I am going to depart from the generic discussion on the cryptocurrencies, and focus on the very recent controversy that caught my attention, regarding a particular altcoin.
The sheer trade volume and over 100% price spikes in the last several days brought attention of the world to an inexpensive cryptocurrency that promises to be the next Bitcoin. The Verge currency, or XVG has overtaken Bitcoin as the Twitter trending hashtag for over a week now.
But it is not the trading, nor the trending that is interesting to me at this point, but rather a controversy that is developing around this promising digital currency.
I have done my due diligence and got educated about the technical aspects of XVG, and what I saw was good. I worked as software development security engineer and have extensive experience and knowledge required to understand things that ordinary investors do not, and I realized that XVG is actually a very very good coin. It justified high expectations of the seemingly devout vergefam (or Verge family). But after a number of days with huge spikes, something strange started happening. A campaign of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) started to emerge before my eyes.
It may have started earlier, but I first saw it when after a huge spike in price, a stark warning started running circles on the Internet. The rumor was that the main developer for Verge did not communicate with the rest of the team for over a month and that the marketing team walked away. The “well intended whistleblower” warned people to dump the coin, and within hours, if not minutes, others started sharing the ominous warning. The rumor picked up steam when MarQuis Trill, twitted the rumor as a proven fact to over 4 million of his followers. Immediately after that, a whole bunch of essentially anonymous people started propagating the unsubstantiated, and later proven false, claim, on all social media like Twitter, Telegram, Facebook, as on the cue. The price took a hit immediately but MarQuis later deleted his tweet and claimed that he was hacked.
If it all ended there, the story would be over, right?
XVG recovered, but as soon as it did, another person aimed his guns at it. John McAfee, famous security expert, who just weeks ago was praising privacy coins, and who explicitly mentioned XVG in his tweets as well as in interviews on Youtube, suddenly changed his tune. In one of his earlier tweets, in an answer to a question by an investor, on the possibility of XVG going higher within the next 6 months, he replied that it could possibly go up to $15. Now that he had a change of heart, he claims that that was not his official tweet, and that the screenshot of the tweet was fake, yet many people have twitted back with the screenshots they took themselves, claiming that it was indeed on his official Twitter handle. As fate would have it, within a day of denying that he ever said that Verge could go to $15 relatively quickly, and then denying it, his official account started spewing weird and incoherent messages, recommending certain coins, then withdrawing it and changing the recommendation to another coin, then talking about the third coin, then talking about being high on something and about owning souls or something, and finally claiming that his Twitter account was hacked. Just like MarQuis Trill.
Is that all? No, not at all.
There is much more to this dark intrigue saga.
The Verge has been blasted in the past two days by everyone and anyone, or at least someone wants you to think so. A well known cryptocurrency web site started series of articles that allege that the XVG privacy is not as strong as claimed, and it relayed the warning from their colleagues at another well know web site, not to trust Verge with your life. It also referred to Internet allegations that XVG Wraith protocol (the part responsible for anonymity) is actually leaking IP addresses.
Now, here is the problem I have with these articles denigrating XVG.
- All articles are written in a manner that allow later repudiation of the sort of “they said it, not us”.
- No actual verifiable proof was given neither by those web sites nor by the source of the claims.
- They all seem to be published after several succeeding days of 100% price spikes, within last 4 or 5 days and, to me at least, they seem to be carefully timed and coordinated.
- The claims of Wraith protocol leaking information seem to have been made even before the protocol was actually released and activated on the network. As of this writing, the protocol has not been completely released and active. That amounts to claiming that iPhone 5s (the first model to introduce the feature) fingerprint scanning feature was not working by allegedly testing it on iPhone 4
There seems indeed to exist a well coordinated and funded I might say as well, campaign to destroy Verge before it becomes to dangerous to someone.
Or perhaps it already is?
Actually, to be fair, one of the web sites released a retraction
Interestingly enough, certain big XVG wallets are steadily increasing in size, seemingly unfazed by the onslaught of allegedly bad news about the coin. Now think about it. People who have much more money, clout, and experience in this game, then you or I can ever dream of, are hoarding XVG like there is no tomorrow. That should tell you something, unless you have been living under a rock with regards to the world of powers that be.
Finally, it seems that many innocent but confused investors are unwittingly contributing to this FUD campaign. The Verge team made certain delivery promises that were not kept, which contributed to the panic. They also failed to take control of the situation once it developed. I can understand their thinking, although cannot justify it. As a software developer myself, I understand full well that hard core coders are usually focused on the end product, not on the customers, or in this case investors, and they seem to follow the maxim “If you build it, they will come”. Ordinary cryptocurrency investors do not necessarily understand the development process and are trying to interpret the telltale signs the best they can, and often they misinterpret them. For example, I have noticed that many people tweet and retweet the status of the latest Travis build of the Verge code as the sign of the success or failure of the development effort. They tend to panic when they see that the latest build failed on all three platforms (Windows, MacOS and Linux) and think that the developers have hit a roadblock, and they breath a sigh of relief if they see green light confirming a successful build. The red or green color of the Travis build is completely unreliable to estimate anything. Travis is an online platform for running automated builds based on the latest updates from GitHub (online repository of source code). While it may be very useful, the Travis build environment has to be carefully configured in order to succeed. The developers might have configured it for the previous version, but when new version is developed, the configuration most likely needs to be updated to include new libraries, dependencies, compiler directives. The Verge team obviously did not do that, and while they were consistently having successful builds on their own development machines, the Travis build was inconsistently spewing red and green color, depending on what code was updated and compiled. The development team, who has been under huge amount of stress i can imagine, probably hoped that investors would rather see the end product polished, tested and released as soon as possible, than for them to waste precious time on reconfiguring Travis environment. Probably a wrong decision. They could have, and should have handled it better as obviously they are under attack and all the misinformation could have been very effectively repudiated. And it is not as if they did nothing. They did try to communicate to the investors, but in a disorganized, and highly scattered way. I had to sift through many different social media platforms like Discord, Reddit, Telegram, Twitter, and even GitHub to get the real picture and collect the information from legitimate members of the team, among literally thousands of misinformed and misleading tweets and retweets..
So, here we are. Hopefully I managed to clear up the fog a little bit. The main point is, if you are going to invest in cryptocurrency you need to get educated and not follow the heard. Lots of money can be made in cryptocurrency, but lots can be lost too. The money, however, will not disappear in thin air. It will end up in somebody else’s wallet. Somebody who knows how to read through FUD.
As for the Verge (XVG). It is a case of David fighting back against the Goliath. I can see that the developers are whole heartedly in this, working day and night to deliver. Even people attracted by the noise are pitching in to help, as Eric Kryski for example. With a little luck, they will prevail and the Verge could just be the next Bitcoin, making many faithful followers happy (and rich too).