It’s Zaheer. In 1927, the British scientist J. B. S. Haldane wrote in an essay titled Possible Worlds: “The universe is not only queerer (meaning stranger in ye olde English) than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”
Nearly a century later, Haldane’s meditation on the limits of human imagination applies perfectly to the thoroughly bonkers world of
. It really is stranger than you can imagine.
If you think Dogecoin is as weird as it gets, you haven’t heard about these gems.
In early 2014, a hilarious new cryptocurrency announced itself to the world. Within six months, it had been sued into oblivion by a billionaire rapper. Thus goes the story of Coinye West, arguably the most cuckoo cryptocurrency of all time.
December 31, 2013: Coinye West’s Twitter account sends out the following tweet.
January 3, 2014: The internet is flooded with reports that the Kanye West-inspired cryptocurrency will be launched on January 11. As if naming the virtual token Coinye West isn’t blatant enough, the developers choose this design for their publicity materials.
January 6, 2014: West’s lawyers file a cease-and-desist order against the anonymous team of coders who developed Coinye West, claiming trademark infringement.
January 7, 2014: Far from being intimidated, the creators post the following message on their redesigned homepage: “Due to legal pressure, we will be launching today, January 7, at 7:00PM, Pacific Standard Time.”
They drop “West” from the token’s name, which in another context would seem an act of contrition. Not in this case. They also redesign the logo, replacing the picture of Kanye West with “a half-man, half-fish hybrid who is wearing sunglasses”. (A reference to an episode of South Park that mocks West for taking himself too seriously.)
Who wants to bait a billionaire? (Picture source: Coinye.net)
January 15, 2014: Just days after West unleashed his lawyers on the creators of Coinye, the development team officially cancels its launch plans. A message at the top of its website reads: “COINYE IS DEAD” followed by “You win, Kayne.”
July 24, 2014: Coinye officially meets its end at a New York courthouse. Ten of the defendants lose by default, having never bothered to respond to the case.
Three others, David McEnery, Harry Wills, and Richie McCord, settle with West. They are permanently banned from, among other things, operating or using any website “that uses the KANYE WEST mark, COINYE WEST mark, COINYE mark, COYE mark, or any colorable imitation of the marks KANYE WEST or KANYE.”
How do you feel about your victory, Mr West? (GIF source: Giphy)
2. TrumpCoin: Make Altcoins Great Again
“I have all the best coins” (Picture source: Newswire.com)
Only on the website of a cryptocurrency dedicated to Your Favourite President Ever™ could you read three paragraphs that begin with “TrumpCoin’s Purpose:” and end with “ARE YOU A PATRIOT???”.
Trump himself is in no way associated with Trumpcoin, so the website’s faintly unhinged tone is definitely just a coincidence.
“Buy TrumpCoins today and help your nation, community and citizens finally realise their true potential!” it shrieks into the great void of the internet.
It seems no one’s listening, though, because the current value of all 6.6 million Trumpcoins in circulation is $ 562,813. Incidentally, joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin (about which we’ve written previously), has a market cap of $54 billion.
Which one’s the joke again?
3. PutinCoin: In Mother Russia, money spend you
No universe where TrumpCoin exists could be complete without a PutinCoin. But what’s it about?
Its website says: “PutinCoin was created to pay tribute to the people, the economic success and the president of one of the largest and greatest countries in the world: Russia!”
Thanks, Captain Obvious.
It also features this rather dull video to help answer the burning, but possibly futile, question: What is Putincoin?
Far more interesting is its YouTube page, which has nine videos, all uploaded in 2018.
What happened, Mr President? (GIF source: Giphy)
Four of these feature (no kidding) a white yacht, a white helicopter, a white Ferrari and a white Lexus, all emblazoned with the PutinCoin logo.
Two things to note:
1. All 1.19 billion PutinCoins in circulation are currently worth around $225,000.
2. The top comment under the yacht video is: “Great that you buy boats with the money of the investors, clever move.”
Four of the remaining five videos weren’t worth a click, but one titled PutinCoin Rap Song caught our attention. Regrettably, in hindsight.
PutinCoin, incidentally, is just one of many cryptocurrencies named after the Russian president. Putin Classic (PUTIC) is another.
4. WhopperCoin: Would you like fries with that?
Fast food, faster currency (Picture source: Waves/Twitter)
Despite its odd name, WhopperCoin is — or rather, was — the only legit cryptocurrency on this list.
It was launched in early 2017 as a loyalty programme by Burger King in Russia (Burger Czar?) and was, per Wikipedia, “primarily notable for being the first issuance of branded cryptocurrency by a major company, and the first form of loyalty points that could be traded freely”. WhopperCoin was hosted on the Waves blockchain, a competitor to Ethereum.
So far, so legit, right?
The unintentional punchline to this digital joke was delivered in August that year by none other than the head of external communications at Burger King Russia.
Ivan Shestov referred to WhopperCoin as an “investment tool” and was quoted as saying that “eating Whoppers now is a strategy for financial prosperity tomorrow“.
Can we get a fact checker in here? (GIF Source: Giphy)
While WhopperCoins hit a peak of $0.14 the following month, the price crashed to less than $0.002 by January 2018. By September 2019, the burger-based cryptocurrency was toast. Sadly, all those excess calories live on to this day.
Let’s move on to other big developments of the week
ETtech DEALS DIGEST
■ Paytm parent One97 Communications intends to issue fresh shares worth $1.6 billion in an IPO slated for later this year. The company also told shareholders in a note that founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma will no longer be classified as a promoter.
Also, do read our recent deep dive into the payment giant’s IPO plan and what a successful public listing could do for the digital payments major.
■ Pathology services provider Suburban Diagnostics is in talks with Dr. Lal PathLabs, Metropolis Healthcare, PharmEasy, and a clutch of private equity funds for a complete sale. It has received bids ranging from Rs 800 crore to Rs 1,200 crore for the buyout, said two people in the know, as the industry sees high interest due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
■ Software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup BrowserStack landed $200 million in Series B funding in a round led by Bond Capital, co-founded by Mary Meeker. Insight Partners and existing investor Accel also participated in the round. The new funding values the company at $4 billion, making it the country’s most valuable SaaS startup.
■ SoftBank Vision Fund is set to invest $100 million in portfolio firm MindTickle that could value the SaaS startup at $1.1 billion, up from $500 million valuation when it raised $100 million financing led by the Japanese tech conglomerate in November last year.
OTHER BIG STORIES BY OUR REPORTERS
The Karnataka High Court had last week dismissed Amazon’s and Flipkart’s pleas that sought to restrain CCI from restarting its investigation into alleged deep discounting practices and biased treatment of select sellers. Meanwhile, Amazon and Flipkart are also launching sale events to lure customers and incentives to woo sellers.
Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Twitter has failed to address the grievances of users by refusing to set up a process as mandated by the law of the land.
The absence of a clear regulatory framework and the possibility of a blanket ban has kept most Indian funds at bay, despite the heightened interest in crypto and blockchain.
After bolstering its e-commerce offerings by acquiring BigBasket and 1mg, Tata Digital wants to offer financial services – including credit, insurance, and mutual funds – on its upcoming super app by way of a neobank.
Last week, the Enforcement Directorate had asked WazirX to explain transactions worth Rs 2,790.74 crore that, the agency alleged, were in violation of foreign exchange rules.
Amid a pandemic-induced global digital transformation drive, TCS, Infosys and Wipro train are training client workforces in app development, data science, artificial intelligence, and industrial Internet of Things.
IAMAI said the personal liability clause for the chief compliance officer should be “replaced by an appropriate provision which is “proportional to the harms” caused by noncompliance.
While discussions are still at an early stage, RBI is said to be considering a light-touch regulatory approach that could see digital banking entities – from fintech startups to neobanks – being subject to operational guidelines.
That’s about it from us this week. Stay safe and get vaccinated when you get the opportunity.