Webinar Recap: Fact-checking news with crypto data

Webinar Recap: Fact-checking news with crypto data: the WSJ Warren letter

In our latest community webinar, we covered a pressing topic at the intersection of crypto and geopolitics: A Wall Street Journal story alleging that Hamas was financing its activities in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through cryptocurrency. This claim, which was later cited by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in a call for stricter crypto regulations, sparked widespread debate and scrutiny.

The Challenge

Nic Carter, co-founder of Castle Island Ventures and Coinmetrics, and a well-known crypto advocate, challenged blockchain analysts on crypto Twitter to fact-check the data from the Wall Street Journal story. This led to an open-source intelligence bounty, further fueled by additional prizes from Flipside.

Community Response

The community responded vigorously. The bounty was flooded with submissions, showcasing the power of collective effort in open-source intelligence. Notably, more than half of the bounty prizes were claimed by members of our community.

Featured Analysts: Sam and Antonidas (Ant)

During the webinar, two of our data analysts, Sam and Ant, shared their findings and methodologies.

Sam's Approach: Sam, from Flipside's data team, focused on verifying the claims made by Elliptic and BitOK. He creatively utilized LiveQuery to access Tron data, which Flipside does not natively ingest. His analysis involved detailed queries filtering for specific currencies and addresses, aiming to replicate and verify the claims made in the original article.

Ant's Approach: Ant, a software developer and a prominent member of the Flipside crypto community, took a different approach. "My main motivation was actually to get the data out as fast as possible," he said. He manually gathered data from various blockchain addresses and used Python scripts to analyze the data. His work involved extensive data aggregation and the use of visualization tools like Matplotlib and Seaborn to interpret the complex web of transactions.

Open Source Analytics: A New Frontier

The webinar highlighted the unique advantages of open-source analytics in the crypto world. Both Sam and Ant emphasized the importance of diving deep into specific domains and differentiating one's analytical approach. They also discussed the potential of open-source data in providing more comprehensive insights, which centralized organizations might not offer.

"It's pretty cool to have, like, to be doing this, like, fact checking," Sam noted, while Ant added, "It was actually fun to race to get the data along with all the different analysts."

The webinar underscored the importance of rigorous data analysis and fact-checking in sensitive geopolitical issues. "This is a really important thing that we're really excited and honored to have been part of," concluded Marina, reflecting on the collaborative effort in the crypto community. As the crypto world evolves, such collective endeavors in open-source intelligence will likely become increasingly crucial.

You can watch the full webinar above.