An informative discussion panel on altcoins took place at this year’s CoinSummit, held at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. The topic was: “Altcoins – a fad or here to stay?”
The panel discussion was with the heavy hitters in the altcoin world: Charlie Lee, founder of Litecoin; Jackson Palmer, founder of Dogecoin; Paul Vernon, founder of Cryptsy; and moderated by Michael Terpin, founder of SocialRadius, a social media marketing agency.
Several details about altcoins, their creators, communities and outlook emerged from the discussion, some of which are fascinating or not so well known.
Lee gave a personal account of the beginnings of Litecoin: There was a need to try out a coin with faster block processing times. To thrive, the coin would also need a different mining algorithm so as not to constantly compete for the same set of miners. Essentially, it had to achieve success on its own merit. When he launched it, it was immediately popular and many jumped into its mining. He says he personally didn’t hold any at launch, rather he acquired litecoins through an exchange. He wanted “a silver to Bitcoin’s gold”, a branding which he believes really helped it take off.
Lee was initially nervous with all the publicity at first, especially when “Wired” wrote a whole piece on him. Everyone wanted to to get a hold of him. His wife teased him that he’s only famous because they can’t find Satoshi. Recently, when Newsweek put out an article claiming they found Satoshi, Lee “worried” that his fame will fizzle.
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Paul Vernon also talked about Cryptsy’s beginnings: initially it wasn’t even an exchange, but rather served as a pool to facilitate new coins. The problem was once these coins were created, people didn’t know what to do with them. So he created an exchange, and it took off more than he expected.
On the multitudes of coins out there, Vernon said that while Cryptsy supports many of them, they still carefully consider each one before it gets accepted on the platform. However, just because something is pre-mined and appears ripe for pumping doesn’t mean it won’t be accepted. He also mentioned that while they’ve been highly successful in adding coins thus far, Nxt really threw them curve-ball due to its entirely different protocol. They had to implement code bridging the interface between the old and the new.
Palmer also talked about Dogecoin. A lot of the altcoins are useful for serving as a testbed for the future, and Dogecoin was a prime example. He wanted to put a “relatable face” to something quite daunting to people and also introduce micro transaction ability. But they’re still Bitcoin supporters.
Interestingly, there are a decent number of women in the Dogecoin community, something which isn’t found with many other coins. The community is typically younger, more involved in social media. Dogecoin is hot on places like Facebook and Twitter. What’s more is that at least 50% have had no prior exposure to digital currency- Dogecoin is their first experience.
It also avoids a lot of the negative stigma surrounding cryptocurrency (hackers, drugs, etc). It’s “family friendly”. At the recent “Dogeparty” in New York, parents brought their kids.
Palmer said that while he’s excited about the initiative, he can’t respond to every e-mail- after all, he works full time at Adobe Systems. He mused how his two worlds were kept relatively separate until he was approached by his HR boss one day because he was on the front page of the paper in Australia. During Q&A period, he clarified that his company was generally supportive of his cause, especially since Dogecoin is so active in fundraising for charitable causes while lying at the forefront in innovation.