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Altogether, 3,005 users registered accounts on the pool server, and a total of 5,108 pool workers were created and used.2 Arscoin showed how easy it is to create an altcoin and, intentionally or not, illuminated the pure ridiculousness of the entire altcoin ecosystem. But this particular experiment does not mean there aren’t coins with real uses that have a chance to become truly valuable someday. Through the rest of this chapter, I cover the top altcoins by market cap size—excluding coins still in their ICO (initial coin offering) phase—along with other altcoins chosen because they were either successful in the past or have a unique feature I feel is worth mentioning. No coin developers have paid me to include them on this list, and I am not a significant holder of any of them. This is far from a comprehensive list of all the useful altcoins out there. It is simply my honest attempt to portray the general landscape of the altcoin market as concisely as is practical.
April 25, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wj9ITc0444. Chapter 15: Altcoin Trading and Pump-and-Dumps Shame on you guys. You can’t advocate for Bitcoin and the transformative changes it enables while also pumping some ridiculous alt-coin. —Blogger Matt Branton, The Branton Bits, April 7, 2014 The same strategies that apply to Bitcoin can be applied to altcoins; the principles are the same. However, altcoins—especially once you get past the top few in market-cap size—are more susceptible to pump-and-dump tactics. Pump-and-dumps are not unique to cryptocurrency. They have existed in the stock market and especially in off-market penny stocks that have low liquidity. The same pattern applies to altcoins. The lower the liquidity of the market (i.e., how many people are buying and selling), the easier pump-and-dump schemes are to pull off and the more effective they can be.
Section IV: The Future of Bitcoin Chapter 21: Altcoins and Bitcoin 2.0 Projects We’re going to have millions of altcoins. —Andreas Antonopoulos, April 2014 So far I have talked a lot about Bitcoin, its history, its uses, and its mechanics. But Bitcoin is far from the only digital currency in existence. While it is arguably the first workable digital currency and undoubtedly the most successful, there are more than a thousand different alternative currencies out there, hundreds of which are traded every day. A few of them seem to have at least a chance at a successful future. Bitcoin is a risky investment, since no one can be sure that the digital currency revolution will be successful or that it will progress in a way that increases Bitcoin’s value. Investing in an altcoin, any altcoin, is at least twice as risky.
The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos
AltaVista, altcoin, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, ethereum blockchain, global reserve currency, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, Oculus Rift, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, ransomware, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Skype, smart contracts, the medium is the message, trade route, underbanked, WikiLeaks
I think it’s a bit silly. But, why not? I think at some point we’re going to see things like that happen. We’re not going to have hundreds of altcoins. We’re not going to have thousands of altcoins. We’re going to have hundreds of thousands, and then millions of altcoins. Then, there will be thousands of altcoins being created every day to organize local communities to express fads, to create popularity contests, to codify the latest internet meme. "We’re not going to have hundreds of altcoins. We’re not going to have thousands of altcoins. We’re going to have hundreds of thousands, and then millions of alt-coins." 7.3. Authority by Production With so many altcoins, how do you tell which ones have value and which ones don’t? In order to try to answer these types of questions, I often reflect on the emergence of the first decentralized system in my lifetime, the internet.
It might have been called the Bitcoin and Ethereum Expo 2014. I don’t know if you noticed, but Ethereum had a pretty big presence here. An interesting question comes up, actually quite a few people have asked me: "Does Ethereum threaten the future of bitcoin? Does it steal some of its thunder?" Those are questions I’ve heard several times, and I’ve heard people refer to that issue in trying to understand altcoins - wondering whether altcoins essentially threaten the dominance of bitcoin, if they make bitcoin weaker, if they distribute the value of the network too broadly. 7.1. Born into Currency I’ve been thinking about this question for quite a while. I think, fundamentally, it’s a question that evokes the old paradigm of currencies. We’ve all grown up in a world where currencies are forced upon us in a monopolistic fashion, where currencies are defined strictly by the geographies in which they occur, and where the choice of currency is not yours.
Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy by Melanie Swan
23andMe, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, banking crisis, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, cellular automata, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative editing, Conway's Game of Life, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, friendly AI, Hernando de Soto, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, microbiome, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, post scarcity, prediction markets, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, sharing economy, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, software as a service, technological singularity, Turing complete, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, web application, WikiLeaks
Still, it must be acknowledged that Bitcoin as a pseudonymous enabler can be used to facilitate illegal and malicious activities, and this invites in-kind “Red Queen” responses (context-specific evolutionary arms races) appropriate to the blockchain. Computer virus detection software arose in response to computer viruses; and so far some features of the same constitutive technologies of Bitcoin (like Tor, a free and open software network) have been deployed back into detecting malicious players. Another significant barrier to Bitcoin adoption is the ongoing theft, scandals, and scams (like so-called new altcoin “pump and dump” scams that try to bid up new altcoins to quickly profit) in the industry. The collapse of the largest Bitcoin exchange at the time, Tokyo-based MtGox, in March 2014 came to wide public attention. An explanation is still needed for the confusing irony that somehow in the blockchain, the world’s most public transparent ledger, coins can disappear and still remain lost months later. The company said it had been hacked, and that the fraud was a result of a problem known as a “transaction malleability bug.”
Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2014. 196 Swan, M. “Blockchain-Enforced Friendly AI.” Crypto Money Expo, December 5, 2014. http://cryptomoneyexpo.com/expos/inv2/#schedule and http://youtu.be/qdGoRep5iT0/. Index A address, How a Cryptocurrency Works Airbnb, Government Regulation Alexandria, Freedom of Speech/Anti-Censorship Applications: Alexandria and Ostel altcoin, Summary: Blockchain 1.0 in Practical Use altcoin wallet, How a Cryptocurrency Works alternative currencies, Summary: Blockchain 1.0 in Practical Use-Relation to Fiat Currency, Cryptocurrency Basics-Ledra Capital Mega Master Blockchain List anti-censorship, Freedom of Speech/Anti-Censorship Applications: Alexandria and Ostel APIs, Blockchain Development Platforms and APIs Aráoz, Manuel, Proof of Existence archiving, Blockchain Ecosystem: Decentralized Storage, Communication, and Computation art (see digital art) artificial intelligence (AI), The Blockchain as a Path to Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain AI: Consensus as the Mechanism to Foster “Friendly” AI-Smart Contract Advocates on Behalf of Digital Intelligence artworks, Smart Property (see also digital art) Ascribe, Monegraph: Online Graphics Protection autocitation, Blockchain Academic Publishing: Journalcoin automated digital asset protection, Digital Asset Proof as an Automated Feature automatic markets, Automatic Markets and Tradenets autonomy, Smart Contracts B bandwidth, Technical Challenges banking industry (see financial services) betting, Bitcoin Prediction Markets, Smart Contracts big data, Blockchain Layer Could Facilitate Big Data’s Predictive Task Automation .bit domains, Namecoin: Decentralized Domain Name System "Bitbank", Financial Services Bitcoin colored coins, Smart Property concept, Preface digital divide of, Digital Divide of Bitcoin M2M/IoT payment network, M2M/IoT Bitcoin Payment Network to Enable the Machine Economy MOOCs, Blockchain Learning: Bitcoin MOOCs and Smart Contract Literacy neutrality, Blockchain Neutrality origins and applications overview, What Is Bitcoin?
The concept and operational details are described in a concise and readable white paper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.”7 Payments using the decentralized virtual currency are recorded in a public ledger that is stored on many—potentially all—Bitcoin users’ computers, and continuously viewable on the Internet. Bitcoin is the first and largest decentralized cryptocurrency. There are hundreds of other “altcoin” (alternative coin) cryptocurrencies, like Litecoin and Dogecoin, but Bitcoin comprises 90 percent of the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies and is the de facto standard. Bitcoin is pseudonymous (not anonymous) in the sense that public key addresses (27–32 alphanumeric character strings; similar in function to an email address) are used to send and receive Bitcoins and record transactions, as opposed to personally identifying information.
Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by Dominic Frisby
3D printing, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer age, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, friendly fire, game design, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, litecoin, M-Pesa, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing complete, War on Poverty, web application, WikiLeaks
Instead, coders began to develop alternative cryptocurrencies, aping some aspects of Bitcoin but changing others. These were known as altcoins. There are now 300 or more kinds of altcoin. Many of them are scams and get-rich-quick schemes. Many of them are simply experiments. Most of them will amount – or already have amounted – to nothing. But some of them are quite legitimate. At present, they comprise just a few per cent of the entire cryptocurrency market cap. At $500 a coin, the market cap of Bitcoin stands at around $6.5 billion. All the other altcoins combined amount to about $350,000. Bitcoin has attracted all the publicity. Bitcoin has all the infrastructure and investment. For now Bitcoin dominates the space. But the altcoins may one day come to rival Bitcoin. Litecoin is said to be silver to Bitcoin’s gold. It has faster transaction time confirmation than Bitcoin, making it a better system of payment.
We’re not just going to go and inflate tulips in this day and age.’ ‘How would you invest in Bitcoin?’ I ask him. ‘Well, I think that what is more interesting is to find a good altcoin – to find a real network that’s growing that’s not Bitcoin. I think Bitcoin itself is a very interesting investment. You should probably have some money there. But on the side if you want to make the real money, the catch-up trade – some altcoins. I think your first trade should just be $50 to try and learn how the system works. Don’t do anything until you’re absolutely comfortable with how the system works. Then I suggest you go and put 90% of your crypto book into bitcoins and 10% into altcoins. To find the good ones, don’t believe the stories and avoid hype. Avoid new coins, they are actually worthless most of the time, and they’ve got no network.
I now drive a Range Rover because of what people laugh at and call fake money.’ But with the failure of companies such as MtGox, you can bet there are many stories that are as disheartening as the above are amusing. The world of crypto-currencies (there are now over 300 altcoins) has attracted all sorts of crooks and fraudsters, as well as those who religiously think they are changing the world. There are scams and get-rich-quick schemes galore. It has become a free-for-all, like the gold rushes of the Wild West. Over time, things should settle. But one of the things you quickly notice is the sense of humour to it all. Many altcoins are based around a joke – ‘Coinye West’, for example. (When my father read this he asked, ‘What’s the joke?’) Many are simply in it for the laugh. Dogecoin is, according to its website, ‘an open source peer-to-peer cryptocurrency, favored by Shiba Inus worldwide’.
The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey
3D printing, Airbnb, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative economy, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Columbine, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, hacker house, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, litecoin, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, special drawing rights, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, The Great Moderation, the market place, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zimmermann PGP
If any of these “gateway” institutions are suspicious—as some bitcoiners are—of Ripple’s profit motives, they could try Stellar, the clone that Ripple’s estranged cofounder Jed McCaleb set up with a deliberately charitable agenda. Alternatively, projects such as Realcoin, an altcoin built upon the bitcoin blockchain that’s transparently backed by an auditable reserve of dollar-based assets, turn altcoins into a proxy for the dollar and an instrument with which people can cheaply send money to each other without incurring bitcoin’s exchanges’ risks. Or there’s Bitreserve, Halsey Minor’s in-house system in which account holders can send digital dollars, yen, or euros to each other at no cost. Any or all of these could form the components of a cryptocurrency-based financial system. Still, bitcoin is the clear frontrunner to become the cryptocurrency platform of the world’s transactional system. Its market capitalization dwarfs all other altcoins combined. Wences Casares, the CEO of bitcoin wallet and custodial firm Xapo, sees bitcoin’s future as the “native currency of the Internet,” where it would become the preferred unit of exchange for online commerce.
One was that by 2011, bitcoin was inspiring imitators—some outright copies, others clear attempts to remove what were seen as some of bitcoin’s flaws. Altcoins, as they came to be known, would use the same or similar aspects of bitcoin’s system, all made possible because of bitcoin’s open-source protocol and its lack of an owner. Anybody can download the software, copy it, and build something new from it. Lawsuits for copyright or patent infringement are simply not a concern. As of this writing, several hundred of these digital coins exist, most too small to be worth mentioning, but a few with sizable followings. They all fall well short of bitcoin in ranks. Litecoin, the oldest and largest of the altcoins, had a market cap of about $150 million at the time of writing. Bitcoin’s was around $6.5 billion. Some are dubious-looking projects, quite blatant pump-and-dump schemes.
Many bitcoiners welcome these projects as new elements of the same cryptocurrency revolution in which they are engaged. But others are openly hostile to what they see as interlopers, fearing that the nascent movements gathering around them could detract from the broader mission of change. At the same time, the community development around some of these altcoins is instructive to the broader question of how communities develop around cryptocurrencies. Bitcoiners can learn from how passions have been stirred by some of them. Case in point: dogecoin, an altcoin that started out as a joke by Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer in December 2013 that quickly took on a life of its own. The “doge” was appropriated from an Internet meme that started with a 2005 puppet show on YouTube, in which one of the puppets misspells dog as doge, and the other mispronounces it as “dohj.”
Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott
Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social software, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar
Ten minutes is also too long for financial transactions where timing matters to get an asset at a particular price, and where latency exposes traders to time-based arbitrage weaknesses such as market timing attacks.6 The immediate solution for entrepreneurs has been to fork the bitcoin code base, that is, to modify the source code by tweaking a few parameters, and to launch a new blockchain with an altcoin in place of bitcoin as incentive to participate. Litecoin is a popular altcoin with a block time of 2.5 minutes, and Ripple and Ethereum are entirely reengineered blockchain platforms that have latency of seconds, not minutes. A sixth dimension is behavioral change in a deeper sense than Netiquette. Today, many people count on their bank or credit card company, even talking with a real person, when they make an accounting error, forget their passwords, or lose their wallets or checkbooks.
Irrevocability of a transaction and instant reconciliation of financial reporting would eliminate one aspect of agency risk—the risk that unscrupulous managers will exploit the cumbersome paper trail and significant time delay to conceal wrongdoing. Value Innovation: The bitcoin blockchain was designed for moving bitcoins, not for handling other financial assets. However, the technology is open source, inviting experimentation. Some innovators are developing separate blockchains, known as altcoins, built for something other than bitcoin payments. Others are looking to leverage the bitcoin blockchain’s size and liquidity to create “spin-off” coins on so-called sidechains that can be “colored” to represent any asset or liability, physical or digital—a corporate stock or bond, a barrel of oil, a bar of gold, a car, a car payment, a receivable or a payable, or of course a currency. Sidechains are blockchains that have different features and functions from the bitcoin blockchain but that leverage bitcoin’s established network and hardware infrastructure without diminishing its security features.
Although Bob’s computer was hardly optimized for mining bitcoin, he entered it into a mining pool. In a 137-hour session, it mined 152.8 microbitcoin (μBTC), roughly three and a half U.S. cents at the time. But at ten cents per kilowatt-hour, Bob’s computer used about fourteen cents of electricity. Bob concluded, “The days of mining bitcoins from your PC are now over.” So any design change to the original bitcoin protocol, whether through an altcoin or an upgrade, must keep in mind appropriate economic incentives to sustain miner decentralization, so that the network gets good value from miners in exchange for the large sums of bitcoin. Bitcoin core developer Peter Todd likened this task to designing a robot that can buy milk at the grocery store. “If that robot doesn’t have a nose, before long store owners are going to realize it can’t tell the difference between unspoiled and spoiled milk, and you’re going to get ripped off paying for a bunch of spoiled milk.”43 To Todd, that means that smaller miners in geographically dispersed locations should be able to compete nose to nose with larger miners that are geographically centralized, that is, large mining pools in Iceland or China.
Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, business process, centralized clearinghouse, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, fault tolerance, fiat currency, global value chain, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, market clearing, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, prediction markets, pull request, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, sharing economy, smart contracts, social web, software as a service, too big to fail, Turing complete, web application
Recording and time-stamping delivery of medical procedures or events, in order to reduce insurance fraud, facilitate compliance and verification of services being rendered. Recording the maintenance history of critical pieces of medical equipment, for example, an MRI scanner, providing a permanent audit trail. Carrying a secure wallet with our full electronic medical record in it, or our stored DNA, and allowing its access, in case of emergency. Verifying provenance on medications, to eliminate illegal drug manufacturing. “CaseCoins:” originating specific altcoins that create a cryptocurrency market around solving a particular disease, such as FoldingCoin, a project where participants share their processing power to help cure a disease, and get rewarded with a token asset.10 Energy Blockchain applications can help achieve a more efficient management of the power distribution grid, low-cost microtransactions between peers or machines, secondary markets creation, or rule-based payments.