Industry Speaks Out As CoinDesk's Text Size Turmoil Continues

Industry leaders speak out about the great 'text size' debate embroiling leading industry news source CoinDesk.

AccessTimeIconApr 1, 2016 at 2:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 6, 2023 at 3:40 p.m. UTC
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Following an unexpected hard fork of the CoinDesk news blockchain today, the much-lauded industry news site continues to experience website issues, users report.

At press time, CoinDesk readers were experiencing varying text sizes on the pages of articles as a result of being directed to one of at least two separate histories of the CoinDesk news blockchain.

Since the issues began, a number of competing development efforts have emerged in an attempt to address the situation at CoinDesk, with new technological solutions including CoinDesk Supreme, CoinDesk Wild Cherry, CoinDesk with Lime, CoinDesk Medium Rare and Dr CoinDesk.

At press time, CoinDesk Turbo and CoinDesk Smooth had emerged as the efforts with perhaps the most traction, according to independent analytics provided to CoinDesk.

CoinDesk Smooth, the oldest of the two efforts, representing an increasingly dwindling number of the open-source community’s developers over controversy that CoinDesk Editor and CoinDesk Smooth chief scientist Pete Rizzo had been effectively hiding a massive fortune in rizzocoins, the native token on the CoinDesk newschain.

Likewise, long-time CoinDesk contributor Stan Higgins had emerged as the leader of separate faction, CoinDesk Turbo, which is in the midst of attempting to convince CoinDesk readers to upgrade their software to increase the size of text on the website.

At press time, some were tweeting their support for their preferred software implementation, while others sought to position it as a plot to undermine the news agency.

— Wong Joon Ian (@joonian) April 1, 2016

— CoinDesk (@coindesk) April 1, 2016

The ‘text size’ controversy had been ongoing for months following the decision of former CoinDesk contributor Daniel Cawrey to publicly leave the CoinDesk project, decrying that it had “failed” in its attempts to create a viable news platform for the technology.

"Why has CoinDesk failed? It has failed because the community has failed," he said, adding:

"Really it was just became one guy who kept trying to push this ICO over and over again."

Cawrey’s post included heated words for the CoinDesk newschain’s lead developers, as well as readers, who he said had failed to notice the numerous advertisements embedded in the website for rizzocoin, as well as the news site’s favorable coverage of its price projections.

"Bitcoin is great, but it ain’t got nothin’ on rizzocoin," read one opinion article, submitted by a writer identified as ‘Dan Palmer’. "Just think if everyone owned rizzocoin and used it for everything, it would have a market cap of like, a trillion dollars. Maybe more trillions."

At press time, the price of rizzocoin was in rapid decline across exchanges, with the price plummeting out of the top-10, falling below dogecoin, vertcoin and paycoin.

Consensus averted

Still, some may be surprised at the sudden break in consensus as it follows a meeting in Hong Kong at which readers of CoinDesk and its newschain developers discussed the issue in backroom meetings.

As CoinDesk’s newschain is primarily mined by Asia-based entities, a language gap strained dialogue. Further, only two of the representatives at the meeting spoke both Mandarin and English.

"Can’t we all get along," Rizzo had said at the meeting. “Just remember, we are not in it for the money, we’re here to change the world!”

The meeting ended abruptly when members of the mining community began attempts to physically accost Rizzo, though he maintains his statements were not correctly translated, and that certain sophistications of CoinDesk Smooth were not properly articulated.

Further controversy surrounded the ill-fated meeting after members of the CoinDesk Turbo development team took to social media to complain that they had not been invited.

“It’s ridiculous,” CoinDesk Turbo chief scientist Stan Higgins told CoinDesk in an email. “How are we supposed to math away the problems of the world if we can’t get together in one room?”

Not ready for primetime

Detractors in the industry sought to suggest that the hard fork was a sign that CoinDesk is not yet ready to compete against financial news websites like Bloomberg and Reuters despite its recent acquisition by Digital Currency Group.

“This is exactly the situation we predicted when speaking out against larger text sizes. Newcomer devs have rushed to turn CoinDesk into some sort of world media network like Buzzfeed with its ability to process over 2,000 new articles per second. And the result is a mess,” Kaiko marketing director Jon Southurst said.

As such, R3 head researcher Tim Swanson, for instance, indicated that institutions would likely be unaffected by the issue:

"How the great font size debate is resolved is an important issue irrespective of whether or not you are using a gated or ungated website. I suspect that financial institutions will only be interested in font sizes that conform to existing regulatory font specifications."

CoinDesk's newest hire, journalist Michael del Castillo, could not be reached at press time.

Disclaimer: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in CoinDesk.

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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

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