The Coronacoin was launched In March 2020, at a time when the Coronavirus seemed unstoppable. While Italy was still grappling with its most restrictive health measures, the count of the damage and consequences of Covid19 on the whole world was beginning to become a daily mantra: health, work, transport, culture and, ultimately, the global economy were as much affected as the world’s population.
If, however, there is a sector of finance which is able to adapt to rapid world developments and to turn obstacles into opportunities – even at the expense of morality – it is certainly that of cryptocurrencies.
It’s not surprising that, in this world, someone thought to link the spread of the virus to a virtual ERC20 token based on the Ethereum blockchain, called Coronacoin (or $nCOV).
How does Coronacoin work?
As the developers explained, Coronacoin is a deflationary cryptocurrency.
It means that the number of existing Coronacoins in the world is gradually reduced by destroying (“burning”) tokens in circulation, so as to increase the value of the remaining ones.
Initially, the total number of $nCOV was 7,604,953,650, a figure corresponding to the entire world population at the time the currency was born.
No more will be issued ever again.
Here is where the mechanism becomes macabre: the coins in circulation can only decrease and the progressive destruction of the circulating currency takes place every 48 hours, based on the number of people in the world who were infected or died from Coronavirus.
“Those interested, bet on the fact that a large portion of the coins will be burned due to the spread of the virus”.
This was the comment of Sunny Kemp, described by Reuters as one of the developers of the viral cryptocurrency.
The mechanism, decentralized thanks to the blockchain, is based on the “Proof of Death”, i.e. the reports on the spread of the virus released by the WHO, the World Health Organization.
Who invented Coronacoin?
The team behind the development of Coronacoin, according to Reuters, has seven developers, mainly European. These include the creator, Alan Johnson and the aforementioned Sunny Kemp.
In response to the attacks of those who accuse them of speculating about the death of people, the developers respond that they have been misunderstood.
The currency, according to them, would have the dual purpose of providing transparent information on the number of victims and raising funds to support relief operations: 20% of the total profits from the sale of the currency would be allocated to the International Red Cross.
With regard to the first purpose, that of information, the advantage lies in the impossibility, even in countries where the information is subject to state control, of censoring changes in the value of the cryptocurrency: as a result, the WHO data on which these changes were based would be circulated.
Censorship would have been impossible because of the decentralized transparency of the blockchain system, which freed the process from a central server.
Reactions to Coronacoin
With rains of criticism from the global press and perplexity even from a part of the crypto community itself, $nCOV certainly has not gone unnoticed.
Kemp responded to the storm of criticism:
“There are already Pandemic Bonds issued directly by the WHO. How would this be different? Is it immoral? Google them.”
Forbes, for its part, also devoted a highly critical article about the phenomenon.
The latter reported that the Coronacoin is said to be traded mainly on a circuit called SaturnNetwork, of which it would make up about 60% of the value. What’s more, a Decrypt survey would have found Saturn Network to be deficient from the point of view of common online exchange standards, and advised against its use.
Billy Bambrough concluded in his article:
“The Coronacoin is a macabre gimmick to make its creators rich quickly, not a long-term store of value”.
Whatever the real intentions – and ethical implications – of the minds behind $nCOV, what emerges is just another confirmation of the infinite versatility of Blockchain technology (and cryptocurrencies), as well as the increasing role it will play in the near future.
Expressing value judgments on an intrinsically virtuous tool, guilty only of being able to make viable any product (deplorable or not) of the human mind, would be an unwise idea. And too many unwise ideas on the subject may already have emerged.
Giuliano Carlo De Santis