People Who Don’t Understand Cryptocurrency Should Probably Stop Writing About It
It’s only February, but the award for most inaccurate cryptocurrency article of the year is already in the bag. The Financial Post, which bills itself as “Canada’s most trusted source of financial news” has published an editorial that reads like something straight from The Onion. This isn’t satire though – it’s a serious piece authored by the publication’s decorated editor-at-large Diane Francis.
There’s a Fine Line Between Satire and Stupidity
“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are like the Bre-X stock — they will leave investor hopes in tatters” reads the title of the editorial in the Financial Post. Bre-X was a Canadian penny stock that reached $286 CAD in the 90s before collapsing. “These are equity issues without rules and investors should avoid them like the plague” runs the subheading by Diane Francis. The 71-year-old has the accolade of being the first woman editor of a national daily newspaper in Canada and has had a host of academic accolades bestowed upon her. With bitcoin, she is hopelessly out of her depth however.
Misinformed hit pieces about bitcoin are published on a daily basis, and most don’t warrant the oxygen of the publicity they desperately crave. Francis’ effort for the Financial Post deserves picking apart for posterity, though, as it’s filled with a cornucopia of pithy one-liners. “Anyone can create a cryptocurrency out of thin air,” begins the article, quite correctly. It continues: “Some create fake cryptocurrency exchange sites where bogus trading figures and prices are posted to entice money from the gullible.” That’s a new one, but is still one of the saner claims to be found in the article.
Enormous Crimes Are Enormous
“Sometimes crimes are enormous,” explains Francis helpfully. Then, continuing with her obsession over fake exchanges, she writes: “South Korea and Japan have launched probes into how hundreds of millions in Bitcoin were hacked or embezzled from insecure or bogus exchanges”. The journalist, who has interviewed such luminaries as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, and George Soros is hitting her stride now. It is the next paragraph that is the coup de grâce, and it deserves reprinting in full:
Cryptocurrencies are also hazardous. Take Bitcoin, which is at least self-regulated, the currency yo-yos in value without any underlying valuation or justification. There are no controls over how many Bitcoins are issued, and digital counterfeiting rings have been busy replicating the currency at “Bitcoin farms”, and a few have been apprehended.
The non-sequiturs keep coming: “Without control over supply and demand, currencies can flood a market that’s rising to take advantage of demand then disappear, leaving valuations in tatters. It’s easy.” Francis then speaks of Facebook banning cryptocurrency adverts “to protect its hapless readership. Disappointingly, ignorance is so pervasive that even when warned the public is duped.”
Thank goodness for publications like the Financial Post to shed a spotlight on these matters and keep the public educated. Readers predictably wasted no time in setting Ms Francis right in the comments section. The remainder of the article is taken up with railing against pointless cryptocurrencies such as Useless Ethereum Token and Jesus Coin.
It’s common for non-crypto publications to get things wrong when writing about bitcoin, though it’s rare for them to get them this wrong. The comedy of errors is all the more remarkable in coming from a publication that specializes in financial news. Diane Francis has had a stellar career, but it may be time for the Post’s editor to hand the reins to someone more in touch with the zeitgeist.
Do you think Diane Francis deserves some slack, or are readers of the Financial Post right to have a go at her? Let us know in the comments section below.
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