One of the most respectable and credible newspapers in the world, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), has created and then destroyed its own crypto currency. This unique case started as an experiment that threatened to get out of control, so it was stopped.
The goal of the newspaper was to create a digital currency in order to try to better understand the cryptographic world and, in this way, make better news about it. It was hoped that the WSJ currency, the name of the cryptocurrency, could shed light on the use of cryptographic coins for the journalism industry.
About 150 WSJ Coin were distributed to a panel audience discussing this concept during the annual D Live Technology Conference.
The panel included BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello and former Ripple technology director, Stefan Thomas, who saw great potential in this new experimental digital currency.
"If it reduces the cost of money transfer, the whole economy changes … How can I pay for an online news article," explained Thomas, according to CoinTelegraph.
For this reason, Steven Russolillo, one of the journalists who lead the project, has collaborated with the Japanese developer Makuto Takemiya to use Blockled Irha of Hyperledger as the basis for the WSJ coin.
In the end both of them reached an agreement to supply 8.4 billion coins, a figure that reached on average on the offer of the first ten cryptocurrencies on the market.
However, only two of these coins were issued and used (to pay two beers) before the project stopped.
When Russolillo published the entire file to potential investors, the chief ethics officer of the Wall Street Journal interrupted the project. Neil Lipschitz, the editor of ethics and standards, said he would end the WSJ currency because of "ethical problems".
"We are not in the business to enter the world of cryptocurrencies, we are here to report and explain it, just as we report on banks, but we do not go out and create a bank," said Lipschitz. "We will not create a coin.
Although the WSJ cryptocurrency has had a short-lived existence, it has opened up the possibility of creating new digital currencies in the world of journalism which, according to experts who have participated in the above conference, have great potential to exploit.