Altcoin is the term given to describe alternative digital assets, such as a coin or token that is not Bitcoin. This nomenclature comes from the idea that Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency and that all others are then considered “alternate” or “alternative” coins.
The term “altcoin” is also used quite broadly to refer to digital assets that would also technically be referred to as “tokens” rather than coins. The best-known examples are the ERC-20 tokens that exist on top of the Ethereum blockchain.
While some users deem the term “altcoin” to be derogatory or deprecating, it is broadly held to be neutral in its usage. The term is not supposed to convey any positive or negative sentiment about the asset that is being referred to. On the other hand, the term “shitcoin”, for example, brings a negative sentiment and is usually deemed as pejorative.