Claiming anything to be fake news seems to be the preserve of the current White House administration. In fact, the closest you’ve probably got to fake news of late is reading the latest hacker claim on Facebook (which is always easily checked against Snopes!). However, is that latest doom and gloom article you’ve read about Bitcoin real news or not? It would seem that the spread of fake news has found its way into Bitcoin reporting.
Fellow Bitcoin website Coingeek is claiming that banks are doing just that and that Ethereum’s crash earlier this year was brought about by a string of stories which surfaced about ‘inflated’ prices which seemed designed to do nothing other than shake confidence in the cryptocurrency’s value. Ethereum’s creator, Vitalik Buterin, even found himself the subject of a “celebrity death hoax”, when news broke that he had been killed in a car crash, and he was forced to take to Twitter to prove that he was still alive.
The Times, one of the mainstays of factual and reliable journalism, even got in on the act, suggesting that Buterin had not written “100% of the code” for Ethereum – adding yet more fuel to add to the ‘cryptocurrencies are a fad’ fire.
Why is this happening? Well, fake news in and of itself can be started for any number of reasons, but when it relates to a product or service, you can usually find a competitor – or at least someone who has an interest in the targeted product failing – at the root of it. And there’s no doubt that the banking sector is wary of not just Bitcoin’s current value, but the fact that it’s becoming both a popular investment and a widespread means of paying for goods and services. Add in a naturally wary and conservative financial press, who even themselves might not understand the workings of cryptocurrencies, and you’re looking at a fertile breeding ground for fake news to try to disrupt the growth of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in particular.
In short, Bitcoin scares the wits out of banks. Currently, a bank ‘owns’ your money; any physical currency is regulated by an exchange, subject to international rules, and relatively stable. However, with financial scandals ranging from Northern Rock to the virtual collapse of the Greek economy in the past decade, Bitcoin suddenly looks like the future. Banking is based on trust, and trust has gone.
So who should you believe? Well, we’d like to think that we try to bring you not just entertaining news about Bitcoin, but arm you with the knowledge you need to be more than just an enthusiast. The next time you see a news story about Bitcoin – or any other cryptocurrency – which claims that it’s on its last legs, take a good look at where the ‘news’ story is coming from. If it originates from an investment bank or other financial institution, you might want to check other sources before panicking about your wallet.