The term altcoin comes from the combination of the two words “alternative” and “coin” and includes all the coins and tokens that are not bitcoin (BTC).
The term altcoin stands for alternative coin and identifies -as the term suggests- an alternative currency to the oldest cryptocurrency, bitcoin (BTC).
The term altcoin is impartial and brings any positive or negative meaning. In the crypto industry, a term underlines the negative sentiment about a digital asset: shitcoin. This word refers to all those useless cryptocurrencies that exist in the market and has been created without a defined purpose with speculative prices.
Altcoins were born to improve aspects of Bitcoin, such as transaction speeds or energy efficiency. However, some people consider altcoins all the cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin and Ether (ETH) because most cryptocurrencies are forked from one of these two.
There are tens of thousands of altcoins for different purposes used within their respective blockchains: stablecoins, meme coins, mining-based coins, and staking-based coins. Usually, this term is also used to refer to digital assets, which are not only coins but also tokens: governance tokens, security tokens, and utility tokens.
According to CoinMarketCap, the top three altcoins ranked by market capacity are Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), and USD Coin (USDC).