82% of Digital Currencies Use Plagiarised Code According to New Research

Elikem Kofi Attah

According to new research carried out by Netta Lab, a Chinese company, in collaboration with experts from China’s Xi’an Jiaotong University, 80% of cryptocurrency projects have copied their code from existing projects.

The C++ code similarity research closely examined the programming code of 488 digital currencies that use open-source code. It was found that 405 (82%) of the crypto projects had copied 90% of their code at the minimum.

95% to 100% similarities were detected in the code of as many as 324 projects. Only a few of the projects had slightly altered their code. 38 (7.8%)of the 488 projects analyzed had less than 80% code similarity ratio. Surprisingly, none of the projects were deemed original.

Xie Shaoyun, the founder of Netta Lab, in explaining the findings, said that it showed the lack of innovation and inadequate focus on practical solutions in the crypto industry.

Are Most Cryptocurrency Projects Failing As a Result?

Perhaps due to the high number of projects with copied code, there are very few cryptocurrencies or ICOs that have truly unique use cases or products. Some crypto experts generally bitcoin ‘maximalists’ believe that a majority of the “bitcoin clones” are attempts by project creators to make money off the “next bitcoin” and will eventually die out.

Significantly, this process may already be underway as the decline in alctoin prices in 2018 is nearly at its worst since the beginning of the entire crypto industry.

Another research report titled, “Charting the Growth of Cryptocurrencies”, released on 4th September by Greyspark Partners, a top global capital markets consulting firm, revealed that “nearly 50% of the 890 initial coin offerings launched since 2014 failed to raise any money”.

Importantly, the research also revealed that more than 50% of the ICOs launched in the first half of 2018 were unable to reach their soft cap targets.

The use of copy-pasted code may not be the sole reason for the high rate of failure for cryptocurrencies, but it might however, point to a substantial innovation problem for the industry.