According to Bloomberg, the creators of Ethereum, Cardano, and OmiseGo, some of the biggest public blockchain protocols and cryptocurrencies, are boycotting the largest cryptocurrency conference, Consensus, after a controversial report about OmiseGo’s surge in price was published on April 26.
Consensus 2018 is the leading cryptocurrency conference, hosted by cryptocurrency media outlet CoinDesk. The event, which is often hosted in the second quarter of every year, attracts many of the most influential projects, developers, investors, and public figures in both the financial sector and cryptocurrency industry.
However, Ethereum creators Vitalik Buterin and Charles Hoskinson, the OmiseGo team, and the Cosmos team have announced that they will not attend this year’s Consensus 2018 event after CoinDesk’s reporting about the rise in the value of OMG, which included a section about a fake OmiseGo giveaway.
On April 26, CoinDesk reported that the price of OmiseGo had surged by more than 30 percent after the listing by Bithumb, South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume. In the article, a CoinDesk author mistakenly linked to a scam OmiseGo giveaway that seized the private keys of users by luring OmiseGo and Ethereum users with a false proposition, such as that sending “0.3 OMG will result in 3 OMG.”
Almost immediately after the technical analysis report was released, the OmiseGo team took to social media:
In the aftermath of the response of the OmiseGo team, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin released a statement of his own and expressed his concerns about quality in cryptocurrency journalism. Buterin emphasized that he would boycott the Consensus 2018 event and encouraged the rest of the community to do the same.
Following Buterin’s statements, the OmiseGo team, Cosmos team, and Ethereum and Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson publicly stated that they would join Buterin in not attending the event.
“We have decided to join Vitalik Buterin in not attending Consensus2018. We can’t in good conscience support a publication that puts its readers at risk through careless reporting and reacts with hostility rather than humility when the error is brought to its attention. As a community, we will make mistakes as we endeavor to build something that is bigger and better and less fallible than our small selves. One of the most important things we must do if we are to succeed together is to own up to our mistakes and learn from them,” said the OmiseGo team.
Hoskinson, who oversees the development of $7.5 billion blockchain protocol Cardano and $2 billion cryptocurrency Ethereum Classic, also added:
RESPONSE FROM THE COINDESK TEAM
CoinDesk was able to take down the article within hours after publishing it and fix the errors in the report while disclosing that the author had made a mistake. The Verge journalist Adrianne Jeffries stated that although CoinDesk could have been more cautious in covering the cryptocurrency market on that specific occasion, CoinDesk has demonstrated good journalistic practices:
Overall, the concerns of Buterin, OmiseGo, and Hoskinson in regards to investor protection and preventing fake giveaway scams from affecting investors within the cryptocurrency market are well justified, and the three communities are pursuing an approach that they consider appropriate to respond to the recent OmiseGo reporting controversy.
But several experts and researchers in the cryptocurrency space, including CoinDesk founding team member Ryan Selkis, offered a soft criticism of Buterin’s uncharacteristic condemnation of CoinDesk, which the creator of Ethereum hasn’t been keen on doing over the past two years, as he admitted in a statement:
Vitalik was wrong in his critique of the editorial team, showed an atypical lack of awareness about the state of content/media, and came across as petty. For someone I’ve admired for precocious maturity, humility, and patience, the spat was surprising.