Fashion trends are no longer restricted to clothes and music: they’ve now made their way over to the cryptocurrency world. Joining Dogecoin and now-deceased Coinye West is the latest addition to the 60 or so different coins in cyberspace: Russia Today’s Max Keiser with his own, you guessed it, MaxCoin.
If you don’t know who Max Keiser is, he’s basically the most watched news TV presenter in the world – but since his shows appear on Russia Today and formerly on Iran’s Press TV, he receives considerable hate from Western governments, bankers and broadcasters alike (even though he had a show on BBC called The Oracle).
“Max Keiser has shared a stage with Jerry Seinfeld as a stand-up comedian"
Keiser shared a stage with Jerry Seinfeld as a stand-up comedian and is well-known for his outrageous, eccentric behavior on his show the Keiser Report (here’s one example), which averages 20m viewers worldwide per episode. And that’s just on TV; his show is free to air on YouTube. He refers to himself as a “financial war reporter”, and he describes the City of London as the corruption capital of the world. He’s the Bill Hicks of finance, if you will.
So it’s fairly easy to see why he’d be crazy for Bitcoin – it takes power away from central banks, no middlemen involved. His Max-branded cryptocurrency is set to launch tonight, with 250 million coins up for grabsvia mining algorithms on your computer, as you would for Bitcoins.
The crypto-sphere is entering a strange phase right now. Some coins are of more value than others and much more sought after, which is natural as it’s a rare commodity – but now jokes are made for shits and giggles, and for all the LOLs associated with Dogecoin, it now has the sixth largest market cap (i.e. the total value of currency available to mine) of all altcoins, standing at $50 million. In the explosive and lucrative world of altcoin, even joke-based currencies are no laughing matter.
The developers of MaxCoin, Luke Mitchell and Jordan Fish, produced the first blockchain last week on the Keiser Report show last week, and we managed to get a few words from Luke on the creation of the new altcoin. We asked whether the development of Maxcoin was inevitable given Keiser’s staunch support of Bitcoin.
“In my opinion, yes. Max Keiser is one of the household names in the cryptocurrency scene and, with the publicity that Coinye West received; I feel it was only a matter of time before somebody decided to make MaxCoin,” Mitchell says.
“There was also a particularly provocative tweet that he posted,” he explains. “It was something along the lines of ‘If a Keiser Coin didn't achieve a $1bn market cap I'd do the Keiser Report naked’. I saw that and thought: game on!”
Despite what you may think, the initial idea wasn’t the brainchild of anybody from the Keiser Report. “Maxcoin hadn't been planned at all,” says Stacy Herbert, a producer and presenter for the show. “It was only with the explosion of altcoins that people on Twitter and Facebook started suggesting we launch a currency as well… When Luke and Jordan reached out, I wanted to see how it [could be] done. I didn't know we could actually create something so unique until an expert reached out to the developers with some invaluable tips on making that happen.”
“We're witnessing the Cambrian explosion of cryptocurrencies. Those that are useful will survive" – Stacy Herbert
“We're witnessing the Cambrian explosion of cryptocurrencies,” she continues. “Those that are useful will survive. Those that aren't will be left to the primordial strata of crypto-fossils, to be discovered by future generations.”
For instance, Mitchell’s co-developer Jordan Fish believes that Dogecoin – despite its meme-based LOL factor – is proving to be an altcoin to be reckoned with.
“A major factor is the publicity these coins receive,” he explains. “Coinye obviously attracted a lot of media attention, and Doge has gained a huge amount of attention recently with the charitable donations of their community to the Jamaican bobsleigh team and the Indian athletics team. People are seeing these coins, which were previously dismissed as ‘joke coins’ and rethinking their position.”
“Given the current interest in MaxCoin,” he predicts, “this won’t be the last branded coin by any means, though only time will tell.“
Maxcoin almost certainly won’t be the first or the last celebrity or personality-based coin on the Internet. But then again, there’s that bet going for MaxCoin to get a $1bn market cap or Keiser has to do his show naked. No pressure at all then.
Follow Yousif Nur on Twitter here @yousifnur