What Is an Altcoin?

Altcoins are generally defined as all cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin (BTC). However, some people consider altcoins to be all cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) because most cryptocurrencies are forked from one of the two. Some altcoins use different consensus mechanisms to validate transactions, open new blocks, or attempt to distinguish themselves from Bitcoin and Ethereum by providing new or additional capabilities or purposes.

Most altcoins are designed and released by developers with different visions or uses for their tokens or cryptocurrency. Learn more about altcoins and what makes them different from Bitcoin.


  • The term altcoin refers to all cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin (and for some people, Ethereum).
  • There are tens of thousands of altcoins on the market.
  • Altcoins come in several types based on what they were designed for.
  • The future of altcoins is impossible to predict, but if the blockchain they were designed for continues to be used and developed, the altcoins will continue to exist.