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.
- Everex Announces Mobile Blockchain-powered Microfinance And Fiat Transfer Platform - May 28, 2017
- $3.7 Million Collected in ICO on the Waves Blockchain Platform for Construction of Production Facility in Russia - May 28, 2017
- Blockchain Startup Aeternity to Launch Phase Two of Contribution Campaign on May 29th, 2017 - May 28, 2017
- Founder and CEO of eToro, Yoni Assia, Joins Bancor Protocol Advisory Board - May 25, 2017
- Blockchain Startup Exscudo Rolls Out EON Source Code On GitHub - May 24, 2017
- Blockchain Startup Binded Raises $950k in Seed Round to Democratize Copyright - May 24, 2017
- Waves launches Gatway for the Euro - May 23, 2017
- Netki & Bitt Production Release Underway with Caribbean Financial Institution - May 23, 2017
- Kibo Lotto Launched in Ethereum Test Network - May 23, 2017
- Deloitte’s Blockchain Team Unveils Prototypes, Research and Alliances at Consensus 2017 - May 23, 2017
- Swiss e-government startup Procivis releases integrated e-identity platform - May 23, 2017
- Blockchain Wallet Jaxx Announces Massive Expansion - May 22, 2017
- ShapeShift Launches First Trustless Asset Portfolio Platform - May 22, 2017
- Status.im and Bancor Protocol Cut Deal to Issue Tokens From Smartphones - May 22, 2017
- Future\Perfect Lab Launches Blockchain, IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Security Convergence Project - May 21, 2017
- Storj Labs Claims Number Two ICO Spot With $20 Million Raised in Less than Six Hours - May 19, 2017
- Starta ICO Announces Crowdsale for Eastern European VC Vehicle on Waves Platform - May 19, 2017
- SingularDTV Announces New 11 Application Ecosystem - May 19, 2017
- Storj Labs Launches Token Sale - May 19, 2017
- CORION Announces Full-Service Blockchain Platform to Build and Manage Any Business - May 19, 2017
- Luxembourg Blockchain Group Incorporates Infrachain a.s.b.l. - May 18, 2017
- Fintech Investment Group Launches With AI Forex Trading Platform And Compcoin Digital Tokens Ahead Of Initial Coin Offering - May 18, 2017
- IBM and Chile’s Santiago Exchange to Deliver World’s First Securities Lending Blockchain Solution - May 18, 2017
- Supercomputer Organized by Network Mining (SONM) announces ICO - May 18, 2017
- Digital Assess Wants to Use Blockchain Technology to Replace Paper Qualifications - May 18, 2017
- Aragon Smashes ICO Record Pulling in $25 million in 15 Minutes - May 18, 2017
- Bloq Launches BloqLabs to Bring Open Source Blockchain Technologies to Enterprise - May 17, 2017
- Wagerr (WGR) — Sports Betting on the Blockchain - May 17, 2017
- Avalon Life Puts Land Ownership on Blockchain, Launches GREEN EARTH ZERO Service with NEM Technology - May 17, 2017
- Swiss EY Team Joins Polybius Cryptobank as Advisors, ICO to Follow - May 17, 2017
- IOTA Announces $2 Million IOTA Ecosystem Fund - May 17, 2017
- Crypviser Blockchain-Based Encrypted Communication Platform Announces the ICO of CVCoin Tokens - May 17, 2017
- Blockchain App Puts An End To Medical Records Being Held To Ransom - May 17, 2017
- Report on Blockchain Start-up Marketing Maturity Shows Challenges and Opportunities Ahead - May 17, 2017
- BlockEx Partners With Winston & Strawn to Leverage Blockchain for Bond Issuance - May 17, 2017
- US Brokerage Petitions SEC to Get Moving on ICOs - May 17, 2017
- Silicon Valley’s Boost VC to Invest in ICOs - May 16, 2017
- Aragon Partners with Leading Digital Asset Exchange ShapeShift Ahead of Highly Anticipated Token Sale - May 16, 2017
- LuxTrust and Cambridge Blockchain Announce Privacy-Protecting Identity Platform - May 15, 2017
- Sphre Partners with Airbitz to Power Secure Blockchain-Based Identity Management - May 15, 2017
- Furtherfield Gallery – Blockchain Art Exhibition London - May 12, 2017
- P2pfisy: An Innovative, Cross-sectoral Perspective On The Ongoing Disintermediation Of Financial Systems. - May 12, 2017
- How Exscudo Helps You To Store Cryptocurrencies - May 12, 2017
- Blockchain-Fueled Waves Platform Integrated in Microsoft Azure - May 12, 2017
- Nick Gogerty Joins the Lykke Team as Chief Strategist - May 12, 2017
- Countr POS Partners with Coinify to bring Blockchain Payments to its Merchants - May 12, 2017
- Wall Street Fintech PR Agency, Wachsman PR, Chooses Dublin as European HQ - May 12, 2017
- London Crypofinancing Conference – The Future of Startup Finance – Initial Coin Offerings, Token Sales, Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain - May 12, 2017
- AST to Deliver Blockchain-based Proxy Voting Solution - May 10, 2017
- Cofound.it Launches Token Sale for Startup Platform - May 10, 2017