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They could have made it a blockchain-based merged mining altcoin, then it would be compatible with Bitcoin and far more accepted. The fact that they are using a centralized issuance model should make you very suspicious.

I cannot see how this could ever bootstrap. As it is open source what is to stop me creating my own ledger and handing out all the free cash I've just created to people who want to come on my trusted network? (ps: I'll give you more imaginary cash than the founders will! ;) Who would ever pay real money for my imaginary cash? Am I missing something?

Do altcoins have any legitimate reason to exist? The whole "silver to bitcoin's gold" shtick is terribly unconvincing.

They can be useful experimental platforms... also, the fundamental rules of Bitcoin are fixed— changing how Bitcoin works could be rightfully argued as theft from all the people who hold Bitcoin at the current moment.

If you wanted something like Bitcoin but with different properties, different security, different inflation— an altcoin is the only way to get it.

Unfortunately, practically all altcoins have been almost identical to Bitcoin.

What would be interesting deviations from the bitcoin model if breaking compatibility wasn't an issue?

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