Stories continue to be published on the world’s media platforms that appear to be designed to change the minds of the would-be new crypto investors out there. Can the kind of simplistic rhetoric that we are often seeing in the media do crypto a disservice?
Media outlets are publishing more and more news about cryptocurrencies. The public want to hear about it because the word out there is that you can make some money by buying them. But the word is also out there that cryptocurrencies are harmful to the economy as well as to the investors that buy them.
Among some of the articles and videos for and against cryptocurrencies there are certainly some that take a rather simplistic approach. Parts of the crypto sector are extremely hard to understand, even for quite tech savvy people, so for some outlets to try and boil it all down and make it simpler to understand can’t be a bad thing.
However, it can surely be argued that this depends on the agenda of those behind the reports. A recent video published today by CNN Business, probably aimed at those who might think to invest in cryptocurrencies, dumbed cryptocurrencies down, and painted a rather negative view of them overall.
The jovial Jon Sarlin, who delivered the report, started by hinting that cryptocurrencies were not actually very useful. He stated:
“Good luck trying to find a place to buy a cup of coffee with it”
He didn’t mention that even Starbucks lets you buy your coffee with crypto, but to be honest, using your precious bitcoin to buy a coffee probably isn’t the best use of it anyway. He also didn’t refer to any cryptocurrencies that might well dominate the pay rails in the future, and that buying your coffee this way may well be a far better option than fiat payments.
Sarlin commented on whether crypto might be:
“the biggest transformation of money since the invention of paper, or the biggest scam since Charlie Ponzi”.
For such reputable media outlets as CNN, to continue to refer to crypto as a “scam” makes the viewer wonder at the legitimacy of such reporting. Obviously, there are scams in crypto, just as there are in traditional financial businesses. But to tar all cryptocurrencies with the same brush does this incredibly innovative technology a huge disservice.
When supposedly diving into the kinds of crypto out there, Sarlin refers to Bitcoin, but then jumps straight into naming DOGE among one of the thousands of smaller cryptocurrencies whose “value fluctuates wildly”.
He dwells on how slow it is on the bitcoin network for a transaction to be sent and how expensive the fees are, never once mentioning how bitcoin is primarily a store of value, or that it competes extremely favourably against gold (try and figure out how slow and expensive it would be to send gold anywhere).
Next is cryptocurrency being “backed by nothing”. We won’t go into what fiat currency is backed by, and how it is heading for zero as its value is constantly eroded by ridiculous amounts of printing.
Our narrator states with a hint of disbelief that people are “putting their faith in these decentralised networks over a central bank or a corporation”, without seeming in the least bit interested as to why?
The video then plays an excerpt from one of crypto’s biggest haters in Nouriel Roubini. The economist gives the impression of having made it his lifetime goal to vehemently denounce cryptocurrencies, and in the video, he is enraged that supposedly 99% of cryptocurrencies are just used to buy another one.
From there we head to crypto as an energy guzzler. It is highlighted that an NFT of a cup of coffee uses on average “as much energy as driving around 500 miles in a car”, but then goes on to say that billions of dollars are still pouring into this tech – might it be wondered why?
So, this is the kind of crypto “journalism” put forth by a ‘reputable’ platform such as CNN. Why a platform such as this would put out such a puerile and unsophisticated report is to be wondered at. Can it be that Sarlin and whoever put the video together just don’t understand the technology in any depth? Or could there be another reason?