Steven Russolillo, a journalist at The Wall Street Journal, has been reporting on cryptocurrency news. But after all those research and interviews with crypto experts, Russolillo was suddenly struck with an idea — the only way to really understand the “crypto craze” is to be part of it. And that is how the publication delved briefly into the cryptocurrency world — by creating its own cryptocurrency.
The Birth of the WSJCoin
The Wall Street Journal decided to create its crypto in Japan, a nation known to be a true crypto paradise. Japan has probably one of the highest crypto adoption rates in the world. Students can pay for their snacks purchased at their school cafeteria with cryptos, and there are establishments that accept digital currencies as payment for a pint of beer.
Upon his arrival in Japan, Russolillo immediately teamed up with blockchain developer Makoto Takemiya to create the token. After deciding the token’s supply to 8.4 billion units and Hyperledger’s Iroha blockchain for the token, Takemiya quickly went to work, and the WSJCoin was born.
Actual Use Case and Valuation
The team then decided to test it out in the real world. Fortunately, they found a bar owner who was adventurous enough to accept payment using a newly minted and still untested crypto. But with her next question, which was what the value of the WSJCoin was in, either dollar or yen, Steven Russolillo immediately faced a mystery that has been tormenting most crypto investors — how to decide the value of a token that is not backed by any asset.
Since it was just for a glass of beer, both the bar owner and the token creator decided that a WSJCoin is worth a glass of beer. That transaction probably set a couple of records that day. The WSJCoin is perhaps the one and only token whose value was measured by a glass of beer, and the bar earned an unmatched distinction of accepting the first and only WSJCoin transaction.
Russolillo even introduced the WSJCoin to the crypto community during a crypto conference in Hong Kong. Even former Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas and BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello, who were members of the panel, believed that the WSJCoin has potential as a journalism-based crypto asset.
Ethics Head Decides to Shut It Down
But Neal Lipschutz, WSJ standards and ethics group head, decided to shut down the token and aborted its launch. According to Lipschutz, the WSJ is not in the business of cryptocurrency and has to protect its objectivity. He said:
“We’re not in the business of getting into the cryptocurrency world; we’re here to report it and to explain it, just like we report on banks but we don’t go out and start a bank. We’re not going to create a currency… If we had a competing entity in the very area that we cover, I think people could reasonably lose some trust in our objectivity.”