- Bitcoin broke its all-time high yesterday, reaching $19,865 on Binance
- Mainstream media interest in Bitcoin has picked up in recent weeks
- How did the world’s media cover this groundbreaking event?
Bitcoin hit record highs yesterday, with multiple exchanges reporting their December 2017 levels surpassed. The crypto community was in predictably congratulatory mood, but how did the notoriously skeptical mainstream media report on the new Bitcoin all-time high?
Bitcoin All-time High Gets Grudging Respect
In the UK, anti-Bitcoin paper The Guardian has been reporting on Bitcoin’s performance on an almost daily basis after ignoring it for years, with “advocates citing increased institutional investor interest for the digital asset” as the reason for its recent surge.
After reporting on the record breaking event, it was keen to remind readers of Bitcoin’s negatives:
The invention of bitcoin sparked a host of imitators which hoped to muscle in on the financial world, as well as a host of get-rich-quick schemes. It has also caused significant environmental damage, with the computing power used to “mine” new bitcoins by solving increasingly complicated mathematical puzzles comparable to small countries.
Staying in the UK, the Independent reported that the all-time high came on the back of a “major crash” last week. In an unusually positive take they added that Bitcoin had been “widely anticipated to hit a new all-time high before the end of the year”.
It also observed that “Mainstream interest in bitcoin remains relatively muted compared to the mania that surrounded the 2017 bull run” and acknowledged the institutional adoption brought on by the impact of the coronavirus.
Aljazeera also reported on the Bitcoin all-time high, adding that “Shares of companies with exposure to cryptocurrencies also jumped”, in particular Bitcoin buyers MicroStrategy, whose share price has risen 114% in November alone. They too acknowledged the impact of the coronavirus:
In some ways, 2020 proved fertile grounds for Bitcoin’s comeback, with global central banks driving borrowing rates to record lows and providing extraordinary stimulus because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
U.S. Coverage Hard to Find
In the U.S., the Washington Post hasn’t commented on the Bitcoin price since describing it as looking more like “the stock market on steroids than it does a digital version of gold” last week, so we can hardly expect anything from them.
The L.A. Times, too, has stayed away from reporting on Bitcoin recently, but The New York Times did deign to cover the Bitcoin all-time high, and actually in a positive light thanks, featuring the headline – Bitcoin Hits New Record, This Time With Less Talk of a Bubble. The Times noted the difference between 2017 and 2020, again mentioning interest from a different type of investor:
Rather than quickly trading in and out of it, more investors are using Bitcoin as a place to park part of their investment portfolios outside the influence of governments and the traditional financial system.
In nothing Bitcoin’s all-time high, the Wall Street Journal was quick to remind readers that Bitcoin is “among the riskiest assets in the capital markets” although it couldn’t avoid the fact that “Bitcoin’s gains have been fueled by both retail and professional investors.” It also gave a surprisingly accurate description of Bitcoin’s deflationary mechanism, which was probably written by someone else.
Change in Media Coverage Style Could Encourage Investors
All in all it was with a sense of grudging admission that the mainstream media reported on the Bitcoin all-time high, with the common theme being, pleasingly, the arrival of institutions into the space. This is in marked contrast to the way they covered the 2017 bull run and has more chance of interesting new investors into the space.