Ouch. Bitcoin fell by 7 percent overnight, tumbling from a heady $7425 to around $6850. Ether, too, dropped from $280 to $230 within hours. Some suggested the decline was due to Goldman Sachs’s abrupt backstep from its plans to set up a cryptocurrency trading desk.

A.I. Insurrection

Or was it a case of market manipulation? Redditor “I_am_jax_account” certainly thinks so. In a searing Reddit screed, he blamed the slump on an inflammatory headline by Cointelegraph that included the phrase: “SEC denies Bitcoin ETFs,” though the article itself was really just an analysis of an old story. The pessimistic title, according to the paranoid Redditor, spooked auto-trading bots into thinking the end was nigh, prompting them to dump their owners' stashes. Silly machines.  

Bots have been misbehaving elsewhere, too. There’s a robo “wash trader” at large, buying up then instantly selling up to $250 million worth of bitcoin daily on the Bithumb exchange. This activity, supposedly, tricks human traders into thinking trading volumes are up, who then buy the currency at an inflated price. By the time they’ve realized they’ve been duped, the bot has dumped the bitcoin and made off with the profits. Won’t somebody keep these bots on a leash?

IRL

It’s starting to feel like we're living inside a robot-driven dystopia. Enter Ripio the redeemer. The blockchain startup raised $37 million in 2017 on the promise it would create a secure peer-to-peer loan payment system across the poorest regions of Latin America. Today it revealed to Coindesk that it had, well, done just that. Good on ya, Ripio!

Ripio the redeemer. PHOTO CREDIT: Shutterstock. 

On the other end of the "fulfilling promises" spectrum is anonymous crypto exchange Shapeshift. In an abrupt volte face, it will now only offer its services in exchange for, ah, all of its customers’ personal details. You had one job, Shapeshift. To be fair, though, founder Erik Voorhees’s statement seemed pretty downbeat, saying the decision “sucks,” suggesting the startup had little choice. Who knew “complying with regulators” was such a buzzkill? If only there were a bot for that.