Crypto outlet Cointelegraph has published its investigation after fuelling market volatility by inaccurately reporting that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had greenlit a spot Bitcoin ($BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) from asset manager BlackRock.
The incorrect announcement was based on a screenshot believed to be from the Bloomberg Terminal, which was later found to be unverified and inaccurate.
Cointelegraph acknowledged the mistake, which occurred when their social media team prematurely posted on platform X without the usual editorial checks.
“Cointelegraph did not ultimately publish an article with this incorrect information, but we deeply regret posting this in error on X and the impact it has caused,” the crypto news outlet said.
The news outlet formally retracted the statement, emphasising their commitment to journalistic standards and the strict verification processes that are typically in place for breaking news. An internal review highlighted that the standard procedures were bypassed in this instance.
Although the publication did not feature the misinformation in a full article, the social media post caused significant ripples in the crypto community. Bitcoin surged on 11 October to near the $30,000 mark, before losing many of these gain after the information was retracted.
Cointelegraph shares details of mistake
In a clarification article published late on 11 October, Cointelegraph revealed how it mistakenly shared misinformation.
The error started internally when rumours began circulating about the SEC’s supposed approval of BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF application on Telegram, a messaging app.
An employee shared the information, sourced from a since deleted Telegram account, onto Cointelegraph’s internal Slack channel.
In the rush to be the first to share this major news, another employee posted the information on X without the standard procedure of editorial confirmation. This breached Cointelegraph’s protocol requiring both source verification and editorial approval.
The issue came to light when readers flagged the unverified post. After failing to verify the source, Cointelegraph’s team quickly corrected the social media message, adding the word “reportedly”.
They then reached out to BlackRock and Bloomberg Terminal for clarification. Confirming that the information was indeed false, Cointelegraph removed the initial post and issued a retraction.
This misinformation occurred against a backdrop of anticipation, with investors watching for the SEC’s approval of Bitcoin ETFs, expected to significantly boost the sector. So far, all such applications have faced rejection, with the SEC citing market manipulation concerns.
But when the SEC’s ruling on Grayscale’s ETF was overturned, BTC gained price momentum.
The same was true following the false news published by Cointelegraph. Bitcoin’s price surged close to the $30,000 mark before the truth surfaced and prices corrected.
Following the correction, Bitcoin’s trading price has lost these gains. At the time of writing, BTC was trading at $28,400 and was up 2% in the past 24 hours.
Since the market volatility, Cointelegraph said: “We apologize for a tweet that led to the dissemination of inaccurate information regarding the Blackrock Bitcoin ETF. “
The publication revealed that is having conversations with the employees involved and “will make all necessary structural changes”.
It added: “This incident reminds the Cointelegraph team that our actions have serious ramifications across the cryptocurrency community.”