As a decentralized cash alternative for payments and a form of investment, the popularity of cryptocurrency has surged over the years. It’s become so popular that Facebook is launching its own cryptocurrency, Libra, but that won’t be available until 2020.
From playful collectors of CryptoKitties to zealots who create coins to align themselves with the views of politicians, including Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the cryptocurrency market has seen its fair share of both serious and zany coins over the years. Here are the top five weirdest cryptocurrencies you can buy today:
Who let the Dog(e) out?
Though it started out in jest based on the popular Doge meme in 2013, the Dogecoin actually attracts a loyal following, thanks to its playful Japanese dog breed Shiba Inu mascot. Over the years, owners have used Dogecoin to pay for items ranging from the mundane to high-priced real estate. The currency reached its peak in January 2018 with a market cap of $2 billion, and the community has participated in a number of marketing moves, including sponsoring sports events like NASCAR, donating money to fund clean water in Kenya, and even running a crowdfunding campaign for its members.
Dogecoin gained notoriety shortly after its creation when a hacker accessed the Dogewallet file system to route all coins to another static IP address. The community launched a fundraising initiative called SaveDogemas to help donate coins to those affected by the breach, and the effort was successfully completed in about a month’s time.
Though it’s better known for its photography film, Kodak announced that it was entering the cryptocurrency market at CES in January 2018. KodakCoin, as it is known, was designed to work with the company’s KodakOne platform as a currency for payment for the licensing of photographs. KodakCoin’s initial coin offering was scheduled for January 31, 2018, but the company delayed the launch for July 1, 2019.
As a way to attract photographers to Kodak’s platforms and help them monetize their art, KodakOne is based upon blockchain technology. The platform uses web crawlers to identify stolen images online and seek licensing fees. Photographers are intended to eventually collect in KodakCoin. Miners can also use the Kodak’s KashMiner to extract more coins.
For your pearly whites
Based on the Ethereum platform, DentaCoin was conceived as a way to pay your dentist for ongoing oral treatments. It’s marketed as an alternative blockchain-based payment method that dentists can accept while at the same time promoting patient health, but this cryptocurrency actually works more like a healthcare financing plan.
Patients make monthly payments to a DentaCoin account, and in turn, the dentist gets a share of that fee for dental procedures. The goal, according to the company, is to make preventive dental care more affordable to people with no private dental insurance by securing payments and reducing transaction costs through the DentaCoin Wallet app. Though it’s primarily used as a payment method, DentaCoin can also help patients and dentists share medical records.
A tasty currency good enough to eat
Though it’s gimmicky, Whoppercoin, created by Burger King in Russia, is designed as a cryptocurrency for bartering, taking us back to the roots of the exchange of goods before money was invented. Whoppercoin was created as a loyalty program for the Russian house of Whoppers, and customers can get one Whoppercoin for each ruble spent in purchases. In sum, you would need to collect 1,700 Whoppercoins to get a free burger. For reference, one U.S. dollar is equivalent to 65 Russian rubles.
Tomagotchi meets Beanie Babies
If cats are more your thing than Dogecoin’s Shiba Ina, then there are plenty of feline coins in the cryptocurrency market. One of the most famous is CryptoKitties, a blockchain-based game that lets you breed, buy, sell, and collect virtual kitties. It’s like Tomagotchi meets Beanie Babies, and your fur-baby’s coin value increases based on its unique genome and virtual DNA. A recent CryptoKitty sale fetched $170,000 in cash. If you just want a straight-up token minus the fun of creating a unique kitty, then Catcoin may be a better bet, but there are plenty of options out there for pet lovers.
Did any of these eccentric coins make it into your digital wallet?
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