As the cryptofinancing world continues to expans and the roster of minted altcoins is approaching one thousand, marketing has become one of the most relevant parts of a new coin’s birth. There are coins of almost every hue on the market and… so – what the heck – slapping a national flag on one sounds like just another reasonable business model. Let’s look a good look at this emerging genre.
What’s a national cryptocurrency?
National altcoins occupy a very specific and somewhat restricted niche in the crypto-scene a they are specifically marketed as unofficial currencies of existing territories or nationalities, which gives them a kind of subversive and anarchic flavour.
Some call them “local cryptocurrencies”, which is a misnomer considering they are easily accessible by anyone anywhere via digital exchanges.
Unfortunately, far too often they end up pretty much abandoned by their initial community, with tumbleweeds rolling around their Bitcointalk forums – and merely become a toy for pumpers, cryptosharks and grifters. But let us not treat them as mere casino chips for market barracudas and look into their very heart, where purest of intentions are of course veiled.
What’s under the hood?
Despite this being their primary purpose, many digital numismatists forget that altcoins can actually carry out a role of complementary local currencies in depressed communities or locales where the demand for an alternative economy is high for various other reasons.
A fine example of the former would be MazaCoin issued by seven impoverished Lakota tribes who felt left out of the national economy. The latter can be illustrated by a slew of altcoins with national branding minted in 2014-2015, the most iconic and successful of which was arguably AuroraCoin. Iceland’s economy at the time was not in dire straits per se but Icelanders did feel largely disappointed in traditional financial institutions ever since the financial crisis. This disappointment can clearly be linked to the coin’s value. For example, AUR’s sudden climb last April coincided with the Panama papers leak and Prime Minister’s ensuing resignation.
Another big reason behind these coins’ existence is the fact that as technology becomes accessible and easy to replicate, various groups can and will use it to make political statements or play identity politics.
National altcoins often appear in communities where separatist sentiments are strong as a (thinly) veiled statement and a shot at a sovereign currency at the same time. CatalonianCoin and ScotCoin are the most obvious examples.
There are also other communities looking at altcoins and are ripe for them. Vít Jedlička the president of the rogue Libertarian micronation Liberland has been rumoured to be on the prowl for a team to do an ICO. And there’s also been whispers of Burning Man creating their own cryptocurrency, which is of course a hotly debated topic as they don’t use money in their popup annual extravaganza, it’s notoriously all about barter. Having said that, it makes total sense for both nation/communities to cleave further from conventional nation states by adopting their own coin.
Native Siberian crypto anarchism
Most national altcoins though just serve as a symbol, identity meme, proving that tribalism is still as strong a consolidating force as innovation. For instance, an inconspicuous Dash fork has just beaten its parent coin in sheer number of functioning masternodes. Why is it suddenly so big? It’s a Russian altcoin named Siberian Chervonets (SibCoin), backed by patriotic Russian crypto-anarchists who are rather numerous.
Even in Russia, Blockchain is seen as a solution to corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency by many as is evident by the Russian government eyeing Blockchain potential for the national payment system and the Sberbank joining Apache’s Hyperledger project not to mention the Moscow recently announced Bank of Russia’s Deputy Chairman Olga Skorobogatov said they have no further plans to ban cryptocurrencies.
But still… due to the current political tensions and general mistrust towards big ideas coming from the West, many Russians have been reticent to adopt bitcoin and needed something familiar and relatable to introduce them into the world of Blockchain. SibCoin seems to have filled the role very well – for the Russian crypto-community.
What’s the trend?
There is no doubt that we shall see more of these projects popping up and while “identity” and “local community” remain relevant concepts, locally branded cryptocurrencies will not lose their appeal.
Recent Pesobit’s (a Philippine altcoin) ICO showed that national coins are still in the game and are willing to adapt to rapidly changing standards of the industry.
Some pundits scream it’s a conservative reaction – an attempt to return to the era of national currencies while bitcoin is pushing the agenda of futuristic global currency.
On the other hand, these altcoins are performing an important mission proliferating the concept of Blockchain currencies in local communities using relatable and down-to-earth familiar brands. And building a strong grassroots community is the primary goal for every coin and eventually for the entire global crypto-scene. Perhaps national altcoins are just another small step towards Blockchain’s domination in finance? Time will tell.
- Five days left until Blockchain Startup Exscudo ICO - April 21, 2017
- Apptrade to Reward Crowdsale Participants with Three Percent Bonus - April 21, 2017
- Blockchain Technology Startup Humaniq Raises $3.8M and Signs Contract With Deloitte - April 21, 2017
- Monolith Studio Announces Crowdsale for TokenCard, the First Debit Card Powered by Smart Contracts - April 20, 2017
- Blockchain Co. SingularDTV Recruits Hollywood VP - April 18, 2017
- Factom Closes Extended Series A Round of $8 Million Following Harmony Product Launch - April 18, 2017
- Interview with Back to Earth founder Clay Space - April 18, 2017
- Ethereum Movie Initial Coin Offering Sell Out - April 18, 2017
- Insurtech Startup Etherisc Wins “Blockchain Oscar” for Innovative Insurance Platform - April 14, 2017
- India’s Blockchain Community Launches Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation - April 14, 2017
- UK EPSRC Supports Seven Blockchain Projects with £3.6 Million - April 14, 2017
- Dutch National Blockchain Coalition Presents Action Agenda - April 14, 2017
- Broadridge, J.P. Morgan, Northern Trust and Banco Santander Successfully Complete Pilot of for Blockchain Voting - April 14, 2017
- Blockgeeks Labs to Hold Blockchain Hackathon in Toronto - April 14, 2017
- Exscudo network EON coins are available for pre-order - April 13, 2017
- One of Big Four accounting firms is now legal adviser of Exscudo - April 12, 2017
- Dash Cryptocurrency Signs on with Kraken - April 12, 2017
- Blockchain Capital Closes ICO – $10 Million in Six Hours Raised in Record Time - April 11, 2017
- Ethereum meets Hyperledger – Burrow Ethereum Smart Contract Machine to Join Hyperledger - April 11, 2017
- Porsche Announces First Blockchain Contest - April 10, 2017
- Fidelity Labs Joins IC3 Blockchain Group - April 10, 2017
- Global Graphchain Project FERMAT Announces Distributed Governance Model Featuring Contribution Contracts - April 10, 2017
- Coinsilium and Oraclize sign MoU to form Strategic Alliance - April 10, 2017
- Industry Thought Leaders Invest With Blockchain Capital in its Ground-Breaking ICO - April 8, 2017
- Novus To Launch Innovative Blockchain Advanced File Index System - April 5, 2017
- Lykke Announces OEM Services – Lykke Accelerator - April 5, 2017
- BitHub.Africa Announces ICO Campaign to Foster Region’s Cryptocurrency Ecosystem - April 5, 2017
- SibCoin: Siberia Down, China to Go - April 4, 2017
- Groundbreaking Blockchain Research to Feature at International Financial Cryptography Conference - April 4, 2017
- Exscudo, The Nextgen Financial System, Announces ICO - April 4, 2017
- A Film by Manuel Stagars – The Blockchain And Us Video Documentary – Released in Full - April 4, 2017
- Genpact Harnesses Blockchain Technology to Transform F&A Operations to Improve Cash Flow and Enhance Customer Experience - April 4, 2017
- Blockchain Startup TaaS Partners With Exchange Platforms - April 4, 2017
- Synereo announces Qrator – The First Attention Economy App - April 4, 2017
- Blockchain Capital Releases Offering Memorandum for Its $10 Million Digital Token Offering - April 4, 2017
- Lykke Announces Availability of Blockchain Startup ChronoBank TIME Token - April 3, 2017
- Blockchain Workspace Launches Blockchain Education Company in Amsterdam, Netherlands - April 3, 2017
- Blockchain Startup SingularDTV Goes Hollywood - April 1, 2017
- Ledger Raises $7m To Accelerate Worldwide Adoption Of Security Solutions For Blockchain And Cryptocurrency Applications - March 31, 2017
- Slock.it secures $2 million seed funding to build Sharing Economy Platform - March 31, 2017
- Open Source Blockchain Project MultiChain Adds Fourteen New Partners and Enters Beta - March 30, 2017
- Tokenization in the Age of Blockchain - March 30, 2017
- European Commission Proposes Blockchain Pilot to Examine Regulatory Issues - March 30, 2017
- BitPesa has Partnered with Bitcoin Company Bitbond to Improve Access to Financing for SMEs in Africa. - March 30, 2017
- Switzerland’s SIX Securities Services Develops Blockchain-Based Bond Issuing Solution - March 30, 2017
- Beijing Officials Demand Chinese Blockchain Standards - March 30, 2017
- Spanish Bank BBVA joins Hyperledger Project - March 30, 2017
- Alibaba to Tackle Counterfeit Food in China With Blockchain - March 30, 2017
- Cosmos Announces Upcoming Token Sale to Build Internet of Blockchains - March 29, 2017
- Blockchain Technologies Corp. Speaks Before Maine State Legislature Committee on Blockchain Voting - March 29, 2017