“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” ― Albert Einstein
VCoin uses two different types of consensus. The first type is the cryptographic consensus that must be created in order for the currency to function at all; the second type is the social consensus that is created by people choosing to hold VCN and/or run VCoin nodes.
It is the social consensus that gives the cryptographic consensus its semantics, its meaning. The only thing that the machine can reliably “know” is whether the sequence of n bytes beginning at this memory location is an identical match to another sequence of n bytes beginning at that memory location. The rest, as they say, is left to the reader’s imagination.
The social consensus is by far the more important. In addition to grounding the semantics of the tokens secured by the blockchain, it’s the well-spring of the vaunted “network effect” — which is really just a weak way of saying “backed by people”.
The network effect is either
i) monolithic — more users on the network as a whole result in each one of them deriving more value as each additional user represents one more peer to interact with or
ii) particularised — more users of one type make the network more attractive for users of a different but complementary type, such as consumers and merchants.
Direction by social consensus replaces control by central authority :
“Unlike traditional currencies such as dollars, bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority whatsoever: there is no government, company, or bank in charge of Bitcoin.” - http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/
When it comes to p2p apps, the bottom line is that as soon as the source code is publicly released, no-one is ”in charge” of anything. The witticism “herding cats” doesn’t even come in to it; people are completely free to do as they like: run a node, not run a node; hold coins, don’t hold coins; set up a foundation, a faucet, a business, promote the coin, fud the coin, set up webwallets, offer an alternative wallet design, provide off-chain features, pay to spam the blockchain, pay to clean up the blockchain, generously contribute to a faucet, mischevously drain a faucet dry.
The fact that there is no-one in charge is significant to US financial regulators. A couple of years ago FinCEN made it unambiguously clear …
A final type of convertible virtual currency activity involves a de-centralized convertible virtual currency (1) that has no central repository and no single administrator, and (2) that persons may obtain by their own computing or manufacturing effort.
So, “official” this and “official” that are meaningless in the context of a cryptocurrency because no-one has the authority to stamp anything “official”.
Or rather, anyone and everyone has the opportunity to stamp anything they want as “official” or make a claim to be “the official dev” but it carries no inherent authority, only that which it can engender by it own efforts.
The thing is, a cryptocurrency is a discrete Open Source project in its own right and in Open Source projects, things just sort of get done. Or not. The psycho-social aspects are currently not terribly well-understood in a number of key areas, one of which is the motivation of contributors.
In the case of altcoins, it seems that the creation of the altcoin’s peer2peer network also establishes a social consensus whose behaviour is constrained by the underpinning technology into a prototypal form of “Teal” organisation as described in Frederic Laloux’ Reinventing organisations.
That is to say:
the community of VCoin users naturally forms a Teal organisation because it’s basically constrained to do so by the inherent characteristics of the chosen cryptocurrency.