SCAM ALERT: In the days following the launch of Coingen, users have reported that the site appears to be a scam – as in, its creator Matt Corallo has allegedly taken users’ Bitcoin without delivering custom digital coins, which was the purported service Coingen performed. Needless to say, do not use Coingen.
The rise of Dogecoin and the soon-to-launch Coinye West (yes, it’s named after the rapper) made it seem as though almost anyone can create a Bitcoin competitor. Now, with the launch of a clever and simple tool, that is actually true.
Dubbed Coingen, the site allows anyone to create their own cryptocurrency with staggering ease. Just come up with a name, an abbreviation, the type of cryptography protocol you want use (SHA256, like Bitcoin, or Scrypt, like Litecoin), and a variety of other technical details about your coin. Enter all of this information into the site’s form, and boom! You have your own coin.
Coingen charges 0.01 BTC (about $8, at current exchange rates) just to generate your coin. You can also choose to pay 0.10 BTC (~$80) to remove Coingen branding from your coin, and 0.05 BTC (~$40) to include the source for your coin.
Created by well known Bitcoin developer Matt “BlueMatt” Corallo, Coingen has received a flood of users since its launch this week. And the names people are giving their coins are … interesting, to say the least. Most, like Yolocoin and Trollcoin, follow the common “whatever-coin” naming scheme, while others take a less conventional approach – think Foobar, John, Stuff, and Dollar. And others are just intentionally offensive. (Rapecoin, anyone?)
The “beauty” of Coingen, says Corallo, is that it democratizes the altcoin creation process, allowing those without the technical know-how to join in the cyptocurrency fun on a new level. “It decreases the barrier to entry from some technical expertise to just marketing expertise,” he says.
“So far all altcoins have been a function of marketing, not interesting technical developments,” Corallo adds. “Coingen just makes that market more available to people with marketing expertise instead of those with just enough technical skills to run sed.”
According to the Coingen website, transactions are currently being processed “semi-manually” and there is a major backlog of coins waiting to come into existence. So, if you really want to fork over part of your Bitcoin stash, it might be best to wait until things calm down for Coingen.
The interesting thing about Coingen is not simply how easy it makes the creation of new altcoins – easier than it should be, if you ask us – but what an influx of new, potentially worthless coins will do for the already volatile world of cryptocurrency. Whatever the effects will be, we can’t imagine they’ll be good. (Though there are some valid arguments to the contrary.) Then again, it could allow one of you to become the next king of Internet money, assuming Kanye West doesn’t take the throne first.
Updated with comments from Corallo and additional contextual information.
[Image via VallaV/Shutterstock]