Converge Logo

Opinion

Cryptocurrency sensationalism and speculation. It needs to stop.

By James Tennant

May 2018

3 Min Read

when moon?

It's long been very frustrating to me that so much content to do with cryptocurrencies suffers from sensationalism and uninformed speculation. We're forever being bombarded with messages telling us that the markets are about to boom or bust. That the next big ICO will make us millionaires. That cryptocurrencies will die and they're only used by gangsters and frauds (because pounds and dollars are never used for nefarious means... right?).

It's really no wonder at all that so many people are so confused about cryptocurrencies and whether they need to embrace or avoid them. Speculation and sensationalism, from a wide range of sources (those both for and against cryptocurrencies - we're looking at you, major financial institutions) are damaging the reputation of cryptocurrencies, doing more than anything else to postpone and slow down adoption among the 99% of the world who have yet to get involved. 

But where does the blame lie? And how do we combat it? The obvious answer to the former would be the mainstream media. For years, plummeting advertising sales, both online and in print, have meant that these once proud bastions of intelligent, relevant news stories have had to sensationalise headlines, marginalise the facts and over-hype pure speculation to generate more sales and more traffic.

And in the world of cryptocurrency content, it's even worse. Why? Because money. Like always.  

The really unfortunate thing is that people generally trust what's been published, especially on the websites and in the pages of established media platforms and newspapers.  The influential power of the media to influence means that they should feel a responsibility to their audience to write with honesty and integrity.

But that's rarely the case.

And, while media platforms do what they do for greater traffic and profits, the fallout is that we end up with huge numbers of people being influenced one way or another by content that's not wholly accurate, and not designed to properly educate or inform, and that's never a good thing. 

But if that's the case, maybe that says more about the consumers of content than it does about the creators. You could argue that if sensationalised headlines and articles didn't work, the media platforms wouldn't publish them. But clearly, they do work.

Perhaps, then, some of the blame is on us, the readers of the content - if only a small portion. If we find ourselves only reading headlines that are ridiculous or promise that “Bitcoin will moon to $700,000 in two months!!”, or that “Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme!!”, then can we really blame desperate media platforms for producing clickbait headlines to increase traffic and revenues? 

Well, yes, we can, because they should know better. But perhaps readers need to take some of the blame too.

So what do we do about it? 

Simple. Content creators need to stop writing uninformed, speculative, sensationalist drivel. Easier said than done, though.

It would be nice if all content creators switched to a quality-first approach when it came to they wrote, but that's unlikely to happen if their traffic tells them that silly headlines continue to yield results. Instead, what might be more effective is us readers being a bit pickier when it comes to choosing what we read and where we get our information from. 

By choosing our sources more carefully, we'll create a situation where reader attention will be directly correlated to the quality of the content on offer. Perhaps then we'd see a change for the better.

What do you think of the overall state of content in the world of cryptocurrency? Are there any media platforms you particularly love? Let us know below.