bitcoinmagazine.com / by VITALIK BUTERIN /AUGUST 12, 2013
In this past month, it seems like alternate cryptocurrencies have been all the rage. Earlier last month, Sunny King released Primecoin, a prime-number based cryptocurrency that is the first to attempt to make its mining algorithm simultaneously serve some kind of social value, and the currency was mentioned on BusinessInsider less than two days after launch. The currency then grew quickly, getting its own gambling site and exchange within three days. The surprising thing is that Primecoin is not unique in this. Over the past two years, we have seen the development of over seventy alternate currencies with features ranging from a smaller or larger number of coins to faster confirmations and radically different alternatives to Bitcoin’s proof of work.
One of the less radical alternatives in the alternative cryptocurrency, or “altcoin”, scene is Feathercoin, a currency introduced by Peter Bushnell on April 16, 2013. On a technical level, Feathercoin started off not being significantly different from Litecoin; the only change was an increase in the final currency supply from 84 million to 336 million. Later on, however, the currency developed other small differences; one change is faster difficulty retargets, allowing the network to adjust more quickly to changes in network power.