Strange and Unique Altcoins

What happens when a community gets hold of a technology and runs with it

Once people understand the principles behind a technology, they'll adapt it for their own ends, and cryptocurrency is no different. Altcoins have been sprouting like weeds since bitcoin became mainstream. Some are sensible, some are salacious, and some are downright silly. Here are five of the unique ideas for altcoin, most of which have made it into reality.

1
Coinye

Originally called Coinye West, this cryptocurrency was designed to piggyback on Kanye West’s success and image. Featuring a video of Kanye and a graphic that looked a lot like him pre-launch, the coin quickly had to downplay its reference to the singer, who had not approved it. 

Kanye's lawyers went after the coin’s organizers like a dog after a ball to try and get it stopped. In response, it removed the rapper’s image and replaced it with…a fish, that looked like Kanye West. 

The coin launched, presumably hoping to capitalize on the brand and rocket to success as fans everywhere took up the mantle and began using it. A week after its January 2014 launch, though, the organizers finally gave up the fight. “Coinye is dead. You win Kanye”, said the message on its now-defunct website. 

Given Kanye's performance at Glastonbury in 2015, where he brutally murdered Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, maybe his image needs protecting from more than a simple altcoin. 

2
Tooth Fairy Coin

When your kids lose a tooth, you’ll typically leave a buck or two under the pillow in return, and tell them that it’s from the tooth fairy. Tooth Fairy Coin hoped to take this tradition and update it for a cryptocurrency audience. 

“If your child loses a tooth, they will surely expect something from under their pillow the next morning when they wake up,” said the blurb supporting its initial launch. “Why not make it crypto coins instead, making it an opportunity to teach the future generations all about cryptocurrencies?”

Reaction from the cryptocurrency community was quick and ruthless, as soon as the idea floated. We're not sure this idea ever actually got going, and we're not sure that a six-year-old would appreciate a piece of paper with an alphanumeric cryptocurrency address under their pillow. Still, it's an idea to chew on.

3
Mangocoinz

Bitcoins are mined using computing power spread around the network. But a group of students at Belgrade’s School of Computing came up with a better idea: how about making people work out for their coins? 

Physical effort trumps computing effort any day, and it also helps to keep you in shape. So Mangocoinz was born. It uses an app, downloaded to your phone, which monitors your movements, and pays you coins the more that you run. Then, you can exchange your money for US dollars.

Mangocoinz won’t make you rich – running two hours would earn you around $1.80 – and there’s a cap, beyond which you can’t earn any more. That will help to stop people trying to game the system by shaking their phone around to simulate a running motion, say. 

Still, if you’re training for a marathon anyway, why not cash in? There is also a version for running clubs, which deposits earnings into a club’s account.

4
RonPaulCoin

It was only a matter of time. Ron Paul is a former republican congressman and was the presidential nominee of the Libertarian party in 1988. These days, he’s a spokesperson for libertarian politics, having retired from his congressional Republican seat. 

The coin, not endorsed by Paul, highlights a strong correlation between the Libertarian movement and cryptocurrencies. Libertarian sympathizers often rail against the status quo, hoping for more individual freedom, and criticising large, entrenched institutions. There are many of them in the bitcoin community, supporting the idea of a transparent form of money that provides an alternative to what they see as a corrupt banking system.

RonPaulCoin makes this aim explicit. “You're not helping to enrich a banker,” says the web site for the coin. “You are in fact, helping to put the banker out of business, and ending a system of centuries of economic enslavement.”

Conclusion

There's nothing like a new technology to encourage creativity. These are five of many altcoins that have caused people to stop and think - or perhaps just to giggle - over the last couple of years. What altcoin would you develop?