With the bitcoin price now sitting above $2,000 USD, it’s time for the mainstream media to take another look. The latest offering comes from CNBC’s “Fast Money” program, advising viewers on how they can join in.
Historically, the media pays most attention to Bitcoin when there are large price movements, or a major exchange hack. So this week’s reports aren’t really surprising.
The Media Bitcoin Believer
Fast Money presenter Brian Kelly describes himself on his Twitter bio as a “bitcoin believer” and an “early adopter”. He also manages a BTC-based investment fund — so his enthusiasm is genuine.
Kelly described two main reasons for the current price rally:
“You’re starting to see people buying bitcoin as a hedge against some of this political chaos. Think about it — the US dollar is the reserve currency of the world, you have some political chaos. Where do you go? You go into bitcoin because it’s a decentralized currency.”
However Kelly agreed that Japanese trading was probably more directly driving the price. Pointing to a chart showing an almost vertical rise in JPY trading volumes since the start of the year, he added:
“What’s going on underneath is that Japan has really come online as a big supporter of this technology in general […] But this orange line here? That’s the Japanese yen. That’s almost 40 percent of the daily bitcoin volume is now in Japanese yen. That is kind of fueling everything.”
— CNBC's Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) May 19, 2017
Encouraging Viewers to Jump In
Kelly almost recommended three options for people to buy bitcoin — Coinbase, Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust, and his own BK Capital Digital Asset Fund. Calling Grayscale a “great company”, he recommended the fund for retirement accounts despite the price premium.
Unfortunately it still seems the mainstream media can’t mention Bitcoin without mentioning hacking and theft. CNBC’s newsreader asked Kelly if the WannaCry virus sweeping the world’s computers could damage the cryptocurrency’s image and price by associating it with crime.
As Bitsonline wrote at the height of the WannaCry crisis, though, the malware may even be boosting the price by increasing demand and proving BTC’s capabilities. In any case, its impact has not been negative thus far.
Kelly also concluded by sounding more like a Bitcoin meetup participant and less like a media presenter. He pointed out the US dollar is used “a heck of a lot more” in criminal activity.
Media attitudes towards Bitcoin are shifting, though a continued focus on price movements and crime will take a little longer to shake off.
Do you find these signs encouraging? Let us know in the comments.
Images via CNBC Twitter, Wikimedia Commons