CoinDesk Ethics Policy

CoinDesk is the leading news publication covering the digital transformation of money in the 21st century. Our mission is to inform, educate and connect the global community of investors, innovators and users of cryptocurrencies, blockchains and other decentralized technologies. That includes everyone from sophisticated professionals to curious newcomers. Founded in 2013, we serve an audience of 3 million monthly website visitors, 6,000+ annual conference attendees, 200,000 newsletter subscribers and thousands of readers of our research reports.

Last updated November 2023

Editorial independence: In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish Global, which also owns the operator of the Bullish cryptocurrency exchange. Bullish Global is majority-owned by Block.one, a firm with interests in a variety of blockchain and crypto businesses and significant holdings of digital assets including bitcoin and EOS. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.

Neither Bullish nor Block.one has any involvement in editorial or content decisions, and our journalists cover them and Block.one's portfolio companies and investments as they would any other subjects, without fear or favor.

Disclosure: In the interest of transparency, all CoinDesk articles include at the bottom a disclosure of our corporate ownership, with a link to the full list of Block.one's portfolio companies, which are also listed in the appendix below.

Further, any article about Bullish or Block.one will include a prominent disclosure in the body text that CoinDesk is owned by Bullish.

Journalistic standards: We strive for the utmost accuracy, fairness, objectivity and responsible reporting, whether surfacing original news or in reviewing and corroborating information from other sources.

Our journalists know their reporting can affect individual and company reputations, and that they must always be patient and persistent in seeking comment from the subjects of their stories. There are usually at least two sides to any story, and CoinDesk will always be diligent in seeking a diverse range of intelligent, sober perspectives.

All factual errors in published articles will be corrected promptly upon discovery, and all corrections and amendments to an article will be disclosed in a note at the bottom. In rare cases where the central idea of an article warrants a correction, the disclosure will be placed at the top and shared on social media, so the correction is broadcast as widely as the original error.

CoinDesk reporters must disclose in their profile pages any cryptocurrency investments of $1,000 or more; update these disclosures upon any material changes; and, in their articles, mention any potential conflicts of interest. They should avoid such conflicts by minimizing their own coverage of assets or companies in which they have a financial interest, or of issues they are involved in as activists. Above all, they may never misuse our platform for personal gain. (See “Personal Investing,” below.)

Editors and reporters may never accept payment from any company or individual for coverage or preferential treatment. Journalists are not allowed to accept gifts from companies or individuals CoinDesk covers or is likely to cover. (Exceptions may be made for items of nominal value, such as a T-shirt, hat or coffee mug, or food or beverages that can be consumed within 24 hours.)

Opinion articles, whether written by outside contributors or staff members, are always clearly labeled as such, with a design that is distinct from news stories.

As with all reliable media outlets, we do not reveal the identities of sources who speak to us on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from the powerful. However, we are also careful about relying on anonymous sources. All stories that originate with an anonymous source require corroboration from at least one other source with firsthand knowledge of the information, and often more, depending on the sensitivity of the story.

Further, we will respect the pseudonymity of credible sources who have established reputations in the crypto community under their online handles. We believe prolific software developers and other influential figures who do not give their legal names have reputational skin in the game when they attach their words to their well-known pseudonyms. In many cases, that attachment is sufficient to expect a sufficient degree of accountability. As such, we will not reveal anyone’s identity without his or her consent, absent an overwhelming public interest in doing so. We reject a model of journalism that needlessly ruins the lives or careers of harmless, obscure individuals for clicks or moral points.

Personal investing: CoinDesk always seeks to prioritize its highest-value asset – the trust of its readers. It is the job of our journalists, researchers and market analysts to be both transparent and accountable to the public, and seek to uphold high standards of conduct.

However, CoinDesk respects that employees may wish to make decisions related to their wealth management. With this in mind, CoinDesk has worked with compliance and legal advisers to develop a strict set of guidelines that balance the company’s vision while respecting our employees’ financial autonomy.

Above all, these guidelines seek to ensure:

  • Information obtained by employees of CoinDesk during the course of their duties is not misused for financial gain;

  • Employees at CoinDesk are able to research the market through actions that may include the purchase, sale or use of cryptocurrencies or crypto assets;

  • CoinDesk employees retain the financial autonomy to make decisions on their personal wealth, provided such decisions are disclosed.

Our policies are designed to promote stringent definitions for transparency so as to ensure the trust of our audience is upheld.

Any employee who buys, sells or trades crypto assets in amounts of less than $1,000 must notify CoinDesk’s compliance officer within 24 hours of the event. Any employee who buys, sells or trades amounts more than US$1,000 must notify the compliance officer at least 24 hours before doing so.

Upon receipt, these notifications will be reviewed by the compliance officer to ensure the trade meets our policies and guidance. Items up to and including the employee’s recent meetings, articles or corporate outreach efforts will be evaluated. Employees must hold all crypto asset purchases for a minimum of 30 days.

Further, trading is forbidden during office hours. Employees are not permitted to short crypto assets or trade futures contracts. As noted, journalists must disclose crypto positions worth $1,000 or more in their profile pages and update them immediately to reflect any changes.

Company stocks: Our policy on owning stocks is more restrictive than for cryptocurrency, for several reasons.

First, using cryptocurrency and related services is often an important part of researching and understanding the field, while setting up and using a brokerage account is not traditionally involved when reporting on publicly traded companies.

Second, companies have management teams, run from the top down, who have direct control over the direction of the project and can try to influence reporters for favorable coverage. While crypto projects have developer teams and other interested parties, there is no one nominally “in charge” with outsize sway over how the project operates. The absence of direct control means there is not the same degree of conflict as with stocks – not enough to outweigh the educational value of reporters using crypto, and little enough to be mitigated by our disclosure rules outlined above.

Third, a reporter breaking a story, positive or negative, about a publicly traded company sometimes has access to material nonpublic information that, once published could move the stock price; reporters covering a cryptocurrency are usually working with information in the public domain (on the blockchain, in code repositories or in developer forums). While there are exceptions where non-public information derived from a company involved in the crypto space could move the price of a token, any potential conflict associated with such instances would be mitigated by the disclosure requirements.

All CoinDesk editors and reporters are barred from owning shares in pure-play crypto firms (e.g. Coinbase). Further, beat reporters and their editors who regularly cover diversified companies involved in crypto (e.g. Square, Tesla, MicroStrategy) are not allowed to own shares in those firms. And any stocks purchased by a CoinDesk employee must be held for a minimum 30 days.

CoinDesk employees who are found to be not in compliance with these rules may be subject to penalties up to and including termination.

Social media: CoinDesk’s mission is to drive the conversation around the future of money, and social media is one of the best tools to do that. Our official brand accounts are the authoritative editorial voice of CoinDesk. We use social media to share our content and to make announcements about events and new products.

Journalists are encouraged to interact with users of our content through their personal handles. In doing so, they are representing CoinDesk’s brand and values. While they may use their own distinctive voice or express personal opinions, they are expected to conduct themselves professionally. They may not make personal attacks or spread unverified information that could damage an individual’s or company’s reputation.

Use of AI: CoinDesk may occasionally use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to help generate content (text, images, etc.). Our policy is to carefully edit and fact-check such content and to be transparent about this practice to readers through a clear disclosure on the article as well as a dedicated byline that identifies the AI as a creator/contributor of the content. For more on CoinDesk’s use of AI, read this article.

Advertising: One of the ways CoinDesk generates revenue is through online advertising. Aside from maintaining basic standards of quality and content, CoinDesk will refuse any ads that directly promote a token (ads from companies with tokens but are promoting some other aspect of their business may be permitted).

If an entity has announced any fundraising event (such as an ICO or IPO), CoinDesk will refuse any ads from that entity that are not explicitly permitted under Securities and Exchange Commission advertising rules.

CoinDesk articles sometimes include affiliate links, which may generate revenue when readers interact with them and the vendors they link to. When an affiliate link is present in an article, the page will include a written disclosure about the link and its purpose. The presence of affiliate links has no influence on editorial decisions, and members of our commercial team are explicitly forbidden from contacting writers and editors about business relationships.

Events and partnerships: From time to time, CoinDesk may publish sponsored content on our platforms. This content will be explicitly labeled as sponsored, will never be written by CoinDesk journalists or editorial staffers, and will be clearly delineated from our news, analysis, research and opinion articles. Sponsored content relationships will have no impact on the journalism independently produced by CoinDesk’s editorial team.

Likewise, CoinDesk events may include sponsored sessions. These sessions will be clearly billed as sponsored and wholly separate from the vast majority of sessions that are curated by the content team, Sponsor relationships will have no impact on speaking invitations or event programming.

Giveaways/contests: CoinDesk journalists may not accept tokens, coins or any other products or merchandise from giveaways, contests, airdrops or other events that may affect their ability to impartially cover digital assets or the companies behind them.

Appendix: Block.one Portfolio Companies

Academy School Tokens (ACAD)

AdNode

Agora Innovation

Algo Trader

Alpha'a.io

AlphaPoint

AnyLog

AppOnBoard

Arxum

Audigent

AviaGames (Pocket 7)

Awamo

Azarus

BARB

Big Run Studios

Biscuit

Bitski

Blockchain HELIX

Blockrize

Bloq

Braintrust

Breach Insurance

BrightStar

CAPSL

Captrace

Cashlink

Cavrnus

Chainwise (Wombat)

Channel Factory

Channel Ledger

CipherTrace

Clause

CoinDCX

Coreloop

Current

Custos Media Technologies

Dazzle Rocks

Digital Assets Data

Digital Oracles

Double20 Games

EcoMatcher

Ember Sword (So Couch)

End Game

EPICS

Everipedia

ForeVR

Forkast Limited

Forte

Galaxy Digital

GameFam

Gapless

Geer

Genuine Way

Genvid

Good Money

GOQii

GreenPark Sports

Havuta LLC

Herd

High Fidelity

HourOne AI

Immutable

Innoplexus

Instaffo

Kinoo

Klevoya

Koji

Laava ID

Leo

Lightheart Games

Lila Games

LimeChain

Loopland

Lucid Sight

MakerOS

Matcherino

Moonlighting

Mythical Games

N3TWORK

Next Big Thing

Northern Data

Obsidian Labs

ORDRE

Outplay Games

PAKT

Parkingbnb

Persollo

Playable Worlds

Polyarc

Polymath

Pomelo

Portfolio

PUML Better Health

Qokka

Roll

RTFKT

Satoshi's Treasure

Securitize

Sense

Skystone

Smartpress

SnapX

Spark Change

Sparrow

Spielworks

Sprout Records

StockX

Stream Raiders

Superplastic

Surkus

Tabletop ID

Taikai

Talksho

Tempo Storm

The Labz

The Writer Company

Tilt Five

UNRD

UNUM ID

Upland

Vatom

Verisart

WordProof

ZkSystems

Zumo