Given the relatively quiet altcoin market, it's easy to miss the new technologies and interesting applications that are gaining ground.
Yet, as September rolls to a close and October lies just around the corner, it might be premature to assume that the altcoin world is running out of steam as some have suggested. Today's roundup includes a chat with the developer of XCurrency, a look at I/O's new proof-of-stake concept and an altcoin that is out of this world.
I/O preps next-gen proof-of-stake framework
The proof-of-stake (PoS) concept has expanded in recent months, including implementations such as reddcoin's proof-of-stake velocity and proof-of-stake 2.0, developed by the creator of blackcoin.
The development team for I/0 has proposed a new approach to minting blocks that it says will help reduce potential dangers endemic to networks that utilize staking to authorize transactions.
Developer Joel Bosh told CoinDesk that "we are proposing a huge change away from the current PoS inflationary state". He said that the development process included input and code assessemnt from blackcoin's lead developer, and explained that the effort is aimed ultimately at improving a promising but flawed process.
The I/O white paper proposes making network fees more flexible to reflect changes in both transaction volume.
The paper explains:
"When the volume becomes insufficient to ensure the demands on the market, each coin and accordingly each transaction fee becomes more expensive. Transaction rates and eventually coin destruction rates decrease, and full volume increases."
The proposal represents one of the latest efforts to build on existing PoS models, as well as make the technology more resistant to network threats. Past events, including the hard fork of the vericoin network, have raised concerns that proof-of-stake systems are too risky for broader adoption.
The new I/O proof-of-stake system is set to go live on 26th September beginning with the 100,000th network block.
XC developer: Coins need economies to work
The developmental cycle of a digital currency, as demonstrated by both bitcoin and more mature altcoins, sometimes leads to the creation of corporate structures that exist to both promote and grow the project further through product distribution or marketing.
Privacy-oriented altcoin XCurrency, or XC, has recenly begun moving to build a business around its existing development framework. CoinDesk spoke with lead developer and CEO Dan Metcalf, who said that like other existing chains, XC represents a platform on which to build new applications in a decentralized and private environment. However, without the backing of a formalized institution, he said, it makes it more difficult to realize the full potential of a project like XC.
"These applications need a business behind them to be able to sell these services and be the trusted third party or broker," he said.
Metcalf said that the process of creating what he called XC, Inc. has only just begun, and that the idea is still in the conceptual phase. One idea being developed is an initial token offering, or ITO, with each token signifying partial ownership in XC, Inc.
This decentralized corporation concept has been explored in the past by other groups, though as Metcalf explained, the initiative seeks to reward existing XC stakeholders.
Metcalf told CoinDesk that ultimately, the focus is to build an environment for the currency in which it can be used for real purposes, noting:
"I think one of the reasons that bitcoin worked was because of Silk Road. It was an economy that kept the system fluid until it reached critical mass. In order for XC to be that consumer coin, it needs an economy or the ability to be used over the existing networks - in an user friendly manner."
MintPal overhaul faces more delays
The much-anticipated launch of Mintpal V2 has experienced another delay.
Owner and operator Moolah LTD, which acquired the altcoin exchange in July after a hack attack, apologized to its customers on Twitter today after previously indicating that final preparations were being made for the platform.
Prior to the hacking, MintPal was one of the more popular and more established altcoin exchanges. Further, the delays come at a time when rival Cryptsy has integrated new services that aim to help it bolster its risk mitigation and compliance.
We really are sorry for the delays, but are just trying to ensure a solid platform. We'll see what we can do to make it up to you all.
-- Moolah (@moolah_io) September 26, 2014
Supporters and critics of MintPal took to social media to respond to the company's message, with some poking fun at what they called a long redesign process that began after Moolah bought the troubled exchange.
Waiting on Mintpal V2 ... pic.twitter.com/90CDRLFbzb
-- Taoslap (@taoslap) September 26, 2014
Earlier this week, Moolah wrote on its official blog that the process involved heavy data migration volume, and that many steps needed to be taken before a launch became feasible.
In that post, the exchange owner said that a previously announced two-week period of no-fee trading would be extended by an additional week.
Strange alt of the week
Tribute coins aren't as in vogue as they once might have been, but every once in a while a new project emerges that takes a light-hearted approach to honoring someone or something.
Borgcoin, which launched at the end of April, is an homage to the eponymous cybernetic race that serves as one of the primary antagonists in the Star Trek universe. According to the developers, the coin is intended to be "the ultimate Star Trek collectible cryptocoin".
The official Bitcoin Talk post shares a bit of the "inspiration" for the coin, explaining:
"The Borg Queen has noticed the propagation of altcoins in the Alpha Quadrant which will soon reach and influence the Delta Quadrant. The Borg Queen has decided to create her own hive Borg coin. This coin would be scrypt based and would then be used by all borg assimilated planets in the sector and all throughout the Delta Quadrant."
For its unique approach to a fan currency, borgcoin has won this week's Strange Alt of the Week award.
The altcoin has a 500m max supply limit, which the developers note is "based on the mass ton of the Borg trans warp ship with a maximum rated speed of 29.968 war factor with advanced warp drive".
Looking ahead, the developers hope to use the altcoin as a payment product for Star Trek-related products and services, stating that real-world "assimilation" of borgcoin at local merchants are soon to come.
"Join the collective now," the post notes.
Images via Bitcoin Talk, Wikimedia