After reading Erin Griffith’s report on the 2021 Bitcoin Magazine conference from Miami, I have decided to contact The New York Times and explain to them how and why the coverage was both misleading and shallow. Not only that the purpose of the Bitcoin project is largely misunderstood, but it was also mixed with other “crypto” and “blockchain industry” elements.
Ultimately, New York Times’ coverage alluded to the fact that the author attended more than one event, and then decided to put everything together in one single report. The main problem is that the article’s title (“Thousands Descend on Miami to Glorify Bitcoin“) is misleading and intellectually dishonest in relation to the content of the article.
It’s unclear to me whether this report is part of New York Times’ editorial agenda, or if the author decided to write an all-in-one travel diary which encapsulates a little bit of all experiences. But the main takeaway is that the readers deserve to get informed about the differences between Bitcoin, shitcoins, and the blending FinTech industry.
Given my experience in the Bitcoin space, I have decided to contact the editorial board of New York Times. And just in case my e-mail gets ignored or “lost”, I shall immortalize its contents below.
My name is Vlad, I am a writer and creator for Bitcoin Takeover, and based on my experience in the field (and for the sake of providing some relevant credentials, I shall make the logical fallacy of appealing to authority while mentioning that some of my work was featured in Bitcoin Magazine and NASDAQ) I have decided to send you a correction report.
Maybe that the details and explanations that I will be presenting may seem insignificant to you, but I like to believe that your publication’s interest in publishing facts goes beyond bumper sticker-sized catchphrases and transcends the reliance on a reputable past.
Now let’s get to the subject matter: the article “Thousands Descent to Miami to Glorify Bitcoin”, published by Erin Griffith on June 5th 2021 is misleading in regards to its scope and purpose. You see, the author clearly spent more time attending another event taking place at the same time at a different venue, and mixed the phenomena in a single article which is more focused on the “crypto” space than the Bitcoin project.
To you, the difference may seem insignificant – but it would be as if somebody was asked to report on a conference for Linux developers and investors, but decided to allocate half the article to the Microsoft Windows event next door. The two communities, despite sharing some commonalities in regards to computer software, have completely different purposes and rely on opposite philosophical primitives.
Bitcoin is currently a decentralized digital commodity which aims to scale to the point where it can offer instant global transactions without the involvement of any trusted third party (governmental or private). Essentially, it’s a significant footnote in the history of non-governmental money, and a digital phenomenon which aims to conquer its limitations and challenge the status of the US dollar.
On the other hand, every other cryptocurrency is either a clone which embraces various tradeoffs that mainly concern decentralization (they accept single points of failure in the name of offering quicker transactions or institutional partnerships) or else is a byproduct of the FinTech world (as is the case of Ethereum, a project which is provably lesser decentralized and more open to the idea of leadership, for the sake of experimenting with new and marketable features which include the NFTs and DeFi that Ms. Griffith referenced).
After having established the principles in which my criticism is grounded, I shall proceed with the corresponding factual corrections:
> MIAMI — There was money in the air. Buzzwords floated around, like NFT, BTD, blockchain, token. There was a frenzied energy.
First of all, nobody (with the exception of Floyd Mayweather, whose behavior was confronted by the organizers) talked about NFTs. You can watch the entire event on YouTube and you will find presentations and panels which refer to freedom of transactions (Ron Paul’s speech), history of money (Nick Szabo), mainstream culture and adoption (Max Keiser & Michael Saylor), and development (Pete Rizzo’s panel with developers Peter Todd, Eric Lombrozo, and Bryan Bishop).
The NFT industry is built on Ethereum and its clones. And since the title of the article is “Thousands Descent to Miami to Glorify Bitcoin”, mentioning an element from the conference next door in the first paragraph is misleading and dishonest.
Then there’s “BTD”, and acronym that nobody from the community ever uses. Just like the strongest gun from the video game DOOM is the BFG 9000 and it gets referred to as such, the term for encouraging others to buy the dip is BTFD.
Now “blockchain” is a delicate term, as in the Bitcoin context it refers to the open ledger which stores all transactions. It’s not a word which gets mentioned often by non-developer bitcoiners, but it’s a buzzword which led to the creation of the so-called “blockchain industry” and shitcoins (I’m merely quotingCongressman Davidson, according to the Congressional records). The inclusion of “blockchain” in your enumeration is not very relevant and alludes to the darker side which has very little in common with the mission of the Bitcoin project.
As for “token”, nobody in the Bitcoin space cares about tokenization and any other asset except for BTC. This term belongs to the Ethereum realm, in which the network allows for the creation of ERC tokens.
While Bitcoin does have pegged assets on sidechains like Blockstream’s Liquid, nobody refers to them as “tokens” and they were not mentioned during the conference that Ms. Griffith supposedly attended.
In a nutshell, the introductory paragraph already suggests that the author of the article didn’t spend much time at the conference on which she claims to have reported, and also had very little prior knowledge of the phenomena. I’m pretty sure that your readers deserve to receive expert opinions – and for the same reason, I am trying to help you improve the piece.
> The kind generated by thousands upon thousands of people gathering to worship at the altar of cryptocurrencies.
This is the second paragraph and I already have some objections. First of all, this statement reinforces the view that people in the cryptocurrency space behave as cult members. Secondly, there was no “alter of cryptocurrencies” at the Bitcoin conference. Once again, it’s just a misplaced figure of speech which has nothing to do with the content that’s promised in the article’s title.
> The jargon — stablecoin, peer-to-peer, private key — flowed.
In the Bitcoin space, nobody talks about stablecoins. Though Tether, the world’s first stablecoin was created on Bitcoin’s Omni Layer, today it operates on other networks such as Ethereum and Tron.
Once again, you can listen to the entire conference on YouTube and you will not find any mention of stablecoins. They are merely instruments for trading and speculation, while the mission of Bitcoin is to replace a financial system that’s backed by debt with a new paradigm of provable computational work and value. The author of the article must have heard the term at the Ethereum event next-doors and thought it also relates to Bitcoin in one way or the other.
> Everything after “The Horses Never Die” is irrelevant to the subject matter
Halfway through, the article stops talking about the Bitcoin conference and starts exploring some other loosely related events. Once again, this is intellectually dishonest and misleading for an article that’s titled “Thousands Descend on Miami to Glorify Bitcoin”.
The exclusive whale party gets randomly mentioned, but there is no reporting about what happened there. And you can ask David Bailey or any of the organizers of the Bitcoin conference to confirm this fact: everything that’s “crypto” is unrelated to the event. Reporting it just for the sake of implying that there was more going on in Miami at the same time represents a clear divergence from the subject matter and merely reveals a page from the author’s personal travel diary.
Ultimately, I can’t help but ask: was this a piece of professional journalism or was it just a personal blog post? Did the author receive any kind of assignment in regards to the kind of coverage that New York Times wants to feature? Is there an editorial agenda to purposefully dilute the meaning of the Bitcoin movement by associating it with vaguely related phenomena?
And let me ask you this: if you were to organize a conference on the ethics of journalism, and next door there was another event by The Onion and TMZ, wouldn’t you feel upset if somebody reported on all events while mixing ideas and talking points? Wouldn’t you write a long correction report to the editors from the publication which didn’t spend any time trying to distinguish between NYT and TMZ? And wouldn’t you want an article that’s titled “Thousands Descend on New York to Glorify The Times” to get covered by a professional who actually understands the intricacies of the journalistic profession?
I had greater expectations from you. Please fix your article.
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