Why Bitcoin Spinoffs Are a Dumping Ground For Memes About Get-Rich-Quick Schemes
Now, anybody can make their own coin.
Image: Flickr/Michael Berger
"You really, really don't want to get involved in this. But, there is some good news, it's worth $0.00000."
It's an unusual sales pitch, even in the world of cryptocurrencies based on bitcoin's code—called altcoins, or sometimes "tokens" when they're built on top of bitcoin's existing blockchain—where even stuff like digital money based on a dog meme can get off the ground.
But Reddit user "AmadeusGoodrich" is sticking with it: They're trying to give away an admittedly worthless token they just created called Zohar to anybody who wants some. They've minted 1,000,000 of these tokens, according to a Reddit post on Thursday that announced the giveaway. AmadeusGoodrich will unload 100,000 at a time to anybody who wants them. Why? Why not!
"It's a pyramid scheme, just like your day job"
It's unclear what, exactly, is going on here, but it sure looks like an acerbic piss-take on how easy it is these days to create a brand new virtual currency and drum up some fleeting value before cashing out. Sites like Counterparty, which AmadeusGoodrich used to create Zohar, are set up to allow anybody to create a new token within the bitcoin blockchain.
Or maybe it's just some brazen reverse psychology. Whatever's happening, at least they seem to be having fun.
"Common [sic] guys, it's a pyramid scheme, just like your day job," AmadeusGoodrich wrote. "Let's get rich! Next person who gives an address gets 100,000 coins."
Altcoins and tokens are worthless until enough people buy in to give them some actual value. As a result, new coins are often accused of "pumping" so that whoever's behind them can inflate their coin's price before an eventual "dump."
Some bitcoin observers have ascribed the failure of most altcoins to compete with bitcoin proper to this low-investment, speculation-heavy landscape.
Some go on to succeed, like Litecoin, which was designed to be a bit faster than bitcoin and has managed to sustain interest since 2011, when it was created. But ZOHAR perfectly illustrates how almost anybody can easily create a new coin or token and start making noise in order to force some attention onto it.
It's unclear if AmadeusGoodrich really hopes to make some money out of this, or if he's just joking around—if there's even a difference between the two. They haven't answered a message I sent asking for comment.
Regardless of their intentions, a few people have actually joined in on the joke-but-maybe-not-a-joke-if-this-gets-going. A quick look at AmadeusGoodrich's digital wallet shows they've sent the promised 100,000 worthless tokens to three different wallets.
Going back to the aforementioned "dog meme coin," an altcoin called Dogecoin is actually a great example of what AmadeusGoodrich is likely making a big 'ole joke out of. Dogecoin started as a gag, but enough people started using it that its value skyrocketed almost overnight. Not much later, it crashed by about 80 percent.
But, hey, they're also a philanthropist.
"I'm pledging 50,000 Zohars to end all wars, poverty, and illness in the world," AmadeusGoodrich wrote.
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