A new television series by MTV features arguably the channel’s first crypto personality. Rachel Siegel, a bitcoin advocate and proponent of mass adoption who’s behind the Youtube channel Crypto Finally, was invited to enrich the story of a $5 million SIM swapping scam with her expertise. The episode was aired recently, attracting much attention from the crypto community, and not only for what it showed, but also what was cut out.
MTV Show Consults ‘Crypto Expert’ on a $5 Million Hack
The True Life Crime show premiered on MTV in January with the promise to give you “a closer look at the biggest true-crime headlines.” Its seventh episode, “The $5 Million Phone Hack,” has host Dometi Pongo finding out how 19-year-old Joel Ortiz got involved in a SIM swapping theft and was eventually tracked down by an elite law enforcement unit in California.
Viewers who watched on Feb. 19 saw some of the victims’ messages for Ortiz and heard praise for the React team, a task force of various police departments that investigates computer-related crime in the state. As news.Bitcoin.com reported in February 2019, Ortiz got 10 years in prison, the maximum punishment in this case, after pleading guilty.
But what would an investigative series be without the expert opinions? And while the state prosecutor and the defense attorney handled the legal aspects quite well, someone with an appropriate image and knowledge was needed to unravel the crypto side of the story. So the producers of the show, a third party company, found Rachel Siegel on Twitter, convinced her to take part and flew her to Los Angeles for the shoot.
I’m MTVs first ever “crypto expert” and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. It’s. Ya. Girl. 🔥
— Crypto Finally 💫 (@CryptoFinally) February 20, 2020
Rachel is a New York-based content creator with background in media who got into the blockchain space in 2018, as she revealed on the Thinking Crypto podcast. She launched her Youtube channel, Crypto Finally, with “catchy and interesting” Bitcoin music videos to “get people fascinated by Bitcoin.” Now she’s “starting to get more educational,” targeting millennials in particular. A topic she dived deeper into during a presentation last year was mainstream media portrayal of Bitcoin and how it attributes to adoption. Crypto Finally now has around 2,800 subscribers.
Mainstream Media Coverage Good for Bitcoin, if You Agree There’s No Bad Publicity
Any media attention can be a positive for cryptocurrencies in the current drought, especially in the sense that there is no such thing as bad publicity. But as Rachel discovered while watching True Life Crime, expert opinions on Bitcoin are only good for mainstream media as long as they fit into the already established stereotype or preconceived script.
“Face, laugh, cute little over-the-shoulder ‘cryptocurrency expert’ moment, a photo from Crypto Chicks,” Rachel described her own portrayal in “The $5 Million Phone Hack” during a live stream of her watching the episode. “Cryptocurrency is an electronic currency,” Rachel explains on MTV. “But it’s basically an investment, right, like investing in the stock market, the value changes over time?” the host asks her. “Exactly,” she concurs.
“Is it more secure than a bank?” another question follows and then comes the surprise as the producers show you only part of Rachel’s answer, which becomes evident from her reaction: “What makes it less safe to hold than money that you have in a bank is that there is no additional security [Look at the context]… It’s much easier than robbing a bank [They better explain next what I said about the paper wallets and the cold storage]… If they take your money out of your crypto account, the money is gone [What is happening? They definitely chopped it all up.]”
During the shoot in LA, which took Rachel a full day rather than the mere minutes that made it in the final cut, she explained to her interviewers that there are safer ways to keep your crypto than on your phone such as taking your stuff off Coinbase, holding your own private keys, using cold storage or a paper wallet. “But if all that they get me saying is that it’s unsafe, then that’s what they got me saying… But like holy moly, we are talking about it, that’s what matters… regardless of the context… They are talking about cryptocurrency! That was a conversation about Bitcoin. That is nuts. Yeah, yeah…”
What do you think about mainstream media portrayal of cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
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