Omni (formerly Mastercoin) is a digital currency and communications protocol built on the bitcoin blockchain. It is one of several efforts to enable complex financial functions in a cryptocurrency. Planned features include the development of a decentralized exchange and the implementation of smart property and savings wallets.
J. R. Willett published the first draft of the Mastercoin protocol in January 2012 as a white paper, in which he proposed that existing bitcoin protocol “can be used as a protocol layer, on top of which new currency layers with new rules can be built without changing the foundation.”
The Mastercoin project officially launched on July 31, 2013, with a month-long fundraiser in which anyone could buy Mastercoins - the digital tokens that the protocol uses to conduct transactions – by sending bitcoins to a special “Exodus Address”. The idea was that as the platform was being developed, the tokens would become more valuable and investors could sell their Mastercoins to realize a return. A nonprofit organization called the Mastercoin Foundation was formed to handle the funds sent to the address.Despite warnings that Mastercoin might just be an elaborate scam, some 500 people invested, sending a total of about 5000 bitcoins worth about US$500,000 at the time.
As of January 2014, J.R. Willet is employed full-time by the Mastercoin Foundation as "chief architect"
As of February 2014, Mastercoin was the world's seventh largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization according to coinmarketcap.com.
In April 2014, MaidSafe used a crowdsale to raise over $7,000,000 in Mastercoins and bitcoins. The value of the Mastercoins (half the currency) subsequently declined, leaving the total from the sale at $5,500,000. In July, MaidSafe COO Nick Lambert was among a number of people joining the Mastercoin board as observers.
In March 2015 Mastercoin efforts were rebranded as Omni. Omni role in bitcoin ecosystem is declared as being a platform for decentralized protocols like Factom and MaidSafe. «A common analogy that is used to describe the relation of the Omni Layer to bitcoin is that of HTTP to TCP/IP: HTTP, like the Omni Layer, is the application layer to the more fundamental transport and internet layer of TCP/IP, like bitcoin.»
- "Bitcoin is not just digital currency. It's Napster for finance. - Term Sheet". Finance.fortune.cnn.com. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- Buterin, Vitalik (4 November 2013). "Mastercoin: A Second-Generation Protocol on the Bitcoin Blockchain". Bitcoin Magazine. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- Chernova, Yuliya. "New Use for Bitcoin: Compensation for Open-Source Software Development". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
- Hamill, Jasper (30 November 2013). "Fed Up With Bitcoin? Here's How To Start Your Own Currency". Forbes. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
- Nermin Hajdarbegovic (2013-12-06). "Mastercoin Foundation Lets Virtual Currencies use Bitcoin Protocol". Coindesk.com. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- "Master Protocol Creator J.R. Willett Joins Mastercoin Foundation as Full-Time Chief Architect". Mastercoin Foundation. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- Paul Vigna (2014-02-14). "BitBeat: Bitcoin Exchanges Finally Getting Some Relief". WSJ.com. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- Bradbury, Danny (25 June 2014). "MaidSafe COO Reflects on Lessons Learned from Crowdsale". CoinDesk. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- Hill, Kashmir (3 June 2014). "The First 'Bitcoin 2.0' Crowd Sale Was A Wildly Successful $7 Million Disaster". Forbes. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- Wilmoth, Josiah (15 July 2014). "Weekly Altcoin News Update: Brock Pierce Resigns from Mastercoin Foundation and a Nxt Stakeholder Posts a 500 Bitcoin Bounty". CryptoCoinsNews. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- "The Omni Layer official site".
- Rizzo, Pete (2015-01-21). "Mastercoin Seeks Second Start With Omni Reboot". CoinDesk. Retrieved 2015-03-23.
- "Omni Layer GitHub". GitHub.com. Retrieved 2015-03-23.