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The Tale of CoinJelly

Last week we received an interesting press release from an Australian company named Coinjelly.

The press release talked about a Bitcoin wallet that was secured with an insurance policy and a guarantee and made some pretty awesome claims.

I had personally looked at running with the story that day and getting it out to the masses but something about it just didn’t quite feel right. Several other sites including CoinDesk, Forex Minute and others ran with the story while myself and other staff members debated if we would run the story.

Something about it just didn’t seem right. On the surface this was a great story and had we ran it initially we would have been first to the net with the story but our editorial policies and guidelines are that we run things we can report on as facts and the fact remained that we simply had a press release.

Journalism isn’t always about being first. You have to check your facts, and sometimes that means doing some legwork. On June 28th we wrote a story about CoinJelly but did not publish it because we had not yet acquired all of the facts to satisfy our strict editorial policies. Even if that meant not being the first.

I fired off an email to Zurich Financial Services Australia Limited to further confirm one of the claims made in the press release by CoinJelly. The statement in question was,

There have been a number of high profile security failures in decentralised internet currencies which have understandably slowed acceptance of Bitcoin. After getting caught up myself in one such failure, I could see the need to develop a software and security solution that was strong enough to be underwritten by Zurich Financial Services Australia, part of one of the world’s biggest insurers.

We continued to sit on the news and the piece for CoinJelly until we had some sort of confirmation while other sites began publishing full pieces regarding the company.

Last last evening I received a response from Michele (Chelke) Kennedy the head of communications at Zurich Financial Services Pty Ltd.

A CoinJelly press release stating that Zurich Financial Services in
Australia is insuring CoinJelly products is erroneous. Our authorised
general insurer in Australia, Zurich Australian Insurance Limited (ABN 13
000 296 640) has not issued any policy of insurance to CoinJelly. Further,
our non operating holding company, Zurich Financial Service Australia
Limited (ABN 11 008 423 372), has no business relationship with CoinJelly.

CoinJelly has, at 08/07/2014 only partially updated its website to delete
the references to Zurich. The statement made on their website that
“CoinJelly, through Zurich Financial Services Pty Ltd (Australia),
guarantees user deposits up to 20 BTC (subject to change).” is untrue. The
company has previously agreed to issue a retraction.

We do not know who (if anyone) is providing insurance to CoinJelly.

CoinJelly has made many statements about why Bitcoin users should trust them as a company and those statements have been propagated across the the Internet by several other sites rushing to get the story but now having seen how this has played out I am truly left questioning why I would trust my Bitcoins with a site that had generated a press release with statements that have turned out to be false.

We will not be running our original story for CoinJelly on Coin Fire and will continue to vet all information passed to us through all means possible.

When we initially ran our report regarding 1-800-Flowers a full two weeks before they had announced publicly we received a great deal of flack from others in the “bitcoin journalism” community that we were simply running sensationalist rumors but we had confirmed the story with multiple corporate level executives before running the story and would not and will not run pieces that we can not verify.

We may not always be the fastest sources of news but we will continue to try to earn your trust.

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