any cryptocurrency alternative to Bitcoin. For example, Ripple, Litecoin, and Ethereum are all technically altcoins. With that in mind, people generally use the term to describe coins with lower market capitalizations. On this site we say major alt if we mean coins with the top market caps that arent Bitcoin, and we say minor alts to describe all other cryptos. See a list of altcoins.

Simply put, altcoins are cryptocurrency alternatives to bitcoin. In general, altcoins work very similarly to bitcoin. However, there can be some minor differences between different coins. Below is a list of the most important facts about altcoins:

To learn more about the different types of available coins, be sure to visit our page Listing theCurrently Available Altcoins.

To learn more about altcoin in general and for comprehensive altcoin resources, be sure to visit altcoins.com.

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What is an Altcoin? – CryptoCurrency Facts

What is an Altcoin? – ccn.com

Get Trading Recommendations and Read Analysis on Hacked.com for just $39 per month.Litecoin is the biggest Altcoin

Even if they do not accurately understand how it works, most people are at least somewhat familiar with Bitcoin. However, once they begin to get involved with cryptocurrency, they may be surprised to learn that there are actually hundreds of types of cryptocurrencies known as altcoins. Altcoins are anintriguingfacet of the cryptocurrency landscape, but they are not foreveryone. Altcoin newcomers often have many questions, and this guide will provide a brief overview of altcoins to help beginners decide whether or not to invest in them as part of their cryptocurrency portfolio.

[divider]CCN[/divider]

The word altcoin is an abbreviation of Bitcoin alternative, and thus describes every single cryptocurrency except for Bitcoin. Altcoins are referred to as Bitcoin alternatives because, at least to some extent, most altcoins hope to either replace or improve upon at least one Bitcoin component.

There are hundreds of altcoins (CoinMarketCap listed 478 at the time this guide was written), and more appear each day. Mostaltcoins are little more than Bitcoin clones, changing only minor characteristics such as its transactions speed, distribution method, or hashing algorithm. Most of these coins do not survive for very long. One exception is Litecoin, which was one of the first altcoins.In addition to using a different hashing algorithm than Bitcoin, Litecoin has a much higher number of currency units. For this reason, Litecoin has branded itself as silver to Bitcoins gold.

However, some altcoins innovate by experimenting with useful features Bitcoin does not offer. For example, Darkcoin hopes to provide a platform for completely anonymous transactions, BitShares describes itself as a fair version of Wall Street, and Ripple serves as a protocol users can employ to make inter-currency payments with ease. Some altcoin ecosystems, such as CounterParty and Mastercoin, even utilize the Bitcoin blockchain to secure their platform.

Many Bitcoin enthusiasts argue that altcoins are completely unnecessary and will not succeed because they cannot rival the infrastructure Bitcoin boasts. However, altcoins serve an important role. Decentralization is one of Bitcoins most prominent goals, and altcoins further decentralize the cryptocurrency community. Moreover, altcoins allow developers to experiment with unique features. While it is true that Bitcoin can copy these features if the developers or community desires, fully-functioning altcoins are much better cryptocurrency laboratories than Bitcoins testnet. Finally, Altcoins give Bitcoin healthy competition. Altcoins give cryptocurrency users alternative options and forces Bitcoins developers to remain active and continue innovating. If users do not feel that Bitcoin satisfies their digital desires, they can adopt an altcoin. If enough users left Bitcoin for a particular altcoin, the Bitcoin developers would have to adopt the features the community desired or risk losing its place as the preeminent cryptocurrency.

Created in April 2011, Namecoin was the first altcoin. Although it also functions as a currency, Namecoins primary purpose is to decentralize domain-name registration, which makes internet censorship much more difficult. As its place among the top ten cryptocurrency market caps suggests, Namecoin has remained one of the most successful altcoins throughout its short lifespan.

Due to how recent cryptocurrency was invented and how rapidly the landscape changes, all cryptocurrency investments carry a great deal of risk. Even Bitcoinby far the most stable cryptocurrencyexhibits price volatility on a regular basis.

By comparison, however, altcoins are exponentially more volatile. Because they have such low market caps (the total value of all coins combined), altcoin markets are highly prone to price manipulation. Wealthy traderscolloquially called whalesoften inject large amounts of capital into low-priced coins to build hype and cause the price to skyrocket. Once the price has risen considerably, the whales sell their coins on exchanges at a massive profit, hurting many gullible investors in the process. This method is known as a pump and dump. Not only does this hurt greedy traders who did not take the time to do their homework, but it often proves to be the breath of an altcoins brief lifespan.

To avoid losing all your money in a pump and dump, focus on long-term investments in coins you believe have immense potential and exhibit overall health. Generally, healthy altcoins possess strong communities, exhibit high liquidity, and have developers who proactively improve the coins source code (though not necessary, many users also prefer developers who reveal their true identities).CoinGeckos comprehensive coin metric analysis algorithm statistically analyzes these three important factors and ranks coins according to overall strength.

If you do choose to invest in altcoins, it is important to remember somebasic tenets of investing. Avoid the hype that coin communities propagate. Investors have an agenda, so you should not take their word at face value. Only invest in coins you have researched. It is unwiseto invest in something you do not understand. Making an ill-informed investment is the first step to losing your hard-earned money. Take the time to research the coins you are considering for long-term investments, and research day-trading before you attempt to become a high-volume, short-term trader. Most importantly, never invest more than you can afford to lose. Far too many people have lost their life savings by centralizing them in volatile investments.

As with Bitcoin, there are a variety of ways to obtain altcoins. The most basic way to obtain altcoins is to accept them as payment for goods or services. If you are interested in doing this, place an ad showcasing your skill-set ona cryptocurrency job board.

You can also trade for altcoins on cryptocurrency exchanges. Most exchange use Bitcoin as an intermediary (although a few include fiat pairs), so if you do not already own bitcoins you will need to buy some before you can trade for altcoins. Some of the most-trafficked exchanges include BTER,Bittrex, MintPal,Cryptsy, and BTC38 (Chinese-only).

Many altcoin communities also sponsor giveaways to increase exposure of their coin and enticenew users to join their communities. This is a great way to acquire coins if you are low on fundsor do not have marketable skills.

Featured images from Shutterstock.

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What is an Altcoin? – ccn.com