A hoax circulated on online forums today that Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin had been killed in a car crash. It was later debunked, but not before the ether (ETH) price crashed from over $300 USD to $260.
At press time the ETH price has recovered slightly, but remains lowered at $280.
The news appeared on 4chan’s /biz/ thread at 4:30PM EST on 25th June. The poster cited another post on a Slack channel. Although the header read “Vitalik Buterin confirmed dead” the post provided no link or evidence.
In true 4chan style, other commenters piled on to discuss the “news”, although none of them added any more detail.
Forum and social media posters became uneasy after several hours passed without any response or sign of life from Buterin. However the 4chan post appeared when it was still very early morning in Singapore, where Buterin currently lives.
One editor altered Buterin’s Wikipedia page to past tense.
Sensationalist “news” sites then began to add detail, while still suspiciously lacking accurate pictures or locations. VioNews tweeted a “report” that showed an image of a car crash scene with emergency workers who were clearly not Singaporean. Both the tweet and article page have since been deleted, but here is a screenshot:
It Was a Hoax, Vitalik Is Alive
Vitalik himself appeared on Twitter at 8:01PM EST, with a selfie of him showing the latest Ethereum transaction and block number:
Another day, another blockchain use case. pic.twitter.com/OyHzdhEeGR
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) June 26, 2017
His Wikipedia entry is also back to normal:
Day of Ethereum Drama
It was a day of drama for Ethereum on other fronts as well. A Sunday Times (U.K.) article reported a claim by entrepreneur Brock Pierce that British coder Gavin Wood had actually written “100% of the code” for “the currency”.
Ethereum fans responded that Wood does indeed deserve more recognition for his work, and suggested he and Buterin both played significant roles.
Buterin was born in Russia in 1994, and is best-known as the co-founder and public face of Ethereum. He also co-founded Bitcoin Magazine.
His parents emigrated to Canada when he was six and he took a keen interest in math and computer science. In 2014 he received a Thiel Fellowship — a fund created by Peter Thiel that pays young entrepreneurs $100,000 to drop out of college. He has worked on Ethereum full-time since then.
Bitsonline will continue to monitor this developing story.
Did you believe the Buterin death rumors? Did you buy the dip? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Wikipedia, Twitter