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How CoinDesk Lit the Fuse That Blew Up Crypto—and Might Take Down Its Owner Next


Michael Casey, chief content officer of the crypto news site CoinDesk, was at his Westchester County, N.Y., home on Monday, recovering from a trip to Miami the previous week. Though the crypto industry was in Lehman levels of distress, Casey had managed to attend several straight days of parties connected to the Art Basel festival. “It was surprisingly upbeat,” Casey said. “But it felt like it was in a bubble, like the reality of what was happening around it was not quite apparent in the conversations.”

Casey and his CoinDesk team know all too well about that implosion—and its consequences. Their reporting lit the fuse that sparked the greatest conflagration in the industry’s history. A CoinDesk story last month broke the news that Sam Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research, was dangerously overexposed to tokens issued by his crypto exchange, FTX. It raised questions about the firms’ solvency and the tokens’ value. After Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said he planned to sell his stash of those tokens, FTX customers panicked and rushed to withdraw their money—a run on the exchange that led FTX to file for bankruptcy and Bankman-Fried to embark on a still-ongoing apology tour that could very well end with him behind bars.

Bankman-Fried’s loss has unquestionably been CoinDesk’s editorial gain: The site’s readership doubled to almost 17 million page views in November, according to internal company data, as its coverage has outpaced competition from traditional newsrooms like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. But CoinDesk, which has about 300 employees, now finds itself in an uncomfortable—and possibly unprecedented—position for a media company: While its reporting has vaulted the digital publication to new heights, its coverage could cripple its parent company and even force a sale of CoinDesk itself.



Read More: How CoinDesk Lit the Fuse That Blew Up Crypto—and Might Take Down Its Owner Next

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