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The bitcoin price has crashed under $20,000, down more than 70% from its all-time highs, while ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies have suffered even sharper falls (though some think they’ve spotted a $28 trillion opportunity).
Now, after one of Wall Street’s most influential chief executives has warned of growing market “panic,” another controversial cryptocurrency that has a market capitalization of $5 billion is facing claims it’s about to implode after seeing its price crash by 90% from its all-time highs.
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Hex, launched in late 2019 on top of the ethereum network, has seen its price grow rapidly over the last two years but has also attracted criticism due to its system of rewarding those who keep their hex tokens locked up and penalizing those who don’t, a version of a cryptocurrency system called “staking.”
Richard Heart, hex’s creator and an outspoken defender of the cryptocurrency, has meanwhile faced accusations outlined in Protos that he’s sold off the bitcoin and ethereum investors used to buy hex at launch and drained the addresses used to collect hex fees. Heart didn’t respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.
Since hitting an all-time high in September last year, the hex price has dropped by 90%—falling harder than both bitcoin and ethereum, each down around 70% from their all-time highs.
This week, following a YouTube interview in which Heart spoke briefly about plans for the long-awaited launch of a new hex-linked blockchain called pulsechain, one long-time hex critic has warned the cryptocurrency could be “self-destructing” as fed-up holders lose patience.
Announced last year, pulsechain has been promoted as a fork of ethereum that would transition to the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism before ethereum itself. People that wanted to receive pulsechain’s PLS tokens in a so-called airdrop were asked to “sacrifice” their ethereum, hex or other cryptocurrencies.
As of June, around 45% of the hex in circulation has been put into two digital wallets in exchange for a promise of PLS coins once pulsechain launches, Heart told Bloomberg at the time.
However, the launch of pulsechain has been repeatedly delayed, with some beginning to question whether it will ever launch.
“Apparently, pulsechain is not happening,” bitcoin investor Mike Alfred posted to Twitter alongside screenshots from conversations with hex holders who fear pulsechain will be nothing more than a copy of ethereum, now a proof-of-stake blockchain following its upgrade last month. “Several [hex holders] have reached out to inform me that the hex community is self-destructing right now.”
Speaking to YouTuber Ivan Liljeqvist, Heart said he wouldn’t commit to a pulsechain launch timetable, saying, “it’s done when it’s done.”
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“We’re going to use the same consensus mechanism that ethereum 2.0 uses currently,” Heart said. “I want to get [pulsechain] to market. Even if we get to market without massaging [ethereum’s] block timing and gas … I would just go ‘straight copy’ and fix it later. Free coins and cheaper is enough. Faster is great if you have it but it’s not mandatory.”
“People have pointed out that they found lots of troubling things in this interview,” Alfred says of Hearts conversation with Liljeqvist via Twitter DM. “The implication is that all the work from the last year has been scrapped.”
However, Alfred doesn’t expect the eventual collapse of hex to result in a terra-luna style implosion. In May, the terra algorithmic stablecoin and its support coin luna went into meltdown as investors rushed for the exit.
“[Hex isn’t ]not as tied into the rest of the ecosystem,” Alfred says. “It’s almost like a parallel economy. Also, it will fail in slow motion due to the way the protocol incentives token lock-ups.”
Despite hex’s 90% crash, Heart remains upbeat; promising pulsechain is going to happen and will boost the hex price when it does.
“Pulsechain is going to change everything,” Heart said during a September debate that was live-streamed on YouTube.