Remember the days when coinsmen spoke out eloquently on how public decentralized coin was going to change the world?
Who could forget Roger Ver's raw emotion has he recalled Madeline Albright's callous allusion to killing thousands of children in Iraq as somehow a worthy endeavor? This was a fight worth fighting, one in which public decentralized coin would turn the tide of battle - away from the side of idiocy, corruption, and callous destruction - and towards the side of efficiency, progress, and meritocracy. Voluntarism was a stated goal, do you remember? We would destroy Sauron's ring of power, and spread the word to all the lands.
Remember Amir Taaki speaking about social anarchism and the power of the empowered individual? Of the troubles brought on by empires of fiat? Falkvinge also spoke well about how this newfound method of collaboration and communication could help tear down the rusty hierarchy promoting stagnation and mental illness which has stood for so long holding us back. Gavin Andresen even hinted at such, there was only one flavor of exchange commodity he set fire to.
The forums at bitcointalk, as well as Satoshi's genesis block of BTC itself, had this political message. For what could be more political than money? And the corruption which surrounded the counterfeiting or private issuance of money was the clear enemy of those promoting public decentralized coin.
The memes were of Morpheus and Neo. Of Empire and Republic. Balaji spoke of the new option of Exit which would enable us to escape from corrupt institutions. Countless coin promoters worked day and night to help spread word of the destruction of the ring, that real was going to change, that rule-by-counterfeit was no longer the only game in town, singing songs and building software to enable us all to get on the bus.
Understanding the battlefield in those times was understanding what is public coin, and what is fiat.
Fast-forward several years, and look at what we see in the same arenas of the battle of ideas. Some of the same characters, but now fighting each other! When given air time, twitter time, blog time, you choose to attack one another - one flavor of public coin vs another flavor. LTC vs. BTC. DASH vs. DOGE. BTC vs BCH. BCG vs ETH. Coinbase vs. Btc-e. Bitfinex vs. Bitstamp. Core vs. ABC. What an ugly brawl! The coin, the word, and the pen are our swords. And when you have a chance to wield them - you choose not to attack the enemy.
Meanwhile those issuers of private currencies continue to issue them, and people continue to trade their goods and services for them. Fascism, prohibition, and political prisons abound. Destruction of rainforests orchestrated by corporations funded by newly issued private currencies continues. Border orcs paid in fiat require nazi papers for us to move around the the planet. Hospitals and TV stations are bombed and the endangered species killed off, while others place fleets of sports cars in massive garages to seldom be used.
Have you really nothing more to fight for with your life than the size of a block? Is the choice of a proof of work algorithm the thing you wish to be angry about, while desertification and middle class erosion continue to accelerate? While academia decays, while injustice prevails, shall we argue incessantly about how to sharpen a blade or shall we pass these swords out to the volunteers who need them?
Should we not say immediately that all mineable non-premined proof of work currencies are bitcoin? That even some degree of public availability of money supply is better than none?
I know the victory of a few battles was sweet, and you indulged in some well deserved feasting and drinking. But now look at you, wasting your strength and blood fighting one another while the enemy is having their way with your families and salting the earth of your ancestors.
Sober up and get back to work. Andreas Antonopoulos and Max Keiser, thank heaven you didn't jump into this drunken brawl as well. The battle is not over, comrades.
There have been a number of dominant company coins over the last 800 years or so, all privately issued. Most of these however have been maintained as monopolies over certain geographical regions. Some people call them national currencies or fiat. However many other company coins have tried to get in on the game:
The trouble with this market is that a monopoly is tightly maintained by the issuer of the dominant coin in a region. Witness in recent history the takedown of e-gold, Liberty Reserve, and of the Liberty Dollar. While these takedowns were made with allegations of criminality, the truth is very clear: these folks were doing the same thing the dominant currency issuers were doing.
And so things would remain, if not for the pesky little issue of a decentralized coin technology emerging. The difference with a decentralized public coin is that there's nobody to arrest to stop its use. This means that now there are thousands of alternative coins for people to use. The game has changed.
And since the door was opened by bitcoin et al., now - there is at least some room for new company coins. And they have arrived in droves. Ripple, Iota, ZCash (perhaps not an exact example of a company coin but certainly with some characteristics thereof), Stellar, Cardano Ada, and many more companies are issuing coins and promoting their use now that they don't fear the immediate wrath of the fiat issuers. Some of these coins are at least partially public coins.
The public coin purist will of course recommend public and decentralized coins like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Woodcoin, and many others.
However, these company coins - while corruptible in some sense - may provide certain advantages.
Is it possible that in a world in which nobody fears the monopoly issuer will be one dominated by competing company coins? OK, domination is probably far too strong a word here at a time when bitcoin dominance is still over 60% but at the very least we should keep an eye on this phenomenon: the rise of the company coin.
By now you are probably familiar with the latest coins coming out which fork the BTC chain, effectively making an airdrop instead of a premine (or with a premine as well for the case of e.g. Bitcoin Gold). The first that I know of to do this was CLAMS. The biggest one is Bitcoin Cash. What's the deal? Who's doing this and why?
Basically this represents an acceptance of the by now well-known answer to the question of how bitcoin scales: altcoins. Other coins enable all the scaling one could want and much much more. Don't like the fees and congestion? Move to another chain. This solution is simple, cheap, and already works. Altcoins have been around since day one and are the heart of the public coin ecosystem.
This is all well and good but once this was accepted by some of the big BTC holders (these guys got the nickname "nouveaux douche" over in the trollbox) they realized: why not get in on some of this action using our existing keys? If we can build altcoins to take up some of the slack, in which we are already big holders, this is better for us than people jumping to coins that we didn't take stake in. Plus if they fail, we didn't lose anything getting into the game. Win - win, right?
So now you see the motivation behind this kind of coin launch. Of course there are the other potential motivations which exist in any coin launch: to improve some aspect of the technology, and to enrich the founders (usually by way of a premine which is sold as an ICO).
Sadly a lot of coin users get all upset and imagine that coins other than the ones they hold are bad, because you know, fear the other or some childish thing like that. In fact, public coin is public coin. Giving people a chance to make an educated choice is always going to leave us better off.