November 23, 2017
By Jon Southurst - July 26, 2016 (news.bitcoin.com)
For everyone confused by the drama surrounding certain blockchain projects this week, it might be time to take a break and look at some alternative platforms – starting with Counterparty.
As examples of what the platform can do, Bitcoin.com asked Trevor Altpeter and other members of the Counterparty Foundation to name their favorite projects built using Counterparty or using its tokens. The top not-quite-ten list is below.
First, some explanation of Counterparty and the way its tokens work is necessary, as it works differently to other blockchain projects.
Counterparty was started as a means to create new digital assets and other decentralized financial while using the Bitcoin blockchain. Counterparty also has its own blockchain, which receives instructions from bitcoin’s chain via a process known as “embedded consensus.”
It interacts via its native “currency” XCP, which is not a competitor to bitcoin – and cannot exist without it. XCP value was created in January-February 2014 by sending bitcoins to unspendable addresses.
This “proof of burn” method was intended to avoid pre-mines and token sales, which are often used to raise funds for other projects, but remain controversial with some users and could raise regulators’ eyebrows.
A total 2100 BTC was “burned” in that period and the resulting amount of XCP was permanently fixed. XCP itself is burned as fuel for smart contracts, and the amount required is continually adjusted so it cannot reach zero.
Any Counterparty wallet holding XCP can be used to create a custom token (i.e. a new cryptocurrency). The user chooses the amount (in XCP) to spend, the total number of tokens and the name. These tokens can then be sent and received using Counterparty-compatible wallets (more about those below) and if popular, even traded on some exchanges.
Counterparty addresses look the same as Bitcoin addresses and transaction information is encoded on the Bitcoin blockchain. The tokens can be used in games, for voting and crowdfunding, authentication, decentralized applications, or simply for vanity or fun.
Storj is a decentralized cloud storage technology. Storj created a cryptocurrency known as SJCX that exists as a Counterparty asset. Storj is working with Counterparty developers to implement payment channel technology to enable Storj micropayments to participants on the Storj network. Storj is one of the most successful cryptocurrency projects in terms of enterprise interest – it is now a part of Microsoft Azure and generating consistent interest from corporate entities.
2. Spells of Genesis
Spells of Genesis is a mobile game developed by Moonga and a leading innovator in the concept of in-game assets. Using Counterparty, Spells of Genesis has created an in-game medium of exchange known as BitCrystals. Spells of Genesis also makes use of in-game items in the form of trading cards (also launched via Counterparty). A full list of SOG assets can be viewed here.
3. IndieSquare Wallet
IndieSquare is a mobile Bitcoin and Counterparty wallet with “a great interface and a number of unique features.” IndieSquare Wallet facilitates uses of the Counterparty Decentralized Exchange (DEx) allowing users to buy and sell Bitcoin, XCP, and Counterparty assets with no middleman. Users can also create and manage assets/tokens directly from the IndieSquare Wallet, assuming they have XCP and BTC stored there.
IndieSquare looks to offer easy-to-use APIs for web and mobile services in the near future, allowing third party devs to develop powerful and creative Counterparty token integrated services beyond financial applications – such as gaming and content creation.
GetGems is a messaging app and wallet built on top of Telegram that has created a cryptocurrency on Counterparty known as GEMZ. GetGems’ biggest technological innovation to date is a patented keyboard payment solution known as “Paykey.”
5. Let’s Talk Bitcoin/LTBcoin
Let’s Talk Bitcoin is one of cryptocurrency’s oldest and most popular podcasts, and for many provided an initial Bitcoin education. Hosts Adam B. Levine, Andreas Antonopoulos and Stephanie Murphy have been regulars for over three years. LTBcoin, created as a reward for podcast listeners and content creators, is the asset with the most transactions on the Counterparty network to date.
CoinDaddy is a site created and run by Counterparty community director Jeremy Johnson (J-Dog). It is an all-purpose Counterparty enhancement site – a cryptocurrency version of GoDaddy.com. CoinDaddy and Tokenly are expected to be increasingly important as Counterparty gains popularity and utility.
Tokenly is created by former Counterparty community director Devon Weller and Adam B. Levine. The goal of Tokenly is to add tools that make use of Counterparty technology. Two highly successful tools offered by Tokenly are the Tokenly swapbot and token-controlled access using Counterparty tokens.
FoldingCoin is a rewards program that distributes tokens called FLDC to participants to the global Folding@home network. Folding@home is a program developed by Stanford University that “donates” users’ computer power to help find cures for diseases. Several projects that have launched on the Counterparty network have used merged folding as a fair distribution method.
Topcoin is a reward system focused on domain registrars and online service providers such as VPS (virtual private server) companies. Topcoin has been functioning for quite a while under the radar, and users can spend Topcoin on Uniregistry.com today with ChunkHost – other domain registrars are expected to be added in future.
Note: the above list is as suggested by the Counterparty Foundation, and is not an official review or endorsement by Bitcoin.com of the projects included. The writer of this article does not currently hold any XCP.
Jon Southurst has been interested in bitcoin since reading Neal Stephenson's 'Cryptonomicon' in 2012. A long-time tech writer, he has been a regular contributor at CoinDesk and has written for Kaiko.com, DeepDotWeb and ancient print publications. He lives on an artificial island in Tokyo.