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Cryptocurrency Price App Creator Accused of Plagiarism

Overview

Harshita Arora’s Crypto Price Tracker App is a mobile iOS application released by 16-year-old developer Harshita Arora which sparked an online controversy over accusations that lied about creating the app herself.

Background

On January 28th, 2018, the app Crypto Price Tracker was released for iOS devices. That day, teenager Harshita Arora published a blog post titled “Today I launched my first mobile app. Here’s what I learned” on the Medium site FreeCodeCamp. On February 1st, Arora published an “ask me anything” (AMA) post on Reddit, in which she claimed the “main barrier” she experienced in creating the app was “having to do everything,” adding that did the entire app’s “design, development, and marketing” on her own (shown below).

个[-] CHRAL.NCO INOR.NRa。[5] 7 points 10 days ago I've found that sharing my story with an audience in the form of blog posts has improved the visibility a lot. It not only helped me help other people but also market the app to a large audience. I haven't had the chance to make connections with very popular influencers. But I got a few micro-influencers to check out my app and share with their network. And I mostly found them on Quora and on Facebook. The main barrier is probably having to do everything. I've had to do everything in the app design, development, and marketing. If I could hire someone to do one of them, it'd have been wonderful

On February 4th, Redditor somethingrandom134 published a post on /r/bitcoin accusing Arora attempting to pass off other programmers work as her own, noting that the majority of commits for the app on GitHub were made by other people.

Developments

On February 5th, 2018, a blog post about the findings was published on the website Namc, which included a screenshot of Arora’s Github contribution graph compared to developer Aviral Aggarwal (shown below).

The post also included a screenshot of a text message conversation between developer Vivek Na and Arora, in which she claimed she sent Aggarwal the code to upload to GitHub (shown below, left). Additionally, the post contained an Imgur link to a series of Facebook Messenger screenshots claiming to be a conversation between Arora and Na, in which Arora says she received “help of mentors” to create the app, including Aviral Aggarwal and Bhavish Balhotra.

Online Reaction

Shortly after, the Namc blog post reached the front page of the /r/Bitcoin, /r/CringeAnarchy, /r/pussypassdenied, /r/programming and /r/CryptoCurrency.

On February 6th, Redditor evilplushie submitted a post about the controversy to /r/KotakuInAction, where it gathered more than 1,800 points (91% upvoted) and 300 comments within one week.

Arora’s Response

On February 5th, Arora tweeted at the company Nimbix, alleging their developer Vivek Na was “harassing a 16 y/o online” (shown below).

Harshita Arora @aroraharshita33 @Nimbix Your employee Vivek Na linkedin.com/in/repmovsdl) Is harassing a 16 y/o online. Please look into this issue. Links: namc.in/2018-02-05-pla.. and lw He's being reported for cyberbullying if no action is taken. Thank you. redd.it/7vem

On February 6th, Na published a Pastebin text file in which he apologized for publicizing his speculation about Arora’s app, adding that it was a “big mistake.” That day, the Namc.inc blog post was updated claiming the apology was “issued under duress.”

News Media Coverage

On February 9th, 2018, The Daily Beast published an article titled “Reddit Terrorizes Another Teen, This Time Over the Bitcoin App She Created.” On February 11th, the Namc.inc blog post was republished after being temporarily removed, which cited The Daily Beast article as the motivation for putting the post back up. The same day, Redditor porkslow submitted the article to /r/GamerGhazi.

Search Interest

External References

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