The 2022 Fortune Crypto Envy List

“What a year,” says a member of the Fortune Crypto team—at least once a week.

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

Needless to say, the existential threats have led to some terrible journalism (and in some cases, initiated by reporting).

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

New York Magazine: Crypto Geniuses Steaming a Trillion Dollars
By Jen Wieczner

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

—Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, reporter

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

It’s almost impossible to pick just one Matt Levine column on any topic, let alone FTX, but this one, clocking in at more than 5,000 words—plus a lot of words about Elon Musk and Twitter and a few other things—is probably the one which is the best—and certainly most complete—removal of FTX and SBF.

—Justin Doom, editor

Financial Times: A brief history of crypto auditing
By Bryce Elder

it Financial Times story, which has been overlooked by a large part of the crypto world, examines Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s time in 2014 in the Beijing-based exchange OKCoin, which issued one of the first “proof-of-reserve” audits. The piece offers new insight into the career of today’s most important crypto figure, and also shows how the industry often struggles 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 caused the collapse of FTT—and Sam Bankman-Fried’s empire—all eyes were on Binance and CZ, which took the undisputed crown of crypto kingpin. As outlets scramble to uncover details about the secretive company, Reuters has been doing in-depth reporting for months, including details of government investigations and insider dealings. This piece from June provides an overview of shady exchange activity, but I recommend reading the reporters’ subsequent work, especially post-FTX.

—Leo Schwartz, reporter

The rest of the world: They built a Minecraft crypto empire. Then everything came crashing down
By Neirin Gray Desai

Neirin Gray Desai was worried about 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 has emerged in one of the world’s most popular games to allow people to buy and sell virtual commodities like in wool and land, which will earn some players real income until the ban. . The piece cleverly shows how NFTs give people ways to make money playing despite the technology not yet being fully embraced by the traditional gaming industry.

—Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, reporter

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

Many wonderful stories have been written about SBF’s exploits in the Bahamasbut this one really stands out because of the following exchange between a Bloomberg News reporter Zeke Faux and SBF:
“You don’t have the $8 billion in cash you think you have.”
“That’s right. Yes.”
“You got $8 billion wrong?”
“Wrong account.”

—Justin Doom, editor

Now in Tab: Sam Bankman-Imprisoned-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 kid in his thirties, with dreams as big as the outdoors home and a good life ahead of him…”

—Justin Doom, editor

WIRED: Meet the Lobbyist Next Door
By Benjamin Wofford

WIRED’s account of the burgeoning influencer-lobbyist world built by Trump’s former social media director is a revealing window into a new trend that seems Instagram and Twitter on steroids. We know how today’s political economy and social media involve recruiting everyone from doctors to physical trainers to share subtle partisan messages with their fan communities.

—Jeff John Roberts, editor

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

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

—Leo Schwartz, reporter

New York Times Magazine: This Is Not the California I Married To
By Elizabeth Weil

by Elizabeth Weil New York Times Magazine about California’s devastating wildfires—and the accompanying photos—will shatter your dreams. People have completely failed to prevent or even manage fires, and it is time for a new way of thinking about how to deal with them. “We need to stop thinking that a mighty savior in a red slicker or a yellow fireproof shirt must come to save us from the fire,” Weil wrote. “We don’t fight hurricanes. We don’t fight tornadoes. No one thinks that there is an armed defense against an earthquake or a flood. Instead, we build our houses down to our foundations. We raised our houses on stilts. Now we, the Californians of the Anthropocene, need to grow up, take responsibility and stop expecting to be saved.

—Justin Doom, editor

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