Willet or Won’t It? (Mastercoin)

Yesterday, JR Willet announced official launch of Mastercoin

http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1jftts/official_launch_new_protocol_layer_starting_from/
and
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.0

which includes an interesting “investment” opportunity. Send coins to the “exodus address” and you will get 100x that amount of master coin. Mastercoins aren’t worth anything now, but neither were bitcoin back in the day, or litecoin when it was launched, or… that’s the general idea.

IIUC, there will only ever be as many MasterCoins as are sent to the exodus address by September 1 2013 (reedit comment from above thread). So if master coin is a success, the initial investors should win big. Well… To be honest, I don’t understand how exactly they win big yet, but I haven’t given up on understanding the whitepaper. Even if the scheme fails, I think the ideas are important, so I am devoting some time to building up real intuition.

You can watch “investments” trickle in here:

http://blockchain.info/address/1EXoDusjGwvnjZUyKkxZ4UHEf77z6A5S4P

1200 of that is JR Willet’s own bitcoin, which doesn’t really count, but the non-JR money is slowly mounting up as well.

TLDR: It sounds like a scam, but I don’t think it is. But that doesn’t mean it will work. But I hope it does! But it has some problems.

The Mastercoin project is in the same spirit as Colored Coins (http://www.bitcoinx.org/) and, less directly, ripple and open transactions. Build services on top of bitcoin where non-crypto assets can also be traded.

I saw JR Willet present at Bitcoin 2013 conference in San Jose. He struck he as an honest guy, well intentioned, and smart. That’s why I don’t think Mastercoin is a scam. But I’m skeptical the funding model will get enough traction from the community to matter; especially since when/if source code is released we can expect a flood of master coin clones — even if traction is tepid. If you send Willet bitcoin, to the “Exodus Address” don’t expect it back. This goes to fund the development effort, and you will only be compensated with MasterCoins, which will only be worth anything if the project succeeds.

Overall I like the direction Colored Coin is taking better, but the colored coin development effort seems to be stalled in disarray at the moment, perhaps allowing MasterCoin to take center stage.

My concerns with Mastercoin are pretty much summed up by this thread

http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1jftts/official_launch_new_protocol_layer_starting_from/cbeexys

It comes down to… why? Why get behind MasterCoin, and place faith in the centrally managed system and the development effort of Willet, when there is Colored Coin, and Ripple, and…

That being said, while my brain doubts, my heart likes. I like the whitepaper, and I like Willet.

So, I may well be sending a few satoshis to the exodus address as a lottery ticket, and…

here’s hoping it will!

Whether it will or it won’t, Colored Coin, Master Coin, or something like it is going to play an important role in the bitcoin ecosystem next 6-18 months. Investors: watch this space.

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About thomashartman1

I am a crypto currency enthusiast, trader, and software developer. Contact: thomas AT standardcrypto DOT com.
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One Response to Willet or Won’t It? (Mastercoin)

  1. Pingback: MasterCoin Proposal to Make Bitcoin More Stable and Secure | unSpy

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