Fortune Crypto’s 2022 Jealousy List

“What a year it’s been,” said a member of the Fortune Crypto team—at least once a week.

Every month seemed to bring a new Hollywood-ready crisis in the volatile industry, from the $625 million hack of the controversial play-to-earn Axie Infinity in March to the nosedive of larger-than-life huckster Do Kwon’s TerraUSD in May to the stunning collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX in November.

Needless to say, the existential threats led to some terrific journalism (and in some cases, were precipitated by reporting).

Although readers should, of course, be turning to Fortune for all things business and crypto, we’ve long appreciated Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual Jealousy List and, well, got a bit jealous. So here’s ours, highlighting some of the best stories we’ve read in 2022—both crypto and non-crypto:

New York Magazine: The Crypto Geniuses Who Vaporized a Trillion Dollars
By Jen Wieczner

In this long-form article, Jen Wieczner shed light on the unraveling of the hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, one of the biggest crypto collapses of the year. Through a series of poignant examples that show the hubris of founders Su Zhu and Kyle Davies, including the purchase of a $50 million yacht called Much Wow, Wieczner sheds light on how one of the most notable crypto hedge funds went belly up. Filled with sourcing and personal accounts, Wieczner leaves no stone unturned and no journalist without just a touch of envy.

—Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, reporter

Bloomberg: FTX’s Balance Sheet Was Bad
By Matt Levine

It’s nearly impossible to choose just one Matt Levine column on any topic, let alone FTX, but this one, clocking it more than 5,000 words—plus even more words about Elon Musk and Twitter and a few other things—was probably the single best—and definitely most thorough—takedown of FTX and SBF.

—Justin Doom, editor

Financial Times: A brief-ish history of crypto audits
By Bryce Elder

This Financial Times story, which was overlooked by a big part of the crypto world, examines Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s time in 2014 at Beijing-based exchange OKCoin, which issued one of the first “proof-of-reserve” audits. The piece offers new insight into the career of the most important figure in crypto right now, and also shows how the industry has always struggled to produce financial documents that meet the strictures of traditional accounting.

—Jeff John Roberts, editor

Reuters: How crypto giant Binance became a hub for hackers, fraudsters and drug traffickers
By Angus Berwick and Tom Wilson

After a tweet from Changpeng Zhao triggered a collapse in FTT—and Sam Bankman-Fried’s empire—all eyes have been on Binance and CZ, who has taken the undisputed crown of crypto kingpin. While outlets chase to unearth details about the secretive company, Reuters has been producing in-depth reporting for months, including details on governmental investigations and inner dealings. This piece from June provided an overview of the exchange’s shady activity, but I would recommend reading the reporters’ subsequent work, especially post-FTX.

—Leo Schwartz, reporter

Rest of World: They built a Minecraft crypto empire. Then it all came crashing down
By Neirin Gray Desai

Neirin Gray Desai goes deep into what happened when, overnight, Microsoft and Mojang banned NFTs from Minecraft. As Desai details, a thriving economy of NFT-enabled servers like Critterz and NFT Worlds had popped up in one of the world’s most popular games to let people buy and sell virtual commodities like wool and land, earning some players real income up until the ban. The piece smartly demonstrates how NFTs have given people ways to earn money playing games despite the technology still not being fully accepted in the traditional gaming industry.

—Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, reporter

Bloomberg: 11 Hours With Sam Bankman-Fried: Inside the Bahamian Penthouse After FTX’s Fall
By Zeke Faux

Lots of great stories were written about SBF’s exploits in the Bahamas, but this one really stood out because of the following exchange between Bloomberg News reporter Zeke Faux and SBF:
“You didn’t have $8 billion in cash that you thought you had.”
“That’s correct. Yes.”
“You misplaced $8 billion?”

—Justin Doom, editor

Today in Tabs: Sam Bankman-Detained-Awaiting-Extradition
By Rusty Foster

Rusty Foster is a hilarious genius. Full stop. Subscribe to his newsletter to read beautiful sentences like this one describing SBF as “…just a starry eyed lad of thirty summers, with dreams as big as the great outdoors and a promising life ahead of him…”

—Justin Doom, editor

WIRED: Meet the Lobbyist Next Door
By Benjamin Wofford

WIRED’s account of the burgeoning influencer-lobbyists world built by Trump’s former social media director is a revealing window into a new trend that feels like Instagram and Twitter on steroids. We learn how today’s political and social media economy entails recruiting everyone from doctors to physical trainers who share subtle partisan messages with their niche communities of fans.

—Jeff John Roberts, editor

New York Times: How McKinsey Got Into the Business of Addiction
By Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe

The top consulting firm McKinsey has long been a pillar of American capitalism, but its secretive nature means that the public rarely gets a peak into its elite operations. Investigative journalists Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe secured unprecedented access into the firm through documents and interviews with employees, producing reporting on the impact of McKinsey on everything from opioids to baseball sabermetrics. This article is a great example of what was compiled in the reporters’ 2022 book “When McKinsey Comes to Town.”

—Leo Schwartz, reporter

New York Times Magazine: This Isn’t the California I Married
By Elizabeth Weil

Elizabeth Weil’s New York Times Magazine piece on California’s devastating wildfires—and the accompanying photographs—will haunt your dreams. Humans have utterly failed in preventing or even managing the fires, and it’s time for an entirely new mindset on how to coexist with them. “We need to stop thinking a dashing rescuer in a red slicker or yellow fire-​resistant shirt should come save us from wildfire,” Weil writes. “We don’t fight hurricanes. We don’t fight tornadoes. No one assumes there will be an armed defense from an earthquake or a flood. Instead, we bolt our houses to our foundations. We raise our homes on stilts. Now we, Californians of the Anthropocene, need to grow up, take responsibility and stop expecting to be saved.”

—Justin Doom, editor

Our new weekly Impact Report newsletter examines how ESG news and trends are shaping the roles and responsibilities of today’s executives. Subscribe here.

Source link