Bitcoin was created from the ground up by borrowing many of the concepts from earlier attempts to create digital currencies. Since it was released, many other cryptocurrency projects based their code on bitcoin. They differentiated their project by using different types of consensus mechanisms, different mining algorithms, and revisions in the economic aspects of the coin. However, there have been other ways cryptocurrencies are created. Let’s consider Bitcoin Cash, it was created in a process called forking, a contentious hard fork to be exact. Basically, it means it was a result of a disagreement of the Bitcoin devs in how the next version of the project will be.
Contentious Hard Fork
This disagreement creates two new versions of a blockchain, the version that gets the majority support from the community will retain the name of the cryptocurrency. The other version can continue on as a totally different chain or stop and reintegrate with the incumbent chain. If they chose the former and continue as another chain then they have to declare another name for their chain and give instructions to supporters on how to claim the forked tokens. If they decided to reintegrate with the incumbent chain there is nothing else to do.
Instead of forking which literally means splitting two versions of a blockchain, one can create a cryptocurrency by merging them. Fork-Merge means you take two different blockchains and combine some of its features together. A good example of this is Bitcoin Private (BTCP). The developers of Bitcoin Private combined Bitcoin and ZClassic by combining the addresses and amounts of Bitcoin and ZClassic into a new cryptocurrency. Therefore, the circulating supply of BTCP was the combined circulating supply of Bitcoin and ZClassic. However, total supply remained at 21 Million and the difference between it and the circulating supply was the minable Bitcoin Private.
Perhaps the easiest way of creating new cryptocurrencies is through the use of Smart Contracts. The two leading smart contract platforms are Ethereum and EOS. Creating cryptocurrencies on these platforms is so easy that you don’t really need any coding experience to do so. Just recently even Bitcoin Cash has released the Simple Ledger Protocol making it even easier to create a token based on the Bitcoin Cash protocol. More importantly with smart contracts blockchain, devs were able to create cryptocurrencies that go beyond payment use cases.