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What are Altcoins? A Guide to Understanding Altcoins

If you have ever sailed the digital seas of cryptocurrency, you have probably encountered the term “Altcoins.” So what exactly are altcoins? In this piece, we explore everything important thing about these instruments that have become mainstream.

You’ll learn:

  • What altcoins are and the various types,
  • The pros and cones of their existence,
  • Tips on how to invest in them

What are Altcoins?

Altcoins, short for alternative coins, refer to any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. In the grand tapestry of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin stands as the pioneer of digital currencies. However, some smart people realized Blockchain, the technology on which Bitcoin was built, could be used for so much more than what the scope of the crypto giant covers. So while Bitcoin laid the foundation for decentralized digital assets, Altcoins have since emerged, each with its unique features, use cases, and technologies. 

What are the Types of Altcoins

There are several types of Altcoins available today, depending on how they work and their purposes. The following are some of the most popular you will come across in your crypto sojourn. 

1. Security Tokens

Security tokens act like guardians of the crypto world. These tokens represent ownership or a stake in real-world assets, such as stocks, real estate, or commodities. Imagine them as digital deeds or certificates. Security tokens bring traditional assets onto the blockchain, thus opening new investment opportunities. And while they bring benefits of transparency and liquidity, they also adhere to regulatory frameworks such as the Securities and Exchange Commission to ensure holders’ safety in the crypto world. 

2. Payment Tokens

You Payment Tokens are coins designed for transactions within a specific ecosystem. They are like the local currencies of the crypto towns, facilitating smooth and efficient payments. Ripple (XRP) is a good example, focusing on quick and low-cost cross-border transactions. Payment tokens aim to make transactions across platforms seamless, serving as the lifeblood of decentralized ecosystems. They cause such transactions to be as swift as a breeze.

3. Bitcoin Forks.

You can imagine the Bitcoin forks as the rebellious cousins of the pioneer Bitcoin that decided to go their own way, taking the Bitcoin code and creating something new. Examples are the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV). These coins retain many characteristics of Bitcoin but often introduce changes to improve scalability and transaction speed.

4. Utility Tokens

Utility tokens grant holders access to a specific set of functions or services within a blockchain ecosystem. It is like having a backstage pass to a concert. An example is the Binance Coin (BNB) which offers perks like transaction fee discounts and participation in token sales on the Binance Exchange. Utility tokens are the multitaskers that unlock doors to a variety of features within their native platforms. 

5. Privacy Coins

Privacy-oriented altcoins focus on anonymity and transaction confidentiality. Examples are Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC). These coins use advanced cryptographic techniques to ensure user privacy and the fungibility of their tokens.

6. Stablecoins

The crypto world is full of rollercoaster rides, characterized by exhilarating high crypto values and stomach-churning lows. However, amid all the action, stablecoins act as buffers for those interested in taking a shield from the chaos. 

These altcoins have their values pegged to the value of traditional fiat currencies. Ideally, the issuers of the stablecoin reserve enough cash that is equivalent to the amount of coin in circulation. That way, if the coin encounters any issues, the holders can maintain stability. Examples of stablecoins are Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC), both pegged to the US Dollars (USD).

7. Governance Tokens and Proof-of-Stake Royalty

Governance tokens give their holders some rights in a blockchain ecosystem, allowing them to vote for decisions that alter protocols and contribute to verdicts of decentralized autonomous organizations. Examples are Compound (COMP) and Uniswap (UNI), where holders can propose and vote on protocol upgrades.

8. Meme Coins

These are coins that one way or the other went viral based on online hype and social media buzz. This group is led by Dogecoin (DOGE), originally created as a joke but became the class clown prince of the crypto world. With its Shiba Inu facade and a community that loves to have fun, Dogecoin quickly became the life of the crypto party. Since the value of this coin relies predominantly on the buzz it generates, it becomes a very volatile and highly speculative coin that should be handled with caution.

Now you have some of the popular types of Altcoins in your repository, let us take a deeper dive into a few examples.

What are the Benefits and Limitations of Altcoins?

Altcoins, like every financial instrument, have their benefits and limitations. Here are some of them:

Benefits

What benefits do altcoins have going for them?

1. Abounding Innovation

Altcoins contribute immensely to the constant innovation in the crypto space. Each altcoin brings its unique features, technology, and use cases, fostering a culture of exploration and advancement.

2. Diverse Investment Opportunities

The crypto market is not a one-coin-fits-all space. Altcoins cater to various preferences and needs, offering investors a diverse range of opportunities. Whether you’re into privacy, smart contracts, or stable value, there’s an Altcoin for you.

3. Potential for High Returns.

Some altcoins have shown astronomical price appreciation, providing investors with the potential for high returns. Early adoption of promising projects can lead to significant financial gains.

Limitations

What limitations do altcoins have?

1. Volatility

The crypto market is known for its wild and unpredictable price swings. Altcoins, in particular, can experience extreme volatility, leading to both thrilling highs and nerve-wracking lows.

2. Regulatory Uncertainty

Altcoin regulations vary across different jurisdictions, and many governments are still figuring out how to handle the crypto phenomenon. Regulatory uncertainty can impact the value and legality of Altcoins, adding an element of unpredictability.

3. Market Saturation

The crypto space has experienced an explosion of Altcoins over the years, and not all of them are created equal. Some projects lack substance or fail to deliver on their promises, creating a challenge for investors to separate the gems from the debris.

Tips for Investing in Altcoins

Chances are that you’re not just here to know about Altcoins. You also want to know about how to invest in altcoins. So, here you go: 

1. Research the Coin

Before investing in any altcoin, equip yourself with knowledge. Yes, we have touched a little on some of these coins but do your due diligence to research deeper into the coin you are interested in. Understand the technology, use cases, development team, and community support offered.

2. Diversify for balance

The crypto market is quite unpredictable, and humungous price swings are not uncommon. Diversifying helps you gain some balance, protecting you from shocks that other coins may churn out. Instead of putting all your credits into one altcoin, spread your investments across multiple to minimize risk. 

3. Stay Informed.

It is not enough to do your research before investing. The crypto universe is vast and new things are continually emerging. Stay informed about market trends, regulatory changes, and technological advancements involving your altcoins of interest. Follow crypto news portals, join communities, and engage with other altcoin investors. Knowledge is your navigation system in the cosmic sea of altcoins.

Summary

And there you have it- an odyssey through the realms of Altcoins, from their diverse origins to their enormous utilities. As you navigate this adventure, remember that the world of Altcoins is vast and dynamic. Whether you are drawn to the rebellious Bitcoin forks, the smart contract sorcery of Ethereum, or the privacy ninjas like Monero, each Altcoin adds its unique hue to the crypto palette. Always equip yourself with knowledge, diversify your portfolio, and enjoy the ride through your Altcoin sojourn.

Managing Your Altcoins in One Place with Vezgo

what else can you do with vezgo api

There’s one issue many altcoin investors tend to have during their search for prospective altcoin projects: they end up having more altcoins than they can keep track of. Thankfully, many smart people have pondered on this problem and offered us potential solutions. Popular examples of solutions to this problem are crypto portfolio trackers, like Wealthica. However, these portfolio trackers need a way to be able to retrieve their users’ portfolio data from the blockchains, exchanges, and wallets where they’re kept. And this is where vezgo comes in.

The Vezgo API offers read-only access to various blockchains, NFTs, exchanges, and wallets, providing portfolio holdings and transaction details. The more juicy stuff is that with Vezgo, you only need one API to access hundreds of crypto platforms. Some of these platforms include Coinbase, Binance, Kraken, TrustWallet, Bitcoin blockchain, Arbitrum, and so many more!

Some of the popular use cases for the Vezgo API include:

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