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What are Altcoins – Understanding Their Types, Pros, Cons, and Future of Alternative Coins


In this ever-changing world of cryptocurrencies, “altcoin” has become conventional. It simply means all other cryptocurrencies apart from Bitcoin.

However, some individuals don’t include Ethereum in this definition because of its significant influence on the crypto space.

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The world of altcoins is vast, with thousands existing and already in the market. Ranging from meme coins to utility coins, there are many types.

So, in this article, we’ll delve into the world of altcoins, exploring the different types, pros, and cons. Furthermore, we’ll look into the future for these alternative digital coins.

Defining Altcoins

The word “altcoin” is a fusion of “alternative” and “coin.” At its core, it refers to any cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin.

Altcoins reside within their respective blockchains, often originating from forks of Bitcoin or Ethereum.

These forks typically happen when a group of developers disagrees with the direction of the parent blockchain and decides to create their digital currency.

Altcoins serve various purposes, ranging from payment tokens to specialized utility tokens. Some aim to address the perceived limitations of Bitcoin or Ethereum. On the other hand, others seek to carve out their niche in the crypto ecosystem.

Types of Altcoins

As mentioned, the various altcoins range from payment tokens to specialized utility tokens. As such, they serve different purposes and create various passive income streams for traders and investors.

Here are the different types of altcoins in the crypto space:

Payment Tokens

Payment tokens are designed to serve as digital currencies for everyday transactions, enabling peer-to-peer value exchange.

Some of the examples of payment tokens are:

  • Bitcoin (BTC): The original cryptocurrency, often called digital gold, aims to be a decentralized, global, and secure digital currency.
  • Litecoin (LTC): Created as the “silver” to Bitcoin’s “gold,” Litecoin offers faster transaction confirmation times and uses a different hashing algorithm.


Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies designed to maintain a stable value by pegging their worth to external assets like fiat currencies, precious metals, or other cryptocurrencies.

Examples of this type of altcoin are:

  • Tether (USDT): Pegged 1:1 to the US dollar, Tether is one of the most widely used stablecoins for trading and transferring value.
  • USD Coin (USDC): Similar to Tether, USDC is backed by reserves and maintains a 1:1 peg with the US dollar.

Security Tokens

Security tokens represent ownership in real-world assets like stocks, real estate, or other financial instruments. They are subject to securities regulations.

Some examples are:

  • tZero (TZROP): tZero is a trading platform for security tokens, and TZROP represents ownership in the tZero platform.
  • Harbor Real Estate Token (HART): HART tokens represent fractional ownership in real estate assets.

Utility Tokens

Utility tokens are used within a specific blockchain ecosystem to access services, pay network fees, or redeem rewards. They have practical functions within their respective platforms.

Some examples of utility tokens are:

  • Ethereum6 (ETH): ETH is used to pay for transaction fees and computational services on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Filecoin (FIL): FIL is a utility token used to purchase storage space on the Filecoin network.

Meme Coins

Meme coins are cryptocurrencies inspired by humor, jokes, or satire. They often gain popularity quickly due to online hype and are only sometimes intended for serious use.

  • Dogecoin (DOGE): Created as a meme, Dogecoin has become a widely traded cryptocurrency with a Shiba Inu dog logo.
  • Shiba Inu (SHIB): Named after the Dogecoin mascot, SHIB gained popularity as another meme-inspired cryptocurrency.

Governance Tokens

Governance tokens provide holders with decision-making power within a blockchain network. They enable voting on protocol changes or participation in decentralized governance processes.

Here are some examples:

  • Compound (COMP): COMP holders can propose and vote on changes to the Compound protocol, which governs decentralized lending and borrowing.
  • Uniswap (UNI): UNI token holders can participate in governing the Uniswap decentralized exchange.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of altcoins available in the cryptocurrency market.

Each type of altcoin serves a unique purpose within the blockchain ecosystem, catering to various user needs and preferences.

Pros and Cons of Altcoins

As with every digital asset and other products in this ever-changing world, there are pros and cons attached to altcoins.

Check them out below:


  • Addressing Limitations: Altcoins attempt to improve the weaknesses of existing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, potentially offering enhanced features.
  • Diversification: With thousands of altcoins available, investors can choose from various digital assets with unique characteristics.
  • Utility: Altcoins that serve specific purposes within blockchain ecosystems provide essential functionalities, contributing to the broader crypto economy.


  • Lower Popularity: Altcoins generally have smaller market caps and less widespread recognition than Bitcoin.
  • Unclear Use Cases: Identifying the precise use cases of some altcoins can take time, making investment decisions complex.

The Future of Altcoins

The future of altcoins is uncertain, much like the early days of currency in the United States. While thousands of altcoins exist today, not all will survive.

The altcoin market is expected to coalesce around those with strong utility, well-defined use cases, and robust blockchain purposes.

While Bitcoin remains the dominant force in cryptocurrency, altcoins will continue to play a vital role in diversifying investment portfolios.

However, investors must approach all cryptocurrencies with caution due to the young and volatile nature of the market.


Altcoins represent a diverse array of cryptocurrencies that have emerged as alternatives to Bitcoin and, in some cases, Ethereum.

They serve various purposes within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, from providing stable digital currencies to facilitating decentralized applications.

The world of altcoins offers opportunities and challenges for investors, and their future remains uncertain as the crypto market continues evolving.

Ultimately, whether to invest in Bitcoin or altcoins is a subjective decision that should be made carefully. This should entail individual financial circumstances, goals, and risk tolerance.

Since it can be risky, seeking guidance from a financial advisor before entering the cryptocurrency market is advisable.

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