After Years of Lies, Is There Hope for Real Crypto Journalism?
Unfortunately, real crypto journalism almost vanished with the age of the ICO. Want a dose of the truth? Then read on and we will help set you straight.
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The Breakermag Controversy
On October 25th, BREAKERMAG published a piece exposing the pay-for-play tendencies of crypto news reporting. In it, journalist Corin Faife describes asking 28 crypto news outlets to publish a sponsored article without mentioning it was sponsored.
Seven projects declined the offer: BraveNewCoin, Coinjournal, CryptosRus, CCN, Mineable, Oracle Times, and ZyCrypto. Loud applause to those outlets and a large volume of luck. (Needless to say, Bitsonline was not approached because they have a well known policy against publishing paid content without the appropriate disclosures.)
However, 12 news outlets, including some of the largest in the industry, said “Yes” to Faife, without even asking for the project’s specs.
Simple, Amazing, Blockchained, Distributed, Smart Contractified… What?
Journalistic integrity issues aside, reporting on crypto and discerning the real from the not-so-real is no mean feat. Most new revolutionary blockchain projects are a maze of the following known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns:
- Are the project’s authors unknown or people with dubious reputations?
- Maybe they have worked for a politician, the UN, or the Army in the past. This may be a problem, indicating they are the kind of people who tend to use violent management styles.
- What is their background? Do a quick search and find something useful. Should you trust a blockchain startup opened by a former low-level bank employee? How about a former insurance corporation executive? A turtle-neck donning loner? An ex-con?
- Is their code open or closed source?
- Do they own other entities? What services do those entities offer?
- Look at the idea. You should look at dozens of stats, not only the market cap or the number of Twitter followers.
- Are they looking for enough money to fund a small African nation for the next decade?
Also, within many ICO projects there are usually no fiduciary duties, and no clear explanation about how the project will gain the desired goals, profits, and popularity, in the long term.
In such a milieu, feeding the army of crypto noobs with journalistic truth can become arduous, thankless, and in the end, an almighty task.
Arvicco Syndrome and the Plight of the Hapless Star Chaser
Here’s a fragment of an email from Arvicco, editor-in-chief of Bitnovosti and Ethereum Classic creator (Bitsonline received this screenshot from a trusted Russian hacker):
The translation is:
“Let me tell you how the modern ICO conveyor works. Right now, there are lots of quirky ‘blockchain-consultants’, who purposely court different people and projects which do have serious audience. Mr. Freeman has that big audience, as you have described, the cult with millions of fans.
So those consultants tell the dumbfound creators that its time to stop working for free, and its time to raise big cash. They describe the great perspectives to the project founders, paint the ICO schemes for them, prepare digital content and so on. Not for free, of course, – up to the half of the total emission they take for themselves. Then they release tokens to the public, place them to large exchanges, push extensive promotion and then — dump. Thats it, the cycle of fool theft is over, lets go to the next ‘project’. All the consequences regarding the skidding projects and falling tokens are up to the project’s official faces. The ‘consultants’ remain in shadows. At the end, only official faces will be paying with their reputation, and maybe not all of them have realized this fact.”
Interestingly, during 2017 Arvicco was an avid supporter of ICOs and went on to become a participant in the popular sport of Roger Ver trolling.
At the same time, Arvicco openly used his non-commercial, holy, and smallblockin’ news website to pump hidden PR and anti-ETH/BCH rhetoric.
The Art of Jeff Fawkes, Bitcoin Quest, and Real Crypto Journalism
Despite the fact that the ‘bq’ uniquely intends to give away coins to smart crypto users and not take them from the stupid ones, only the Bitsonline editorial team was courageous enough to entertain the idea of bitcoin quest.
The artwork and musings of Jeff Fawkes live on at crypto’s most trusted news outlet. And there is barely a known unknown among them. Now that’s real crypto journalism!
Sound off below. Is there any hope for real crypto journalism?
Images by Jeff Fawkes