Author Topic: Why do we need "Altcoin Taxonomy" ?  (Read 2030 times)


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Why do we need "Altcoin Taxonomy" ?
« on: January 17, 2016, 03:48:06 pm »
For the decentralized blockexplorer to work perfectly, we are going to need to create a unique coin identification system.

Every coin hosted is going to need a coinID.

Much like the internet needs domain URLs to be able to give meaningless IPs a more recognizable identifier, our decentralized explorer will need a way to tie the blockchain of a coin to the design of a coin.
And much like the internet could work even if we didn't have URLs and typed in only IPs into the browser, the decentralized blockexplorer will work without coinIDs, it will just not look that good and require that the user has some additional knowledge.

With "design of a coin" we specifically mean things like logo or name (which both might change over time), and the problem we are trying to solve arises since the decentralized blockexplorer only analyzes the blockchain data itself, it has no clue whatsoever what the actual name and logo of a coin is. (or if suddenly the coin goes by a different name.)

There is no way to derive a coin's name or its logo or even its official P2P port just by looking at the blockchain.

Therefor we need a system that creates a bridge between the blockchain of a coin (that the UBA dissects completely) and the design of a coin (which the decentralized blockexplore wants to use within the wallet).

Since the decentralized explorer must be capable of showing a coin's name / logo, as demonstrated here...

...or here...

...we are going to need an external feed of all the data that can give us this extra knowledge about the design of all available coins.
For the spreadcoin wallet this will be solved by using an external folder with lots of 16x16 pixel logo icons and a JSON file that lists relevant coin design data (like name, abbreviation, official port, etc..)

Finally the subsequent question is: what is the best format for such an identifier?

Can't it be just the name of a coin?
No, we have for example two different coins which are both called bytecoin, which is hilarious.  ;D Also as mentioned earlier a coin name can change at any time, and its blockchain couldn't care less.

So for the coinID we need something that is much more stable and fixed, and that we can expect will never ever change.

Currently, for our project, we are going to use a combination of the 4 magic bytes of a coin's blockchain and the 4 bytes of the timecode of the genesis block's creation.

This leads for example to the following coinIDs for a few well-known coins:

Spreadcoin = 4f3c5cbb53d75160
Bitcoin = f9beb4d9495fab29
Dash = bf0c6bbd52db2d02
Litecoin = fbc0b6db4e8eaab9

This means, that the wallet can now easily choose the right logos and read out the correct name of a coin from the JSON.(format to be specified)
It can do that, because it will understand what the UBA means when it says "4f3c5cbb53d75160".

The coinID folder will look similar to this:

Now, we are still not 100% sure that this coinID format is completely collision-free (meaning, no 2 coins have the same ID) that's why we are also considering other genesis block variables.

If you want to take a look at how we are extracting and processing all known coins with the goal to create a system of collision-free coinIDs, you might take a look at the

Read more about this tool at github:
or in this thread here:


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Re: Why do we need "Altcoin Taxonomy" ?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2016, 07:57:56 pm »

f9beb4d9495fab29 - bitcoind8333;
f9beb4d9495fab29 - omnicore-qt8333;

fbc0b6db4e8eaab9 - feathercoin-qt9336;
fbc0b6db4e8eaab9 - litecoind9333;

I think that's the brilliant thing about a simple ID like the one we are currently testing:

The biggest problem altcoins are having, is that they have that stigma attached to them that most of them are shitcoins, meaning they are mere copypastes of other coins.

And nothing says copypaste like seeing that a "dev" didn't even care to update the magic bytes, the timestamp, or the port, NOTHING.  ;D

As the example gjhiggins posted shows very clearly.

I mean, I get that devs reuse the same magic bytes, since those values are pretty arbitrary anyway. So I let that slip.

But creating a clone of another coin and still leave the same genesisblock creation date there, although obviously the clone should have a later date, ... that is a pretty bad move.

Same for using a port that is already used by the original coin, it's a bad move and shows carelessness!

I can assure you there are many other instances.

Absolutely, as there are many more shitcoins than there are "real" coins.

I can assure you that all the coins that have actual development behind them do have a very unique genesisblock, since it's like the dev's signature in a way.
Dash has it, Litecoin has it, Spreadcoin has it, etc...

Maybe we should take this into consideration right away and do some filtering about what coins we even want to "recommend for usage" within the decentralized blockexplorer.
And that's where these collisions that are already happening add a benefit immediately, and are not a problem!

No good coin is currently colliding, it's only the shitcoins that are causing collisions.

Let's call them "beneficial collisions" or "revealing collisions" since they reveal a lot about the nature of a coin immediately.

I love this.

That's exactly why we are doing this "altcoin taxonomy" project.