The Ecuadorian government has begun the long process of registering citizens interested in receiving the country’s official government backed altcoin.
Ecuador has taken the most unique approach to crypto-currency of any government around the world – one which has generated a lot of interest but has won over few friends. After first moving to ban the sale and use of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, the South American nation announced that it would create and distribute its own crypto-currency.
Starting from December 24th any citizen of Ecuador can now register to receive the new digital currency. Interesting parties must be over 18 years of age and have Ecuadorian nationality of residency papers. In order to register, citizen must send a text message to *153#. They will then be eligible to receive coins when the new currency is distributed. This distribution is expected to take place some time in February 2015.
The unusual move by the government of Ecuador to produce its own alt coin has raised eyebrows amongst alt coin enthusiasts. For many people, the biggest advantages of currencies like Bitcoin come from the fact that they are decentralized. A government crypto-currency such as the one being developed in Ecuador, however, will inevitably end up being fully centralized. Whether this centralization will nullify and advantages uses a crypto-currency may have and render the whole experiment pointless, or if it will still prove to be a useful tool for making payments over the internet, remains to be proven. At the very least, it will be an interesting experiment.