Bitcoin, the distributed open source cryptocurrency went live in 2009. Since 2009, for about 3-4 years it was still an obscure token which only a handful of tech publications showed interest in. However, it all changed when this obscure ‘game currency’ was found to be a major currency in the deep web economy. The emergence of the deep web online marketplace – Silk Road and the use of bitcoin to but drugs and other contraband on that site garnered some attention from mainstream media.
As time progressed, the Silk Road investigation and the sudden surge and fall of bitcoin price due to Mt Gox incidence were all picked up religiously by the mainstream news outlets. Almost all newspapers, magazines and online publications covered these incidents. By then, the digital currency had definitely gained the world’s attention, but in a negative way. Even though media took its own time to even feature bitcoin in their publications, when they did, it garnered a lot of curiosity among people. The angle for coverage opted by news outlets were predominantly negative. Not many magazines spoke about the intended usage of bitcoin as envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto. This made bitcoin more notorious than popular.
About 8 years down the line, things have changed a lot since then. the digital currency has gained its fair share of media coverage and everyone seems to be excited about this new digital currency and its underlying technology. The adoption of blockchain technology in other industries stands proof of this. Now, with the mainstream industries taking notice of bitcoin and adopting bitcoin technology has given a shroud of legitimacy to the digital currency (at least that’s what conventional media believes).
Why is media trying to stay away from the cryptocurrency?
Every business has stakeholders and it is the same for media as well. There is always a bias even in the media and publication sector. Those who think that media outlets are impartial and straightforward when it comes to reporting news are lying to themselves. The recent news article by Venezuelan state-sponsored media outlet about bitcoin titled – “Bitcoin – El Sistema Cibercriminal” is an example of how state propaganda machinery uses media to spread misinformation to benefit the government. This is not a new thing, propaganda using media outlets was heavily used during the world war and they have not stopped since then. If you want to find it out yourself, all you got to do is access the same news on different news outlets and the discrepancies will be clearly visible. In this case, Venezuela plans to ban bitcoin in the country.
Another reason for the bitcoin media to stay away from bitcoin and blockchain technology until it gained traction can be attributed to the lack of comprehensive information, which may have led them to jump to premature conclusions. If a media outlet speculates on something with best intentions, it may still be quite damaging to both the subject and publication.
Should we blame the mainstream media?
This is a tricky question, few mainstream media outlets have been too critical about bitcoin since its use on the deep web was reported. This has caused irreversible damage to the digital currency. Because of these news outlets, bitcoin now has the notoriety of being the preferred currency of criminals and the drug – currency. At the same time, there are channels that were either neutral of refrained from reporting about bitcoin unless the news was really important. But no one really benefited from these silent ones. And then there are few sites and platforms that have been vocal about bitcoin and its benefits. These sites have been responsible for reporting the latest developments in the field of bitcoin and digital currency.
Bitcoin is no longer a controversial subject for news outlets as it is now well-known and recognized digital currency / technology out there.
Ref: The Guardian (Image)
Disclaimer: The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of NewsBTC