Is The NY Times changing its tune? Not exactly, but it’s a start. And a big improvement over the mainstream media’s constant attacks on bitcoin. The newspaper interviewed notable bitcoiners, quoted them without twisting their words, and let them present the case for bitcoin supremacy. Of course, The NY Times also sneaked their usual points of contention against bitcoin. It’s only fair and we take it.
The piece, a feature on bitcoin maximalism of sorts, comes with the odd title “The Crypto Market Crashed. They’re Still Buying Bitcoin.” And they are, but geez! At the center of The NY Times’ story is Swan Bitcoin’s Cory Klippsten. He famously denounced both Terra and Celsius’s deficiencies and vulnerabilities way before both projects crashed and burned and ruined many lives. That’s where the article starts.
“In the crypto world, Mr. Klippsten is known as a Bitcoin maximalist, or “maxi” — a hard-core evangelist who believes Bitcoin will transform the financial system even as fraud pervades the rest of the crypto ecosystem. The maxis are just a subset of the crypto industry, but their ranks include influential figures like Jack Dorsey, a founder of Twitter and an early Bitcoin proponent.”
So far, so good. The inaccuracies don’t take long to appear, but let’s take it easy on The NY Times. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are complicated subjects and not their forte.
“And, as the market has melted, they have embarked on a public-relations offensive, aiming to persuade investors and lawmakers that Bitcoin is different from the thousands of other digital currencies that proliferated in the last few years before tanking this spring.”
First of all, bitcoin is completely different. Secondly, bitcoin maximalists often denounce other crypto projects’ deficiencies and vulnerabilities. They did it way before the current crash and they’ll keep doing it. Their aim is to protect the public from Celsius and Terra-like situations. And they do it at a considerable cost, since they are constantly insulted and dragged into endless discussions.
The NY Times Quotes Notable Bitcoin Maximalists (And An SEC Guy)
Let’s give it to them, The NY Times let these controversial figures talk. For example, they quote Cory Klippsten predicting the future of the crypto industry:
“The only future for non-Bitcoin crypto is to seek to be co-opted by banks and governments and become part of the existing system.”
They quote notable bitcoin developer and thought leader, Jimmy Song. The NY Times wrongfully qualify him as “a crypto podcaster” and rightfully as “an outspoken Bitcoin maxi,” but hey… They let him explain the difference between bitcoin and the rest of crypto.
“Bitcoin is decentralized, digitally scarce money. Everything else is centralized. There’s a world of difference between a censorship-resistant, self-sovereign money versus a gambling vehicle.”
They quote “John Reed Stark, a former Securities and Exchange Commission official,” who apparently has never heard of The Lightning Network. And comes armed with debunked arguments from the last decade.
“You can’t use it to buy anything — it’s way too volatile and complex and laden with fees. There’s no intrinsic value.”
The NY Times also quotes the now-famous “Michael Saylor, the chief executive of MicroStrategy, a software company that has built up a large Bitcoin reserve.” He takes the opportunity to explain how hard is to be a bitcoin maximalist in this day and age.
“If you call out someone’s risks they’re taking, and they’re otherwise healthy, you can be accused of creating a run on the bank or being a troll. It’s kind of hard to explain this theoretically before the crash happens. But now it’s happened.”
Last but not least, The NY Times quotes the Bitcoin Policy Institute’s David Zell, who explains why bitcoin is worth it.
“What we’re saying is that Bitcoin has a set of properties that make it unique. Those differences are stark enough that if you’re going to have a serious policy conversation around the industry, it’s useful to draw that distinction.”
BTC price chart for 08/02/2022 on Kraken | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
The Attack You Felt Coming
The NY Times had to spread the usual FUD. They just had to.
“Hardly anyone uses Bitcoin to conduct ordinary transactions. Last year, El Salvador introduced Bitcoin as its national currency, but that project has been a stunning failure.”
The first point is fairly true, especially if we consider that bitcoin is only a marginal phenomenon for most of the world’s population. The second point is a complete lie, and a misrepresentation of the facts. Consider this: other dollarized countries, like Ecuador and Panama, are feeling the effects of the US’s rampant money printing. Both countries hosted huge protests recently and are still in a state of unrest. El Salvador, on the other hand, is one of the only few countries in the world that reported certain economic growth these last few quarters.
“Verifying Bitcoin transactions — a process known as “mining” because it rewards participants with digital coins — is energy-intensive: Researchers estimate that Bitcoin mining may produce as much as 65 megatons of carbon dioxide per year, comparable to the annual emissions of Greece.”
Bitcoinist has countered this misleading narrative once and again, plus we have reviewed material that proves the contrary. This time, surprisingly, The NY Times provides the counter itself.
“Now, Bitcoin supporters are building their own political apparatus. This year, David Zell, a Bitcoin advocate, started the Bitcoin Policy Institute, a think tank that pushes a pro-Bitcoin agenda in Washington. The institute has argued that concerns over Bitcoin’s energy consumption are overblown.”
The NY Times feature on bitcoin maximalism is a surprise in itself. We at Bitcoinist tip our hat to them for showing the other side of the coin for once. Let’s hope it happens again.
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