One of the most reputable and credible newspapers in the world, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), created and then destroyed its own crypto currency. This unique case began 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, to make better reports about it. It was hoped that the WSJ Coin, the name of the crypto currency, could shed light on cases of use of crypto coins for the journalism industry.
Around 150 WSJ Coin were distributed to an audience of a panel discussing this concept during the annual D Live technology conference.
The panel featured BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello and Ripple’s former technology director Stefan Thomas, who saw great potential in this new experimental digital currency.
“If it reduces the cost of moving money, the entire economy changes… How do I pay for an online news article,” Thomas exemplified, according to CoinTelegraph.
Because of this, Steven Russolillo, one of the journalists leading the project, teamed up with Japanese developer Makuto Takemiya to use Hyperledger’s Blockchain Irha as the basis for the WSJ Coin.
In the end, both reached a supply agreement of 8.4 billion coins, an amount they reached averaging the supply of the top ten crypto currencies on the market.
However, only two of these coins were issued and used (to pay for two beers) before the project stopped.
When Russolillo published the full issue to potential investors, the Wall Street Journal’s chief ethics officer stopped the project. Neil Lipschitz, the editor of ethics and standards, said he put a stop to the WSJ Coin because of “ethical issues.
“We are not in the business of entering the world of crypto currencies; we are here to report it and explain it, just as we report on banks, but we don’t go out and create a bank,” Lipschitz said. “We’re not going to create a coin.
Although the WSJ crypto currency had a short-lived existence, it opened the possibility for new digital currencies to be created within the world of journalism which, according to the experts who participated in the conference mentioned above, have great potential to be exploited.