At first, there was only Bitcoin – the first-ever cryptocurrency introduced to the market by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Since then, many other digital currencies have found their way into this emerging industry. These later-appeared coins have been dubbed “altcoins”, meaning “alternative coins”. But an alternative to what? To Bitcoin, of course. Though this nickname associated with cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Solana, and Dogecoin has long been in the public eye, giving rise to both approvals and disputes.

More than 20,000 digital currencies are available, and each differs from the other in one way or another. There’re cryptocurrencies related to various types of tokens and projects and also cryptocurrencies that managed to enter sectors like DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), DeFi (decentralized finance), and layer 2, as well as stablecoins. So, it becomes evident that the catchall term “altcoin” is no longer suitable for all this variety of digital currencies. It could fit non-Bitcoin virtual coins having similar peculiarities to Bitcoin, but even so, it’s a bit unfair to place all these unique cryptocurrencies in the same league.

Altcoins dispose of advanced ecosystem applications and technical features, particularly Ethereum. One could say that the launch of this blockchain has changed the altcoin status forever. So, let’s see how:


“Altcoin” is no longer a slur due to Ethereum’s merit

There has always been a stigma linked to altcoins, but Ethereum might be a game changer for these cryptocurrencies that have long been treated reluctantly. No one is really to blame for this fact, as Bitcoin’s greatness is clearly recognized. This digital currency has managed to maintain the first position amongst all the diversity of cryptocurrencies. It’s pretty impressive if we look into the coin’s market capitalization, trading volume, and people who got rich after investing in Bitcoin.

However, it seems that it’s not the only cryptocurrency all the rage – Ethereum is right behind it. The Ethereum blockchain was conceived by Vitalik Buterin in 2013 and launched in 2015, having Ether as a native currency. But Ether wasn’t in the top ten digital currencies at that time, as nothing special individualized this crypto. Only with the later advancements and projects has Ethereum become what it is today – the largest altcoin by market capitalization and the second-largest cryptocurrency. The progress in Ethereum’s operational capabilities and ecosystem threw the altcoin stigma away and cleared the path for other altcoins to aim high. Technologically speaking, Ethereum surpassed Bitcoin to be the first blockchain to fund smart contracts, remarkably propelling DeFi.

Ethereum has also created a more vibrant community than Bitcoin, as it made app development available for users. In addition, the 2017’s ICO (initial coin offering), the release of various public chains supporting Ethereum Virtual Machine, and the 2020 DeFi Summer have transformed Ethereum from a mere altcoin into a real promising asset similar in size to Bitcoin.

Ethereum’s expensive applications and ecosystem advancements outshine the majority of cryptocurrencies, and we haven’t even mentioned the big transition yet.

Ethereum vs bitcoin

The Merge – the tipping point in this wave of change

The Ethereum Merge happened on September 15 this year, and it’s one of the most prominent – and promising – changes in the history of cryptocurrency. It’s the time Ethereum shifted from a PoW (Proof-of-Work) to a PoS (Proof-of-Stake) consensus mechanism, meaning it aims at consuming far less electricity in the mining and transaction validating processes. Nevertheless, the Merge isn’t the only surprise the platform promises for the future. According to its creator, Ethereum will be subject to a series of transitions – The Surge, The Verge, The Purge, and The Splurge. All these upgrades practically have the same goal: enabling the blockchain to “process 100,000 transactions per second”.

Apart from enhancing security and decreasing energy consumption, the Merge has allowed developers to add a range of features to the platform, making it even more promising to the public. Nonetheless, ETH didn’t see an immediate boost in price, as many investors had hoped. But it’s likely to come, all the more so since many of the technical problems were solved.

Experts agree that it has never been better to invest in Ethereum. So, if you’re looking to diversify your portfolio or are at your very first investment, you may want to consider ETH. Holders of Ether expect a potential flippening – a situation where the total market capitalization of ETH exceeds that of Bitcoin and, thus, the altcoin stigma is killed once and for all. Although there’s a bit too much hope in here, it’s by no means impossible. After all, crypto is still in its early stages, so nothing is cast in stone. Anything is possible in the crypto realm, but this isn’t necessarily a downside. If you’re serious about your documentation and find the right place to buy Ethereum, you’re likely to be a successful investor. Have also in mind that the current Ethereum price may hugely influence your gain potential, so be sure you check on the price very often so that you catch a great deal.


People also assume that part of this infrastructure will lead to more innovative currencies emerging as market competitors to Bitcoin and Ethereum. What will truly happen, though, only remains to be seen.

Is the name “altcoin” only a matter of semantics?

It should be! On the contrary, it means that regardless of the developments of a cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin, it will always be stigmatized and perceived as less promising. The fact that Bitcoin is the original digital currency can’t be changed – and no one says it should – but the status of altcoins could be if there’s enough tolerance. Looking at the very situation of Ethereum, we can see only technological improvement and a desire for further developments that will eventually make the crypto realm a better and safer place.

That being said, eliminating the stigma linked to altcoins can benefit not only Ethereum but other cryptocurrencies, too. After all, the digital currency sphere isn’t supposed to be an oligopoly, and the prevalence of a handful of big players such as Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin in the market shouldn’t be intimidating for entrepreneurs to design alternative networks or brand-new blockchains.

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