Coming out of the Consensus post-conference decompression, I finally had a few minutes to take in the 60 Minutes special on Bitcoin and see what crypto-Twitter thought.
Some viewers earned the “Golden Daenerys Coffee Cup Award” in the coveted “mastery of HDTV, DVR, and the pause button” category:
Fun fact: the cryptocurrency mine #60Minutes Bitcoin segment visited was in fact mining ethhash 🙂 pic.twitter.com/vGr6wcKGE3
— Madars Virza (@MadarsV) May 20, 2019
There were the hot takes:
#60Minutes segment on #Bitcoin just finished airing!
👏🏻Things it got right!
– Lots of banks turn a blind eye on money laundering
– Traditional money is based on a belief system
– The need for trustless currency after the 2008 financial collapse
– US Treasury reps still hate it!
— Tristan Lamonica (@TristanLamonica) May 19, 2019
And then there were a number of tweets that, well, your friendly chief communications officer might not want to link to on the company blog.
Judging by many reactions, I feel the need to remind our community that much of journalism relies on compression, which only leaves room for some core, customary elements. A show like 60 Minutes will never cover a topic to a depth and richness that would satisfy an ardent enthusiast. As such, running down the inventory from the producers’ set-piece component shopping yields a necessarily small list:
- An evangelist who experienced the highs (spectacular returns) and lows (jail) of Bitcoin (Charlie Shrem);
- A bit of history and context that most can relate to (like the financial crash of 2008);
- An opinion by a credentialed expert (MIT’s Neha Narula);
- Some OMG-gosh-and-wow (the present value of the 10,000 BTC that paid for those pizzas);
- Some “no-really-look-this-is-huge” follow-up (Genesis Mining);
- An obligatory critic, to provide balance (the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Lael Brainerd); and
- A nod to existing explorations of the topic (and, for more than merely paternal reasons, I’m sure our chairman was happy that the producers selected The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, which he co-produced).
Most certainly, in the span of a thirteen-minute segment, details and nuances are likely to be lost, to say nothing of your favorite coin not called “Bitcoin.” I happened to notice some in the crypto community digitally poking the producers in the ribs, in much the same way I might imagine a detention-prone Hogwarts student casting playful hexes at nearby Muggles.
This, however, is counterproductive. To paraphrase wisdom attributed (apocryphally or otherwise) to the great Bob Metcalfe, the seven words that kill a movement are “You just don’t get it, do you?” A segment on a “CBS news weekly magazine” — and a rather fair one, at that — gives us an opportunity to widen the overall audience for the cryptocurrency category. Flubbed, nonessential details or a lack of comprehensiveness (“What? No ETH?”) represent a meager price to pay on the way to this goal. Our charge as participants in this space is to educate and encourage, such that more can eventually come to understand the impact of the world to come.
Phil Gomes is chief communications officer at Bloq.