Now that Bitcoin has stabilized above $100 for a while, and the world’s press is sending out a steady stream of info (or disinfo) on the subject of cryptocoins, I’m getting bombarded with questions about the alt-coins, such as Litecoin, PPCoin, Novacoin, Namecoin & even Ripple. “Alt coins” is a term used to describe all of the cryptocurrencies that aren’t the dominant cryptocurrency at the time. (e.g. Not bitcoin.)
Alt coins have all branched out from bitcoin, started in it’s wake, and each and every one of them excepting only Ripple are based on the same decentralized, peer-to-peer architecture that requires a miner crunching cryptography and user wallets to function. Yes, they are all worth dollars in trade on some exchange somewhere right now as I write this, and all have their own developer community and hopeful users like bitcoin does. (Only much smaller, with extremely little, if any, merchant adoption.)
Why are people putting time and money into alt coins? It is assumed by the developers that one day a major government or at least the Mexican drug cartels will have a reason to try to “take out” bitcoin. Although its peer-to-peer behavior should be adequate at stopping these threats, nobody knows what the future holds, and the fate of our very economy is at stake here… So litecoin (LTC) was the first created to be a sort of “understudy” or backup for bitcoin. It has it’s own wallet, mining software and blockchain. Although it was the 2nd alt coin created, it has almost always been the most traded of the group, worth about 2.5% what a bitcoin is worth.