CoinDesk Retracts Two Articles Amid Heavy Criticism
CoinDesk, one of the more prominent crypto and blockchain news websites, has publicly retracted an article, and faced accusations of poor journalistic practices over the retraction of another.
The retracted August 23 article relates to TRON founder Justin Sun. According to the Friday post explaining the reversal, the publication rarely issues retractions, preferring to correct any inaccuracies quietly and address issues internally. However, it decided it had no choice but to retract an opinion piece that personally criticized Justin Sun, founder and CEO of TRON.
Article Used a Pseudonym
The original article, still available via the Wayback Machine, was heavily critical of Sun, comparing him to disgraced crypto entrepreneurs Do Kwon and Sam Bankman-Fried. If Sun’s empire were to collapse, it could “cause carnage far beyond anything either of them could even imagine,” wrote the author.
In its retraction, CoinDesk explained that it occasionally allows unnamed sources and occasional pseudonymous articles. Although, it draws the line at personal attacks running behind fake names.
CoinDesk claims to respect privacy but believe public figures have a right to know their accusers. The nature of the Sun article meant it could not simply be corrected. So CoinDesk retracted it entirely. It explained:
“Any person, whether they are the CEO of a large blockchain or someone unknown to the public eye, deserves to know who is assailing their character in a public-facing outlet such as CoinDesk. Given that the very nature of the piece violates that standard – allowing us no way to merely correct the story and be done with it – we are removing the story in its entirety.”
CoinDesk runs one of the industry’s biggest events, Consensus. Source: Jim Stone/Shutterstock/CoinDesk
CoinDesk Accused of Being Influenced by Its Owner’s Portfolio
CoinDesk used a similar justification for pulling another opinion article, also written by a pseudonym. The original article concerned Chainalysis and revelations that its head of investigations Elizabeth Bisbee, admitted to having no scientific evidence of the software’s accuracy.
Chainalysis is a leading provider of blockchain analysis tools and provides services to both private companies and government agencies.
BeInCrypto has seen original copies of the testimony in which Bisbee admits to having no objective proof her software works. (Prosecutors are trying to admit evidence from Chainalysis into a court battle. But, unless it can be proved that Chainalysis data and findings are solid, no court will allow them to be admitted.)
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The original article highlighting Bisbee’s testimony was pulled on July 24. However, the author discovered the retraction only today, August 28.
On X (formerly Twitter), she accused the media company of poor journalistic practices, highlighting the substantial investment its parent company, Digital Currency Group (DCG), has in Chainalysis. CoinDesk also did not inform her of the retraction.
In an email to BeInCrypto, she said:
“In my opinion the article was removed due to CoinDesk’s holding company, Digital Currency Group, having an investment in Chainalysis Inc. – which wasn’t disclosed in the retraction.”
CoinDesk Recently Let Go of 45% of Its Staff
The author also took issue with the accusation her article was a “personal attack.” She maintains it was factual reporting. And also stands by the copy in the original article.
Digital Currency Group is currently in the process of selling CoinDesk to a group of investors, as per Bloomberg. The media site laid off approximately 45% of its staff in preparation for the sale earlier this month.
DCG was hit hard by the so-called crypto winter that struck in 2022. Strangely enough, it was some of CoinDesk’s own commendable reporting that helped bring down FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange. The collapse of FTX helped deepen the industry’s malaise.
In a message to BeInCrypto, CoinDesk said DCG did not influence its reporting. This is clearly stated in its ethics policy.