But one new bitcoin-rival, created by a group of mostly unknown cryptocurrency developers last month and styling itself as “the world’s first crypto backed by death,” allows traders to bet on the coronavirus epidemic—with the token’s value rising as more people fall ill or die.
Coronacoin, which is currently being priced at less than $0.01 according to its developer’s website, will see its supply fall every two days based on the rate of new cases and the number of people the virus has killed.
There is a fixed supply of the coronavirus-fueled token based on the world’s human population: just over 7.6 billion.
“Some people speculate a large portion of the supply will be burned due to the spread of the virus, so they invest,” said Sunny Kemp, who was named as one of the developers of the morbid bitcoin-alternative by Reuters, adding: “There are currently active pandemic bonds issued by the World Health Organisation. How is that different?”
The coronacoin team currently counts seven developers, mostly in Europe, according to Reuters, with Kemp indicating more are about to come on board.
Coronacoin is being traded on the allegedly decentralized cryptocurrency exchange Saturn Network, with coronacoin making up almost 60% of its meager volume.
An investigation by cryptocurrency news and analysis website Decrypt found Saturn Network to fall well short of common standards and recommended against using it.
The number of coronavirus infections worldwide is now more than 111,000, with about 3,890 deaths, however the spread of the virus appears to be slowing in China, where it originated.
Italy yesterday extended its coronavirus quarantine measures, which include a ban on public gatherings, to the entire country, while in the U.S. the number of confirmed cases now exceeds 500.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the threat of a pandemic is “very real.”
Despite the virus spreading around the world in recent weeks, governments are working hard to contain and minimize it.
Coronacoin is a macabre gimmick, designed to make its developers a quick buck—not to serve as a long-term store of value.