What is Coin in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain?

Cryptocurrencies or coins are digital assets produced and managed through public and decentralized ledgers. These ledgers can be a blockchain like Bitcoin and Ethereum or a blockless network like IOTA. Besides, coins can be launched from independent networks like Avalanche or Waves or a smart contracting platform like Ethereum or BNB Chain. Leading digital assets existing as tokens include UNI, CAKE, and most fungible crypto tokens–regardless of the network type. Altogether, all coins need to be released from a public and transparent digital register for transaction verification and to uphold the integrity of the network.

What is an Altcoin?

An altcoin is any coin that is not Bitcoin. There are thousands of altcoins today, and more are created every day. By early April 2022, there were over 18k coins, according to CoinMarketCap (CMC), a coin tracker. Altcoins are all similar to Bitcoin in that they are both digital currencies. However, they differ in many other aspects, primarily on efficiency and scalability. For instance, most altcoins are staked, not mined. As a result, enthusiasts who want to participate as a validator don’t have to operate specialized software to solve complex math problems and earn new coins from their efforts. 

What is a Stablecoin?

Stablecoins are coins pegged to fiat currencies like the USD or GBP and deployed on a public blockchain. Compared to other coins, stablecoins have low volatility–that is, prices don’t change as rapidly relative to other currencies. One of the most capitalized stablecoins with over $80 billion in market capitalization is Tether (USDT). The stablecoin exists as a token and is backed by USD, liquid treasuries, and other valuable assets. Notably, USDT is issued in various blockchains, including Ethereum and Algorand. However, there are different types of stablecoins, tracking precious metals with, among other backings, cryptocurrencies, and more.

What Are Crypto Coins Used For?

Crypto coins are used for a variety of purposes. Some people use them as an investment, believing that the value of the coin will go up over time. Others use them to purchase goods and services, or to trade them for other types of currency. Still others use them to take part in exciting protocols in DeFi, gaming, NFTs, and other engagements built on top of blockchain platforms. Bitcoin, the first and most well-known cryptocurrency, was created in 2009 and has since become the largest digital currency by market capitalization. Coins are decentralized, meaning they are not subject to government or financial institution control. 

How are Coins Created?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are mostly generated through a process called “mining.” Mining is the process of verifying and adding transactions to the public ledger, known as the blockchain. In return for their work, miners are rewarded with a certain number of coins. The difficulty of mining varies depending on the cryptocurrency, but it generally requires specialized hardware and a lot of electricity. Alternatively, coins can be created through “minting”. Minting is when a cryptocurrency is first released into circulation. This is usually done by the developers of the currency, and a certain number of coins are created and given to early investors or sold in a public sale. Minting is also used to add new coins to the system after a hard fork, or to destroy coins as part of a deflationary monetary policy.