One of the difficulties encountered by any news site, and particularly a news site that focuses on a technology that is in its relative infancy, is that much potential news comes directly from companies seeking to profit from that technology. Thus, ETHNews spends a substantial amount of time reviewing the content that it publishes to ensure that it is actually newsworthy, as opposed to mere self-promotion.
The competition for investor funds that is occurring due to the massive increase in the number of ICO offerings has caused many start-up companies to drop any pretense that they are releasing legitimate news. Instead, these companies are brazenly pushing media sites to publish their promotional articles by paying the sites to do so. Indeed, this morning we have already received three requests from companies pursuing ICOs to pay ETHNews to publish their content.
Because we founded ETHNews to ensure that the Ethereum ecosystem had a legitimate, objective news source, ETHNews does not accept compensation in exchange for publishing articles or press releases. Nor do we endorse specific products or services. Further, as consumer protection attorneys, we would never sponsor a venture that would mislead the public by passing off paid promotional content as legitimate news.
The substantial proliferation of unregulated ICOs has the potential to cause significant adverse consequences for the blockchain ecosystem, including through negative publicity and overly harsh regulatory action if investors are victimized by unscrupulous ICO promoters. We are cautiously optimistic that this community, which is generally comprised of well-meaning individuals, will sufficiently police itself even in the absence of regulation. However, we are troubled by the notion that media sites would accept funds for covertly promoting particular ICOs. Unfortunately, we are well aware that this practice is occurring on other sites, as most of the ICO promoters who approach us freely admit that other news organizations have already agreed to publish their articles in exchange for the same compensation they are offering to us.
ETHNews will provide balanced coverage of an ICO when warranted, but we will never endorse a specific ICO or allow a company pursuing an ICO to influence our editorial policies. As a legitimate news provider in this ecosystem, and under bedrock principles of journalistic integrity, we take seriously our obligation to deliver responsible coverage of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology developments. If a story is published on the ETHNews platform, it is because the editors and writers working for ETHNews identified it as newsworthy. We are hopeful that other media sites in this ecosystem will follow our lead to ensure that the blockchain community’s reputation and ability to innovate are not compromised by greed.