Art by: Jing Jin

Today we are starting a new feature, The Alt-Cracks. With a near endless stream of altcoins on the market, altcoin related stories are similarly endless. The Alt-Cracks, and yes, we realize the name is a little funny, will be an attempt to pick up all the stories in the altcoin space that either didn't necessitate their own story or for another reason, fell through the cracks.

By no means is it intended as a comprehensive list. The altcoin space is endless. We will miss some stories, and we welcome any leads by altcoin devs, community leaders or users. Likewise, stories covered in their own articles, like the recent Reddit news and Darkcoin going open source, will not be covered here.

This week, we have the Blackcoin team bringing smart contracts to Bitcoin, an update on Sterlingcoin's progress, an online merchant curator launching their own currency and Aerocoin's dedicated developer team rushing to fix some issues.


Workable smart contracts have been Blackcoin's crown jewel since BlackHalo launched a few months back. Its double deposit system ensures both parties will work to resolve any issues and is invested in the contract itself. The problem is that Blackcoin's use isn't as widespread as Bitcoin. The system has great potential for freelancers all over the internet, but the number of employers willing to pay in Blackcoin is limited.

Enter BitHalo. BitHalo allows users to use the same double deposit system using either bitcoin or Blackcoin. It allows users to switch between the two currencies almost seamlessly. An added side benefit of this is the anonymity it brings. Most privacy focused altcoins and bitcoin services address the privacy issue by combining and “mixing” transactions, BitHalo allows users to easily jump blockchains, making it nearly impossible to track. The important part is this:Bitcoin now has a decentralized exchange that uses smart contracts (And the double deposit system) to make third parties (like eBay) unnecessary.

You can read our complete breakdown of BlackHalo when we did our hands-on report a few months back.


Ziftr is an online company that automatically searches the web for the lowest price of whatever it is you are shopping for. It's kind of the of e-commerce sites. As revealed in an interview at Cryptocoins News, they are jumping into the crypto game, not by integrating bitcoin, but by developing their own altcoin, aptly named Ziftrcoin.

It has always long been a dream of the crypto community that companies would eventually use altcoins in a way that grows both the currency and the company. What we have seen so far, for the most part, has been coins being created by developer teams and then trying to get merchant support from there. This is an example of a new altcoin automatically getting some support because of the company launching it.

In the interview, Ziftr said that it is working on getting a network of merchants ready to accept the coin at launch, something they have an advantage at with their close working relationship with merchants.

Ziftrcoin has a distribution model that will turn some off, including a significant premine. However, they are attempting to appear very transparent, and their unique goals may necessitate such an action. 100 million Ziftrcoins are being given out for free and Ziftr has promised to ensure a minimum price for the coins.

AeroCoin Dev Requests Users Stop Transactions

AeroCoin is one of the coins that seems to be standing right on the edge of taking that next step into the upper echelon of altcoins. Its upcoming AeroME release reads like a what's what of Cryptocurrency 2.0 features.

Some of those features were implemented, including anonymous transactions, but now the developer is asking users not perform any transactions until a fix is made. The developer wouldn't reveal the exact nature of the issue but did confirm that it wasn't a 51 % attack or a security issue at all. Users are asked to update to the newest wallet, a course of action that the developer says will prevent the need for a hard fork.

Just before press time, things seemed to be getting on the right track for the Aero community. The developers have identified what they say is the correct blockchain and have updated with windows wallet. Users are asked to completely remove their own wallet (backing up the wallet.dat file) before installing the new version. The developer still has not revealed if the issue was due to an outside attack or not, but more details are expected soon.


Finally, we thought we would update you on Sterlingcoin, after our interview and their recent launch. Sterlingcoin came out of the gate strong, bringing merchants, services and a full website at launch. Their Spacedrop also went off with hardly a hitch, something that isn't necessarily easy.

In the intro to our interview we pondered if that strategy would prove more effective than coins like Blackcoin that put their focus more on features rather than adoption.

How successful their approach has been depends on your definition of success. If it is immediate price stability or even a rise, then the answer is no. Sterlingcoin has consistently lost value since its launch and spacedrop. That probably should have been expected. While conventional wisdom tells investors they should hold onto their Sterlingcoins until after the spacedrop, the momentum of how these things normally go seems to strong for any coin to resist.

Most people signing up for the Spacedrop don't care about Sterlingcoin or its price, it is simply a way to get into cryptocurrencies without paying for it. What altminers and early adopters tend to like to do is buy or mine a bunch of coins for cheap before they hit an exchange. Once the currency is accepted on an exchange they can sell to buyers who have been waiting for the coin to hit an exchange, then buy whatever their coin of choice is (either Bitcoin or one they see bigger short term growth potential in).

Sterlingcoin launched with exchanges, so we had people getting 50 Sterlingcoins during the Spacedrop at a pace that went at human rather than internet speed, it created a scarcity that probably wouldn't have been there if there was no live exchange available. That scarcity encouraged people to sell, once the spacedrop was completed, the scarcity vanished and the price dropped.

In the end, merchant and services adoption didn't prevent Sterlingcoin from following the pattern nearly every altcoin went through during its early stages. Outside of the price, the coin has been progressing much the same it was before the launch: continually adding base features and merchants. I'm told they are now up to seven merchants, and this writer personally purchased an item from one of them in order to confirm is authenticity. Sterlingcoin recently launched its first block explorer and IRC tip bot. These are things most reputable currencies have, but it is nice to see them added so quickly in a coin's life. The merchant and services adoption, along with transparency, continues to be the coin's crown jewel.

Sterlingcoin recently came in second in a Proof-of-Developer poll on Bitcointalk, narrowly losing to the more established Stealthcoin. Coins that have developers who stick around for a while generally have somewhat of a resurgence a few months down the line. It will be interesting to see if Sterlingcoin follows the same pattern.

If you think your coin's recent news fell through the cracks, you can email the author of this story here you can also contact him on twitter @IanDeMartino. While the author does occasionally purchase coins he discusses, he pledges to never take any “gifts” from any party that could cause or be perceived as a conflict of interest.