After a low-volume summer in the community, we just might be seeing some activity that, fingers crossed, could kickstart the alternative digital currency marketplace.

Although the risk of project collapse is still out there, as recent failures like ghostcoin have shown, recent developments in the space indicate that the altcoin story is far from over.

Viacoin team implements block chain notary service

One of the next-generation use cases proposed for the block chain is that of a notary. Instead of relying on a central authority to certify the authenticity of a document, the block chain can be used to assert the proof of its veracity via distributed cryptographic confirmation.

Notary

The viacoin development team has developed a block chain notary system as part of its ClearingHouse protocol, a smart-contract infrastructure built on the viacoin block chain. The notary system, demonstrated in a recent video posted on YouTube, is now available for use as part of the ClearWallet implementation.

Viacoin developer BTCDrak explains in the video:

“So the block chain notary takes time-stamping to a new level. It also uses proof-of-publication to embed cryptographic hashes of files into the block chain. But it also gives the ability to own and transfer these to other participants in the same way you would bitcoins.”

The system works by inserting a representation of the document in question into the block chain. This helps secure the privacy of the document and those seeking certification.

According to the viacoin team, a block chain-based notary represents a solution to a real-world problem – expensive and ineffective infrastructure for notarization and transferring documentation. As the notary is built into the viacoin block chain, fees associated with the service are limited to network mining fees.

A demonstration of the viacoin block chain notary can be found here.

A sitdown with darkcoin developer Evan Duffield

Darkcoin
The darkcoin project has seen some significant developments in the past two weeks, ranging from the open release of its source code to a recent security incident that resulted in the temporary loss of majority control of the darkcoin masternode network.

Despite the challenges, the darkcoin development team remains committed to pushing ahead. In a new interview, developer Evan Duffield framed the trials and tribulations as par for the course for any long-term technology project.

Duffield told CoinDesk that the open-source release had been long in the planning, coming as a result of a step-by-step process in a tight and competitive market. Owing to the fluid nature of altcoin development, the darkcoin team sought to avoid releasing any problematic code if they could help it.

Duffield explained:

“The issue is once you open the source, if there’s anything wrong with it, that will get replicated across the whole crypto community. You don’t want a really bad privacy bug in 20 or 30 coins, so we decided to do this in a staggered approach.”

He thanked cryptocurrency advisor and author Kristov Atlas for his work on auditing the darkcoin code, which resulted in a number of security fixes. More information about the audit, which includes a reply from Duffield with regards to the fixes made, can be found here.

During the interview, he explained the instant transaction initiative unveiled last month by the darkcoin development team. Using the masternode network as a second layer of authentication, the proposed implementation would act as an intermediate confirmation stage prior to the first block confirmation.

“We’re in talks with an ATM provider right now – we’re looking for point-of-sale type companies that would be willing to support it,” he said.

Duffield added that the rapid expansion of the crypto economy is helpful for altcoin projects like darkcoin, providing a means to both educate the broader market and assist initiatives in gaining wider exposure.

Strange alt of the week

ip.bitcointalk

It’s often been said that the key to a great coin is an even greater development team. Much of the success – and as many would argue, value – of an altcoin lies in both the capability and integrity of those who are actually shepherding the project.

Just as important as ability is the overall vision of a coin. In order to thrive, the theory goes, a project needs to be focused enough to get things done, but not too narrow in scope to become bottlenecked at the first sign of trouble.

A new project called cocacolacoin (sign: ICOKE) is part of an umbrella initiative known as NILIcoins, which are presented as so-called ‘art coins’ depicting popular brands like Apple, eBay and Coca-Cola. The developer behind the project argued on Bitcoin Talk that he or she wasn’t violating copyright law by creating the coins, stating:

“The coins are being describe as artworks, and as such no property issues are applied. When I will issue the Coca-Cola coins or the Toyota coins, I will make use of their logo and the coin will have all the features which a real Coca-Cola coin or a real Toyota coin should have one day, only it will be marked with the NILIcoins trademark to mark it a an art piece. Nevertheless this coin will carry its own value based on it being an art piece.”

For this unusual approach to utilizing copyrighted material for altcoins, cocacolacoin has won this week’s Strange Alt of the Week award.

The coin uses a ‘peg’ of 1 bottle of Coke, although the post on Bitcoin Talk states that “this bottle is an art piece not [a] real soda bottle”. It then suggests a value of 0.01 BTC per ICOKE, with a per-artwork value of 0.1 BTC.

“In the real Coca-Cola coins case, it will make sense to keep a much smaller gap between the market price and the coupon coins,” the developer explains.

Images via Bitcoin Talk, YouTube, Shutterstock

Have a tip about a notable happening in the altcoin world? Email CoinDesk at stan@coindesk.com.

Disclaimer: This article should not be viewed as an endorsement. Please do your own extensive research before you consider investing in the altcoin space.

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