AltCoins are basically the name for any alternative cryptocurrency to the Bitcoin, who was the father of all cryptocurrencies as we know them today. AltCoins vary a lot in the way they are developed, mined, marketed and so on and with more than 70 different AltCoins it can be very hard to keep track of them all.
Just like with the Bitcoin, all AltCoins are decentralized and created to only exist in a predetermined amount, which have to be mined out by users in order to circulate in the system. Their value is heavily determined by the market and its branding abilities, but it is no secret that with many new AltCoins there are large fractions who will try and manipulate the value of the coin up, in order for them to score some money being the first to own a new AltCoin.
AltCoins will usually be based out of the Bitcoin standards and then add small tweaks towards it, such as different algorithms, fees or transaction times. While it all may seem like it is the same, there is actually quite a big difference between the coins and it will always reflect in the value of them as soon as they hit the market.
You will find new AltCoins coming out almost on a weekly basis, as many coins will try and reach the value of a Bitcoin and become the next big thing, but most of the time they do not have the marketing abilities or the proper systems to do so. It might still be a good investment to invest in some AltCoins as there is no doubt that they do increase significantly in value. To give you an example, the DogeCoin which was created out of the popular Doge meme increased 935% in value the first week after its release, making a good profit for those who owned it from the start.
The main issue with AltCoins so far has been the security of them, which in some cases has shown to be more than terrible. Many of the newer coins has had security issues causing users to be robbed out of their coins, which is never something that attracts new potential coin holders. However most AltCoins have the security that it needs and allows coin holders to feel completely safe while holding them.
Everything else is basically just like with a Bitcoin. It is anonymous, it is easy and simple to purchase, hold, sell and transfer coins through a wallet system and the coins can be used for different things, depending on what you are looking for.
History of AltCoins
The first AltCoin was actually the LiteCoin, which later on has received status of being a LiteCoin rather than a Bitcoin. Since the release of the LiteCoin, other developers saw that it could succeed with alternative coins as well and they began creating different types of coins to compete with Bitcoin and LiteCoin for market shares as well as for the position as the leading coin.
The real rise of the AltCoins came in 2013 where the Bitcoin hit new insane levels of value, making developers think quickly and ride the wave, making a fortune of many of the relatively unknown AltCoins there is on the market currently. To this day we still see new AltCoins being released on a regular basis, all with their own unique ideas and mining methods to try and diversify themselves from the originals.
AltCoins and Gambling
Since AltCoins in general has a much lower value than the Bitcoin and LiteCoin there are not a lot of different gambling sites accepting the alternative cryptocurrency coins. For the most part you will find 1-2 different gambling sites for each coin, but often there is no sites associated with AltCoins that you can use for gambling. The ones that do exist has not been in existence very long, making it hard to tell if they are trustworthy or not, but will usually offer the same games as the Bitcoin and LiteCoin friendly sites.
It is also possible as an American to play online with AltCoins as they are anonymous just like the Bitcoin and have just as fast, if not faster transactions. This means that you can deposit, play and withdraw the same day if you should want that and not have to worry about cash out times and other issues that Americans might encounter when they gamble online.
AltCoins and Everything Else
It is hard to find businesses that accept any kind of AltCoins as a payment method for goods and services, due to the large payment processors not being interested in integrating alternative coins in their merchant applications. Some AltCoins has decided to take matters into their own hands and started to develop a merchant application themselves, but it will take time before you will see any online stores as well as physical stores accept any sort of AltCoin as a payment method.