Pay to play: Ulterior motives cloud the ultra-competitive digital currency news landscape

There has been a lot of talk over the last two days over the burgeoning cryptocurrency news landscape and how many of the blogs in the space have questionable business practices. There has been outrage in the past but it hit a climax these last couple of days because of a blog post by amateur Bitcoin blogger, Tom Butterfield, where he exposes that many digital currency news sites allow companies and individuals to pay their way to the front page.

This method for revenue generation isn't really news, anyone who has been active in the space for even a few months has understood that this is how many of these sites have been operating. Furthermore, some sites that aren't guilty of this particular action are guilty of other ulterior motives, such as pumping certain altcoins because of investments in those coins. For example, claims that they only place sponsored stories in their designated section so they shouldn't be categorized as a bad player, which appears to be true. That being said, they have deliberately run stories over the last few months pumping an altcoin by the name of CoinAAA, and only after scrutiny admitted that they have a large stake in the currency.

Disclaimer: CCN and Coinaaa AS are operated by the same people. CCN will, therefore, not do any analysis of Coinaaa nor advice our readers to invest in Coinaaa. We will keep the news about Coinaaa professional and as objective as we can. All the future stories about Coinaaa will include this disclaimer. - 5/3/14

Another example of ulterior motives influencing reporting is CoinDesk. Coindesk doesn't appear to accept sponsored stories for cash but their founder, Shakil Khan, is a major Bitcoin holder and investor in top companies in the crypto space such as BitPay. Coindesk is an influence play for him. He wants to have influence in the Bitcoin ecosystem and he wants to help foster mainstream bitcoin adoption.

Here, at CoinPrices, we are currently generating zero revenue. Our mission is to provide our users an easy way to cut through all the bullshit that exists in the current digital currency news space. We love Bitcoin, altcoins, open source development, crypto, and everything they represent. We believe that the ideals represented by the open source and crypto community has the potential to change the world as we know it; using decentralization to make the world a better place. We consistently link to and support outside sources that we feel contribute compelling content on Bitcoin and related digital currencies, we don't write linkbait articles that do little more than trick you into coming to our site, and we don't spam your email and twitter feed with repetitive useless news.

It is important to us that our readers realize that when it comes to news sources, there is no absolute rule you can follow. Be wary of some of the digital currency focused news sites but also realize that some of the mainstream news sites such as CNN, HuffPo, Forbes, BusinessInsider, are just as guilty of focusing on revenue over the best interests of their users. The other day we caught the WSJ falsely claiming on twitter that the Bank of Russia has begun allowing Bitcoin payments when their own article contradicted their tweet. WSJ didn't care, they were just trying to generate retweets and drive traffic to their site. You just have to always be aware of the bias presented by news sources and the author and you have to take it into account. The more news sources you read the better, and you should use them collectively to develop your own opinions/ideas/conclusions.

Shameless plug: We have a newsetter that goes out every monday morning at 9am EST. It compiles the top 5 news stories in the digital currency space from around the web and provides them to you in an easy to digest fashion. We do not sell your info or spam your email address, we promise that you will only receive one email per week. We also do not favor our own articles over our competitors. You can read our past issues and subscribe to future issues here. We also post it to our twitter feed if you feel uncomfortable providing us your email.


Matt Odell has not taken part in the ether crowd-sale.