What constitutes a fair coin launch? It’s a question that has had some of the brightest minds and brashest projects in the space debating the best way to kickstart a cryptocurrency. Every crypto, Bitcoin included, has attracted criticism over a distribution schedule that favored early adopters. To date, no other coin has come close to matching the egalitarianism of Bitcoin’s launch.
There’s More Than One Way to Launch a Coin
When it comes to world-changing innovations, it generally pays to get in on the ground floor. Not every piece of transformative tech enriches its developers (think of the internet itself or email or encryption), but most do. Bitcoin certainly did. Despite launching with no ICO, no premine, and no founders’ reward, the cryptocurrency succeeded in turning many of its earliest supporters into very rich men. This in turn empowered many of them to launch their own cryptocurrencies, which have launched very differently from Bitcoin.
Vitalik Buterin (Ethereum), Zooko (Zcash), Charlie Lee (Litecoin), Jed McCaleb (Ripple, Stellar) and Dan Larimer (Bitshares, Steemit, Eos) are examples of early bitcoiners who became altcoiners. The distribution of all of the coins they spawned has came in for criticism in some way. The 20 percent mining reward that goes to the Zcash treasury to fund development remains controversial, and spawned a hard fork to create Z Classic, which removed the founders’ reward, and fork-of-a-fork Zencash, now Horizen. Zcash has also been questioned on account of the missing zero-knowledge proofs that would legitimize the “trusted setup” at the privacy coin’s creation.
The ICO that birthed Ethereum has been attacked for allocating most of the coins to a handful of whales,