Although bitcoin is the leading cryptocurrency on the market, there are several different alternative digital coins are available on the market. Altcoins have the similar background as bitcoin, they are all based on blockchain technology although different technical algorithms and features are associated with each altcoin.
As of today there are almost thousand different altcoins have been issued to the market. The number of alternative digital currencies is growing every week as new coins hit the market through the ICO — the Initial Coin Offering processes. The altcoins are placed to market through ICOs which becoming more and more popular for startups to raise money and for investors to jump into hot investment opportunities.
The initial coin offering process is the exercise during the altcoins are issued to the market for first public purchases. It is similar to the IPOs on the exchanges, however during an ICO in stead of shares, a new cryptocurrency is issued to the market. The process begins with issuing a white paper, where the owners of the new digital coin details the features and specifics of the cryptocurrency that will be placed to the market along with the initial prices.
You can check the ICO Calendar for the newest altcoins, or just follow the Bitcoin Talk forum thread about emerging altcoins. Investors can purchase new altcoins through pre-orders and once all the funds have been raised the new altcoin is available to trade on the altcoin market.
The most important altcoins are listed on Coin Market Cap. Each have its unique feature which gained them popularity among others. Many altcoins have a decentralized nature and does not have a leading body, while others are owned by private companies.
The idea behind altcoins is that any community can have their own digital currency. Some of the altcoins have a supporting community behind them which facilitates the marketing activity of the coins. Dash even works as a corporation with decision making board and a development team concentrating on updates and new features.
Strong social and media activity also helps growing the values of altcoins.