The Ethereum ecosystem has seen its ups and downs over the past few years, as was expected. Things took a very dark turn when a Vitalik Buterin’s death hoax started to make the rounds on social media. 4Chan, a popular online community for some of the weirder stuff the Internet has to offer, was buzzing with rumors regarding Buterin’s death. Although these claims were false, the Ethereum market cap lost close to $4 billion.

4Chan Rumors Get out of Hand Quickly

One golden rule on the internet is to never take anything posted on 4Chan at face value. Especially when it pertains to financial information or deaths of famous people. The Ethereum community found that out the hard way after 4Chan members started spreading “evidence” of Vitalik Buterin’s premature death. According to their information, the public face of Ethereum died in a horrible car crash.

Unfortunately, some people thought it was an official confirmation of this unfortunate event. It did not take long for the Ethereum market to start showing signs of huge sell orders, effectively driving the ETH price down to sub-200 Euro in the coming days. That is a rather remarkable trend, considering Ether’s value had risen astronomically throughout 2017 up until that point.

When all was said and done, a total of $4bn was wiped off the Ethereum market cap. For a currency with a market cap of $30bn, that is quite a steep drop caused by information based on nothing but 4Chan rumors. Things only got worse when one international news blog picked up the news and wrote an article about it, further validating these unfounded claims. That article was removed shortly afterward, but it still showed up in Google’s search results for some time.

Luckily for everyone involved, Vitalik Buterin is not dead by any means. He is still alive and well, which is good to see. Then again, Buterin posted a tweet in which he held up a piece of paper referring to a recent Ethereum network block. Interestingly enough, that block was the start time of a very popular cryptocurrency ICO, which ended up crippling the Ethereum network for several days. Buterin also included the block hash on the piece of paper to confirm this was taken at that moment in time and is not a doctored picture.

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. Bitcoin price recently took a nosedive as well, which wasn’t helping Ethereum’s case whatsoever. This incident also highlights the dangers of making the identity of a cryptocurrency developers public. Someone will take advantage of this information sooner or later.

Moreover, it shows how “reliant” Ethereum’s market value is on the well-being of Vitalik Buterin himself. Even though he is one of the many co-creators of Ethereum and its current team of developers, many people see him as the face of this particular cryptocurrency. There is no telling how the market would respond in case Buterin would actually be out of commission for legitimate reasons. Rest assured there would be some blood in the water if such a thing were to happen.

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