June 6, 2013
If you think you missed out on the crypto currency craze, think again; the race is set to be a long one. The media loves to typecast Bitcoin as a fad that will pass in due time, but the only place digital currency seems to be headed – in the opinion of this author – is upward.
There is evidence of it in other currencies that have been popping up, like TerraCoin and Litecoin. But there remains an underdog who has garnered more popularity in a few short weeks than Litecoin could muster in over a year: welcome to the big leagues, Feathercoin.
Users on Bitcointalk.org have a mixed bag of emotions regarding Feathercoin, but user aikklond puts it best: “Grasp the economy basics of supply and demand. How many brands of Credit Cards are there? How many Stocks are listed in NYSE? How many coins do you think a 7+ Billion population needs? Feathercoin is a wild success, and it will not be the last.”
Part of its popularity is due to the fact that it is newer and easier to mine than other digital currencies, but I wanted to dig deeper to see if any special elements set Feathercoin apart from its counterparts.
Feathercoin operates on the same platform as Litecoin, with Scrypt-based hashing algorithms that run on GPUs. This is crucial because Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 algorithm that favors ASIC mining hardware traditionally known to cause trouble.
ASIC hardware does outperform GPU hardware, but since it is so potent, it will eventually render GPU Bitcoin mining redundant. The last thing that digital currencies need in their fledgling state is to be self-defeated, so a Scrypt-based crypto currency is designed to safeguard against the effects of ASIC mining.
Feathercoin has an upper hand with block rewards, offering two hundred coins per block chain with a total of 336 million total coins planned to be circulated. Bitcoin, on the other hand, will only ever circulate 21 million coins.
Despite the technical differences, Feathercoin has another edge over Bitcoin and Litecoin that plays to its advantage. The forum community, cultivated by John Manglaviti and Peter Bushnell, consists of over 1,000 users, all of whom volunteer their time to make the Feathercoin useful in various markets.
“Our users believe in the coin and they believe in each other,” says Manglaviti.
With 11 established sub-groups ranging from miners to artists, Feathercoin is operating in an almost grassroots campaign fashion. The aim is to be the digital currency for everyday transactions.
And the entire community is behind this ideal, casting aside personal attacks and elitist attitudes so that they might all see Feathercoin at the top of the market one day.
“You can talk about what might be wrong with the currency,” says Manglaviti. “But you have to be willing to pick up the shovel and work.”
In their upcoming release, Feathercoin will be focusing on improving their customer experience in an effort to make transactions and currency exchanges as simple as possible for any new user. While it does remain a bit complex at the current moment, a team of volunteers has created a host of tutorials for beginners who want to join the Feathercoin movement.
That is, after all, how I found myself downloading the client, encrypting my wallet, and beginning to mine digital currency for the first time in my life after only 30 minutes of light reading.
Bitcoin is tied up in its own size and has difficulty adapting quickly, but Feathercoin, as it is said, is digital currency without the weight: FTC FTW.
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