Andreas Antonopoulos, renowned bitcoin speaker and author of the bestselling book “Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies” described what the future of money will look like when everyone creates their own coin, which we will do because money is a form of speech as much as it is a form of value.
“What happens when a five-year-old in a primary school can use a website to create JoeyCoin, to compete against MariaCoin, in a game of popularity within their school? And then it dawned on me; to ask the question how many currencies will exist is equivalent to asking the question how many bloggers will there be on the internet. And the answer is simple: All of us.”
Unfortunately, creating coins has not been simple enough for the masses. Programmers and other computer whizzes have been able to start up their own alternative coins, but it entails a lot of specialized knowledge, and came with a high price tag in terms of both money and time. Nevertheless, such coins are not at all secure until a large number of other people choose to mine the same coin, like they do with bitcoin today.
Then Counterparty came along, allowing tokens like the ones that Antonopoulos spoke. Anyone who can use the compatible wallet, Counterwallet, and pay a 0.0005 BTC fee, can now make their own coin. Best of all, these tokens would not need to be mined by other people; they would exist with a level of security similar to bitcoin itself.
“By encoding data in ordinary Bitcoin transactions, Counterparty extends Bitcoin’s functionality in new and unprecedented ways, opening the door for innovation. The Bitcoin protocol stays exactly the same, while supporting the development and adoption of valuable new features, all secured by the full power of the Bitcoin network.“
However, the counterwallet is also a clunky programmer's tool, requiring a full browser, and would, be a rare sight in Joey and Maria's classroom.
What is needed in order to fulfill Antonopoulos' vision is a mobile app that is user-friendly enough for schoolkids to download and use like they would a video game on their smartphones. That's exactly where IndieSquare Wallet comes in.
With intuitive usability as the projects' main focus, this very simplified app, freely available for both iPhone and Android, is the first mobile app that allows anyone to issue their own counterparty tokens, right from the palm of their hand. Issuing, sending, and trading custom tokens over the bitcoin blockchain is now a reality. As a bonus, the wallet functions as a perfectly working bitcoin wallet too, making it easy for users to pay for real-world items or send and receive bitcoins from the same interface as they do their customized coins.
“Applying blockchain tech to securities, or smart property in general are a hot topic now but we have already delivered something that works and anybody can issue, send receive and trade tokens on the blockchain. We believe this is the beginning of a really important trend.”
- Koji Higashi, IndieSquare Wallet co-founder
Brave New Coin spoke with IndieSquare's co-founder, Koji Higashi, who revealed that the project is closely integrated with some other counterparty-coin issuing projects, most notably the Spells of Genesis (SoG) video game.
SOG is a game that uses Counterparty tokens to represent game assets, providing infrastructure for them to connect to the Counterparty protocol.
“One of the popular ways to use our wallet so far is Spells of Genesis supporters purchase new cards (counterparty-based assets) with BitCrystals from their smartphone via IndieSquare Wallet.”
SoG recently had a successful crowdsale for their counterparty-based game tokens, selling 934 Bitcoin's worth of their BitCrystals, approximately 13.6 Million coins. BitCrystals users will find the IndieSquare wallet is the only compatible mobile wallet for them.
There are several tokens already in circulation that can be used on the mobile wallet; Gemz, for the GetGemz social media platform; SJCX (Storj token), for the decentralized storage marketplace Storj; and LTBC, the Let's talk Bitcoin token.
Counterparty tokens are clearly not restricted to video games and classroom popularity contests. On a grand scale, Counterparty tokens could theoretically be used as an asset transfer system for serious amounts of capital, perhaps even replacing some legacy banking infrastructure. Somewhere in between, there are many more uses just waiting to be discovered.
“You can use it as a proof of attendance for bitcoin meetups to encourage participation, or you can use it as a merchant point system to keep track of your customers and giving them redeemable e-coupons.”
Internet tipping is an application for these tokens that Higashi feels will be a great fit, and he is actively working on it himself, building a tool for tipping writers and bloggers with tokens.
The IndieSquare wallets security appears to be above average for mobile offerings, even when compared to most bitcoin-only wallets. Not only does the wallet use a strict client-side encryption, keeping your private key completely off their server, but the mobile app itself is open source.
The wallet comes with its own, decentralized, counterparty coin marketplace built in, allowing users to trade bitcoins for any counterparty asset on an open market, making it easy to obtain any token you want, right there from within the app. However, there is a built in cost with the counterparty system, necessary for the marketplace.
“You need some transaction fee in BTC when sending bitcoin. When you send Counterparty tokens, you need a small amount of fee in BTC that is paid out to the Bitcoin miners. Being able to hold bitcoin in our wallet is more of a necessity rather than a feature.”
This fee amount will fluctuate with the Bitcoin mining fee amount, so perhaps users will find this system of spending bitcoins twice, to obtain their desired tokens, a bit cumbersome. Then again, it's a tiny price to pay for access to the security of the bitcoin blockchain.