CRYPTOCURRENCYJun 29, 2018Rob Loggia
One pitfall of a revolution fueled by advances in money and value exchange is that it is inevitable that greed will find a way in. The cryptocurrency revolution, for all of the promise it holds, has shown itself to be not immune to this powerful force of human nature. A community that was built on the premise of toppling the corrupt, elitist financial power structures that control the world has been both tainted and diluted, as members of the old guard get their first taste of power, and as newcomers arrive with different, and far more venal, ideas and designs.
The signs of this are everywhere, and increase with every success achieved in the space. Conferences now routinely ask admission fees that are more than many people in first world countries make in a month. Cryptocurrency exchanges seem to be doing their level best to ape the arrogance and capriciousness of the old guard banks and exchanges – freezing people’s assets, communicating poorly, and demanding reams of private information from clients. What is the point of a financial revolution if all we accomplish is crowning new masters?
But some are speaking out against this. Legendary computer scientist, activist and cryptocurrency evangelist John McAfee is one of the loudest. This Thursday he called out his latest target publicly on Twitter.
At issue is the behavior of a large exchange, HitBTC, that has seen its share of controversy in the community. McAfee has been flooded with evidence that the exchange has been locking funds, and then demanding personal information to “verify” the locked accounts. Communication is poor, and the process drags on. And the entire time, HitBTC has the benefit of the deposits made by an individual that cannot withdraw their property. Indeed, one of the affected clients was Jimmy Watson, Executive Director of the McAfee Crypto Team.
But the issue runs much deeper than this. McAfee also objects to HitBTC business practices brought to his attention by the CEO of Docademic. This platform offers free medical services on to the poor all over the world, and MTC is the currency that fuels it. Without MTC, the ability for the system to compensate service providers and incentivize behaviors evaporates, and the platform can collapse.
HitBTC is one of the few places MTC can be obtained and exchanged. However, the minimum transactions are so high (100 MTC) that the current value exceeds the monthly income of most people in countries where free medical services are needed the most. Forget about intentions – the real world effect of this policy is to deny poor people medical care. To McAfee, this is unacceptable.
In response to HitBTC’s lack of an acceptable response, McAfee has called for a boycott of HitBTC, and has promised to remain their nemesis until their behavior becomes more equitable and community minded.
He also has posted the following open letter to the community, calling for action:
My Name is John McAfee. I am one of the major influencers of the Bitcoin and Crypto cause. Unfortunately, since this is a new technology it is filled with scams. One of these scams is Hitbtc. Hitbtc is an exchange monitored by the SEC. The purpose of crypto is to give power to the people and not to the power elite. Hitbtc charges enormous prices to join their exchange, and other hidden costs, that effect millions of people. For example, restricting the minimum purchase amount of Medical Token Currency (MTC) precludes every poor person on this planet. There are people who use a function called Docademic, which was created by the crypto community to give Free Healthcare to the world. This function is denied to all of the poor when Hitbtc charges thirty dollars for the minimum amount of MTC on their exchange. A thirty dollar price tag does not seem much to an American but it is thirty days rent for many people living in countries like India and the Philippines. This is the reverse of Robin Hood, the folk hero who took from those that had too much and gave to those that had too little. Please, if there is any humanity in your heart, look into this story and expose one of the most insidious scams ever created on those who have nothing.
For a community that justifiably shuns government regulation and intervention, successful self-regulation is critically important. The people that work for these exchanges are not strangers. If you’re big into cryptocurrency, you’ll see them at that next $2000 a head convention. Instead of shaking their hands and kissing their asses, walk away. And keep doing so until they get the message. The cryptocurrency revolution can benefit all and begrudges no one a fair profit. But this will only work if we all stand firm against unfair and dishonest actors in the space.
For HitBTC, watch this video and think it over.