What are “altcoins”?

“Altcoins” is short for Alternaive Coins or Alternative Currency. These are crypto coins just like Bitcoin. Some are based on Bitcoin and others have different features and or work on a different cryptographic algorithm. Bitcoin is based on a Sha-256 algorithm and the most well known Altcoin “Litecoin” is based on the Scrypt algorithm. The Altcoins work with the same basic protocall and have their own block chains.

Litecoin transactions are faster than Bitcoins and it was designed as a “lighter” version of Bitcoin. There are also other inovations such as “Namecoin” which allows for registration of .bit domains that are controlled via a Peer to Peer network. “Peercoin” which has an improved “PoW” aka Proof of Work method to process the transactions. Primecoin which generates really really really long prime numbers as a byproduct of mining and uses a different algorithm that makes it only possible to mine it using CPU power. Quarkcoin which has a combination of many different algorithms in order to make it more secure.

Anyone can make their own coin. The code is open source and if you can comple source code you can create a new coin. There are even tutoriols online with screenshots and details on how to do it. A basic clone of another coin with a new name is not that hard. However making new inovations takes a lot of development work.

Time will tell if any othe altcoins become as accepted as Bitcoin.

What are public and private keys?
What is the block chain?
What is a bitcoin wallet?
What is peer to peer?
What is an exchange?

What is a bitcoin faucet?