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In the early days of Bitcoin, freelance writer and content marketing specialist Dawn Allcot had clients who wanted to pay her in crypto. Back then, she turned them down. “In the beginning, I thought crypto was a joke,” she said.
But by November 2021, Allcot wasn’t laughing anymore. The crypto market had hit an estimated value of more than $3 trillion. “Not only would those payments have paid off my mortgage, but they would probably have positioned me to pay for my children’s college by now,” Allcot lamented. “Or maybe a Disney vacation home? A private island?”
Oddly, she noted, tongue-in-cheek, she hasn’t had any crypto offers recently.
If you haven’t caught on to the craze, crypto is a catch-all term for digital assets hosted on and distributed across a large and dispersed network of computers (i.e. blockchains). This “decentralized” structure allows cryptocurrencies to exist outside the control of governments and other regulators like banks—at least for now.
Decentralization is what gives crypto its legendary volatility. Yet the industry is riding a crest right now. Big Tech firms including Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have shown growing interest in the crypto space. Real-world use cases for crypto are cropping up, including growing institutional adoption and acceptance of Bitcoin on popular e-commerce sites.
With the industry boom, there’s a huge demand for good crypto content—but the intersections of technology and finance can make it a complex space to navigate. Here’s how Allcot and other content creators have tackled the trend.
Breaking into crypto content as a freelancer
A good crypto writer should have a grasp on how the world of finance works. They also need a fundamental understanding of the technology that underpins crypto—blockchain. Finally, it’s a good idea to spend some time researching Web3 philosophies, technologies, and terminology in order to get a firm handle on relevant lingo.
Rebecca Christie, a long-time financial journalist and a non-resident fellow at the European economic think-tank Bruegel, has covered crypto from the banking and finance side of things. She stressed that it’s important for crypto journalists and content creators to understand the role and limitations of the technology, as well as the philosophy behind decentralized assets.
Allcot, who owns a boutique content marketing agency, Allcot Media, noted that anyone with experience writing about investing, personal finance, computer technology, or cybersecurity should be able to write about crypto. Allcot herself was originally recruited by GOBankingRates to write about personal finance, but she got a chance to pivot to crypto after she impressed her editor with coverage of the 2021 GameStop stock frenzy.
Beyond personal finance, crypto is bleeding into dozens of other industries including the sports, art, and entertainment sectors. Freelance creatives who have experience with these beats can likely find crypto-adjacent stories to tell. The same goes for business, marketing, and B2B. “If you cover small business, think about companies that are now accepting crypto for payment,” Allcot suggested.
Working in such a quickly changing and controversial beat can be tough, Allcot said, but she still gets the opportunity for “fun” assignments. For example: “I got to talk about how ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ nearly broke the internet with ticket sales that offered NFTs as perks,” she said.
Climate change, cybersecurity, and other crypto-adjacent beats
There are also ways to dive into crypto content that don’t involve extolling crypto’s virtues. On the flip side, it may be worth writing about crypto through a critic’s lens. (Although you might want to prepare yourself for blowback if you do. The crypto community is notoriously fervent.)
One important angle when it comes to critical coverage of crypto is its toll on the environment. Christie predicted this topic will be of tremendous interest and relevance in the near future. Currently, crypto has a horrendous carbon footprint—some calculations claim that the average Bitcoin transaction generates emissions equal to 330,000 credit card transactions. There’s also increasing interest in decarbonizing crypto to the benefit of renewable grids.
“I don’t think you have to understand the precise mathematics that go into making a digital currency to write about crypto,” Christie said. “[That said,] I do think that if you are trying to break into this, a good niche might be [calculating how] every X amount of Bitcoin burns Y amount of power, and thus causes Z amount of damage.”
Yet another gateway into crypto is from the cybersecurity side. The bullish nature of the industry means it’s an attractive target for cybercriminals. In 2021 alone, scammers stole more than $7.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency—an 81 percent increase from 2020. John Reed Stark, the former head of internet at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, fears that the crypto rush will implode in a “financial cataclysmic event.”
Whether crypto will be a great equalizer or destructive force remains to be seen. But one thing is certain—in a digital Wild West where anything can happen, there’s plenty of potential to tell interesting stories.