Bitcoin is the world’s most popular decentralised digital currency. It is based on an anonymous peer-to-peer network and provides a great solution for those wishing to send money around the world without disclosing any personal information.

Since the invention of Bitcoin, there have been over 900 additional cryptocurrencies released and new cryptocurrencies are being created all the time. These Bitcoin alternatives are collectively referred to as altcoins. Despite being easier to mine, altcoins have the disadvantage of lower merchant acceptance rates and liquidity. In addition, they can be a risky investment, as their value retention is uncertain. Some of the most popular altcoins include Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dash.

Litecoin (LTC) was one of the first altcoins created. Founded by Charles Lee and released in 2011, the altcoin offers faster transaction confirmation times than Bitcoin and there are now an increasing number of merchants accepting it, including some offline stores and restaurants.

Investing in new altcoins can be a bit of an unknown without thorough research, however, there is the possibility of very large returns if you choose wisely. Good timing and research is key to making solid returns and minimising any loses. You can stay up-to-date with the latest cryptocurrency market news by visiting popular forums, like Bitcoin Talk, which has over one million members. In addition, reading regularly updated cryptocurrency blogs run by industry insiders can be a good way to get hot investment tips on new altcoins.

When it comes to buying and selling Bitcoins and altcoins, it important to make sure that you use a reputable exchange. The best exchanges will allow you to fund your account via bank transfer, credit card, Paypal and a wide range of cryptocurrencies. Keep in mind that you need to make sure that you don’t fall foul of any regulations implemented by your country’s government.

As previously mentioned, Bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular cryptocurrency and perhaps the safest investment around. Released in 2009, it was the first digital decentralised currency and it revolutionised anonymous online payments.

However, other virtual currencies, including those featured in this article, are becoming more popular all the time. Current market trends suggest that cryptocurrencies are set to be around for the long-term, but only time will reveal which altcoins will become true market leaders in the competitive digital currency landscape.