The phenomenon of cryptocurrencies is enabling people to, for all intents and purposes, create their own money. Coin value and levels of seriousness may fluctuate between entries on this list, but the inescapable fact is that each was created for and serves a community.
As finance becomes increasingly digitised - a digital store of value is becoming increasingly more likely - these altcoins are a reminder that the modern sector’s frontiers are wide open and anyone with industry knowledge can contribute.
09: Useless Ethereum Token
A clear winner on this list, Useless Ethereum Token is less an investable asset or usable form of currency and more like a philosophical exercise: would you invest money in something that offered no value simply because it existed?
Most finance-savvy people would probably answer ‘no’, and even the creator appears to agree with this assessment, “The UET ICO transparently offers investors no value, so there will be no expectation of gains.” The unvarnished honesty of its ‘sales pitch’ is also underscored by a strange logic: the tokens are already worth nothing and can technically only gain value.
A more substantial reason for UET’s existence is as a protest against too-frequent initial coin offerings (ICOs) on the Ethereum network. Overall, however, it appears to be best summed up by its own FAQ page, “Seriously, don't buy this.”
Supply: 3,965,716 (current circulation)
Boosted by Elon Musk’s Twitter-based championing, the unlikely Dogecoin has gained notoriety in 2021 as a satirical cryptocurrency that’s subsequently become a genuine investment prospect.
Created in 2013, Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus based the altcoin on a popular internet meme showing a surprised Shiba Inu dog. Technologically forked from Litecoin, Dogecoin has an unlimited supply and therefore could theoretically become infinitely inflated. Therefore, it cannot be seriously considered as a digitally-based store of value.
Joke or not, Dogecoin has proved both the unexpectedly diverse viability of cryptocurrencies and the power of internet culture to have a direct impact on modern finance.
07: Cthulhu Offerings
Named after the H.P. Lovecraft story ‘The Call of Cthulhu’, OFF’s users colourfully describe coins as ‘blessings’, mining as ‘sacrifices’, and themselves as ‘cultists’.
Outside of the token’s gothic aesthetic, it functions as a relatively uncomplicated cryptocurrency, albeit without much latent profitability or potential for use outside a circle of enthusiasts.
Supply: < three million
Akin to the previous entry, PutinCoin is a cryptocurrency that was created in tribute to a prominent contemporary political figure, in this case Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.
Apparently created after TrumpCoin, it’s uncertain whether PUT is a parody of the former or a genuine form of homage to Putin and (according to the website) the “largest and greatest countries in the world: Russia!”
Although the digital economy only constitutes 3.9% of Russia’s GDP, compared to 10.9% in the US and 10% in China, the impact of widespread digital transformation is likely to grow this figure. In a more accommodating environment, the applications of cryptocurrency in Russia are likely to increase, too. Whether PUT will be at the forefront of that new paradigm is uncertain.
Supply: 90 billion
TrumpCoin was created on 20 February 2016, a few months prior to Donald Trump’s ascension as the Republican Party’s official nominee in that year’s presidential election.
The token’s creators call TRUMP (the coin) a “worldwide fundraiser and support tool” for non-distinct beneficiaries labeled ‘Patriots’, as well as generally supporting the former president’s political aims. Trump himself is/was not officially affiliated with the coin which bears his digital visage.
Although TRUMP continues to be actively traded, its future looks bleak now that its figurehead is out of the White House.
Supply: 18 million
Presumably also a reference to a fictional substance from the 2009 sci-fi movie Avatar, Unobtanium is appropriately named because of its purposefully low supply; the website states that only 250,000 can be mined over the next 30 years.
Although it does not pretend to entirely circumvent price volatility, UNO’s creators claim that this rarity has facilitated “an unparalleled history of growth and value retention” and bill it as a potential store of value equal to “precious metals.”
While every effort has been made to keep the altcoin’s distribution “fair”, the verdict on whether UNO’s rarity will make it genuinely interesting as a digital ‘gold standard’ or merely a curiosity of the crypto boom remains to be seen.
Initially launched by the Venezualan government in 2018 as a remedy to hyperinflation issues linked to its ‘bolívar fuerte’ currency, Petro has since been widely criticised for perpetuating the same problem.
For one thing, the white paper outlining its development was notoriously mercurial. Also, the government opted to pre-mine every coin, meaning that it owns all tokens in circulation (almost 64 million) and they are all that can ever exist. This makes it a centralised asset, as opposed to Bitcoin’s decentralised status.
Adding to PTR’s woes are the ongoing Venezuela-US trade sanctions that have prohibited international investment. Three years after its launch, it is reportedly non-functional as a form of currency.
Designed in 2013, Mooncoin is an altcoin that uses the average distance between Earth and the Moon as its supply unit parameters. While this doesn’t make MOON’s supply infinite (and therefore not the most inflated coin on this list), it is still substantially larger than others.
Discounting this design quirk, the rest of MOON is relatively straightforward: transaction costs are inexpensive and it features low block time, rendering it an easily mined asset.
It is highly unlikely that this cryptocurrency will ever accrue any serious value. However, the token’s applicability in the emerging micropayments sector makes it far from useless.
Supply: 227+ billion
PotCoin originated as a way for incorporating blockchain payment technology into the US’ emerging cannabis industry. Since its creation in 2014, its official website reports that over $1bn in value has been transacted and POT’s network has grown to more than 408,000.
More developed than other examples on this list owing to its practical use, POT boasts a rewards programme, point of sale functionality, and regulatory compliance information.
POT is open source, decentralised, global, and community focused; the only joke lies in its maximum supply cap.
Supply: 420 million