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Bitcoin vs Altcoins: Which Should You Hold?

4 mins
Updated by Ali Martinez
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In Brief

  • Bitcoin offers stability and widespread adoption but faces scalability and environmental concerns.
  • Altcoins provide innovation and potential higher returns but carry higher risks and less established reputations.
  • Consider factors like market cap, technology, use cases, and regulation before deciding which cryptocurrency to hold.
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Bitcoin vs Altcoins: Since the inception of Bitcoin in 2009, the cryptocurrency market has expanded exponentially. While Bitcoin remains the most well-known and valuable digital currency, numerous altcoins have emerged, each with unique features and growth potential.

So what are the differences between Bitcoin and altcoins? What factors should be considered when choosing which to hold? And what are their respective pros and cons?

Bitcoin: The Pioneer

Bitcoin is the first and most popular cryptocurrency. It was created by an anonymous individual or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto.

Its primary goal was to provide a decentralized digital currency that operates independently of central banks and governments.

Bitcoin uses a technology called blockchain to secure transactions and prevent double-spending, ensuring the integrity of its financial system.

Altcoins: The Rising Contenders

Altcoins, short for “alternative coins,” are cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. They have emerged as alternatives to the original digital currency, offering different features, use cases, and technologies.

Examples of popular altcoins include Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and Cardano, among thousands of others.

Many altcoins aim to address perceived limitations in Bitcoin’s design or offer unique innovations in the cryptocurrency industry.

Bitcoin vs Altcoins Market Cap
Bitcoin vs Altcoins Market Cap. Source: TradingView

Factors to Consider When Choosing Altcoins

Before deciding which altcoin to hold, investors should consider the following factors:

Market Capitalization

Market capitalization is the total value of all coins in circulation for a specific cryptocurrency. It’s a crucial indicator of a coin’s stability and potential for growth.

Generally, cryptocurrencies with larger market capitalizations are considered less risky investments.

Technological Advancements

Technological innovations can significantly impact a cryptocurrency’s future success. It is essential to evaluate the features and technology behind a coin.

These may include its consensus algorithm, scalability, and security measures, to understand its potential in the market.

Use Cases and Adoption

The broader the use cases for an altcoin, the more likely it is to succeed in the long run. Investors should look for coins with real-world applications and a growing user base.

These are more likely to gain mainstream adoption and retain value.

Community Support and Development Team

A strong community and development team can contribute to a cryptocurrency’s success.

It is important to examine the project’s leadership, track record, and community engagement to gauge the coin’s potential for growth and longevity.

Regulatory Environment

Regulation is a critical factor in the success of altcoins. A favorable regulatory environment encourages adoption and innovation, while strict regulations stifle growth.

Investors should keep an eye on the legal landscape surrounding a specific altcoin to assess its potential for long-term success.

Pros and Cons of Holding Bitcoin

Before choosing Bitcoin vs altcoins, consider the following pros and cons:


  • Market dominance: Bitcoin’s large market capitalization and dominant position in the cryptocurrency market make it a comparatively stable and less risky investment.
  • Widespread adoption: As the first and most well-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin enjoys widespread adoption, making it more accessible and easy to use for various transactions.
  • Store of value: Many investors see Bitcoin as a digital equivalent to gold, using it as a store of value and a hedge against traditional market fluctuations.
  • Strong security: The Bitcoin network is highly secure, with its proof-of-work consensus algorithm making it extremely difficult to attack or compromise.


  • Limited scalability: Bitcoin’s current infrastructure struggles with scalability, resulting in slower transaction times and higher fees during periods of high network usage.
  • Lack of advanced features: Compared to many altcoins, Bitcoin lacks advanced features like smart contracts and decentralized applications, which can limit its potential for growth and diversification.
  • Environmental concerns: Bitcoin’s energy-intensive mining process has raised environmental concerns, leading some to question its long-term sustainability.

Pros and Cons of Holding Altcoins

Before choosing altcoins vs Bitcoin, consider the following pros and cons:


  • Innovation: Many altcoins offer unique features and technologies, such as smart contracts and improved scalability, that can drive growth and increase their potential for mainstream adoption.
  • Higher potential returns: Some altcoins have experienced exponential growth, offering investors the possibility of higher returns compared to Bitcoin, albeit with increased risk.
  • Diversification: Investing in various altcoins can help diversify cryptocurrency portfolios, reducing the impact of market volatility on investments.


  • Higher risk: Many altcoins have smaller market capitalizations and lower liquidity than Bitcoin, making them more susceptible to price fluctuations and market manipulation.
  • Less established: Altcoins generally have less established reputations and adoption than Bitcoin, making it more challenging to gauge their long-term potential.
  • Regulatory uncertainty: As newer and less established digital assets, altcoins may face more regulatory scrutiny and uncertainty, which could negatively impact their growth and adoption.

Bitcoin vs Altcoins: The Choice Is Yours

The decision to hold Bitcoin or altcoins ultimately depends on investment goals, risk tolerance, and belief in the potential of each cryptocurrency.

By carefully considering the factors discussed in this article, investors can make a more informed decision about which digital assets to include in their portfolio.


Is it better to invest in Bitcoin or altcoins?

Can I hold both Bitcoin and altcoins in my portfolio?

How can I minimize the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies?

What is the best strategy for investing in cryptocurrencies?

How can I stay updated on the latest developments in the cryptocurrency market?

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In adherence to the Trust Project guidelines, BeInCrypto is committed to unbiased, transparent reporting. This news article aims to provide accurate, timely information. However, readers are advised to verify facts independently and consult with a professional before making any decisions based on this content.

This article was initially compiled by an advanced AI, engineered to extract, analyze, and organize information from a broad array of sources. It operates devoid of personal beliefs, emotions, or biases, providing data-centric content. To ensure its relevance, accuracy, and adherence to BeInCrypto’s editorial standards, a human editor meticulously reviewed, edited, and approved the article for publication.

Ali Martinez
Ali Martinez is the Global Head of News at BeInCrypto, specializing in market analysis, emerging trends in the crypto industry, Bitcoin’s four-year cycle, and macroeconomic developments. Previously, he covered the altcoins market for Crypto Briefing, CryptoSlate,, and NewsBTC. His reporting focused on the ICO boom, Ethereum's evolution, Bitcoin halvings, and network upgrades like hard forks and soft forks, emphasizing the impact on digital asset valuations. At Binance and FXStreet,...