Crypto Media's Bull Market Swing
The best blockchain industry coverage in February 2021
Hello again from the Association of Cryptocurrency Journalists and Researchers! 👋
February was a great month for crypto media. Players like Decrypt are hiring more veteran journalists and networks like the Blockworks Group increasing their output as the bull market drives more traffic to crypto journalism sites. Even the New York Times is covering non-fungible tokens (NFTs) these days. Plus, the Financial Times-backed outlet Sifted is ramping up coverage of European blockchain startups.
In fact, there were so many pieces worth highlighting that this month that we skipped the guest column section to have more room for featuring the best reporting in the space.
Before we dive into that, we’re excited to announce the ACJR is finally opening up memberships! (That’s right, trolling around in our Telegram group is not actually the same as being an official member.) If you want to become a member of the ACJR, fill out this form to apply.
You’ll enjoy membership benefits and exclusive opportunities for bolstering job skills. We’re looking to foster more high quality content related to cryptocurrency. What does that look like, you might say? We’re so glad you asked! Let’s take a look at the top picks for February.
In terms of research, we’ve been impressed with Deribit Insights’s recent reports, particularly the one where Three Arrows Capital CEO Su Zhu offered a crypto-savvy analysis of the GameStop debacle. At the same time, there’s been a surge in old-fashioned feature writing about the blockchain industry.
Here are a few examples of such outstanding reporting in this sector:
“The House that Bitcoin Built” by Leo Schwartz and Lucía Cholakian Herrera, Rest of the World
This investigative feature explores the mysterious case of Argentina’s crypto-centric hacker house, called the Voltaire House, in Buenos Aires. We love how even someone who isn’t interested in bitcoin at all can follow along and enjoy this story, brimming with colorful scenes and diverse characters.
“The Mysterious Cryptocurrency Magnate Who Became One of Biden’s Biggest Donors” by Benjamin Wallace, New York Magazine
This classic profile piece offers a well-rounded look at the life of 28-year-old crypto exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried, one of the industry’s newest billionaires.
“The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin Billionaire Arthur Hayes” by Adam Ciralsky, Vanity Fair
This Vanity Fair story (clearly not a crypto publication) paints a fascinating picture of one of cryptocurrency’s heavyweights, BitMex CEO Arthur Hayes, and how the current legal charges against him in the U.S. have a greater implication for compliance standards across the industry. Plus, you learn that BitMex’s Hong Kong office had a literal shark aquarium. Just throwing that out there.
“Crypto Mogul Bets on ‘Meme Investing’ With Millions in GameStop” by Tracy Alloway, Bloomberg
This zesty piece covers several hot topics in one fell swoop, from celebrity token founder Justin Sun to GameStop traders and trendy meme campaigns. The piece offers a multifaceted, yet clear, portrayal of one of the cryptocurrency industry’s most ambitious risk-takers.
“The Ethics of Hiring Cheap Filipino Staff: Crypto in the Philippines Part 2” by Andrew Fenton, Cointelegraph
This piece grappled with the ethical dilemmas related to workers’ rights in an age of (relatively) decentralized companies, especially since COVID-19 began. Many companies outsource tedious support roles to jurisdictions with lower wage norms, while keeping upwardly mobile leadership roles in developed tech hubs. Yet this piece managed to add something new to that conversation, with insights and circumstances specific to the crypto industry. We stan this type of business coverage.
“Bitcoin ‘Can’t Be Stopped’: Nigerians Look to P2P Exchanges After Crypto Ban” by Alyssa Hertig, CoinDesk
This article includes voices from the ground explaining how cryptocurrency users are managing since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a directive ordering banks to close down accounts associated with cryptocurrencies. Given how rapidly cryptocurrency usage is growing in Nigeria, this piece couldn’t be more timely.
“Bitcoin's Rise Reflects America's Decline” by Rana Foroohar, Financial Times
We decided this opinion column deserved a shoutout, although these highlights are typically reserved for reporting and not punditry, preciously because it was so well-researched and dispassionately articulate. When it comes to bullish columns that walk the fine line between analysis and bias, Rana managed to strike the perfect balance.
Plus, for funsies, here is an example of a story we wish did just one thing differently:
“ConsenSys Grants Help Iranian Women Learn Solidity” by Anna Baydakova, CoinDesk
We love this article about ConsenSys Academy, backed by Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin, sponsoring educational grants for women in Iran. However, the piece fell short with regards to context. The reason this funding was so impactful is these women are otherwise isolated from the global financial system due to sanctions. Ethereum community leader Virgil Griffith is already facing criminal charges for allegedly helping North Koreans circumnavigate sanctions. If distant educational funding is fundamentally different, it would have been helpful to spell out the legal context. If not, that risk is relevant to the story. Either way, we believe this piece offers a unique perspective and is worth highlighting. We just hope that, next time, the reporting offers at least one perspective that isn’t strictly praising the company’s activities.
Who do you think is making the best bitcoin coverage this year? We welcome prospective members to contribute suggestions via social media and check out our website.
Also, keep an eye out for our ACJR meetups! Our next event is Wednesday the 24th, a book club chat at 1pm ET via the Telegram group. Special thanks to @Liam_Gallas, the volunteer who started the first ACJR book club! Check out this Notion page for more details.
We’re also working on educational sessions for the near future. Feel free to let us know if you’re interested in volunteering for that too!
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