“Investigating the Disruptive Innovations at Our Fingertips.” On the Record with Ana Alexandre, BeInCrypto
Welcome to ‘On The Record’ with YAP Global. A series where we speak to the journalists behind the stories that keep you up-to-date on the pulse of the digital asset, fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.
Ana Alexandre comes from quite the interesting background that led her into the wild world of crypto. From being a business reporter at a major news publication in Moscow to working at the Russian Space Agency, reporting on fund allocations and tracking misappropriation of state resources for space exploration programs, Ana has built an impressive wealth of experience before becoming a prominent blockchain and crypto reporter today.
She became a translator and reporter at CoinTelegraph in 2017 and now runs the Feature Desk at BeInCrypto where she develops stories and manages a passionate team of writers. Not so enthused about market news, she is more inspired by technology and its impact on society.
Ana tells us what type of stories she likes working on the most and what she believes are some of the most exciting developments to be coming out of the crypto and blockchain space.
You turned a pretty sharp corner in your career when you entered the world of analytics and business information as a researcher, before moving into fintech. Can you tell us a bit about your background and journey that led you into this space?
“The circumstances were such that I had to move to Moscow from my hometown located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, in 2009. From that moment, I began working with analytics, due diligence, and business reporting at a major news agency in Russia, Interfax. I also worked at the Russian Space Agency, where I was engaged in reporting on the allocation of state funds to industrial facilities and their spendings, and tracked down possible misappropriation of the state budget resources allocated to space exploration programs.
In mid-2017, I was approached by a CoinTelegraph official asking whether I’d be interested in translating fintech-related articles. Since I had spent almost ten years translating and writing business and financial reports by that time, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to shift to something new and leverage my background and skills. So I worked as a translator from English to Russian until December, 2017. In February, 2018, I joined the team of CoinTelegraph’s news reporters, and worked in that position until I left the company in May 2020.
What was it about the crazy and wild world of blockchain, crypto and fintech that interested you the most?
“Blockchain seemed to be that big thing; a breakthrough that society had been waiting on for quite a long time; a solution to many issues. You know, that feeling that the future and disruptive innovation are at your fingertips. It was interesting to see how it would evolve.”
You’ve worked with prominent top tier publications like CoinTelegraph, and now you are the Features Editor at BeInCrypto. Can you tell us your work leading the feature editorial desk?
I’m currently building a features desk from scratch at BeInCrypto. It’s not an easy task, but I can say for sure it’s very rewarding. I’ve shifted my focus from covering news to bringing in-depth stories to readers. Although I’m busy with managing the features desk, which includes developing stories, reaching out to industry stakeholders, working closely with full time and freelance authors, improving the content and operations, among other things, I’ve still kept my passion for reporting, so sometimes I cover for the news editors as well.”
Can you tell us about some of your favourite stories? I know a lot of your reporting is based on real use-cases that impact everyday people, like sustainability for example, or major news breaking from developing countries where stories are not often regularly shared with top tier blockchain publications.
“Technology inspires me more than markets, and technology has a huge impact on society as it affects our everyday lives. Despite the fact we live in an interrelated and interconnected world, a lot is left on the sidelines.
I really enjoy covering blockchain – and technology in general – for good stories such as the Bail Bloc project, for example, that uses a small portion of users’ computer’s unused processing power to mine Monero, and then exchanges its Monero for US dollars and donates the earnings to one of the bail funds. The beauty of this idea is its simplicity – anyone around the world can contribute. Or a story about law enforcement asking to gain access to end-to-end encrypted information. What does this mean for dissident journalists, activists, and freethinkers, who use encrypted messengers while living under the rule of an oppressive government?”
How do you usually find your stories?
“I love delving deeper into a story, investigating what the impetus behind various developments and actions actually is. Sometimes I come across an idea while reading news or books, sometimes people just pitch me an idea or share some news story which could become the basis of my next feature piece. Since I have a vast network of contacts – often not even related to blockchain and crypto – interesting questions arise during conversations like, “Have you heard of the case of Annie Dookhan, the chemist who went rogue and abused her position of trust by falsifying evidence of drug tests in more than 20,000 cases? Her operation sent thousands of people to prison.” Thus, we took a deeper dive into whether blockchain can resolve problems circling misuse, abuse, and general human error when working with lab tests.
On top of all that, my natural curiosity leads me to ask more questions.”
What’s something you wish PRs or companies would know when pitching you a story?
“Given that I’m currently a Features and Opinion Editor, it would be great if PRs took into account that I no longer work with news, so I won’t publish a news piece based on a received press release. At the same time, they should keep in mind that I’m open to op-ed submissions, so they could propose an op-ed article, as well as offer feature ideas and propose relevant experts who can comment on the topic.”
How has this year impacted or developed you as a writer and reporter?
“Needless to say, 2020 was a remarkably difficult year for many. However, it was one of the best years of my life that helped me unleash my potential. While I was horrified to see how many people in the media industry were losing their jobs through layoffs, I kept getting job offers throughout the year.
I spent plenty of time exploring the archives of the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization, and eventually I was offered to participate in a true crime podcast development as a co-writer, which was a whole new experience for me. Although I sometimes miss working with news, I’m now fully devoted to building and managing teams of writers, and helping them develop stories, as well as dedicating more time to communicating with people across the industry.”
To you, what are some of the most exciting developments to come out of this space in 2020?
“Obviously, it’s DeFi and crypto art.”
And what are some of your predictions for 2021?
“I think 2021 will be the year of crypto art, NFTs, CBDCs, and institutional investors actively entering the crypto space.”
Read more stories from journalists shaping the future of technology here.