Oh, where do I begin… Feathercoin, the original litecoin copycat that sparked the great altcoin flood of 2013. Actually, describing it as a copycat is giving it too much credit. Feathercoin is actually a fork of litecoin.

You see, the developer, bushstar, displayed absolute bare minimum competence when creating this coin. One of the most basic steps of creating an altcoin is to create a new genesis block. This is the block that the entire blockchain will build off of, and is one of the key differentiators between coins.

But bushstar, in all his incompetence, couldn’t figure out how to create his own genesis block. Instead of admitting defeat and that he had no business launching a coin, he did the next best thing he could think of: reuse the litecoin genesis block, and put in a hardfork at the first block. This makes feathercoin a fork of litecoin, a “distinction” that few coins have.

Additionally, the coin was launched with bare minimum difficulty, so it was instamined to an extreme degree, as shown below. Those who participated in the instamining will from here on out be referred to as the insiders.

The level of incompetence involved in this whole scenario should have precluded anyone from taking feathercoin seriously. But predictably, the community has little technical understanding of what they’re investing in, so they were suckers for marketing. For what bushstar lacked in coding ability, he made up for in his marketing ability. Feathercoin was marketed very similar to how litecoin was. Feathercoin was the “bronze” to bitcoin’s gold, and had parameters relative to litecoin equivalent to litecoin’s parameters relative to bitcoin. This strategy worked quite well, and feathercoin captured significant market share. Sitting at a market cap of about 16k BTC, it is easily the most overvalued coin out there right now, and not something I would ever invest a bitcent into.

A large part of it’s success can be attributed to BTC-e adding it to their exchange. It is likely that some shady backroom deals were involved, as BTC-e has a history of accepting bribes. I’m sure most of you by now know about the Novacoin scenario, but there was also another documented incident of the same kind. Several months ago, some emails were leaked detailing the possible addition of americancoin to BTC-e. The terms involved a large USD bribe, as well as a hefty amount of americancoins. The deal obviously fell through, but it is demonstrative of what one must do to have their coin added. Given how new feathercoin was, I have no doubts in my mind that the insiders paid BTC-e off for it’s addition.

Amazingly, 5 months later, FTC is still around. This coin should have died months ago, but keeps getting a new lease on life every time it’s close to death. From the beginning, this coin has lazily copied from others, and has done nothing innovative. That trend continues to this day. You may remember about 6 weeks ago feathercoin added a “new” feature called Advanced Checkpointing. It’s a nice feature, sure, but the feathercoin devs aren’t the creators of it. This feature was originally part of PPCoin, and yet, no credit is given. One must dig around on github to see that Sunny King (PPcoin dev) authored the commit. There’s no mention of him anywhere in the release post.

Feathercoin is a parasite. It brings nothing new to the table. It takes the ideas of others and passes them off as it’s own. But I tip my hat to you, bushstar. Despite your woeful incompetence, you managed to hack together a coin and swindle the community for a nice sum of money. It’s more than most would be able to accomplish. No doubt you’re laughing all the way to the bank.

UPDATE: Coblee (Litecoin dev) has reached to me to share his experience with feathercoin.

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