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Asserting Coinbase Reality Verify: Decentralizing reality within the age of misinformation


Each tech firm ought to go direct to their viewers, and grow to be a media firm.

Whether or not conventional, social, or company media, we’re all simply typing phrases on the web.

As Coinbase and the cryptoeconomy develop, we’ve seen extra curiosity from the media, authorities, and most of the people in our enterprise and in crypto general. This elevated consciousness has been nice. Sadly, we additionally see misinformation printed continuously as effectively, whether or not in conventional media, social media, or by public figures.

This doesn’t at all times come from destructive intentions. Our enterprise, and crypto, will be obscure, and infrequently persons are rushed to submit first impressions on-line, making errors within the course of. At different occasions, misinformation comes from individuals pushing their very own agenda, or from those that have a battle of curiosity.

This isn’t distinctive to our enterprise or trade after all. Each firm experiences this to some extent, and it may be extremely irritating.

So how ought to firms reply to misinformation?

The alternatives

Possibility 1: flip the opposite cheek

The commonest recommendation you’ll hear from PR corporations and boards is to work behind the scenes to right misinformation, however by no means interact in public fights. This may imply working with journalists to reality examine a narrative, or to ship inside emails to staff when misinformation is spreading on social media.

Pejoratively, one might name this the pacifist’s method. Sure, you’re taking common beatings from a bully, however don’t combat again. Simply concentrate on constructing an amazing product and serving to the trade develop, and every thing will work out within the lengthy run.

On the floor, this method makes a whole lot of sense. Why choose a combat with somebody who buys ink by the barrel, or with web trolls who’ve an excessive amount of time on their arms. In any case, most of your prospects most likely by no means see the misinformation, and it will possibly simply draw extra consideration to reply publicly. Firms ought to by no means lose concentrate on the first goal: constructing nice merchandise.

However, it may be very damaging to an organization’s model to let misinformation unfold unchecked, and dealing via third events to share your aspect of the story not often is efficient. You may, at finest, get a brief quote in a story that another person controls.

In the event you have a look at firms like Fb, they suffered huge model harm when conventional media protection of them went south (though their enterprise metrics appear to be unaffected). Correct or not, conventional media has a battle of curiosity when masking this matter, as they’re within the means of being disrupted by tech. But to a big diploma, Fb turned the opposite cheek and didn’t reply or level out this battle.

Possibility 2: combat

The alternative finish of the spectrum is to actively combat again. Any time somebody posts false details about your organization, it’s struggle. Come out swinging and by no means again down.

It is a professional technique that some firms have engaged in. Amazon’s latest responses to Andrew Yang or Elizabeth Warren are on this route, together with FedEx’s CEO aggressively pushing again on a narrative they discovered inaccurate. And Peter Thiel’s takedown of Gawker could be the canonical instance.

The benefit of this method is that you’re standing up for your self. The draw back is that warfare will be time-consuming, taking your vitality away from constructing. It’s worthwhile to be ready to go all the best way, and it must be consistent with your model. There’s an outdated quote which says “by no means wrestle with a pig, you each get soiled and the pig likes it”.

Possibility 3: publish the reality

I consider there’s a affordable center floor between these first two choices, which is to easily publish the reality, in a considerate and respectful manner, and construct a direct relationship along with your viewers. Firms now not must undergo biased intermediaries to speak with their prospects and stakeholders. They typically have equal or larger attain through their weblog, podcast, or YouTube channel. In lots of circumstances, the one group that is aware of what actually occurred is the corporate itself.

Tesla is a good instance of this center floor method, of their Most Peculiar Take a look at Drive weblog submit. Different examples embrace Apple debunking the claims of a canopy piece or our personal submit correcting details within the New York Occasions. These examples take an inexpensive center floor of attempting to only share the details.

This “reality examine” method shouldn’t be about antagonizing or embarrassing others, however merely sharing what occurred via your personal channels. It additionally means sharing the great together with the dangerous, with radical transparency. Firms are sometimes reticent to share destructive details, of their inherent need to look good, and subsequently even have a battle. To grow to be a supply of reality, firms will more and more must be comfy sharing details which paint them in a destructive gentle as effectively. There’s nothing like sharing errors, to construct belief.

Each firm is turning into a media firm

Conventional media has been a robust supply of accountability for hundreds of years. In newer years, social media has as effectively, as any particular person can share what is definitely taking place. The facility of each these establishments is staggering, and so they serve an necessary perform. However conventional media and social media every include a wholesome dose of misinformation, and I consider individuals’s belief in these establishments has been in decline in latest years.

Firms are actually rising as a 3rd supply of reality, and may create accountability when misinformation is unfold through different channels.

Amazon and Netflix constructed their very own studios, Hubspot acquired the Hustle, a16z goes direct, Stripe has Stripe Press, and plenty of extra tech firms are rapidly ascending the stack from mere “content material advertising” to full-on media arms, full with editors-in-chief and unique content material. As Balaji Srinivasan factors out, that is the mirror picture of legacy media companies hiring engineers and declaring their aspiration to grow to be world-class tech firms. There isn’t any distinction anymore between app, distribution, and content material — everybody goes full stack.

What we’re launching

Right now we’re asserting a bit of our weblog known as “Reality Verify”. We are going to use this part of the weblog to fight misinformation and mischaracterizations about Coinbase or crypto being shared within the world.

We’re seeding the Reality Verify part of our weblog with these articles:

  • A response to misinformation concerning the impact bitcoin mining has on the setting
  • Some social media misinformation that unfold on our govt share gross sales
  • An outdated submit we did rebutting misinformation in conventional media on an worker matter
  • A newer submit we did correcting false statements by people in authorities and trade about illicit exercise in crypto

At the moment, these reality checks have been extra reactive, responding to misinformation within the information because it occurs. Nevertheless as we construct this out, we are going to get extra proactive in serving to dispel myths within the crypto house with a purpose to be a robust supply for individuals simply coming in and studying concerning the cryptoeconomy.

We are going to proceed to replace this part of our website over time and when new misinformation seems that’s materially incorrect and being distributed broadly.

Listed here are a couple of tips we’ve created for ourselves in publishing Reality Verify articles:

  1. Be respectful, don’t antagonize.
  2. Assume ignorance over malice, until confirmed in any other case.
  3. Share our errors simply as candidly as our successes.
  4. Don’t reply to every thing.
  5. Don’t get distracted from the principle objective: constructing nice merchandise.

There’s an excessive amount of misinformation on this planet for us to answer every thing. An absence of us posting shouldn’t be thought-about a sign that an exterior assertion is true. We are going to solely deal with misinformation that reaches some materiality threshold.

The longer term

Sooner or later, we might want to transfer past reality checking, and begin creating extra of our personal unique content material to speak with our viewers, and inform the tales of crypto which can be taking place everywhere in the world. Many of those tales aren’t being instructed by conventional media. Reality checking remains to be largely reactive, however we have to transfer to a extra proactive stance on content material creation to have a real media arm.

Distribution of our content material will occur via podcasts, YouTube, our weblog, Twitter, and each different channel we personal. However sooner or later, it’s going to additionally probably transfer to extra crypto native platforms, like Bitclout, or crypto oracles. Long run, the true supply of reality shall be what will be discovered on-chain, with a cryptographic signature connected.


Many readers have most likely skilled the Gell-Mann amnesia impact: you learn an article about one thing the place you’ve gotten first-hand information, discover it to be half true at finest, after which flip the web page to the following submit/article and resume assuming it should be true. It takes this taking place plenty of occasions to alter one’s estimates of what they’re studying on each matter.

Crypto is a quickly rising house with rising consideration and concentrate on it proper now. Sadly, with this consideration comes a whole lot of misinformation that’s damaging, not just for firms like Coinbase, however for the house broadly. We wish to do our greatest to make sure that when a buyer, a regulator, or one other necessary stakeholder is doing their analysis on crypto that they’re seeing data that’s correct and goal.

Over time, my prediction is that increasingly firms will go direct, constructing their very own media arm, whereas remaining centered on their main objective of constructing nice merchandise. The instruments for distribution have grow to be democratized, and each firm can grow to be a supply of reality.

Asserting Coinbase Reality Verify: Decentralizing reality within the age of misinformation was initially printed in The Coinbase Weblog on Medium, the place persons are persevering with the dialog by highlighting and responding to this story.