There have been some exciting (and kind of bizzare) developments in the past week and a half in the alternative digital currency world. Unfortunately, in an ecosystem of hundreds of coins, one can only hope to get a taste of what’s happening amid all the activity.

With July underway and the summer of 2014 shaping up to be a big one for digital currencies of all kinds, let’s take a look at a couple of the recent happenings in alt that could have long-term effects on the altcoin movement.

McShibe burger creator pitches design to McDonald’s

In May, the dogecoin community entered a series of digital currency-themed burger designs into a contest held by McDonald’s UK. At the time, the most popular entry – the McDogecoin – was removed by administrators, resulting in the production of additional burger designs by the community. One of these was the ‘McShibe’, which was ultimately  selected for the contest’s final round by the fast food giant.

McShibe

Earlier this week, the creator of the McShibe traveled to McDonald’s UK corporate offices to prepare the McShibe for presentation and tasting. He detailed the visit on the dogecoin subreddit, describing the process and sharing the McDonald’s UK team’s enthusiasm for both the community and digital currency as a whole.

Speaking with CoinDesk, he said that several of the participants from McDonald’s had many questions about dogecoin. As well, he said that the McDonald’s UK burger testers enjoyed the taste of the McShibe, and that he felt confident the burger would be selected by McDonald’s for a week-long trial period at select restaurants.

He said:

“I rate my chances high, as the judges liked the burgers’ taste and the whole community aspect behind the burger. They seemed quite impressed with the power of Internet and I had some of them ask tons of questions about dogecoin, how it works, etc.”

Now, McDonald’s UK will deliberate on the final entries. CoinDesk will provide an update on this story as it develops.

Vertcoin releases stealth address update

VertcoinIn a recent edition of All Things Alt, we discussed vertcoin’s move to incorporate stealth addresses. This development strategy was aimed, in part, at creating a solution for users who want privacy that sidesteps some of the problems associated with integrating transaction anonymity technology.

Earlier this week, the vertcoin development team announced the release of stealth addresses in the vertcoin mainnet after testing on the alt’s merged-mined coin Monocle.

The team noted on the Bitcoin Talk forum that the stealth deployment is a good compromise between demand for transaction concealment from users who prioritise privacy and concerns from more mainstream users and investors, who feel a focus on anonymity is unnecessary and potentially harmful.

The team said:

“Business users may have worried anonymous payments would prove too litigious to be practical; personal users may have worried about the integrity of payments with full anonymity. Now both can rest assured because the privacy vertcoin’s stealth addresses provide are right in line with what we would all expect from a world-class coin.”

The team cautioned that, as more nodes are being added, there could be delays for large-scale vertcoin transactions that take place via the stealth option. However, SX functionality, as it is called, is said to be working at normal speeds for smaller VTC amounts.

Minerals, leaguecoin stake claim to e-sports betting

MineralsThere’s little doubt that e-sports, also known as competitive gaming, has been catching on worldwide for years. In the past two years, e-sports viewership has increased dramatically. According to a report by digital gaming market research firm Super Data Research, as many as 71 million people around the globe watch e-sports events, as of 2013.

Games like StarCraft II, League of Legends and Dota II attract huge audiences, and proportionally significant cash prizes for those who excel at the games. Players can make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year based on their gaming skill, whereas the gambling market on these events is estimated to be in the millions of dollars annually.

Demand for e-sports betting has led to the creation of at least two altcoins that will focus primarily on facilitating bets using digital currencies. Leaguecoin and minerals, both of which are proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrids, each present different approaches to how betting on popular games can lead to broader alt adoption.

LeaguecoinMinerals launched the public beta of a new wallet-based betting feature on 3rd July, enabling users to place bets on StarCraft II matches. While the development team cautioned that there could be bugs and suggested that participants only bet small amounts, early reports indicate that the functionality worked as planned.

Leaguecoin focuses specifically on League of Legends and the development team is expected to launch an e-betting site next week. In addition to the site, the alt will feature two bot layers – a tip bot and a betting bot – to enable faster bets and provide more connectivity with the central betting platform.

It remains to be seen if one coin or the other takes a prominent role in digital currency e-sports betting. Upcoming e-sports tournaments – and the potential for both coins to launch features or events that generate enthusiasm – could play a role in how either alt develops in the weeks ahead.

Strange alt of the week

AryacoinCoins that celebrate a certain public figure or character aren’t exactly new in the alternative digital currency world. For example, coin developers have created alts based on everyone from Internet celebrities to noted politicians.

We can now add fictional characters from books and TV shows with aryacoin, an alt branded after Arya Stark from ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by fantasy author George R. R. Martin. The character has become famous in recent years on the popular HBO show ‘Game of Thrones’, where the character is played by Maisie Williams.

The aryacoin project calls for integration with the broader proprietary property, based on the books and TV show as a vehicle for broader usage. For this, aryacoin has won this week’s Strange Alt of the Week award.

Notably, the developer stated on Bitcoin Talk that key project goals include being used as a currency for buying official merchandise, and as in-game currency for any Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire-themed video games.

The coin itself is a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid based on the X11 mining algorithm, with a maximum supply of 5 million coins and an annual interest rate of 20%.

Unfortunately, it appears that the aryacoin project may not be launched, owing to a lack of investors during an initial public-offering phase. According to the developer, aryacoin could be launched later if interest grows.

Images via Bitcoin Talk, reddit

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

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