Feathercoin out to prove it’s no lightweight
A Swiss capital injection and the backing of a Zug-based foundation aims to lift cryptocurrencyfeathercointo new heights. Part of the journey involves spreading the gospel of new technical developments for the benefit of the crypto community.
The “catalyst” of the Feathercoin Development Foundation is a significant milestone on the journey of British founder Peter Bushnell, who created the altcoin in 2013. “Initially I only wanted to create a friendly crypto community for enthusiasts but the project grew rapidly and things are a lot more serious than they once were,” he told swissinfo.ch.
The foundation is supported by Hyperion Capital, the Swiss investment vehicle backed by a number of wealthy individuals including billionaire Rainer-Marc Frey. This will pay for three developers who will, among other things, develop a more user-friendly wallet and other applications.
“The crypto user experience for people outside the space is far from optimal, especially when you want to store large amounts of crypto,” foundation president Lucas Betschart told swissinfo.ch.
This scale of work would have been beyond the reach of feathercoin’s original core development team, explains Bushnell. “It was a struggle to attract more skilled developers to the project and just as hard to get people to stay without being able to offer a financial reward,” he said. “Crypto is complex and far from easy, so often people who are at first willing to try and port third party software give up when they discover how hard the work can be.”
Window of opportunity
Bushnell admits that the cryptocurrency – or ‘altcoin’ – feathercoin got “left behind” recently as he turned his attention to other projects. Last year’s rapid rise in the value of bitcoin was a boon for the whole crypto space, which gave Bushnell extra impetus, especially when prices began to drop this year.
“My concern was not taking advantage of this window. If Bitcoin were to drop down to $1,000 or less then altcoins would suffer greatly and a lot would disappear entirely as people pull out. When Bitcoin went down to £4,000 [$5,700 or CHF5,400] earlier this year I wondered if feathercoin had missed its opportunity.”
So what does feathercoin now hope to achieve with its new capital and developers? And how will it distinguish itself from more than a thousand crypto tokens out there? Feathercoin has been described by some as another litecoin, the altcoin that branched off from the bitcoin mainline in 2011 with the aim of increasing speed and transaction volumes.
Feathercoin is another lighter, nimbler version of bitcoin that also includes original features to prevent attackers from hijacking and disabling the system. While bitcoin solved the riddle of decentralized peer-to-peer transactions without the need of third parties, it is criticized for being too slow and cumbersome to challenge the traditional financial system.
But this does not mean that feathercoin wants to take bitcoin’s place, Bushnell explained.
“Feathercoin is a fast coin which is more affordable to use than bitcoin and has protections that most altcoins do not have,” said Bushnell. “With these strengths in mind it would be sensible to look for economic niches that feathercoin can fill without worrying about taking on the number one cryptocurrency.”
Trading at $0.30 per coin, representing an aggregate value of around $56.5 million, feathercoin is a long way off bitcoin’s dominant position ($8,700 per coin, market capitalization $150 billion) among cryptocurrencies. In terms of market cap, feathercoin does not even feature among the top 100 cryptocurrencies, but Bushnell believes this can change. “Ultimately I want to see feathercoin widely used and adopted.”
Betschart, who is also president of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland, sees more mileage in feathercoin contributing to the cryptocurrency arena than trying to compete for dominance. To this end, the foundation will be making its development research available to others.
“Everything we improve at feathercoin will build up the technical library for the whole ecosystem, so it’s a win-win situation,” he said.