Episode 92 – Journshillism (feat. Nikhilesh De)

Crypto Journalism and Shills (feat. Nikhilesh De) Crypto Critics' Corner

In this episode Bennett and Cas are joined by CoinDesk journalist Nikhilesh De to discuss how to report on cryptocurrency.  This episode was recorded on August 5th, 2022. Follow Nik on Twitter.

In this episode Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by Coindesk journalist Nikhilesh De to discuss journalism in cryptocurrency.

This episode was recorded on August 1st, 2022.

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English Transcript:

00;00;06;12 - 00;00;14;00
Cas Piancey
Welcome back, everyone. I am Cas Piancey and I'm joined, as usual, by my partner in crime, Mr. Bennett Tomlin. How are you today?

00;00;14;05 - 00;00;15;19
Bennett Tomlin
I'm doing well. How are you, Cas?

00;00;16;23 - 00;00;43;01
Cas Piancey
I'm good. We've had some hiccups here today. All my fault. But thankfully, our special guest was flexible and reasonable about it. Nik from Coindesk. How are you? He's my favorite reporter in cryptocurrency, period. If you don't follow him, actually, you know, this is ridiculous. But how do you pronounce your your full name? Can you tell me?

00;00;43;04 - 00;00;45;08
Nikhilesh De
Yeah, no, thanks. That's Nikhilesh De.

00;00;45;17 - 00;01;06;24
Cas Piancey
Nikhilesh De. So who I know is Nik. You should follow him on Twitter if you don't already. We're going to leave a link there. And and, yeah, he's put out some absolutely astounding work. At Coindesk. He's been there for several years now. And, well, let me put it this way. He's here to talk to us about how not to shill.

00;01;07;00 - 00;01;44;07
Cas Piancey
When you're reporting on cryptocurrency. And I want to say that I, I used to have a not so rosy perspective of what Coindesk was doing until I started appreciating what Nik and Anna and a few others were doing over there. They have acquired you guys and have done an amazing job. You guys have been reporting beautifully, and I think it's worth our crowd hearing our listeners hearing a bit about how you're able to do that and change skeptics minds like me into actually respecting what the work that you guys are doing.

00;01;44;08 - 00;01;47;19
Cas Piancey
So yeah. First of all, Nik, how are you?

00;01;47;27 - 00;01;54;13
Nikhilesh De
I'm good. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate. It's an honor to be on the show, on a few podcasts I actually listen to and enjoy.

00;01;54;22 - 00;02;09;10
Cas Piancey
Great. Well, it's an honor to have you. Can you talk about kind of your I don't know, like you've been doing this for a while. I assume your your experience has changed over time. So what have you learned while you've been reporting cryptocurrency?

00;02;09;10 - 00;02;25;28
Nikhilesh De
Yeah, I'd say so. You know, I started almost five years ago, so industry itself has changed quite a bit since then. I think. Yeah, to some extent. You know, we've all kind of grown up a little bit, so to speak, you know, speaking at the industry at large. When I started, you know, I really didn't know anything about crypto.

00;02;26;20 - 00;02;45;29
Nikhilesh De
Now I do know a tiny bit more than I did, and I mean definitely for sure. I learned to be a lot more skeptical about so much that passes through my inbox every day, but also just kind of like more, you know, have a better understanding of the stuff I do look at and the, you know, the different ways that what I cover.

00;02;45;29 - 00;03;05;25
Nikhilesh De
So I cover primarily policy and regulatory issues, but how that interacts with, you know, not just the broader policy world, but also how some of these policy issues that aren't necessarily directly tied to crypto still affect the crypto world itself. So, you know, I think a huge part of it is just understanding what I'm doing and understanding what I'm looking at.

00;03;06;03 - 00;03;46;10
Cas Piancey
When when Ben and I were first started starting to kind of delve into this space, I think there were kind of only a few besides like mainstream that was doing stories here and there. There was Coindesk, Cointelegraph, and what maybe one or two others that that were mainly focused on maybe, I guess blockchain.com there was just a handful of websites that were doing news coverage and I would argue that most of it in 2017 and 2018, a lot of it was public relations, more than like news.

00;03;46;11 - 00;04;14;03
Cas Piancey
It was a lot of it felt like it was just kind of repeating what blockchain companies and individuals wanted people to hear. How have you been able to push away from that or push against that over these years? Because I have noticed it less, I guess I wouldn't say I've seen less of it at like cointelegraph or something, but yeah, from Coindesk I've seen less of it from other outlets, I've seen less of it.

00;04;14;18 - 00;04;16;05
Cas Piancey
And what do you think is going on?

00;04;16;14 - 00;04;35;09
Nikhilesh De
I think it's a couple of different factors. Right. So one of them just kind of, you know, a lot of numbers. Coindesk, for example, is a lot bigger than it was in 2017, 2018. We have so many more people, so, so many more reporters. And that means we've had the ability to really differentiated, specialize. So, you know, like I said earlier, I you know, I'm part of a policy team.

00;04;35;09 - 00;04;53;04
Nikhilesh De
So there's a team of seven of us who are able to really just dedicate ourselves to understanding policy issues. We have business reporters whose jobs it is to just hone in on what companies are doing and to say, Yeah, in the sector we have market reporters who look at, you know, the prices and what might be moving prices and things like that.

00;04;53;18 - 00;05;22;11
Nikhilesh De
And it's being able to really just kind of delve into these specific issues rather than just having, you know, handful of reporters covering everything that let's I spend a lot more time looking into what we're looking at and really better understand, you know, not just what the companies are saying, what the people are saying, but also to actually properly fact check the, you know, properly go into, you know, saying the claims, you know, on how we're recording this on August 1st, on Friday and a couple of hours ago.

00;05;22;13 - 00;05;41;29
Nikhilesh De
CZ Of Binance tweeted that Binance does not own WazirX, which is a company that he has said it owned, but it was in the past, which Binance has said has owned, was your ex in the past. And so, you know, this is the kind of thing that we're all able to you take a look at now and spend some time trying to figure out, okay, what exactly is going on.

00;05;42;12 - 00;06;13;16
Nikhilesh De
Whereas in the past, you know, we would have had to I mean, we have been taking this at face value, I think, because a lot of these details aren't public. But, you know, just not having to rush from storage story really helps, I think. And the other side of that coin is also there are just so many more people and news organizations looking at crypto that it really does make a lot more sense that we can spend more time looking at different pieces because there's no longer just, you know, a handful of companies and news organizations trying to explain everything going on in the crypto sector.

00;06;13;27 - 00;06;33;20
Nikhilesh De
It's really does us, you know, spend a lot more time on these specific issues and just take a look at that, take the time to dig in to these claims and say, okay, well, you know, so this company says that they're backed by the FDIC, but they're not a bank and they're not pretending to be a bank and they're not claiming that they have, you know, these bank charters authorization.

00;06;33;20 - 00;06;42;21
Nikhilesh De
So there's something, you know, a little fishy about the claim here or, you know, what have you. And just using that as a recent example, because it came up a couple weeks ago.

00;06;43;24 - 00;07;04;22
Bennett Tomlin
They were a little bit pretending to be a bank. They were a little bit pretending to be a bank. But that's easy. When earlier today was wild, when just in like multiple blog posts and in tweets and stuff, they've described it as Binance's own and CZ today was like, Why is everyone describing this is binance's owned? We don't own this thing.

00;07;05;05 - 00;07;20;04
Bennett Tomlin
Which is also especially funny because the last time they tried to pull the We Don't Own It game, that was with Binance, U.S. and like they're like, Binance doesn't own Binance U.S., sure, but CZ owns 90% of it. So I mean, are you really pretending to be that distinct.

00;07;21;10 - 00;07;30;22
Nikhilesh De
Right? You know, I mean, even WazisX says they're owned by Binance so somewhere The story is not quite as clean cut that they, you know, as current tweets would suggest.

00;07;31;13 - 00;07;48;21
Bennett Tomlin
One thing that is particularly challenging in journalism broadly, but I think especially in cryptocurrency, is trying to figure out how to manage potential conflicts of interest. What are your personal thoughts on that, recognizing that they may be different than your organization's general policies?

00;07;49;03 - 00;07;58;05
Nikhilesh De
Yes. I mean. Well, let me ask is are we talking about owning crypto or are we talking about, you know, for example, are corporate parentage? Because I think I have to.

00;07;58;19 - 00;08;18;28
Bennett Tomlin
I think I think both end up mattering at different points, right? Absolutely. I think it clearly can matter when reporters are invested. And I think that people have a habit of assuming the corporate ownership of a media company tends to influence what it reports. And so I think both of those dynamics are pretty important to share.

00;08;19;07 - 00;08;33;01
Nikhilesh De
So I'll take the personal investing idea first. So I personally don't invest in crypto. I have less than $100 each of Bitcoin ether is really less than I think $50. I haven't checked. I also have no idea what they're worth at this point. I know.

00;08;33;15 - 00;08;36;05
Bennett Tomlin
It was less than 100 and now it's less than 50.

00;08;36;14 - 00;08;55;02
Nikhilesh De
Sounds right. Yeah, it's. Yeah. Like, I basically I bought some bitcoin to play around wallets. I got some ether while selling some tweeters on the fees. Basically I was just playing around with stuff and have crypto as a result of that. And I think, you know, for me it makes sense because I'm not really interested in investing in crypto.

00;08;55;02 - 00;09;14;21
Nikhilesh De
I'm not interested in, you know, my investments are in things like Boeing stock, which is down and like the S&P 500, which I know what that's a but it does I do understand why, you know, several of my colleagues may invest in crypto because some of them are true believers in the sector and they're here to report on it because they think it'll make them better at what they do.

00;09;14;27 - 00;09;39;06
Nikhilesh De
And so to report on or invest on things that they report on because it gives them a better understanding of what they're covering. So, you know, I personally don't want to invest in crypto, but I don't necessarily disagree with those who do. I do think having a very strong disclosure program is important because it lets the reader kind of evaluate, okay, well, this person's heavily invested in this coin and they've written nothing but positive stories about this coin.

00;09;39;06 - 00;10;04;04
Nikhilesh De
So maybe they're a biased, you know, source or, you know, maybe they're, you know, writing about it, but they're not, you know, they don't have a particular bent, but they are invested in it. So maybe they're invested in it because it gives them a better understanding or lets them participate in things that they otherwise could not do. And an example of that, I think, you know, yesterday one of my colleagues, Danny Nelson, wrote this insane piece about Solana.

00;10;04;12 - 00;10;25;18
Nikhilesh De
It turns out that much as a lot of TVL Total Value Locked was a result of one individual pretending to be 11 different developers. And this is the kind of story where you don't really get into it unless you're deep in the weeds on this. A lot of developer community. And to do that you really need to be able to own some Solana because some of these communities are, you know, gate locked.

00;10;25;25 - 00;10;48;21
Nikhilesh De
You can't get into them. Others can prove that you have, you know, X number of tokens. You can't really participate unless you understand what you're talking about. And so I think it makes sense to be able to, you know, take advantage of having these projects to say, all right, well, okay, so he owns some Solana and let him get access to all these resources and these people that let him break, frankly, a story that's not very good for Solana.

00;10;49;09 - 00;11;10;09
Nikhilesh De
So, you know, clearly he's not just writing, you know, in his own financial interests, but he wouldn't have been able to get the story, I don't think, without being able to invest in it. So that's why when I say, you know, having a strong disclosure program I think is important. I do understand as news organizations that barter reporters from investing in crypto entirely.

00;11;10;09 - 00;11;35;21
Nikhilesh De
But I also disagree with that because there are a lot of reporters out there who I think cover crypto without necessarily understanding what they're talking about. It is a problem, you know, this is an industry that deserves really good scrutiny, very close scrutiny. But that scrutiny can't happen if you you know, if you understand Bitcoin as just kind of the surface level thing and you don't spend the time saying, okay, well, you know, this is how my country inspections work.

00;11;35;21 - 00;11;54;21
Nikhilesh De
Here's how actually, you know, mining really works. Here's how these different companies in the sector actually interact with each other. And it's the same with any industry, really, you know, it's just that Bitcoin and the crypto industry at large are kind of different because to understand it, to get in deep in there, you kind of have to get involved a little bit.

00;11;54;21 - 00;11;58;25
Nikhilesh De
Financially speaking as that makes I mean.

00;11;59;05 - 00;12;46;27
Cas Piancey
I don't know. I don't know how much I agree with that. I think I do get your point. I get I get your point insofar as I think you're right that I think you're right that there's no reason to bar people who own some crypto currency from reporting on it. And as you're suggesting, there's plenty of people who do own and still report negative news stories about the things that they own and to to further that point a little bit, I would say a great example of this is Rupert Murdoch being an investor in Theranos and yet still having John Carreyou to report all the negative stuff on Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos.

00;12;46;27 - 00;13;05;11
Cas Piancey
So there's plenty of examples of people who are investors still doing the right thing. However, I do want to push back against the idea that you really should be utilizing the instrument regularly to have a phone.

00;13;05;11 - 00;13;06;13
Nikhilesh De
And I say that, I mean.

00;13;06;13 - 00;13;06;24
Cas Piancey
I think.

00;13;06;24 - 00;13;23;27
Nikhilesh De
Saying that I don't think that's what I'm saying. I'm saying that being able to have that ability and you know, you'll eat a lot of Bitcoin or anything to it, just being able to, you know, really understand it. Sometimes you do need to, you know, play around with it and you know, maybe is less applicable for Bitcoin than it is for other cryptocurrencies.

00;13;24;07 - 00;13;48;05
Nikhilesh De
You know, it's really a lot of these smaller, weirder projects that people are pouring tons of money into that receive less scrutiny, that might be harder to really be, you know, to understand without being able to join these communities and, you know, participate in them. So absolutely what you're saying, you know, for sure, there's absolutely zero reason for people to, you know, have to heavily invest in stuff to write about it.

00;13;48;05 - 00;13;54;22
Nikhilesh De
But sometimes it just might be you know, it may make sense to understand it if you're able to play around with some ideas, esoteric tools.

00;13;55;04 - 00;14;16;08
Bennett Tomlin
I think that well, but I think they're still potentially a gap there between like having enough of a token to be able to get past a token gate, like, well, you're working on an article or whatever and having like an investment, having a meaningful financial interest in like the price direction of the coin. Right. Because I think you're right that it can be helpful to play around with some of these things often.

00;14;16;08 - 00;14;43;19
Bennett Tomlin
Like when I'm choosing not to play around with it, it takes me probably an additional amount of time to read through the contracts and really go through the calls and understand it without like just doing the things because I'm trying to be extra cautious to avoid that potential conflict of interest. But like, I do feel like there's a distinction between having a few of the tokens to get into a discord and having a vested financial interest in the project.

00;14;43;19 - 00;14;47;15
Bennett Tomlin
Do you think that I'm reading too much into that difference or.

00;14;47;15 - 00;15;06;26
Nikhilesh De
Oh, I agree, absolutely. I mean, again, this is why I don't have a lot of Bitcoin right there. It's because what little I have is enough for me to play around with it. People who are heavily financially invested and then, you know, if they're reporters, then, you know, that's their choice. I'm I wouldn't agree with that choice. I don't, you know, necessarily I definitely don't agree with it.

00;15;07;08 - 00;15;22;28
Nikhilesh De
But, you know, for some of them, I do know you know, some my own colleagues might be might be described as such. And so I'm not going to judge them. But for me personally, absolutely, I wouldn't want to go that far.

00;15;22;28 - 00;15;39;25
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah. And to be clear, many people who do have large vested financial interests in these things have done very good journalistic work, have put out excellent reporting, and that I want to make sure that's clear. I'm not saying people can't do good work, will have vested financial interests. Well, I.

00;15;39;25 - 00;16;16;21
Cas Piancey
Think Nik Nik started it by talking about Danny Nelson in the Solana story. So I think we already that's that's clear. We can understand that there's reporters doing good work while owning the tokens. But I think my question is more about like access journalism and how like it's almost like it is it instantly becomes access journalism in a sense as even though it's like, yeah, he's still reporting bad stuff, he's still able to be critical, but like he did have to purchase some of this thing to even be able to essentially get to that access point.

00;16;16;21 - 00;16;22;16
Cas Piancey
And like, don't you think there's a bit of an issue with that there?

00;16;22;17 - 00;16;53;25
Nikhilesh De
If there is, you know, it's say it's because it's like an industry kind of defined problem. Right. I mean, my understanding is that, you know, some of the stories that we've published, there are things that are kind of open secrets within, you know, some small circles of the community. So, for example, just going back to this, a lot of thing because it's a recent example, a lot of a lot of developers were saying this was an open secret within the salon to developer community, but this is not something that, you know, there's actually a story shows us it's not something that was widely known and I'm not really sure how else we might have been

00;16;53;25 - 00;17;16;14
Nikhilesh De
able to report that. Right. This dependent on a unpublished document that was shared with a coindesk reporter that, you know, the Coindesk reporter had to then spend quite a bit of time verifying where people who were, you know, parties, community. And one thing we found is that, you know, 2 minutes went earlier without having to talk. And sure, a lot of this stuff can be found, but it does take more time.

00;17;16;28 - 00;17;34;03
Nikhilesh De
And, you know, there's really only so much time. And this is why I think the difference between being a journalist and being a researcher comes in is that as journalists, we would love to be able to spend as much time as needed to, you know, weigh in on the stories, stories and really polish them up and make them look as sharp as possible.

00;17;34;25 - 00;17;54;21
Nikhilesh De
But sometimes we are restricted by, you know, the amount of time we have available and the demands of the rest of our jobs. And, you know, our research folks, they have the ability to spend a bit more time on things. They don't you know, they're not necessarily constrained by the same kind of deadlines, but at the same time, they also publish less and they publish less frequently.

00;17;54;21 - 00;18;12;11
Nikhilesh De
So yeah, that I think is just kind of one of the, you know, tightrope as we have to walk is how do we balance not going too far into this access part of it while also not taking too much time. We'll also not, you know, under serving our readers.

00;18;12;25 - 00;18;36;23
Bennett Tomlin
One thing you mention there that's been interesting to me in cryptocurrency over the last several years, as you talked about, this was kind of an open secret in one sort of tribe of the community. And I've heard that in the past with other pieces of reporting that come out and tether or even like when the doc one story about him being behind basis cash came out, there were some people who said that like a portion of the community over, he knew this.

00;18;38;01 - 00;18;49;13
Bennett Tomlin
Do you have any thoughts on the dynamics in cryptocurrency that tend to make it so there's these kind of newsworthy open secrets that are siloed to certain communities and not known broadly.

00;18;50;27 - 00;19;18;03
Nikhilesh De
I think part of it is just people assume that everyone knows and so they either don't think it's worth talking about or they assume that not a lot of people know, but they still don't think it's necessarily worth talking about because they're not sure what other communities are really interested in. You know, the business crash thing was an interesting one because, you know, that was kind of a couple of reporters spent all night, you know, a single night trying to, you know, verify the details and then report it out.

00;19;18;17 - 00;19;37;26
Nikhilesh De
And then it became a whole big thing where people were asking them, well, when did you notice and how did you notice? And How long was this known? But one day I found is, you know, there is some distrust of reporters in general in crypto. And so sometimes when we're out there asking questions, we don't necessarily get responses that help us out.

00;19;37;26 - 00;20;01;08
Nikhilesh De
You know, there's nothing informative that, you know, we can use. And the sort of problem is, you know, for us to publish something, we have to be very confident in our sourcing and in the sources themselves. So not only in information, but where the information is coming from. And a couple, you know, anon folks on discord, for example, not necessarily the most reliable of sourcing.

00;20;01;08 - 00;20;24;05
Nikhilesh De
So even if we hear something or see something or even if people are talking about something until there's some kind of way to, you know, verify a detail as concrete, it's not something we can report. And so even if these conversations are happening, maybe people just don't know how much trust to give them. And especially in this industry, which in theory has this, you know, don't trust, verify mindset.

00;20;25;25 - 00;20;40;06
Nikhilesh De
Yeah, I think especially there you see a lot of people say, all right, well, you know, I heard so-and-so talk about this thing, but, you know, it's is again, couple folks who are anonymously, you know, complaining about this random thing. And it doesn't affect me necessarily. So I'm not going to care.

00;20;40;13 - 00;21;09;17
Cas Piancey
One of the things I wanted to ask you about that I hadn't even thought about for a while is that I don't know how many months ago this was. Maybe it was in November or December, I don't remember. But I remember it being reported, I think by Coindesk that you that Coindesk was going to start offering equity in digital currency group, which is for anyone who's who doesn't know.

00;21;09;20 - 00;21;49;11
Cas Piancey
Digital Currency Group is the parent company of Coindesk and digital currency group has its hands in about 150 different cookie jars in the cryptocurrency industry. And so I think the fear generally was including from people like myself, was that if reporters, journalists and others working for Coindesk started to acquire equity in DCG, it might affect their biases and might affect their willingness to report bad news.

00;21;50;10 - 00;22;03;22
Cas Piancey
Do you have any update on that? Do you have any? I do. You haven't. What are your feelings about the equity program there? And and what has happened since it was initially reported?

00;22;05;15 - 00;22;32;15
Nikhilesh De
So let me speak to that. And then this also lets me address the I don't think I answered a question earlier about conflict of interest, but, you know, corporate parent. So let me do both at once. So first off, it's not actually equity that reporters have access to, I think our business side. So non reporters people who are on like you know the finance and possibly defense team I don't know if don't quote me on that part, but some of our business side folks I think have access to equity, the editorial side.

00;22;32;15 - 00;22;53;10
Nikhilesh De
So reporters and editors do not have access to equity. What they were given access to is something called a stock appreciation. Right. I don't fully understand it. I don't personally have any. But my understanding is that it's like a synthetic thing where if the equity price goes up and after number, you know, a certain number of years, you're able to cash it out into cash.

00;22;53;10 - 00;23;15;14
Nikhilesh De
But it's not the same as equity doesn't give you the same rights as equity or the same, you know, accessibility. So, you know, for example, even though DCG holds, you know, meetings with shareholders, no one from editorial is allowed. So even under this, we wouldn't be allowed back because of, you know, whatever nonpublic non material or material nonpublic information, all that jazz.

00;23;16;19 - 00;23;38;22
Nikhilesh De
So it's not the same as equity. I do know that some people I think have, you know, taken that up. Dave accepted it. I'm not sure who we don't disclose that. But it also I don't think really affects how we're covering DCG. So, you know, for example, earlier this summer we were the first to report that Genesis, which is another DCG company.

00;23;39;00 - 00;23;58;06
Nikhilesh De
So one of our sister companies had taken a massive loss on Three Arrows Capital, which is currently going through a whole bankruptcy thing in the British Virgin Islands. And, you know, obviously this doesn't look good for Genesis, it doesn't really look good for DCG, which is now playing the role of bailing out Genesis. But that didn't stop us.

00;23;58;06 - 00;24;16;09
Nikhilesh De
You know, we still reported the same as we would any other company. And that's part of our thing is, you know, as an editorially independent company, Coindesk does report on every crypto company pretty much the same. So even if it's, you know, a parent company or a sister company, it doesn't really matter to us internally as far as our processes go.

00;24;16;18 - 00;24;34;27
Nikhilesh De
We'll still reach out to them. We still have the same connections. We actually have to, you know, reach out to Genesis and all the other sister companies the same way that we would reach out to, for example, circle and, you know, to tie us into the, you know, corporate parentage thing. Yeah, it's a it's just another company to us.

00;24;34;27 - 00;25;08;06
Nikhilesh De
You know, we don't give them any special treatment. We don't give them you know, we don't lighten up on the coverage. If you go back to when we published the Genesis thing, you'll see a bunch of reporters saying, Yeah, you know, here is proof that we are covering them the same as we could have anyone else. The one tricky thing I think for us is that because DCG, as you said, does have investments in so many companies that I think it would be easy for your casual reader to say, Oh, well, yeah, they're writing about circle because DCG invested in them or writing about whoever else and the problem we found is that this is

00;25;08;06 - 00;25;24;13
Nikhilesh De
you invest in so many companies that we genuinely have no idea offhand what is and isn't a DCG company or a portfolio company. It's just there's just too many there's a list out there that we could cross-check. But again, there's so many companies.

00;25;24;13 - 00;25;28;12
Cas Piancey
That and I assume they're jumping in and out of investments left and right the whole entire time.

00;25;28;12 - 00;25;51;21
Nikhilesh De
Probably. Yeah. It's I would assume. Yeah. Yeah. So we just assume that every company is. Yeah. As a Schrödinger's DCG portfolio company, they may or may not be simultaneously well covered. I'm just the same, you know, I do think I will admit that, you know, couple of years ago, certainly when it started, we might have been a little less scrutinizing as all these companies that we covered.

00;25;52;16 - 00;26;10;20
Nikhilesh De
I think just naturally we have gotten to a place where we're able to provide that scrutiny now. And, you know, we definitely try to and that's going to be true regardless of who are companies, backers are who a company is, you know, working with anything like that. And I think we've had some good results recently from that as a result.

00;26;12;07 - 00;26;36;05
Cas Piancey
Yeah. I mean, I think I you again you've certainly proven yourself and and by Tikva like there's Danny Nelson a lot of there are a lot of really, really good reporters at Coindesk. There's no doubt about that. But I do wonder, I guess I'm running through my head right now, like, okay, so there was the equity thing or as you said, stock appreciation rights SaaS.

00;26;37;15 - 00;27;02;12
Cas Piancey
And then there's there was also the office move. I think you recall everyone getting pretty pretty aggravated. Aggravated about that. Yeah, that was a couple of years ago. Now at this point, I think. But there there has been I guess there's been a lot of things that I reflect on and go like, man, optically it doesn't look great.

00;27;02;19 - 00;27;23;29
Cas Piancey
And then the people who end up having to like deal with those decisions are like you. Like you have to answer to people like me or our friend Kyle or other people who are like, you know, Hey, man, this seems like bullshit. And then you have to be like, Well, look, look, look, hold on, everybody, hold on, everybody.

00;27;23;29 - 00;27;30;09
Cas Piancey
And I just it seems like it makes your job a little bit more difficult just having to deal with that, do you think? That's right?

00;27;30;29 - 00;27;49;01
Nikhilesh De
I got to be diplomatic here. I would say that, you know, I think speaking for myself, you know, I think I just want to keep doing the job I do. Right. I like being a reporter, so I'm going to do it the best that I can. But certainly there are things that could happen that would make my job easier or my life easier.

00;27;49;01 - 00;27;59;24
Nikhilesh De
But, you know, this is a I take the world as it comes. Yeah. Had a quote too badly quote The Avengers, the first Avengers movie, I Take the World as it comes.

00;28;00;13 - 00;28;03;04
Cas Piancey
So yeah.

00;28;03;29 - 00;28;07;03
Nikhilesh De
Leave it there.

00;28;07;03 - 00;28;08;28
Bennett Tomlin
Well figured. I mean, I guess. Yes.

00;28;09;11 - 00;28;34;08
Cas Piancey
Well, no, I get having to be diplomatic about it. But I think the reason I'm I'm talking about it is because I'm personally like I'm trying to think of the right word here. I'm I'm impressed. I'm impressed by you and your ability to like I mean, I was coming at you guys hard a couple of years ago or maybe it was three years ago.

00;28;34;08 - 00;29;00;26
Cas Piancey
Like, I was not being like I was not being nice about my criticisms. They were really loud criticisms, but I feel like often enough it was almost like I was heard and having having you guys, having you and other people on the team listen to those criticisms and essentially respond to them, even if even if the changes aren't directly made.

00;29;00;26 - 00;29;20;15
Cas Piancey
I don't know. Like there's something I feel very. Yeah. Impressed and glad that you guys did it. I know. Again, I know my my question wasn't meant to be pointed or get you in trouble. I think it's just like, man, it seems like you're having to juggle a few things and do a little bit of public relations work as a reporter.

00;29;20;24 - 00;29;42;08
Cas Piancey
But it's almost like I really appreciate that because we have the other we have the other side of that, which is reporters just telling you, like, why are you criticizing me? And I'm not going to name names, but we've seen it plenty. And I think that's the wrong way to go about it. So I like have you always say have you always taken.

00;29;42;08 - 00;30;12;09
Cas Piancey
Well, there's just there's just we've named them before. We don't need to keep naming them at this point. We've certainly named those reporters before. If you want to know who I'm talking about, just listen to our old episodes. But they I, I wonder if you've always, like, approached criticism that way or if this is like something you again have learned over the past five years where you're like, okay, I think the right way to deal with these trolls is to talk to them.

00;30;12;09 - 00;30;35;19
Nikhilesh De
I think me personally, I like just looking at things as, you know, does the argument make sense? So I've gotten, you know, a lot of criticism that I think has been pretty off key and off brand and just, you know, it doesn't make sense. And usually I just try to ignore that when possible because, you know, I don't want to get involved in like a fight on Twitter with someone who is just attacking me, you know, on spec, but, you know, reading criticism that makes sense.

00;30;35;19 - 00;31;02;05
Nikhilesh De
So that's coming from, you know, both crypto skeptical folks as well as pro crypto folks I like. You know, I think it makes sense to look at that and think about it because if I'm doing a poor job, I would want to know. And, you know, it may be hard. This is selfish because I like being able to say, Oh yeah, I'm a reporter that, you know, breaks news and people read my work and if I do a really bad job, people are going to stop reading my work.

00;31;02;05 - 00;31;25;21
Nikhilesh De
They get like my byline say, Oh, well, yeah, we can do both. So I think part of my view is criticism is good because it lets me be better. And the other side of that is if it is good criticism, that's how I learn stuff and that's how I get a lot of tips right? I'm blanking on the specific examples, but I know that there are stories that I published where I'll get responses like, Oh, you're going to write about this, but you're ignoring like this thing here, right?

00;31;26;04 - 00;31;44;11
Nikhilesh De
And I'll take a look at that thing and say, Oh, wow, that's actually a story. So if I just ignored it all, you know, just because it's criticism and because it's not praising my work to the, you know, heavens, then that would make me a poorer reporter because I'm missing something. So I think I don't speak for my colleagues, but I think a lot of them do every day.

00;31;44;14 - 00;32;05;01
Bennett Tomlin
And I do think that you did have a point there in that, like often when we talked about journalism on this show before and like we've talked about timing tearing down their firewall right between management and the reporters and the kind of like pressure that put on reporters who often still wanted to be unbiased and straightforward and go like as directly to the point as they could.

00;32;05;01 - 00;32;34;11
Bennett Tomlin
Or we've talked about how Forbes contributor pieces kind of cheapen their brand and make it harder in some cases for some of their reporters who are doing excellent work to get the kind of recognition for that work they should because of these choices of management and things outside of this specific case. And so I think that is a dynamic we've seen just because of some of the difficulties in creating a sustainable journalism business, not just in the cryptocurrency industry, but broadly across the journalism and media industry.

00;32;34;13 - 00;32;35;03
Nikhilesh De
Yeah, absolutely.

00;32;35;19 - 00;33;13;14
Cas Piancey
Well, let's okay, so let's let's get into the weeds here now, because I think one of the things we haven't really talked about yet is, is I'm sure there's at least a few journalists out there who occasionally catch this show. And I bet there's going to be a few more listening to the Nik episode. So what would your advice be for any reporters out there who are trying to cover cryptocurrencies or let's just go with stocks, financial stuff in general, how to avoid being you know, how to how to avoid showing stuff that even if you like it, like how to make sure you're not just spewing out, like I think this is going to

00;33;13;14 - 00;33;20;19
Cas Piancey
go to what ever number or, you know, nonsense or just talking about only the good things like, well, what's your advice here?

00;33;21;02 - 00;33;47;07
Nikhilesh De
I think a huge part of my job is talking to people and reading stuff that, you know, even if it's not necessarily something I agree with or if it, you know, pushes back against what seems to me to make the most sense, it's still worth reading it and looking at it and, you know, dissecting it and saying, okay, well, I believe in X, Y, Z position, but, you know, this other document or this person, I'm speaking to says that that's wrong and that, you know, ABC position is actually correct.

00;33;47;23 - 00;34;07;16
Nikhilesh De
Adding really being able to engage with that is good. Even if I at the end of the conversation or at the end of the research, I come back thinking, all right, well, you know, I was actually right the first time. That's still good, because it means I've at least spent the time taking, you know, to try and figure out where I went wrong and if my prayers are reinforced well and good.

00;34;08;00 - 00;34;30;18
Nikhilesh De
But it's hard, I think, to really do this kind of journalism without, you know, fully committing and engaging with the material you're looking at. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I went on a reporting trip. I, I had, you know, certain priors we haven't published yet. So I'm not going to get to the details just yet. But when I do publish, I will revisit and tell you all about it.

00;34;30;18 - 00;34;52;02
Nikhilesh De
But I had certain priors, I had certain assumptions I was working with. And basically, I think I was wrong on every single assumption I had because it turns out that the story that I had seen, the documents, the other reports I had seen, all of those were kind of based on a certain viewpoint and not necessarily based on the primary information that was available.

00;34;52;19 - 00;35;36;28
Nikhilesh De
So I think I'm going to become a better reporter because of that, because I was able to take the time to go and say, okay, well, you know, we're hearing this about, you know, for example, you know, crypto and climate change. We're hearing this particular story about these facilities that might not be accurate. And and it's something that every reporter, especially in crypto especially and you know, I don't cover finance as much generally but I think it should hold true for finance reporters is just talking to everyone you can talking to even people you think are, you know, off you know, completely off base as we're talking to them in crypto especially is really we're

00;35;36;28 - 00;35;57;27
Nikhilesh De
just digging into the different things you're looking at. And you know, on a policy side, I have to look at, you know, proposals and bills and everything and lawsuits from all sorts of people. So some of these things have, you know, no chance of going anywhere. But it's still we're looking at them and engaging with them because it gives me a better sense of where lawmakers coming from.

00;35;58;23 - 00;36;10;21
Nikhilesh De
And I think that's really important because this is how things will happen. As you look at what doesn't work and you look at what does work and just being able to read and comprehend makes it more valuable.

00;36;10;28 - 00;36;29;29
Cas Piancey
Do you think you see a lot of that not happening? I mean, I assume I yeah, I think sourcing is important. I assume you also feel maybe that like you cover policy so you go to Washington, you go to Washington DC pretty, pretty often, right? Like as far as I know that I'm correct, right?

00;36;30;17 - 00;36;51;04
Nikhilesh De
Yeah. It certainly was a little bit more often pre-pandemic, but even now I've gone to DC a couple times this year already. I plan to go a couple more times before the end of the year. And you know, when I go down there, what I do is I talk to lawmakers, I talk to staffers, I talk to folks on Capitol Hill, I talk to you, you know, when I try to talk to agency folks and just see, okay, you know, what's on your radar, what are you guys looking at?

00;36;51;04 - 00;37;07;09
Nikhilesh De
What are you guys talking about? I talked to lobbyists and the think tanks and groups that are trying to, you know, influence policy in DC. And I asked them what they're looking at and what they're trying to work on. And so they give me a better sense of what's actually important in DC versus what's just hot air and noise.

00;37;07;09 - 00;37;26;05
Nikhilesh De
So I'd have no idea how many bills have been introduced about crypto this year, but there's been a lot of bills introduced around crypto. Some of them I'm ignoring because they're not going to go anywhere. They're just there to try to start a conversation and they're not really going to succeed at that and sort of build a is going to pay attention to because there is weight behind it.

00;37;26;05 - 00;37;49;16
Nikhilesh De
There is actual movement. For example, just this week, the Senate Agriculture Committee introduced a bill to try and make the CFTC a primary spot market regulator for crypto. And this is something that we're hearing from all sorts of lawmakers, industry agencies. And so this is something that I'm going to be paying close attention to, because it seems that there might be some genuine effort to make this a thing.

00;37;49;29 - 00;37;53;13
Nikhilesh De
The specifics, no idea what it's going to look like at the bill as it is.

00;37;53;13 - 00;38;16;20
Bennett Tomlin
But do you have any thoughts on like the challenges or methods that are really useful? Like crypto is already kind of an inside baseball type topic, like to really kind of understand what's happening in the industry. It's helpful to have been embedded in the industry for several years because there's like is the structure of it is unlike most other things.

00;38;16;27 - 00;38;45;07
Bennett Tomlin
And I find like policy and politics reporting in crypto is like inside baseball, in inside baseball. So like when you're thinking about that, what, how do you like decide which ones are going to be the substantial ones that are worth reporting and like some of like how do you think about describing those in a way so that they accurately allude to kind of the interagency dynamics, which are sometimes kind of behind the scenes and stuff like that in a way that's like understandable for the crypto audience.

00;38;45;22 - 00;39;12;17
Nikhilesh De
Yeah, I used to joke that I cover a niche within a niche is definitely a challenge. Part of it is, I think being able to understand what in crypto might matter to policymakers as well as what for policy might matter to crypto and honestly, there's no telling. I think a lot of things that are really, you know, unimportant get a lot of attention and things that could be important don't really let's talk about taxes is one example.

00;39;13;01 - 00;39;35;21
Nikhilesh De
Right now in the U.S., there's no de minimis tax exemption for crypto transactions. So you have to pay capital gains taxes on your crypto transactions regardless of if you're, you know, spending, you know, for example, $2.50 per trip to buy coffee or if you're, you know, transferring $50,000 worth of crypto to, you know, whatever. And there have been bills for years to try and address this.

00;39;35;21 - 00;39;59;25
Nikhilesh De
And I don't think there's gotten a lot of attention in the past because, you know, it's taxes, who cares? But now you're starting to see a little bit more attention paid on it. And I think people are finally starting to realize, okay, well, if this thing happens, it would actually probably be good for crypto adoption generally because people might be more willing to spend, you know, a couple of dollars worth of crypto to buy stuff if they don't have to pay taxes on it at least that's the argument I've heard.

00;39;59;26 - 00;40;25;11
Nikhilesh De
I think it makes sense, you know, quite a bit of sense. Certainly I would want to spend $2.50 for the crypto if I also had to pay, you know, x amount as capital gains. Right. And so just trying to use spend time to really understand these differences and these distinctions I think takes up a lot of my time and I think I'm fortunate in that I'm in a position now where I can say these kinds of things and say, Yeah, like this makes sense.

00;40;25;11 - 00;40;51;23
Nikhilesh De
I think people will agree with me. Three or four years ago, all I understood was like, Oh, well, ETFs are a thing that people want and I don't really understand why. So it is definitely, you have to take the time. But I do agree being embedded in it is helpful. You know, I had a real issue with a lot of reporters in 2020 and 2021 who were just kind of casually writing about defi summer and all that, but who had never written about crypto before and haven't written about it since.

00;40;52;05 - 00;41;08;16
Nikhilesh De
And all they did was say, okay, well, these prices are up and it's good for people. And, you know, we're all going to you know, they're all going to go to bed rich and then they, like, move away. And now, you know, cryptos crashing. And, you know, you see reporters, some of them are coming back and revisiting many of them or not.

00;41;09;00 - 00;41;29;09
Nikhilesh De
And many of them never understood Defi to begin with. So they understand, okay, well, bitcoin's down. But, you know, Pancakeswap is not even on the radar anymore or whatever Sushiswap was. I think people were talking about two years ago that I'm not seeing as much written about now. So I do think I definitely agree that being able to spend time being embedded in the sector really is critical.

00;41;30;04 - 00;41;53;19
Nikhilesh De
And, you know, for my role, being able to spend a lot of my time reading up on crypto stuff and then going to DC and talking to lawmakers and politicians and saying, All right, well, what are you guys looking at? What's being, you know, what are you paying attention to? What is important to you? And that is really, you know, helpful to me because, you know, the policymakers are the ones who are going to write this policy, but the staffers are the ones who are really writing the policy and explaining it, you know, to their bosses, to lawmakers.

00;41;53;19 - 00;42;09;02
Nikhilesh De
What's going on. And the influencers are the lobbyists are the ones who are trying to influence policy and they're, you know, pouring money into it or whatever. So being able to talk to each of these different parties and say, well, what is most important to you and what are you hearing that helps a lot?

00;42;09;03 - 00;42;38;07
Cas Piancey
Is there something you look out for when your reading other people's articles and other maybe within Coindesk or without Coindesk that you look for as either a telltale sign that they're showing or the opposite, where You're like, Well, this feels like a really, really objective and good article.

00;42;38;20 - 00;43;01;18
Nikhilesh De
I really like to look at the sourcing. So a lot of articles, you know, if for example, they're only quoting one person and that one person works for, you know, a specific party, then I'm going to give it less weight than I would to an article that's quotes different parties and different people that are working for different companies and who don't have the same kind of vested interest for the policy stuff by its nature.

00;43;01;18 - 00;43;20;18
Nikhilesh De
DC A lot of DC stories tend to be kind of, you know, according to a source who is familiar with the matter, you don't see a lot of necessarily like, you know, firsthand reporting, you see, just kind of, yeah, well this person is a staffer who works for some agency and so I'll try and look for, you know, does it plausible that they will understand the information that they say?

00;43;20;26 - 00;43;41;17
Nikhilesh De
So, for example, a congressional staffer generally knows a lot about what's going on in their bosses office. They don't necessarily know too much about what's going on in other agencies. Or if they do, how are they phrasing it? You know, is it all this is what I'm hearing versus this is what for sure is happening? And these are kind of like subtle things.

00;43;41;17 - 00;44;07;04
Nikhilesh De
But I think you can really learn a lot about, you know, where the source of an article has you're getting information from and whether or not that makes sense. And then I also look at sometimes the outlet itself. There are some outlets I'm not going to name them, but there are some outlets that I'm sure you're familiar with that, you know, you don't necessarily need to spend a lot of attention to, you know, they're going to write something, they're going to move on.

00;44;07;04 - 00;44;27;19
Nikhilesh De
They're not going to matter. Fact checking other outlets, you know, especially in crypto, I think there are some outlets that I really do pay a lot of attention to, you know, ones that, you know, are going to have some level of fact checking and legacy media outlets or mainstream media outlets, however you want to call them. Mixed bag.

00;44;27;27 - 00;44;41;21
Nikhilesh De
Some of them are good or bad. Seldom have good reporters on them, have bad reporters. And yeah, you never really know what you're going to get until again. You look at the sourcing, you look at who they're quoting, who are naming, who they're not naming, and why they may or may not be naming these folks.

00;44;42;27 - 00;45;03;28
Bennett Tomlin
One thing you had said before was that sometimes you'll see policy or DC crypto related stories that get a lot of attention but that aren't actually that important. Do you have any examples that you can point to or any commonalities between those types of stories?

00;45;03;28 - 00;45;27;22
Nikhilesh De
So one is able to go through and I'm going to say that this is not as important, but maybe the attention it's getting is perhaps not focused the right way. So the you know, Senator Cynthia Lummis is a huge figure in crypto. And she and Senator Jeffrey, who was children of cinema but recently introduced a bill to, you know, as a very wide ranging crypto bill.

00;45;27;22 - 00;45;44;13
Nikhilesh De
And they got like so much attention and hype, I would say it is important, but the hype it's getting is kind of disproportionate to what it actually signifies. So that bill, as it stands, I don't think is ever going to get passed. And I don't think even the sponsors expected to get passed. What is likely is that, you know, it's gonna start a conversation.

00;45;44;13 - 00;46;08;14
Nikhilesh De
Other lawmakers are going to look at it and then some parts of it might get passed in different bills. And so it's kind of like an important bill, but in the sense that it's a framing bill for, you know, the actual crypto policy and legislation that might happen in the future, but the attention it got in the way, the attention was focused was like, oh, well, you know, these two senators are going to try and pass this huge crypto bill that's going to do X, Y, Z.

00;46;08;27 - 00;46;24;12
Nikhilesh De
And you saw pro crypto people saying like, wow, this is great for the industry. And all this stuff is going to, you know, singlehandedly legitimize crypto in the eyes of the world. And you saw a lot of crypto critics saying, all right, well, you know, this is like, you know, a lobbyist, a corporate like bought for and paid for Bill.

00;46;24;24 - 00;46;42;10
Nikhilesh De
And I don't think either of these takes is necessarily accurate. I think that what's going to happen is we're going to see a lot of conversation start because of this bill. And that is the true significance is that it is placing a marker down and saying, all right, well, cryptos here, it's going to do stuff, but here's how we got to look at it.

00;46;42;25 - 00;46;59;10
Nikhilesh De
And people are going to disagree with that. People are going to agree with that. But it is starting a conversation in a way that hadn't necessarily happened prior to that. You know, for example, we're now hearing that there might actually be a Stablecoin bill that's passed this year. And that conversation, I think, was probably started by Senator Pat Toomey.

00;46;59;10 - 00;47;16;20
Nikhilesh De
Earlier this year. He introduced a bill to try and define Stablecoin legislation, and that bill didn't really get a lot of pickup from his colleagues in the Senate. But now we're hearing the House might have a bill. And when the Senate gets around to it, he's probably going to be a pretty influential figure, you know, voice in that because he's already got this document out there.

00;47;17;08 - 00;47;36;02
Nikhilesh De
And when this becomes law will be able to say, okay, well, this started because of X, Y, Z. And that's why probably like the easiest way for me to kind of explain this is that, you know, and this is certainly, you know, part of the issue is how reporters look at it. And, you know, I'm going to not exempt my own team for that.

00;47;36;02 - 00;47;43;07
Nikhilesh De
Certainly how we look at it is that sometimes what gets hype and clicks is not necessarily the stuff that should.

00;47;43;07 - 00;48;02;16
Bennett Tomlin
And what you're talking about here is kind of something I've I've sometimes struggled with when I try to discuss politics, policy or politics or legislature and things like that, is trying to kind of separate out what's kind of signaling and shaping in what's like actually a legitimate attempt to get enough votes to get a bill through the two houses.

00;48;02;16 - 00;48;26;26
Bennett Tomlin
And those two things are different. But like when a bill is being introduced, a bill is being introduced. So the process looks the same for those two, even though politically they're meant to kind of achieve two very different things. And that's true. I think often when you're talking about like regulators and stuff to the speeches of like the individual regulators or them like signaling or kind of messaging what territory they want but isn't necessarily like their current mandate or things like that.

00;48;27;06 - 00;48;57;27
Bennett Tomlin
So I often find like when trying to discuss these things, it can be challenging to really kind of separate that out and talk about that. Do you have any do you have any additional thoughts on like how reporters, media or whatever should message around that kind of thing? And like the separating out like this is a thing that is actually likely to pass or this is these people negotiating and trying to vie for power or to molder shape certain things.

00;48;59;02 - 00;49;16;16
Nikhilesh De
That's a really good question. It's certainly one that we struggle with, at least I struggle with, because, you know, sometimes it may kind of like seem obvious to, you know, to me or my colleagues that, all right, well, this bill is not going to go anywhere, but we can't necessarily say that because we don't know for sure. It's just a gut feeling that we have based on our experience.

00;49;17;06 - 00;49;40;15
Nikhilesh De
And so I struggle with how to explain that in a way that doesn't, you know, condescending or rude, but also isn't just kind of, you know, voice of God type thing. So I don't know. They have an answer necessarily. I think know certainly we have to do a better job explaining what we know and why we know it and saying, okay, well, this bill was introduced.

00;49;40;15 - 00;49;55;08
Nikhilesh De
It is likely do X, Y, Z in a certain conversation. I do think we do an okay job of saying, okay, well, here's what needs to happen for it to become a law. So needs to get support from both houses and needs to get support from president. Needs to get, you know, x number of votes in each body.

00;49;56;03 - 00;50;14;26
Nikhilesh De
Is process going to take a while? And the other weird part is that because of the way congressional terms work, you know, for example, I was mentioning Pat Toomey earlier, he has at this point four and a half months to really get anything done because he is retiring at the end of his term and he'll be replaced by either John Fetterman or Mehmet Oz.

00;50;15;06 - 00;50;33;07
Nikhilesh De
And I have no idea what either of those two individuals thinks about them. So the clock is going to really reset in January and we're going to have to start again and say, okay, well, these lawmakers have X-Y-Z z views on crypto. These bills might get introduced. These bills might not get you might not get introduced. And we don't know what the candidate or what the votes are going to look like.

00;50;34;01 - 00;50;44;19
Nikhilesh De
So that's eroding. We have to play around. It is just trying to figure out, all right, what's possible, what is plausible within the next, you know, four or five months and then what are we looking at after that?

00;50;46;11 - 00;51;27;14
Cas Piancey
So obviously you've seen a lot of changes over the past five years or so, some for the better, some for the worse, I suspect. I'm wondering what you would like to what you would like to see in terms of changes within journalism, in cryptocurrency over the next few years, like how you hope it would be better, let's say, how it could be more objective and better defined.

00;51;27;29 - 00;51;49;27
Nikhilesh De
I do think that the industry is going to speak to the mainstream industry first. So these legacy outlets, not ones that, you know, sprung up in the last 5 to 10 years, I do think that it would be nice for a lot of mainstream industry outlets to really actually dedicate crypto reporters. So we see, you know, a couple outlets have one or two crypto reporter roles.

00;51;51;00 - 00;52;13;28
Nikhilesh De
It's not a lot and it's not that many. And a lot of them, a lot of outlets do kind of have crypto as kind of in addition to whatever else I do think would make sense that it would be ideal for these outlets to really just say, okay, we need a reporter who's going to look at, you know, crypto tech issues or crypto, you know, investment issues and write about that.

00;52;14;06 - 00;52;38;05
Nikhilesh De
Because for better or worse, this industry is here to stay. I don't think it's going to go any way, you know, anytime soon. I don't think it's going to disappear overnight. And even though we are in a bear market, my guess is that this is actually going to be cyclical. I do think that, you know, in 12 to 18 months, whatever password people are going to go up again, people are going to start pouring money into these things because they're going to be new projects out there that are saying, hey, we're going to be the future of finance.

00;52;38;23 - 00;52;57;03
Nikhilesh De
And, you know, I'm certainly I think I would like to think that Coindesk will be, you know, scrutinizing them. I think other outlets in crypto will be scrutinizing them. But, you know, we don't have the same wait. I would say that, you know, for example, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal does we have our own audience. They have their audiences.

00;52;57;03 - 00;53;12;27
Nikhilesh De
We have our way of approaching things and they have theirs. And I think it would make a lot of sense for a lot of these bigger outlets to go out there and say all right, well, we are going to dedicate reported this on the crypto media side. I definitely think, you know, scrutiny is good, more scrutiny would be better.

00;53;13;09 - 00;53;41;06
Nikhilesh De
But I think we are getting to a point now where there's a lot more attention on the fact that, yeah, these are so many projects out there. There is just so much stuff out there that we have to cover, that we have to do a better job of figuring out how to prioritize. Right. So, you know, I would love to see more investigative reporters in this industry who are know crypto outlets who are just dedicated to doing this deep dove investigation type work.

00;53;41;19 - 00;53;59;07
Nikhilesh De
And I'd like to see more reporters just, you know, you're able to just take the time to like take your coat or like dig through these different, you know, projects and this corporate structure and stuff and say all right, well, this is some really funky stuff. Wonder what's going on here. And I don't think that doesn't happen already.

00;53;59;20 - 00;54;02;11
Nikhilesh De
But, you know, I'd like to just see more of it.

00;54;02;20 - 00;54;48;26
Bennett Tomlin
I'm formulating a question and I'm going to ramble for a second, and I think it will end up with a question. I think I think part of my tension, part of my struggle has always been when looking at something like something like cryptocurrency, where there's so many different layers and so much of it can at times seem overwhelming or intentionally obfuscated or made complex in order to hide things like trying to figure out the line between like just straight news and trying to just report straight what's happening and like the need for fact checking on that and then like the role of commentary as it relates to like journalism in the cryptocurrency space.

00;54;48;26 - 00;55;10;18
Bennett Tomlin
And I think that Coindesk has actually done a good job of hiring columnists who are able to do some of that more kind of commentary stuff and less of like kind of the straight news stuff to get at some of the issues which they're able to do because they're enabled by more direct news reporting and things like that.

00;55;10;18 - 00;55;56;18
Bennett Tomlin
Often, though, at other news outlets in places may struggle with the opinion sections or often with the columnists. Is that at a certain point they end up creating commentary that is disconnected from the reality of the facts that are being reported and things like that. Do you have any thoughts on kind of the interplay between straight news reporting, like the need to do diligence on like every piece of information that you're you end up getting because finance could be lying to you about the Indian exchange that is supposedly bought and like the role of commentary more broadly in like the industry and how those interplay at like a media organization that's doing like different levels

00;55;56;18 - 00;55;57;14
Bennett Tomlin
of all three of those.

00;55;58;08 - 00;56;18;10
Nikhilesh De
So I will say I don't think that necessarily a crypto media. No, it's not. I think every new news organization I've seen. Yeah. Has the same issue. Right. And I think it would be nice if every media outlet, whether that's crypto or legacy, was able to say, okay, well we have an opinion section, but we also have a dedicated fact checker for this opinion section.

00;56;19;07 - 00;56;36;29
Nikhilesh De
I don't know what it would take to make that happen. I do agree that that is certainly a problem and that is something I would love to see more of by, you know, opinion sections are generally there kind of own silo thing. They have their own dedicated editors, they have their own, you know, process and a lot of times they don't even talk to the newsroom.

00;56;37;09 - 00;56;57;17
Nikhilesh De
And I don't think that's why. I mean, what happens at Coindesk, it's just something I've seen at, you know, quite a few different outlets. And I don't know what the, you know, kind of industry solution to that would be besides just finding ways of incentivizing, you know, fact checkers, whether that is, you know, pushing back whenever, you know, what columns is published.

00;56;57;17 - 00;57;15;10
Nikhilesh De
And it has clearly not, in fact, checked or what are that, you know, is, for example, threatening to cut, you know, cancel your subscription or, you know, say, okay, well, you know, you were getting money from me in this fashion X, Y, Z way, and you will no longer be doing that because of, you know, these specific reasons.

00;57;15;10 - 00;57;34;13
Nikhilesh De
But I am also still not sure how effective that really is in this day and age, because a lot of times people don't necessarily subscribe because of opinion views, they subscribe because of the news or because of, you know, whatever they're looking at. It is a challenge. And I wish I had a better it is something I've definitely seen.

00;57;34;17 - 00;57;59;13
Bennett Tomlin
And part of the reason I ask about this is because I think there is value in good commentary and good opinion writing. And obviously I think that I have a podcast and a newsletter. I mean, come on. But like, like speaking at Coinbase, David Seymour is an excellent writer who because he's in kind of this columnist role and not like a straight journalistic reporter role, he's able to kind of speak directly about certain things.

00;57;59;13 - 00;58;31;00
Bennett Tomlin
And in that, I mean, make statements that are a that have a little bit more of a value judgment added to them that reporters and editors can. And I think that that done well can have value for the people reading it and like but that done poorly has a lot of consequences for the people reading it. And so I've always struggled like in my conception of journalism to like figure out how that, how that should be done.

00;58;31;00 - 00;58;55;09
Bennett Tomlin
And this is again, not really a question. It's just one of those things that always rattling around in my head, because when it's done well, it allows the writer to speak plainly about these things to the reader. Well, still being supported by the evidence, which I think is a very valuable thing that is harder to do in the journalist's role because you're it is so important that you're reporting the news just accurately and straight forward.

00;58;56;28 - 00;58;59;29
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah. And so it's just always a tension in my mind.

00;59;00;17 - 00;59;21;06
Nikhilesh De
Yeah, no, I agree. I mean, I run and I read a newsletter every week, which is no, I absolutely agree, though. Like, you know, like I said, I read a newsletter and that's kind of a blend between back to his reporting. And sometimes it's just kind of, you know, my opinion or an observation that is not necessarily like the, you know, factual is the same way that an actual report would be.

00;59;21;22 - 00;59;27;21
Nikhilesh De
So, yeah, I agree. You know, good opinion, good column lists are worth their weight in gold and then the bad ones kind of. Yeah.

00;59;28;06 - 00;59;44;00
Bennett Tomlin
And like the reason I love that format is because that's where you can say something like, I don't think this bill is likely to pass. I think that it is more likely to do this kind of thing to kind of tie it back into what we were talking before is when you're in that kind of role and you can make those kind of value judgments done well, it's bringing value.

00;59;44;00 - 00;59;49;26
Bennett Tomlin
And so I think there's value in it. But like the challenge as we keep coming back to is doing it. Well.

00;59;50;28 - 01;00;04;15
Nikhilesh De
Exactly. Yeah, it's a fun challenge, but it's also like, oh, well, you know, looking at this opinion piece and I'm not sure I agree with like any of these base assumptions because there are assumptions.

01;00;04;15 - 01;00;35;08
Cas Piancey
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the best example I have of a, uh, commentator who does a fantastic job is Matt Levine for Bloomberg. Obviously he seems to have Yeah. Have his pulse on the ability like he's walking that fine line of, of commentary opinion but also like fact based and yeah it is difficult. Bloomberg obviously got the best one of the best in the business with Matt.

01;00;36;03 - 01;01;08;17
Cas Piancey
But yeah, I think you guys specialize in more fact based news and yeah, I've, I've been appreciating what you guys don't do, which is hard skills and yeah, I'm glad you came on to talk about this. Is there any kind of last things you would you last pieces of advice you would give for any budding cryptocurrency journalists out there.

01;01;08;27 - 01;01;34;20
Nikhilesh De
For a crypto journalist? I think spending time on crypto Twitter and copying at a discord and going into Reddit and like really just participating in these communities really is key. I think I'd be a terrible crypto reporter if I hadn't spent years of my life looking at what other people were saying about crypto and not just, you know, objective reporters, but also the shills, the, you know, the cranks, everyone who's in crypto one way or another is saying, All right, well, here's what we're thinking about this.

01;01;35;19 - 01;01;55;21
Nikhilesh De
I think that's made me better at being a reporter. And this kind of goes back to what I was saying earlier about just spending time, you know, engaging with the subject matter and how important that is. But, you know, being able to just casually participate in conversations online. Also helpful, right on Twitter. You know, sometimes I'll just casually weigh in on stuff or I'll ask questions about stuff.

01;01;55;21 - 01;02;16;01
Nikhilesh De
And I think that helps me a lot in ways that, you know, maybe an hour talking to a specific person might not be able to. So it really is just, you know, finding all these different ways of getting involved in, you know, talking to people and researching stuff and really being able to just take that to heart and take the time to do that.

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