Gullible reporting when it comes to cryptocurrency riches has got the BBC into hot water.
Hanad Hasan was set to star in an upcoming British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary. The 20-year-old claimed he had invested $50 in cryptocurrency and turned it into an $8 million fortune in just one year. His story sounded too good to be true, and as one newspaper discovered, it probably was.
The BBC program was titled “The Crypto Millionaire” and was due to air this week. It told the story of a Birmingham teenager who went through a difficult childhood but succeeded with cryptocurrency. Hassan was born in Somalia and emigrated to the UK when he was 14 years old. In early 2021, he worked two jobs to help his family.
Then he heard about cryptocurrencies and invested $50. This cryptocurrency, whose name he refused to reveal, shot up 10 times in just three days, and he now had $500. Two days later, the value of the investment increased tenfold, suddenly, he had 5,000 dollars. That’s according to the BBC article, which has since been deleted (but you can find an archived version here).
Within three months, Hasan’s investment had grown to $1 million, and each token he chose turned out to be a hit. It was then that he decided to drop out of college and focus on trading cryptocurrencies full-time.
Hasan told the BBC that he then created his own cryptocurrency, the purpose of which was charity work. By early February, the project had raised $270,000. The young man donated a lot of cash to food banks in his hometown of Birmingham.
Gullible reporting: Cryptocurrency millionaire – too good to be true?
But was this story too good to be true? Did Hasan intentionally omit some of the details, knowing that they could put him in a bad light? Was there a scam going on?
The British newspaper The Guardian thinks so.
Just days after the BBC published Hasan’s story and announced a documentary, The Guardian expressed its concerns about the story.
First, the newspaper asked if the BBC had checked the declared financial gains, in which Hasan’s tokens increased 10x every three days. The BBC apparently failed to check the reliability of the information, as it did not even reveal the tokens in which Hasan had invested.
The biggest problem, however, was the cryptocurrency project that the 20-year-old launched. It was a charity project known as Orfano. It was abruptly shut down in October, and many investors who put their money into it claimed to have been scammed. The Guardian wrote:
“The BBC was quick to report that the program had been withdrawn, but did not comment on further editorial checks.”
Orfano launched in April and only existed for six months. On Reddit, Hasan and his co-founder claimed that they tried to make it work, but failed, stating:
“Things did not turn out as we had planned and after careful consideration, we decided to stop the project. The team has made every effort to maintain and develop the token. However, we do not see any progress or way to bring Orfano back to the good days.”