The Wallstreet Journal: Blackcoin Tries to Stake Its Proof as Legit Bitcoin Alternative


- Blackcoin would like you to know that they’re out there, too. The altcoin has been climbing the market-cap leaderboard, recently cracking the top 10. Launched in February by a Russian developer, who goes by the handle “rat4,” its market cap currently is $13.5 million. It also was added this week to CoinKite, a cryptocurrency exchange, joining larger peers bitcoin and litecoin.

Blackcoin’s addition to CoinKite didn’t happen by accident. The group has been actively marketing itself, hiring professional advertising firm, Max Borges Agency. (The agency, interestingly enough, accepted 3% of its contract in blackcoin).

As Blackcoin tries to stand above a noisy and chaotic marketplace for hundreds of altcoins, most of which have no hope of ever achieving any kind of scale, its marketing and branding has evolved.

The coin initially set itself up as a kind of “luxury” coin, not unlike the American Express invitation-only “Black Card.” But lately its proponents are playing up the coin’s more fundamentally interesting features, selling it as a more environmentally friendly, fairer coin. Blackcoin isn’t “mined” like bitcoin, it’s “minted,” utilizing a proof-of-stake system as opposed to bitcoin’s proof-of-work system (we don’t have the space here to explain the difference; Bitcoin Magazine has a good explanation of the difference). Others using this system include Nextcoin and Peercoin.

The upshot is that blackcoin transactions can be confirmed in less time than bitcoin transactions. And it doesn’t force its community into a messy, costly and high-energy consuming arms race of technology.  ”It’s simpler, faster, greener,” said Adam Kryskow, a representative of the Blackcoin Foundation.

Wallet-holders whose computers are used to confirm transactions get paid 1% interest in new coins for their services. The system, Mr. Kryskow said, makes blackcoin similar to an interest-bearing checking account (where rates in the real world range anywhere from 0.01% to 0.76%).

Still, it’s got a ways to go before it’s competitive with bitcoin and its $8.4 billion market cap, to say nothing of the scrum of other coins, where so many seem to come, get some attention, and then flame out. But if the Blackcoin community can make its differences their selling point, they may have something.

They might want to consider changing that name, too. (Paul Vigna)

In the News:

- If you’re wondering how this year’s investments into cryptocurrencies from the venture-capital community ranks compared to last year, CoinDesk has done the hard work for you: 

“So far in 2014, $115.2 million has flowed into bitcoin businesses, which is 30% greater than the total amount figure for last year, or $88 million,” Joon Ian Wong wrote. “In 2012, bitcoin startups raised just $2.1 million.” At the current pace, it investment would triple this year from last.

The most active investor so far has been 500 Startups, which bought stakes in five companies. BitPay and its $30 million funding round is the top fund-raiser this year (or any year for that matter).

It all illustrates that bitcoin continues to be a hot item in the VC world, despite the volatility and notoriety. That said, it’s a small flame within the entire VC universe. Total VC fund-raising reached $12.4 billion in the first five months of 2014. (Paul Vigna)

Source can be found here on The Wallstreet Journal

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