Telum Talks To... Derek Rose, Senior Journalist (Cryptocurrency) at Stockhead

Telum Talks To... Derek Rose, Senior Journalist (Cryptocurrency) at Stockhead

Can you explain your role, and the types of stories you cover at Stockhead? 
Since about March, I've been covering cryptocurrency and NFTs full-time for Stockhead. Before that I was covering small-tech biotech companies on the ASX for the publication. It's really an incredibly interesting space, with a new drama, hack or controversy every week. 

I've written about everything from a Melbourne team making millions on llama NFT sales, an anonymous character called "Mooncow" at a project known as Beefy Finance, to allegations of insider trading at a leading NFT marketplace.
What interests you the most about FinTech?  
It's not widely understood, but people in crypto are using platforms such as Ethereum and Solana to build a parallel financial system they've dubbed "decentralised finance". By making transactions governed by self-executing smart contracts, they're able to cut out the need for a trusted third party to act as a middleman - essentially reducing institutions such as banks and trading platforms to lines of code. This will have profound social, economic and regulatory implications.

Right now, if a government wants to restrict, say, sports betting, they do so by regulating middlemen such as Ladbrokes or Bet365. But what if there's no human intermediary, and all the betting is done on a peer-to-peer basis using smart contracts?   
What key facts about cryptocurrency should the average person know? 
Crypto goes far beyond Bitcoin and trying to replace money with "digital gold". There's an entire ecosystem that's evolved around Ethereum (and its competitors, to a lesser degree), involving everything from financial services to gaming. 

It's hard to know whether Bitcoin will ever be successful as a payment method, but at this point, it's hard for me to imagine that institutions governed by smart contracts won't play a major, major role in people's lives in five years' time.
What are the key trends in cryptocurrency you’ve been following this year?  
The rise of NFTs has been one of the biggest. Also, the scaling issues around Ethereum which is a revolutionary platform, but doesn't scale well and the network has become quite congested this year. Developers are working to fix that, but in the meantime, alternatives such as Solana and Avalanche are gaining market share.

While "serious" crypto enthusiasts might find this embarrassing, any accounting of 2021 has to include the huge rise in dog-themed meme coins like Dogecoin, Shiba Inu token, Floki coin, Australian Safe Shepherd (ASS) and more. 
You regularly cover NFTs - what exactly are they? Is it mostly younger readers who engage with this content? 
It's hard to know who our readers are, unfortunately, but I do know our crypto content has been incredibly popular. The last time I checked, I think traffic-wise my crypto stories accounted for seven of Stockhead's 10 most popular stories since I started.
The acronym NFT stands for "non-fungible token," but I think the best way to think of them is how Animoca Brands chairman Yat Siu explained it to me in March: an NFT is a way to protect your property rights in the digital world, by enabling people to make digital assets that can be traded, but not copied.

We've been conditioned to think that digital content is worthless because it's easy to copy; this is a way of unlocking their value. That said, there are definitely signs that NFTs are in a speculative bubble right now and are due for a crash. But I think their long-term future looks bright.

What’s your favourite story you’ve covered since taking on the cryptocurrency round at Stockhead? 
Hmm. I really enjoyed writing up my interview with Founder, Fred Schebesta.  
What does your ideal content pitch from a PR look like?  
I'm interested in people (particularly Australians, Kiwis and other people in the region) doing interesting and innovative things in the crypto space. A number of soft-news features such as my stories on Kiwi NFT rabbit avatar project Fluf World, Steve Bellotti's Digital Native Asset fund and business-to-business crypto platform, Aus Merchant, were the result of PR pitches. I'm supposed to be writing three crypto stories a day for Stockhead, so that's a lot of content to fill! 
I'm less keen on polls, people's opinions, and trends that are incredibly obvious to everyone in the crypto space. Pitches about Bitcoin becoming "digital gold" or being used as a hedge against inflation aren't really going to perk my interest I'm afraid.

Answers submitted by Derek Rose, Senior Journalist (Cryptocurrency) at Stockhead.

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