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Media Bias Against Crypto Is Prolonging The Sell-Off

The Media Bias Against Crypto Is Prolonging The Sell-Off

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Bitcoin prices may have been manipulated, scream the business headlines. But the headlines themselves may be the force that is truly affecting crypto prices. And if that’s not an accident, it’s manipulation.

Cryptocurrency prices are down yet again today and the mainstream media is having a field day. Columnists across the spectrum say this the end of virtual currencies as we know it.

For the past couple of months, mainstream financial media sources watched from the sidelines as the cryptocurrency market’s volatility slowed. A story here, a story there; the coverage was sparse. But at the beginning of last week, financial news outlets began pumping out stories on crypto.

They initially covered the increasing antagonisms building up around the Bitcoin Cash hard fork; but they found a new target when the market began to head south.

Where’s the manipulation now?

The Financial Times’ cryptocurrency page has seen renewed vigor in the past few days. The article publication rate has quadrupled since the start of the month. The FT published three articles in the first week – one being on the rivalries between the BCH personalities. The following week, when prices started to slide, this jumped to seven stories. Three articles covered the state of the market, one with the title that “crypto is collapsing!”; another piece labeled Bitcoin (BTC) as “the evil spawn of the financial crisis”. 

It’s only Wednesday, but the FT has already published six articles on cryptocurrency this week. Five are on the market slide, with one describing it as “panic time” and another claiming the Bitcoin “dream is dying”That last one is an analytical piece, implying it’s built on hard facts and not erm… opinion.

It’s a similar story over at the Wall Street Journal, although they’ve focused more on Nvidia. Four articles were published last week on the chip manufacturer, which said it had a ‘hangover’ from its enthusiastic investing into crypto mining chips earlier in the year. The key takeaway from the article is that the hype around crypto at the end of last year was misguided; companies bullish on virtual currencies, like Nvidia, are getting burnt. Later, this narrative was dissected by CCN and proved to be inaccurate.

Another preoccupation has been the SEC order last week for two ICO projects to reimburse investors. Although the news provides enforcement clarity regarding tokens that count as a security under US law, the WSJ journalist implies that the ruling serves to bring in additional protection layers that would otherwise be unwelcome. [The SEC orders] require the use of auditors, a layer of protection that is nearly nonexistent in the world of cryptocurrencies,” the article says, “which hoped to bypass Wall Street intermediaries and rely on communities of programmers to distribute tokens and verify trades.” {Emphasis ours.}

Bloomberg excelled themselves this week. Three features in the past day have discussed whether JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon was right to call crypto a ‘fraud’ at the end of last year. Another five articles look at the people who invested in cryptocurrency, especially if they bought at a high. One published just a few hours ago urges readers not to talk about Bitcoin’s “deadly spiral” over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The stories are designed to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt – and the market conditions we see suggests they’re working.

What is this doing to the crypto market?

Negative coverage from established financial news sources will have an effect. Although prices seemed to have stabilized this morning, they have begun to sink yet again. $5bn has been wiped from the market over the course of the day. This coinciding with an increase in the number of bearish articles on crypto is no coincidence. Many investors determine their decisions based on the information they get from these sources. If the news is portrayed like this, more will liquidate their holdings.

A few weeks ago, FT columnist John Authers looked at how trust in the media has declined over the last twenty years.  When he started back in the early 1990s, deference to the FT was in his opinion, “excessive”; people treated the Lex column almost like it was the very word of God. But trust withered.  He believes the cause lies with the financial crisis in 2008, the rise of new media, as well as changing dynamics in how journalists interact with their readers.

But there is another factor. Bias. No journalist can be entirely neutral, but that doesn’t mean the fourth estate shouldn’t try – at least, in their news reporting. Crypto Briefing has long-liked to point out the mainstream media’s antagonism towards cryptocurrencies. This week’s price decline gave them a chance to push their agenda. Selective hearing breeds inaccuracy. A strong bias means articles no longer reflect the reality. When that happens, they become storybooks or manifestos, not respected news sources.

The big story in finance this week is really Apple, which may have reached peak consumer saturation. Analysts think the trillion dollar company may never sell as many iPhones as it is now; Apple stocks may never be this high again.

Given the obsession the mainstream media has with cryptocurrency, you might think that the values were reversed: that crypto had a trillion dollar valuation, and that Apple was a mere $150bn company. You don’t hear any talk of Apple in a bubble…or a death spiral for that matter.

At the time of writing, there are 54 companies in the world with a higher valuation than the entire crypto market put together. Even Comcast (“America’s Worst Company, 2008 and 2010”) is bigger than crypto.

Is the media biased? We are – in our opinion pieces. We advocate for cryptocurrency because we see clear evidence that it contributes to the common good. Ask yourself: why is the business press so determined to squash it?

The author is invested in BTC, which is mentioned in this article. 

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