daily altcoinWelcome to the CCN weekly altcoin news update, where we profile newsworthy altcoin stories that have flown under the radar. This week’s update includes an analysis of the Stellar price’s early volatility, information about Darkcoin’s latest update to DarkSend, its anonymous transaction protocol, and Viacoin’s smart-contract ClearingHouse announcement and presale.

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Stellar Price Volatility

Stellar, the new Ripple-esque payment protocol from Mt. Gox and Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb, has quickly gained adoption due to the project’s aggressive distribution strategy, which includes giving away 95% of the platform’s native currency (called stellars).

The Stellar price has been incredibly volatile since its release. On August 6, the Stellar price debuted at $0.0027. Over the next several days, the Stellar price rose dramatically. By August 10, the Stellar price had nearly doubled to $.0051. However, investors began placing sell pressure on the coin, which drove the Stellar price down to where it had debuted in less than 48 hours. At the time of writing, the Stellar price had increased slightly to $.0028. Stellar’s total market cap is about $2.5 million, placing it 18th in total market cap.

Stellar price volatile, darkcoin darksend, jed mccaleb, evan duffield, smart contracts
The Stellar price has fluctuated quite a bit during the currency’s early days. Chart via CoinGecko

The rapid Stellar price swings are likely due to the ease with which people can acquire free stellars during the distribution period. During the first few days of its release, users could attain more than 10,000 stellars just for signing up for a wallet and linking social media accounts (worth as much as $50 depending on where the Stellar price sits at the moment).

Although investors can make a quick profit when the Stellar price trends up, there are indications the coin may be a good long-term hold. CoinGecko, which analyzes coins according to a comprehensive algorithm including developer interaction, liquidity, and community activity, currently ranks Stellar 8th among cryptocurrencies, noting its high liquidity and developer activity. Stellar’s CoinGecko rating places it ahead of such coins as Nxt and Monero, although it has yet to surpass Ripple, who holds the 4th highest CoinGecko score.

Darkcoin Price Rise
Darkcoin introduced major changes to DarkSend.

Darkcoin Releases RC4, a Major Update to its Anonymity Protocol

On August 13, Darkcoin released RC4, a major update to DarkSend, its flagship anonymity protocol. Developer Evan Duffield made the announcement in the official Darkcoin forums. In addition to some minor GUI updates, RC4 includes a major reworking to the DarkSend protocol to increase functionality.

We’re happy to announce that RC4 is now available for download. This update includes a complete rewrite of the Darksend protocol, which vastly improves transaction privacy and removes the 10 DRK limit for Darksend transactions.

RC4’s release comes at a crucial time for Darkcoin, whose market cap has lagged in recent weeks as a variety of altcoins have announced and/or introduced anonymity-based features.

Viacoin Launches Smart Contract ClearingHouse

Despite its recent launch date, Viacoin is quickly becoming a mainstream topic of discussion. First, the coin used some of its presale funds to hire Peter Todd as its chief scientist. Now, Viacoin has unveiled the details of ClearingHouse, a smart contract platform based on the counterparty protocol.

viacoin peter todd
Viacoin is a new counterparty-style ClearingHouse protocol.

[ClearingHouse] enables decentralized, p2p trading directly on the blockchain. You can create your own coins and assets and it enables a host of features to be built on top of the blockchain.

ClearingHouse will run on XCH, a newly created currency native to the protocol. Viacoin will distribute XCH via a 45-day fixed-price presale. According to developers, they decided against simply burning viacoins (as Counterparty did with bitcoins when it created XCP) because viacoins are “new and shiny.”

XCH is the native currency of ClearingHouse and cannot be mined. XCH will be initialized during a 45 day “Fire Sale” starting today at block 89100…This initialization process is called “burning”, but since viacoins are new and shiny, we decided not to actually burn them, but use them towards funding the ClearingHouse project looking forward. The exchange rate will be 100 XCH for 1 VIA and reducing slowly over the 45 day period until you get 85 XCH for 1 VIA.

The XCH firesale could prove a controversial move for Viacoin. Before its launch, Viacoin raised. development funds through a 10-million viacoin presale (10% of the total number of coins ever to exist). Viacoin is clearly double-dipping by creating XCH and selling them for Viacoin’s already IPO’d currency.

That’s all for this week. Have a news item you think should be featured in next week’s altcoin update? Email Josiah Wilmoth at [email protected]

Disclosure: The Author has ~600 VIA and ~10,000 STR.

Featured image from Shutterstock.