Now I want to see what Christopher Walken would look like on a coin.
Why do these gimmick crypto-coins keep getting made? Doesn't it diminish the value of the other coins? And why can't they be named sensibly?
I honestly do not get the celebrity angle, though I must admit that it surprises me we haven't seen celebrities intentionally trying to create their own currencies, as it seems like something some of them would do.
That said, the basic idea of this kind of money is that it's backed by computing power, as opposed to gold, or the agreed on output of your country's economy, or whatever.
The basic idea seems to be that you run a computer and link it's power into a network controlled by the consortium minting the coin. This group of people then sells out the computing power, a sort of super botnet, to other sources for various purposes. Your "bitcoin" is basically your payoff for the amount of computing power you donated to the network.
It should be noted that contrary to rumors it's not backed by "nothing at all" and the idea is that the guys running the network make enough money from their clients to cover the cost of paying out the "bitcoins" while making a tidy profit themselves.
The thing is though that it requires very specific hardware to get involved in this, which represents an up front investment on the part of the guys mining the bitcoins, which of course means substantial profits for the hardware manufacturers who are producing specialized machines that really can't be used for much else. What's more as more people get involved in the networks the greater the contribution that needs to be made by each individual to successfully mint a coin, requiring more machines, and a larger investment, and likely leading to a crash. Bitcoins are a sort of gambling game, to see how much you can get out of it and then presumably sell your hardware to someone just starting, before the entire thing collapses in on itself. The guys at the top of the scheme of course will have whatever profits they made short of the bitcoin payoffs up until that point.
Proponents of the currency, and those selling it, claim that there won't be any crash, and basically anyone who wants to invest in a machine or two, can pretty much 'print money' out of their basement as long as there is a demand for high end computer processing.
Multiple currencies basically come from multiple people building up networks that can have their services sold. The idea that say Bitcoin might rent it's network power to one corporation, and Dogecoin might say rent to another. They aren't going to DIRECTLY impact each other, but more competition does mean that the prices for the services are going to go down, which in turn means it will be harder to make something out of it. But hypothetically enough enough potential clients any number of digital currencies could be supported.
At least that's my understanding of the entire thing, which should be fairly close. I'm guessing things like "Norris Coin" were never intended to really succeed and were some people trying to get a few laughs and see if they could bait an actual response. That said, it does surprise me that some of the more egotistical celebrities, pro-athletes, rappers, certain actors, etc... aren't all chomping at the bit to get money printed with their face on it, even if it doesn't last. Of course then again a lot of those people also probably maintain financial advisers that tell them to stay far, far, away from digital currencies.
As one final point, the entire thing had one big chance of succeeding more or less as a permanent institution, and that was when the Bitcoin was operating as an untraceable international currency that could be used to buy contraband. "The Silk Road" site which was selling all kinds of illegal stuff for bit coins was however hit hard, and makes it unlikely similar businesses will flourish, and now enough nations have the possibility on their radar that it will probably never become a black market currency, maintained artificially by third party interests just for such trades. Indeed early on that is what a lot of people people thought Bitcoin was specifically because of "The Silk Road" and how it was pretty much the only place of note dealing in it.