In the past decade, the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry has gone from being the domain of computer engineers and coders to a widely recognized field brimming with potential and promise.
However, although the industry has witnessed impressive growth fueled by the success of several cryptocurrencies and the platforms that facilitate their use, it has also seen its fair share of epic failures.
DigiByte Delisted From Poloniex
Despite the industry developing for more than a decade and several major exchange platforms rising to prominence in this time, 2019 proved that the figures behind these platforms are still not above personal disputes.
Perhaps the most public of these disputes occurred in December 2019, after the founder of DigiByte (DGB), Jared Tate, took to Twitter to slam the “#TRON trolls/bots” that had been attacking him in recent weeks.
Tate then voiced his opinion on Poloniex — stating that the exchange was turning into a TRX shill factory.
Tate didn’t stop there. He then went on to call out TRON for being centralized while stating that the founder of the project, Justin Sun, was responsible for dumping millions of TRX — yet still controls 34 percent of the total supply. He then turned his attention to Binance, stating that “Binance controls 56 percent of Tron voting power. So between CZ & Sun they can control 25 of 27 nodes.”
Shortly after Tate’s tweetstorm, the official Twitter account for Poloniex responded to clarify that they do not own the data of US customers and that this is instead preserved by Circle — the parent company of Poloniex. The exchange then turned the tables on Tate by deciding that DigiByte no longer meets its listing standards and will be delisted from the platform.
Lunch is Canceled
In June 2019, Justin Sun, the aforementioned founder and CEO of TRON, won an eBay charity auction to have lunch with Warren Buffet — the billionaire business magnate and investor. According to the official report, Sun bid around $4.57 million to win the auction, the proceeds of which would be used to help San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents through the GLIDE foundation.
According to the terms of the auction, Sun won the chance to sit down and have a private lunch with the business mogul at his favorite restaurant, the Buffett at Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse in New York City. As a known critic of cryptocurrencies in general and as a man that recently described Bitcoin as “probably rat poison squared,” it appears that Justin Sun was looking for a chance to change his mind at the three-hour lunch.
In the days immediately following his winning bid, Sun appeared to be looking for candidates to bring with him to the lunch, since the arrangement would have allowed him to bring seven additional guests. However, just days before the lunch was scheduled, Sun reportedly fell ill with kidney stones, forcing him to postpone the event.
Despite this, reports began to emerge claiming that Sun was actually under investigation by Beijing authorities for illegal fundraising, money laundering, and even pornography distribution — and was prohibited from leaving China.
Shortly following these reports, Sun canceled the lunch with Buffett, which made TRX crash by more than 10 percent in just hours. Nonetheless, Sun maintains that the accusations are unfounded.
Justin Sun Strikes Again
If you weren’t already sick of hearing the name Justin Sun, then that might be about to change.
In one of his much-maligned promotional tactics, Sun promised to give away a new Tesla Model S plus a total of $20 million to participants in his “Global Awareness Campaign” on Twitter. Participation was fairly simple. All users had to do was follow Sun on Twitter and retweet the giveaway announcement tweet. Following this, it appeared that Sun would select a participant at random to win the main prize — which as it turns out, isn’t such a simple task since the TRON team managed to bungle it.
Shortly following the competition end date, Justin Sun’s official Twitter account uploaded a video that showed a randomizing tool automatically selecting a winner, which turned out to be Twitter user ‘@zugaroth.’ However, due to an apparent “glitch” with the video upload process, the video tweet was deleted and another draw was performed with a different method, resulting in a different participant winning the main prize.
Understandably, both the original winner and the TRON Twitter community were outraged at the mishap, leading Sun to remedy the situation by offering to provide a Tesla to both the original winner and the newly-drawn winner.
Despite this fiasco, Sun recently remarked that he is considering partnering with Poloniex to give away Tesla’s just-announced Cybertruck next time.
Ethereum Upgrades Repeatedly Delayed
Ethereum is currently undergoing a series of upgrades for its final transition from the Proof of Work (PoW) to the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm. One of the most anticipated stages of this upgrade process is known as Constantinople — a hard fork that was initially scheduled for January 2019 but had to be postponed due to a significant error that was built into one of the core changes.
The Constantinople hard fork eventually was completed in late February, implementing several Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) designed to begin priming Ethereum for a later transition to the new consensus algorithm. However, although a single delay might be forgiven by the community, this turned out to be the first of several delayed Ethereum upgrades in 2019.
Most recently, Ethereum’s eighth network upgrade, known as the Istanbul Hard Fork, which was initially scheduled to go live in October was delayed to December 04, 2019 — after being delayed at least twice in the months prior. However, this was once again delayed several days after it was discovered that too few nodes were ready for the upgrade while the Ethereum hash rate had dropped significantly.
The Istanbul hard fork eventually completed on December 08 but caused a significant rise in the failure of smart contracts due to changes in gas price dynamics.
Nonetheless, a further upgrade, known simply as “Muir Glacier,” is currently scheduled for New Year’s day and is designed to delay the upcoming “difficulty bomb” by almost two years.
The repeated delays to Ethereum’s upgrade schedule has led some to suspect that Vitalik Buterin and the Ethereum development community are facing unforeseen technical challenges that cast doubt on the long-term viability of the project.
BitTorrent Delisted From Binance After Successful Launchpad
BitTorrent is a cryptocurrency and platform powered by the TRON blockchain and was launched with the ambition of helping content creators better connect with their audience through the use of the BitTorrent protocol in combination with TRON.
The project initially launched following a successful initial exchange offering (IEO) on the Binance Launchpad platform, raising a total of $7.2 million in a matter of minutes in one of the fastest-selling IEOs of all time. Shortly following its listing on Binance, the BitTorrent Token (BTT) saw significant price growth — appreciating by more than 300 percent over a matter of days.
Understandably, the popularity of the BitTorrent protocol combined with its incredible IEO and subsequent listing performance led many to believe that it could have potential — but it wasn’t to be. Instead, after attaining an all-time highest value of almost $0.0018 back in late May, BTT began a gut-wrenching downtrend that saw it lose over 80 percent of its value in just seven months. Combined with the fact that BTT trade volume collapsed by 80 percent over the same time period led many to reconsider their belief in the cryptocurrency.
Ultimately, this led to the BTT/ETH trade pair being delisted from Binance just a few months after its launch, owed to it seeing too little trade activity to keep it free of market manipulation.
Craig Wright Sued For $10 Billion
Craig Wright is an Australian computer scientist famous for claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the original inventor of Bitcoin.
In 2018, Craig Wright was accused of trying to seize former business partner Dave Kleiman’s bitcoins and other Intellectual Property (IP) after he died in 2013. The case against Wright was brought by Dave’s brother, Ira Kleiman, who alleged that Wright was conducting a scheme to claim the ownership of Dave’s bitcoins.
Earlier in 2019, it appeared the case was nearing its conclusion as the two parties reached a non-binding settlement to the amount of $4.5 billion in addition to 50 percent of Wright’s IP holdings. However, this agreement was broken when Wright later explained that he did not have the means to finance this settlement — indicating that the case will continue at trial instead.
According to Craig Wright, he cannot retrieve any funds from his multi-billion dollar bitcoin stash because the now-deceased Dave Kleiman held some of the keys necessary to decrypt his wallet. Nonetheless, a recent hearing indicates that Judge Reinhart thinks otherwise.
The judge also ruled that all bitcoin mined by Wright prior to 2014 was the property of the partnership and that Kleiman’s family has the right to half of those Bitcoins. As it stands, Craig Wright is still in a position to appeal the decision.