What Is an Altcoin? 

A combination of ‘alternative’ and ‘coin’, the word ‘altcoin’ is used to describe any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin. This term formed with the idea that Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency, and all other types of cryptocurrencies are alternative coins. The first-ever altcoin was Namecoin (NMC), a coin released in April 2011 based upon Bitcoin’s code. 

Amongst the biggest altcoins are: 

Types of Altcoins


A stablecoin is a form of digital currency in which its price is pegged to another asset — most commonly, but not always, the US dollar. An example of this is Dai (DAI).

Meme coins

Meme coins, named after jokes on the internet, are a type of altcoin that derives value from the demand of a community. However, meme coins have a lottery aspect to them due to their volatility. As quickly as their prices increase, they can drop just as quickly. The most popular examples of meme coins are Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB).

Key Takeaway

Any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin is referred to as an altcoin.

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