Former Coinbase executive and angel investor, Balaji S. Srinivasan, has taken issue with fake news stories emerging within the tech industry and several reports that completely contradict common industry knowledge.
Srinivasan mentioned two articles in particular — Newsweek’s infamous piece ‘proving’ that Dorian Nakamoto was actually Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, and Bloomberg Businessweek’s ‘The Big Hack’ story.
Fake News Identifying Satoshi Nakamoto
In 2014, as its cover story, Newsweek reported that it had discovered the identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, which it claimed to be Dorian Nakamoto. The story made explicit statements that Dorian Nakamoto was Satoshi Nakamoto while providing no irrefutable evidence. Dorian Nakamoto even went so far as to crowdfund a lawsuit to clear his name.
Newsweek never retracted the story and even defended the reporting:
“Newsweek stands strongly behind Ms. Goodman and her article. Ms. Goodman’s reporting was motivated by a search for the truth surrounding a major business story, absent any other agenda. The facts as reported point toward Mr. Nakamoto’s role in the founding of Bitcoin.”
‘The Big Hack’
‘The Big Hack’ story published in October 2018 in Bloomberg Businessweek posited that bad actors linked to China had planted small chips in Supermicro hardware, with the intention of spying on some of America’s biggest companies. Among the entities that were described as having been targeted were Apple, Amazon, and DHS.
Like Newsweek’s Dorian Nakamoto story, Bloomberg never retracted or clarified its position on the issue.
Srinivasan pointed to the Gell-Mann amnesia effect, which was conceived by author Michael Crichton. The effect refers to the phenomenon of experts, “believing news articles on topics outside of their fields of expertise,” even after the news article in question has been proven to be factually incorrect or misleading.
Srinivasan departed from Coinbase earlier this year on good terms but continues to work as an angel investor.
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