2018 has been rough for cryptocurrencies as a whole, with coins across the board seeing significant losses and general interest in the sphere gradually declining. However, there are a number of projects that have stuck out as performing particularly badly in the first quarter. Here are five of the biggest fails:
5. Verge (XVG) Wraith Protocol Launch
While Verge’s major development, the Wraith Protocol, was slated to launch at the tail end of 2017, several delays pushed the actual release of the development into early January of this year. While supporters and speculators were highly anxious to see the actualities of Wraith, most were left disappointed with what was put forth by the developers. While Wraith does offer an interesting feature – optional privacy – the protocol’s attempt at providing anonymity is questionable at best.
It was also revealed that some of Verge’s code base was copied from OpalCoin, a pet project of “Bitcoin Kid”, 14-year-old cryptocurrency developer Whit Jack. Since recording a high of just under 1,500 Satoshi in early January, XVG has dropped by over 70% against Bitcoin.
4. VeChain /r/Cryptocurrency ban
In an effort to combat astro-turfing and coordinated vote manipulation, moderators of /r/Cryptocurrency put forth a policy of suspending and banning coins involved in malicious practices on the subreddit. After evidence was provided that indicated team members behind VeChain (VEN) had been directing community members to upvote certain posts, the coin received a ban for the month of February.
This was the first ban handed out by /r/cryptocurrency, and seems to have sent a strong message to other teams enacting questionable practices. During the time of the ban, mentions of VeChain and posts regarding the cryptocurrency were removed or deleted. Strangely enough, VEN maintained its value against BTC throughout February, instead seeing a significant decline during the first week of March of about 30% for its BTC pair.
The most controversial project in cryptocurrency discontinued its “lending” program, which promised daily dividends from Bitconnect Coin (BCC), in January. The price instantly plummeted by more than 90%, and continues to drop. BCC is currently trading more than 99% lower than it was prior to the discontinuation of the program.
The team behind Bitconnect, as well as major supporters of the Ponzi scheme are currently facing a class action lawsuit currently worth over US$750,000 and growing.
2. Waltonchain PR fiasco
After someone behind the Waltonchain (WTC) Twitter account forgot to switch accounts when responding as a “winner” to a Valentine’s Day giveaway, the entire cryptosphere entered a frenzy as WTC ousted itself for rigging a giveaway. While it has been proven that a majority of the other winners were real and only about US$50 was handed out to each winner, the implications behind the scandal are massive. WTC’s price dropped by more than 20% in the day following the tweet, and continued to slide for the next several days.
Unfortunately, this was not the end of the screw-up. On March 6, a key partnership with Chinese corporate giant Alibaba helped the price recover to a value greater than that prior to the giveaway tweet. However, after significant discussion within the community in regards to the legitimacy of the announcement, official announcements were deleted and replaced with the below tweet. The second controversial tweet in just over a week sent the coin tumbling once more, and it’s still continuing its downward spiral.
Due to the current uncertainty of blockchain policies, our team has decided that in the future we will announce major partnerships depending on the situation so as not to affect the real implementation of blockchain technology. #Waltonchain $wtc
— Waltonchain (@Waltonchain) March 7, 2018
1. BitGrail Hack
In October 2017, BitGrail, one of the leading exchanges for Nano trading, was hacked, resulting in 17 million NANO being stolen. Rather than being addressed, the hack was ignored at the discretion of BitGrail’s CEO, “The Bomber”, until late January, when it was likely that the exchange began to experience solvency issues. BitGrail halted withdrawals and urged the Nano core team to fork its own blockchain to mitigate the hack. Unfortunately, as “The Bomber” refused to work with the Nano development team for months after the hack, there was little that could be done.
When news of the hack surfaced, the price of NANO plummeted by more than 50%. Beyond this, investors who had kept their holdings on BitGrail saw their investments vanish overnight. For many early adopters of the coin who had not yet sold, these losses amounted to life-changing amounts of money. The owner of BitGrail was anything but sympathetic, and interactions with the community and concerned onlookers regarding the hack have primarily consisted of bashing and trolling.