You might have known the ins and outs of Bitcoin. But there are hundreds of other digital currencies, including Bitcoin. These are called “altcoins.” For example, ether, ripple, zcash, monero and dash are only a few. Altcoins can vary in a variety of ways from Bitcoin. Some have a different economic model or coin distribution system, such altcoins, that all citizens of a country have got. Others use different mining proof-of-work algorithms, possibly to withstand specialist mining equipment — or they may not even rely on work evidence. A number of altcoins provide a more versatile programming language to add applications, while others provide more privacy than Bitcoin. There are also altcoins which serve specific cases of non-monetary use like registry of the domain name or data storage indicators.
There are many altcoins, however, which are not really popular. The overwhelming majority of altcoins simply change certain parameters that are not significant, or give a sound useful, but are not. When, for instance, an altcoin includes a larger number of coins, it just means that every single coin has less value. If an altcoin finds blocks faster, it only means that more confirmations for a comparable level of security are needed for a transaction.
Many altcoins therefore offer little benefit over Bitcoin. Therefore, they have less hash capacity, less developers and are less efficient because of smaller network effects. And while many Altcoins provide useful features, many of these promises are just that: promises upon closer inspection.
While some altcoins can and do useful tasks (e.g. operating in a testnet capacity or providing more anonymity than bitcoin) and have a future, many more are driven solely by speculation or worse.