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Are these the only base coins: BTC, ETH, BTH and LTC?

Base coins are those that you can buy directly (USD -> base coin). Alt coins such as NEO, XRP and EOS require first going through a base coin.

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In the context of defining basecoins as those that change directly with USD, there are actually quite a few. The 4 you've listed are available through Coinbase, which is currently the most popular fiat to cryptocurrency gateway.

However, there are many exchanges that still accept USD/EUR/JPY/KRW deposits with some level of verification. For example Bitfinex allows for fiat deposits after verifying your account, and they have 20 or so crypto assets (including EOS, XRP, NEO that you mentioned). I'm sure there are many more exchanges that allow fiat deposits, even if crypto deposits are growing increasingly popular for legal reasons.

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    Thanks. Then what is the definition of an alt coin? One that you cannot go fiat to crypto-coin directly? Also, do you know why Coinbase doesn't allow as many fiat to crypto-coin purchases as Bitfinex? – 4thSpace Mar 29 '18 at 16:06
  • An alt coin is essentially any token/coin other than bitcoin. Even the bitcoin fork BCH is considered an altcoin to most people. – Nicolas Lopez Mar 29 '18 at 20:46
  • Coinbase is regulated and is located in the U.S., so they're slow to move. Two years ago, they only had BTC and ETH. Now they're slowly adding more assets as alt coins gain popularity and usability. – Nicolas Lopez Mar 29 '18 at 20:48
  • Where did you find the definition of alt coin as anything other than BTC? If not an alt coin, what is BTC considered? I'm not sure why BTC would be considered the center of the crypto universe when it's one of the most limited coins out there. – 4thSpace Mar 30 '18 at 2:37
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    The name "alt" stands for "alternative to bitcoin" investopedia.com/terms/a/altcoin.asp . Even though bitcoin is the least advanced, it has the most secure network available due to global distribution of miners and hundreds if not thousands of exchanges. It leads the current economic movement that all cryptocurrencies and platforms are currently facilitating. Technically, all proof of work coins (~60% or so) are forks of the bitcoin protocol with a different name. – Nicolas Lopez Mar 30 '18 at 10:22

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