KEY POINTS

  • A team of developers on 4chan created a cryptocurrency that would allow holders to profit every time someone's infected by the disease
  • The crypto is called CoronaCoin or NCOV
  • The total supply of NCOV is around 7.6 billion, which is based on the world's population and is burned every 48 hours 

The spread of the coronavirus has hammered the markets this week, pulling down U.S. Bank stocks to industrial commodities. Cases are rising globally and have now affected 48 countries with South Korea, Italy and Iran recording the biggest outbreaks outside China.

Now, there are heightened fears of other countries suffering similar to China, which could severely cripple the global economy if the spread of the virus is left unchecked. To help increase people's awareness of the COVID-19, a group of developers on the imageboard website 4chan created a cryptocurrency that goes up in value every time someone gets infected. While the idea seems ruthless, the group claims their goal is to increase awareness for the deadly virus.

The token is called CoronaCoin (NCOV), and it runs on the Ethereum blockchain. It's non-mintable, which means that its supply of 7,604,953,650 NCOVs that's based on the world's population will not increase over time. It goes up in value because of its deflationary measures as it burns tokens every 48 hours to keep up with the infection and fatality statistics.

"We developed the world's first blockchain that tracks the spread of the virus based on it's [sic] token supply. The token supply started at 7.6 billion and is burned every two days to keep up with official WHO statistics," said Sunny Kemp, an admin for CoronaCoin's Telegram group.

While raising awareness is something that suits the best interest of the world at the moment, containing the virus and stopping it from spreading would be the ideal scenario. But apparently, that's where profiteering could clash with the coin's ultimate objective since NCOV holders will only see their coins go up in value if there are more reports of infections, which could encourage token owners to cook up data.

Still, the team at CoronaCoin believes that their token holders would be responsible enough to refrain from such a malign practice. So far, there are about 85,366 tokens burned as of writing.

Aside from increasing awareness, 20% of the CoronaToken supply goes to Red Cross to assist in relief efforts.

"A portion of funds raised will go to charity. This is our goal, to spread awareness and help fight the virus. For example, we are currently in talks with a biochemist who is working to develop drugs to fight the virus. These are the kinds of partnerships we want to build."

The developers are also working on a game for token holders which their website states will be released soon.

With cases being reported in more countries -- and lockdowns in nations including Austria, Italy and Spain -- traders are growing increasingly fearful about the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy With cases being reported in more countries -- and lockdowns in nations including Austria, Italy and Spain -- traders are growing increasingly fearful about the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Lizabeth MENZIES