Things took a dark turn in the Ethereum Ecosystem recently, when a Vitalik Buterin’s death hoax started to make the rounds on 4Chan, a popular online community. Although these claims were false, the Ethereum market cap lost close to $4 billion and we learned yet again never to take 4Chan posts at face value.
Unfortunately, some people thought it was an official confirmation of this event and it didn’t take much time for the Ethereum price to drop dramatically. A rather remarkable trend, considering Ether’s value had risen consistently throughout 2017 up until that point.
When all was said and done, a total of $4bn was wiped off the Ethereum market cap. Things only got worse when one international news blog picked up the news and wrote an article about it, further validating the false death claims. That article was removed shortly afterward, but it still showed up in Google’s search results for some time.
It turns out that Buterin wasn’t dead, nor involved in a car crash. He took to Twitter to prove that all was well, but how should he supply evidence that he was definitely behind the Twitter account? Fittingly, he scrawled out some data linked to the latest block.
Ever since this incident took place the Ethereum market has been trying to recover. Slowly but surely, Ether price is heading back in the direction where it left off a few days ago. It always takes some time for cryptocurrency markets to recover from a major setback.
This is what market manipulation looks like in the age of cryptocurrencies and fake news. The hoax showed us that unlike bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, an almost mythical figure whose identity remains unknown, Buterin is the public face of Ethereum. He doesn’t control the network but his status as its creator means that rumors like this one have a higher chance of taking hold in the markets.