May 22, 2017
Alex Wilhelm is the Editor in Chief of Crunchbase News, covering the intersection of startups and money.
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Morning Report: Bitcoin is setting fresh records, and its fans, investors, and innovators are mad that you don’t know about it.

At times, it can be hard to please the cryptokids. But their recently argument is largely fair: Bitcoin and company are doing impressive things, yet this time around, the media seems to care less.

What is going on? Bitcoin and family are doing what they do best, setting fresh price records, and, through that process, changing the narrative that surrounds themselves; a rising price implies strong market demand for cryptos, implying investor confidence or consumer demand.

And so, when the price of bitcoin goes up, its boosters — a non-pejorative in this case — argue that it merits more attention.

But this cycle isn’t driving the headlines it once did. When bitcoin was younger, and cryptocurrencies more nascent, and less historical record written to undergird the argument that they are here to stay as an asset class, the media was more vigilant. With the maturation of the cryptocurrency market, it does feel that there is less hype to be found.

Making the point, here’s venture capitalist and Very Tall Human Bill Gurley, from the past week:

Bitcoin recently crossed the $2,000 mark, which is an impressive milestone. That bullish indicator is met by bitcoin’s own transaction volume is trending up as well. Here’s the two-year chart from Blockchain.info:

Adding the two together, it is, as The Information recently wrote, “Time to Pay Attention to Cryptocurrencies.”

Media Blaming And Other Meanderings

The argument that the media hasn’t been paying attention is irksome, as it makes a few errors. First, that the “media” is monolithic; it’s not. And, second, that there hasn’t been much coverage of bitcoin to be had.

I went back to the start of 2016 to find stuff on bitcoin that I have personally written or edited, and it’s a decently long list. And while my team is little, for fun, you can try a few of these on for size and see what you think about how much attention bitcoin has received during the interregnum ‘twixt its successive price records. That’s just the old list. Since we’ve put Crunchbase News online, there have been more.

And it’s not true that no one is covering bitcoin’s recent price spike. For example, there is this piece this morning, our piece from just last Friday on the very event itself, and, to pick something else up that I read recently, here’s TechCrunch’s own piece on the matter that also hit Techmeme.

So while I fully dispute the idea that there is little to no coverage — there are a host of other examples, but I will never pass up  a chance to link to my team’s work — I think that it is fair to posit that there is a less coverage of the current bitcoin price record than the time it first crossed the $1,000 mark.

But that makes incredibly obvious sense. Bitcoin getting to $1,000 from its prior highs was more impressive than reaching $2,000; by the time bitcoin reached $2,000, it had seen years of venture investment, improved technology, and growing adoption. It’s less of a scrappy player and more of a known entity. That’s what happens when a technology matures.

That doesn’t mean bitcoin and associates aren’t seeing more coverage. In a prior life, I wrote a mostly-serious look at the obvious correlation between the price of bitcoin and consumer interest in it. Somewhere between those two proxies is media coverage. So, as you see the price of bitcoin rise, you tend to see more media coverage.

Like this piece.

Regardless, good on bitcoin for hitting new highs. But if we could lay off the self-pitying, I’d be grateful.

From the Crunchbase Daily:

SoftBank Vision Fund closes on $93B

  • SoftBank announced that it has closed on more than $93 billion of committed capital for its Vision Fund, the largest technology investment fund ever raised. Investors include the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Mubadala Investment Company of the United Arab Emirates, Apple, Foxconn, Qualcomm and Sharp. Softbank is targeting a total of $100 billion for the fund, with a final close expected within six months.

Echodyne raises $29M for radar vision

  • Echodyne, a developer of radar vision technology used in drones and self-driving cars, has raised $29 million in a Series B round led by New Enterprise Associates and joined by Bill Gates, Madrona Venture Group, and others. The Bellevue, Wash.-based company has raised $44 million to date.

On demand delivers mixed results

  • Everyone wants instant gratification. But startups that aim to provide goods on demand have faced ups and downs delivering on their promises. A Crunchbase News analysis of the on demand space finds that investors continue to pour funds into promising performers, while laggards struggle to survive.