Thanks to the removal of the stigma associated with Ethereum “altcoins”, more projects have the opportunity to prove that their name does not matter.
Altcoin actually means “alternative to bitcoin”, because in the early stages of cryptocurrency development, any blockchain-based currency was considered a type of bitcoin.
Kneel down Cryptocurrencies were then mainly used for payments like Litecoin
and Peercoin (PPC). Altcoin used to be a catch-all term for cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin.
That has changed since 2011. With the emergence of over 20,000 cryptocurrencies, each associated with different types of crypto projects and tokens. We have also seen coin expertise spread across sectors such as public chains, decentralized finance (DeFi), layer 2, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and stablecoins.
If “altcoin” refers to non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies with the same characteristics as Bitcoin, this definition certainly no longer fits 20,000.
The evolved definition of altcoin is now more precisely stated – it usually refers to an alternative coin in a particular track. Altcoins are often more advanced in terms of technical features or ecosystem applications, but so far no altcoin has surpassed Bitcoin in terms of consensus, ubiquity, or market capitalization.
So everything is considered ether
Does this box still fit?
Ethereum’s altcoin status is changing
Even Ethereum was initially perceived in the eyes of investors as another Bitcoin darling when it was first launched in 2015 – so much so that Ether did not make the top ten cryptocurrencies that year. At that point, Ethereum would fit perfectly into the old description of what was considered an altcoin.
Getting rid of this stigma is another story. Ethereum’s status as a leading altcoin has resulted from new developments in the broader crypto ecosystem and its own operational capabilities. Technically speaking, Ethereum blocked Bitcoin as the first public chain to support smart contracts, essentially fueling DeFi.
Related: Taxes on Income You Never Earned? This is possible after the Ethereum merger
Suffice it to say, we’ve noticed that the decentralized application and community aspects of Ether’s growth have created a more vibrant community. It is not only a currency but also an ecosystem platform. This growth has only increased since the initial coin offering (ICO) boom of 2017, the summer of DeFi in 2020, and the launch of several public chains supporting the Ethereum virtual machine. By flexing its muscles in various applications, Ether has become a viable alternative in forming legitimate consensus and community support.
It made sense to give Ethereum the title of altcoin in 2015, but its wide range of applications and growth since then somewhat limits that classification. Also, we haven’t mentioned the merger yet.
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A game changer
The Ethereum Merger, a milestone in Ethereum’s consensus mechanism from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake, actually represents the first step in a six-part process. The next steps are aimed at enabling Ethereum to “process 100,000 transactions per second.”
Although the merger brought many changes for the better—including a sharp drop in energy consumption and greater safety—investors did not expect a sudden price increase. Instead, it laid the groundwork for a larger infrastructure that could solve its problems for years to come.
As part of this infrastructure, we can expect more revolutionary currencies to emerge as market challengers to Ethereum and Bitcoin. While ETH holders are now targeting the potential flip of ETH’s market cap over BTC to debunk the altcoin classification once and for all, that doesn’t mean the gates are closed to other blockchain players. After all, cryptocurrency doesn’t have to be an oligopoly.
Related: Expires ETH after merge
The dominance of a few big players like Bitcoin and Ethereum in the blockchain space should not negate the entrepreneurial spirit of other blockchain developers or alternative networks. It’s not really as simple as camp Bitcoin and camp Ether. Community building and diverse blockchain applications K