Altcoins are short-term for “alternative coins” and refer to any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. While Bitcoin was the first and most well-known cryptocurrency, altcoins emerged in troves of thousands of other digital currencies that aimed to offer different features, functionalities, or improvements to Bitcoin’s design. Altcoins are typically built on their own blockchain or operate as “Layer 2” tokens on existing blockchain networks like Ethereum.
Some of the most well-known examples of altcoins include Solana (SOL), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and many others. These coins often try to differentiate themselves by implementing new technological advancements, such as faster transaction times, enhanced privacy features, or different consensus mechanisms. Altcoins may also have specific use cases that target specific industries, such as decentralized finance (DeFi), art, or gaming.