Cryptocurrency confuses the mainstream media, but should blockchain advocates care?

The relationship between cryptocurrency and mainstream media (MSM) is complex, and it is fair to say that some people in the cryptocurrency community are not happy with the treatment they have received over the years.

MSM has largely ignored Bitcoin (Bitcoin) And other cryptocurrencies. Hackers, ransomware attacks, and other illegal activities are occasionally reported. Samson Mow, Chief Strategy Officer of Blockstream and CEO of Pixelmatic, told Cointelegraph: “In the past ten years, their reporting has been pretty bad, and it’s almost always negative.” “It’s hard to find positive news about Bitcoin.”

But recently, the media has found many reports. For example, “The Economist” Ran The second encrypted cover article in a few months, and on September 14, a member of the New York Times Editorial Board Publish A review article comparing Bitcoin to “role-playing” (i.e. costume drama)-probably not for praise.

The cryptocurrency/blockchain field may eventually receive attention commensurate with the emerging $2 trillion economic sector, although some in the community said that the mainstream media still does not seem to “understand.” For example, although The Economist generally acknowledges the importance of decentralized finance (DeFi)-saying that it deserves “clear consideration” and “it is possible to re-plan the way the financial system works”-it commented elsewhere that “bit Coin, the first large-scale blockchain, was created in 2009 and is now distracting.”

It raises some questions: Assuming that the mainstream media is now actually involved in reporting on cryptocurrencies, is it doing it right? If there is a lack of understanding—that is, failure to understand the true benefits and risks of encryption/blockchain—what is the crux of it? In general, should the crypto community be annoyed by the treatment of MSM because it may hinder widespread adoption, or should it be seen as a sign of the increasing acceptance of public blockchains?

“Positive Development”

“This is not the first time we have seen extensive coverage of crypto assets in MSM,” Fabian Schär, a professor in the Department of Business and Economics at the University of Basel, told Cointelegraph. The media’s focus seems to be cyclical, possibly related to cryptocurrency market activities. “What’s new is that newspapers and magazines seem to rarely talk about prices, but are beginning to explore the benefits of public blockchain and decentralization,” Schär said. “This is a very positive development.”

Sean Stein Smith, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics and Business at Lehman College, said that MSM seems to be just “flooding” into the cryptocurrency space following mainstream financial institutions, and this trend will begin in the second and third quarters of 2021. Pick up, tell Cointelegraph, and add:

“The media is catching up with what financial institutions seemed to have discovered earlier this year. This catching up is reflected in the more aggressive practices that regulators have seen recently.”

Kristin Smith, executive director of the Blockchain Association, agrees with Schär’s view that MSM reports tend to “open again”, but they seem to become more stable. She told Cointelegraph: “The coverage of the regulatory environment has expanded to a new level, driven by the dispute over crypto tax provisions in the current infrastructure bill,” she added: “We expect this level of coverage to remain the same. Encryption has consolidated its position in the US economy.”

Francine McKenna, an adjunct professor at the Kogod School of Business at American University and an accounting publisher, noted that the traditional hedge fund conference SALT held in New York City earlier this month dedicated a large portion of its agenda to the crypto-related topic newsletter The Dig . She told Cointelegraph, “Since all hedge funds have participated in the SALT meeting, MSM must do this.”

Bitcoin as a “distraction”

Perceived contempt still exists-just like “The Economist” Describe Bitcoin as a “distraction” or the New York Times critics describe Bitcoin users as “basically a group of role-playing libertarians participating in fictional games on the playground of the nanny country.” For the latter, Mow The response said: “If Bitcoin is cosplay, then it is a very advanced cosplay.” McKenna added when talking about the respected British weekly: “They are notoriously conservative and maintain the status quo unless it is a hurricane. , Otherwise I won’t go where the wind blows.”

“They seem to mainly miss the point,” Stan Smith said of the description of The Economist. “Bitcoin may indeed be moving away from its unquestionable leadership in the field, but it is still definitely the leader in the field.” Schär added that he did not think “Bitcoin would be a distraction” and continued:

“Bitcoin has some interesting technical and socio-economic characteristics that are difficult to replicate. Of course, most economic activities are carried out on other blockchains, but this does not make Bitcoin obsolete. However, it may be distracting. It’s purely monetary use cases and unnecessary infighting between different members of the community.”

What is the crux?

It is true that blockchain technology and cryptocurrency are not always easy to master. Cais Chief Innovation Officer Andrew Smith Lewis-an alternative investment platform for financial advisors (FA)-created educational courses for FA, including the basics of blockchain and encryption, which was co-developed with Galaxy Digital. Lewis told Cointelegraph that it turns out that it is more difficult for consultants to grasp the concepts in this course than in other finance courses in Cais. For example, he estimated that the time required to master the key elements of a blockchain course is about three times that of a corporate hedge fund course.

Smith of the Blockchain Association agreed that some concepts of encryption may be problematic: “DeFi is a good example. It is a relatively new space. These protocols may be difficult to understand, even for those who are relatively proficient in regulation and technology. It’s the same for people.”

“The hardest aspect of Bitcoin to grasp is that it is completely unique-it has never existed,” Mo said, adding: “The media has nothing to compare it, and they cannot fully understand its importance. Bitcoin will Brings the upcoming paradigm shift.” McKenna added, “All of this is virtual” brings challenges:

“Most of this content exists in the unpredictable technical fields that most liberal arts journalists will never understand. I mean they cannot understand the concepts of goodwill and impairment in traditional accounting. I have always heard, “Too technical. “If they can’t understand the restatement, can you really expect them to conceptualize forks and mortgages?”

McKenna went on to say that until recently, people who are very knowledgeable about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology restricted their public speech to focused, niche-type publications. “The mainstream media doesn’t even know who they are.” One consequence is insufficient education on encryption between MSM and regulators. “I still don’t think the SEC or any mainstream media knows exactly what the mechanism of airdrops, forks, pledges or even Lend product problems are. But they must try.”

related: DeFi literacy: universities accept decentralized financial education

Will more education help? “More education is always better than less,” Smith replied, then added: “People are busy, they have preconceived notions of what encryption is, no matter their age, we have to be where they are. Meet with them. I rarely talk to people in the mainstream media. After we talked, reporters or editors made more criticisms of cryptocurrencies.”

As far as Mow is concerned, he is skeptical. “More education may not help. The fundamental problem is that Western media enjoy economic privileges and see the world from the perspective of this privilege.” According to him, instead of treating Bitcoin as a Ponzi scheme, it is better to go to Ethiopia Wait for new entrepreneurs to use Bitcoin to pay workers’ wages, because these funds cannot be devalued or confiscated. “them [MSM] Can’t see why Bitcoin is needed, because they can’t see the world’s problems. “

“Coexist and Advance”

So whenever a lukewarm article about Bitcoin or DeFi appears in a very popular mainstream publication, should the crypto community continue to express their frustration? Does yelling on Twitter even have the expected effect of correcting this situation?

In general, it is most likely to agree with Schär’s view that increasing MSM censorship is positive-this is another sign that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology will continue to exist. “Now, as a community, our job is to provide resources and create an open and welcoming environment for MSM reporters and those interested in the technology to understand what is happening,” Schär told Cointelegraph.

related: Bitcoin ledger as a secret weapon against ransomware

“In this regard, we cannot underestimate the power of mainstream media to shape public opinion or the opinions of regulators and legislators,” added Smith of the Blockchain Association. “We have no choice but to strive to coexist and move forward, whether in our work to spread the gospel through the media or in our cooperation with legislators and regulators.”