Top Altcoins to Watch
While bitcoin is the big boy of the crypto world, many alternative coins or ‘altcoins’ have cropped up in recent years. Here are some of the top altcoins to keep an eye on – ranked in no particular order.
What is an altcoin?
An altcoin is an alternative to bitcoin – the crypto that started it all. Given bitcoin’s popularity, many other cryptos have launched to try and cash in on the crypto craze.
Most of the altcoins that’ve been released are built on the blockchain technology that spawned bitcoin, and this technology is already supporting more secure and efficient ways of transacting business and transferring assets.
Because of the expansion of cryptocurrency in recent years, and the wave of developers and programmers looking to cash in on the rise of alternative payment systems, the altcoin market is flooded with choice. Because of that, we’ve whittled this list down to five of the most well-known and hotly talked about coins at the time that this article was updated.
That said, here are some of the top altcoins to watch.
Top altcoins to watch
Litecoin (LTC) was launched in 2011 by Charlie Lee, a former Google employee. The software that Litecoin runs on is incredibly similar to that of bitcoin, although Litecoin’s is faster. This is one of the reasons for Litecoin’s staying power.
While it takes around 10 minutes to mine a bitcoin block, it takes just two and a half minutes to mine a Litecoin block. The Litecoin supply limit’s capped at 84 million, and the current reward for mining a block is 12 and a half Litecoin’s – which will halve in 2023.
Headquartered in China, NEO has an ambitious vision to help create and support a new digital ‘smart economy.' Its network structure enables the development of decentralised applications or ‘dapps’ that can facilitate a whole host of secure and quick transactions, via smart contracts.
Despite the Chinese government’s crackdown on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies, NEO has so far managed to raise the funds needed to develop and launch its projects – fuelling speculation of a possible connection between the company and Chinese authorities.
The aim of Stellar – founded in early 2014 by Joyce Kim and Jed McCaleb – is to seamlessly, quickly and securely link banks, customers and payment systems. Its platform is designed to facilitate the near-instantaneous exchange of funds around the globe – with its cryptocurrency, XLM, acting as a bridging mechanism between fiat currencies.
In early 2018, Stripe – one of the world’s largest payment gateways – announced plans to replace Bitcoin with XLM. This news saw Stellar’s price rise by 20%, and helped to solidify the coin’s place in the world of bitcoin alternatives.
Ether is the name of the cryptocurrency that’s used on the Ethereum blockchain platform. In terms of market cap, ether is the second largest crypto in the world, after bitcoin itself – so Ether could be considered the largest of the ‘altcoins’.
Ethereum as a platform was first proposed in 2013 by programmer Vitalik Buterin and the network went live in 2015. It’s most used as a decentralised finance platform, but it has also been utilised to help launch other altcoins through initial coin offerings.
Dogecoin is the last altcoin that we’ve include in this article and it’s perhaps one of the newest to achieve mainstream attention. This attention is due in part to social media hype, spurred on by celebrities like Elon Musk, Snoop Dogg and Gene Simmons.
This hype, for example, saw the price of the coin increase from $0.007 on 27 January 2021 to $0.08 on 7 February 2021. While Doge has shown significant volatility, it has come a long way since it was created by Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer in 2013.
What’s the future outlook for altcoins?
The future outlook for altcoins is mixed, and the expanded use of crypto as a mainstream form of currency will no doubt be needed for altcoins to catch on in the mainstream. For now, they’re relegated to the side lines of the crypto space – with bitcoin reigning supreme, with that trend set to continue for some time.
How to trade altcoins
Trading altcoins means that you’re taking a speculative position on the price of a coin rising or falling. You won’t ever take direct ownership of the coins, so you won’t need to worry about creating an exchange account or virtual wallet.
Instead, when you trade, you’re using CFDs to ‘buy’ an altcoin if you think its price will increase; or to ‘sell’ an altcoin if you think its price will fall.
Here’s how to trade altcoins with CFDs:
- Create a CFD trading account or log in
- Research the altcoin market
- Search for your opportunity in our trading platform
- Set you position size and any stops or losses
- Open and monitor your CFD trade
If you’re not ready to trade the live markets just yet, you can always build your confidence with our risk-free demo account. You’ll get $10,000 to trade different altcoins – or bitcoin itself – to see how these assets behave, and familiarise yourself with managing risk when trading crypto.
This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients.
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