Opinion: The Block and the future of crypto media

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It’s been a weird month for everyone in the cryptocurrency industry, to say the least. Crypto journalists have had it particularly tricky.

A CoinDesk article put its parent organization, Digital Currency Group, into a bit of a bind; the mainstream media seemed to whitewash Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) at first blush; and now it comes to light that The Block’s former CEO, Mike McCaffrey, borrowed money from SBF to buy the controlling interest in the company.

Not to mention, a crippling crypto bear market has impacted readership, ad revenue, and other parts of every media company’s business practices.

It’s hard to take it all in — but here’s why I’m still bullish on my favorite journalists in the cryptocurrency industry.

The revolution will be broadcast

What should give everyone hope in an honest and fair media is CoinDesk’s reporting on Alameda Research. Ian Allison was seemingly able to report a story that ultimately did significant damage to the parent company of CoinDesk without facing repercussions or editorial censorship. This is amazing.

While people will scoff that this is, of course, a journalist’s job and the role of an owner of a media outlet, it’s also clear that if DCG had opted to censor its journalists, the story likely wouldn’t have come to light at all.

It’s also worth pointing out that while many mainstream media outlets initially got it wrong in their reporting, they’ve almost all pivoted to portraying Sam Bankman-Fried as a negligent, careless, and undisciplined CEO of FTX. Others are outright suggesting he’s a fraud.

From every outlet reporting on it, the understanding appears to be that the entirety of the team at The Block was unaware of McCaffrey’s dealings with SBF. I believe them — the caveat being I consider a few to be good friends of mine. And that’s, unfortunately, a huge caveat.

But the reality remains the same: Frank Chaparro did an interview with SBF last week and was visibly frustrated throughout. Larry Cermak reported on his boss’ investment — wittingly or unwittingly — and The Block’s reporting seems to be fair and objective.

Again, this is a win for journalism. But a reasonable and important question is on everyone’s mind in crypto media: can we survive an extended crypto winter?

Read more: Opinion: Bitfinex goes full fascist

The future of crypto media

It’s a hard question to reckon with, at least for someone who’s devoted the last five years of their life to the industry.

The only answer I can give is, “Maybe, but if we are sinking with the ship, it’s our responsibility.”

I hope that crypto media won’t go through a life-threatening credit squeeze. I hope that through the brilliant reporting from individuals from every outlet, the importance of freedom is obvious.

But I also know that for now, it means a drying up of ad revenue and smaller conferences. Perhaps soon, we’ll see less people reading crypto news. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

What is clear to me is that every cryptocurrency media outlet, whether doing fine or struggling to make ends meet, has talented and brilliant journalists, willing to sacrifice anything — seemingly their jobs! — to report the truth.

I’ve never been more hopeful about crypto media than I am right now, and you should be, too.

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