© Screenshot from Business Insider

We all know these are hard times for the media industry. Lay-offs everywhere from The Atlantic to Vice have been really sad to see, and also somewhat anxiety-inducing for those of us who have until now been lucky enough to be employed to do this journalism malarkey.

But there is finding ways to make money via means other than via dwindling advertising revenues, and then there is taking the biscuit.

Axel Springer-owned digital news site Business Insider, which so far has not announced any cuts, has an offshoot called BI Intelligence. It describes itself as a “premium research service specializing in business intelligence and data-driven research”, providing “deep analytical insight into the latest global trends and developments that every business needs to know to be competitive”.

That’s all very well. But just how deep is this analytical insight into the latest global trends that every business needs to know? Well we’re not sure, because frankly we don’t really feel like paying for it. But we recently stumbled across an article promoting its “Blockchain in Banking” report (via Mike Dudas, who is founder and CEO of The Block, another online media site that focuses on blockchain and crypto) and, well, it was . . . not good.

Above is a screenshot of the report in question, which you can now purchase for a snip at £300 if you use the discount code! (The full price is $495 in the US.)

Dudas had come across an article published last week on the main Business Insider site where they were pushing the report, described as “an inside look at four banks’ early blockchain successes and failures”, under the somewhat unrelated-sounding headline “How to Invest in Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Technology”.

Since Dudas’s tweet, the article has been deleted, but it is still available via the Wayback Machine. The article tells us that “the following is a preview of one Banking report, the Blockchain in Banking Report”, before providing a link for where you can purchase said report, and then — kind of bizarrely given that it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with blockchain in banking — a list of the “top cryptocurrencies to invest in” (happily telling us that these “have risen to the top as the most popular options for investment”):

The first problem here is that this is utter nonsense. What they have listed there is not the “most popular options for investment”, but instead the five biggest cryptocurrencies by “market cap” (a quite meaningless and misleading metric when used in cryptoland, as we have said many times before).

The most traded cryptocurrencies, according to CoinMarketCap, are actually currently (in order) Tether, bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. So four of the ones they list are correct, even if in the wrong order, you might say. Well, no. Because investing is different to trading. Trading volume is about how many times a cryptocurrency is bought or sold in any given time period. It’s not about buying something with an expectation of a future return. Trading is not, in other words, the same as the HODL.

Tether might be the most traded cryptocurrency but it is not something that you would “invest” in. It is in fact a “stablecoin” that is meant to be tied to the dollar (and was also meant to be backed one for one by real dollars, lol) so the idea that you would “invest” in it, when you could just buy the dollar, makes no sense. The reason why it is traded so much is that many crypto exchanges only allow for crypto-to-crypto trading. In other words, if you want to buy bitcoin, for example, you first of all have to exchange your real-world money into Tether, and then you can buy the bitcoin.

(We would also like to point out here that “investing” in crypto should actually be thought of as more akin to gambling. But we have made this point many times before and we are not ones to harp on about things we have already harped on about here at FT Alphaville. Don’t @ us.)

Also, what’s all this about “Investors are paying a 220% premium to buy Ether” (another word for Ethereum, or the technical word for it)? The only reference we could find to such a premium was a Coin Telegraph article from February discussing the premium investors were paying to buy Ether via the Grayscale Trust, so that they didn’t have to have the risk of actually holding any real crypto. (Gotta love crypto!) It’s not just some “premium” that you pay to buy Ether. Did the person just copy and paste this from the Coin Telegraph article?

We asked BI Intelligence why the article had been deleted and they told us that “We are making edits to the article which is why it’s down.” When we asked why they were editing it, they said: “We’re just updating it.” They also said they “stand by” their $495 blockchain report. It turns out that this article was not in fact a “preview” of the report, as stated, but just a way of selling it (not particularly well if you ask us).

To be fair, telling people to “invest” in Tether is the kind of advice you can’t really put a price on. And we’re sure the actual blockchain report, which “provides actionable recommendations on how banks can successfully pursue a blockchain project”, is worth every cent.

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  215. This is nuts, when does Netflix crash?
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  220. Someone is wrong on the internet: tontine tokens [Update]
  221. Someone is wrong on the internet, road economics edition
  222. Someone is wrong on the internet, wages and the stock market edition

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(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2020-07-01 11:35:00
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