- Altcoins were referred to as ones similar to Bitcoin, a BTC knockoff.
- Now there are 20,000 plus coins with diverse architecture and functionality.
- The definition doesn’t fit anymore.
Bitcoin is considered to be the OG of the crypto world. And since then, every blockchain-based cryptocurrency that was not BTC was considered its ripoff, referred to as altcoin or ‘Bitcoin alternative.’
Back then, the main use of cryptocurrencies was to facilitate payments, like Litecoin (LTC), XRP, and Peercoin (PPC). The Crypto world has seen a paradigm shift since 2011. There are over 20,000 cryptocurrencies, each linked with different tokens and crypto projects. So the term “altcoin,” referring to them all as ‘Bitcoin alternative’ is too vague.
Then there is the finesse by which the coins stretched across the public chains, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), layer 2, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO), stablecoins and many such aspects. Now, if the term ‘altcoin’ means ‘Bitcoin alternative,’ the definition does not suit all 20,000 plus coins available in the market.
‘Altcoins’ have advanced dramatically in technical features and ecosystem applications, but still, Bitcoin is the king, as none has come close enough to challenge the reign. Be it in Bitcoin universality, its market capitalization and consensus.
The second lead Ethereum, when launched in 2015, was recognized as the Bitcoin wannabe in the market. So much so that it failed to make the top 10 in the first year. ETH filled the ‘altcoin’ definition at the time.
Ethereum then developed its capabilities to expand into a wider crypto ecosystem and worked diligently on its operational capabilities. Technically speaking, ETH jumped over BTC, becoming the first public chain to support smart contracts. This is what catalyzed Decentralized Finance, and there has been no looking back ever since.
It is quite visible that the community creation aspect and its decentralized applications capabilities played a major role in Ethereum’s development. Creating a much more dynamic community in the process, making it an ecosystem platform.
This growth of ETH has been manifold since 2017’s Initial Coin Offerings, the DeFi summer of 2020, and Ethereum Virtual Machine being used by numerous public chains. Making Ethereum a viable alternative in community support and a legitimate consensus.
The Ethereum merger, codenamed Bellatrix, was completed in September, where the platform shifted from Proof-of-work to Proof-of-Reserve, is just the first step in six part process. When all the processes are done, then Ethereum is expected to be able to process 100,000 transactions per second.
Ethereum holders are now eyeing a potential flipping event where the ETH market will overtake the BTC market, killing the ‘altcoin’ slur once and for all.
The game is not as simple as Team Bitcoin vs. Team Ethereum; many networks like Kusuma and Polygon have proved that community building and multiple blockchain applications are not only reserved for the giants of the crypto industry.