The term “altcoin” refers to any cryptocurrency that has launched since Bitcoin (BTC). In the early days of Bitcoin, developers forked the open-source code to create new currencies. Over time, these Bitcoin alternatives began to diverge further from their progenitor with different supply schedules and privacy features. These include Litecoin (LTC) and Zcash (ZEC), among others.
Along with altcoins came a plethora of Bitcoin–altcoin trading pairs that produced a surge in market activity, with traders leveraging the volatility of these crypto assets for high-risk rewards.
The rise of altcoins and their respective blockchain networks marks an era of experimentation and maturation within the crypto industry, as a wider range of use cases of the technology have become possible.