“Crypto means a disruptive force that has the potential to replace existing legacy systems” On the Record with Vishal Chawla, The Block

Vishal Chawla is a seasoned professional in blockchain, cyber security, and cloud computing, bringing six years of expertise to his role as a thoughtful and meticulous reporter. With a passion for technology, his reports are delicately woven, simplifying complex concepts and providing insightful guidance for readers to navigate the ever-evolving landscape.

Tell us about yourself and how you got into crypto 
I got into crypto during my time as a journalist. I initially worked as a tech reporter at International Data Group in 2017, focusing on enterprise technology rather than consumer tech. My coverage included topics like cloud computing, analytics, data science, databases, and distributed systems.

Later, I joined another publication in India dedicated to covering artificial intelligence and analytics. During my time there, I gained valuable knowledge in various areas. I learned a lot about cloud technology, experienced it firsthand, and explored the exciting world of AI, which had become a hot topic. While I was always interested in crypto as an outsider, I didn’t actively cover it in my beat.

I then joined Crypto Briefing where I used allowed me to transition my expertise from enterprise tech to blockchain and crypto. I worked at Crypto Briefing for about one and a half years before joining The Block in March 2022.

It has been an exciting journey fueled by my passion for technology, and I’m glad I could pursue it as a reporter.

What does crypto mean to you? 

Crypto means a disruptive force that has the potential to replace existing legacy systems and eliminate the need for middlemen who extract value from those systems. It can serve as a neutral global settlement layer, bringing efficiency, and transparency, and reducing corruption across various industries. 

Finance is a prime example where blockchain technology can replace centralized servers and databases, making systems transparent and easy to verify. This would remove opacity from the world and create more efficiency. I see crypto as a technology with transformative potential. 

While some view it primarily as an asset for trading, I believe it is important to recognize its broader implications.

What do you think your role as a crypto-journalist means? 

As a crypto journalist, I believe it is crucial to address the unique challenges and biases that exist within the industry. Mainstream media often presents a somewhat negative perspective on cryptocurrencies, displaying a certain level of distrust and opposition. It seems they are more inclined to focus on exposing potential issues rather than exploring the positive aspects of the technology.

In this context, crypto reporters like myself have a responsibility to provide balanced coverage and avoid any personal bias. It is essential to present both sides of the narrative, regardless of whether it involves negative or corrupt practices within the crypto space. Simultaneously, we should also highlight the potential positive impact that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies can have on the world.

Achieving this balance and reporting fairly is not only significant for crypto journalists but for all journalists, regardless of their field. It is crucial to check our biases and ensure that we are delivering information that is fair and accurate.

Additionally, I believe in the importance of simplifying complex topics and making them accessible to a wider audience. By breaking down intricate concepts into digestible stories, we can help people understand the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. If I can play even a small role in contributing to people’s understanding in this area, I would be genuinely fulfilled in my role.

What are your favourite stories to cover? 

I particularly enjoy covering stories focused on technology advancements and protocol updates within this ecosystem. 

I have a keen interest in cybersecurity as well, so I often cover hacks and security breaches that occur in the space. Crypto is known for its frequent incidents, and it’s crucial to highlight the importance of security. These topics require me to delve into complex technical details and conduct thorough research so that I can break them down in an understandable way for readers. Ultimately, my goal is to simplify and explain intricate concepts to make them accessible to a broader audience.

Let’s discuss your interests in blockchain protocols

Each blockchain ecosystem can be likened to being its own distinct nation. Just like nations have their own governance systems, laws, and cultural identities, blockchain ecosystems have their unique protocols, consensus mechanisms, and token economies. 

I am particularly interested in exploring various blockchain protocols and their ecosystems. I find the different layer-one ecosystems, such as Cosmos, Solana, Avalanche, and Bitcoin, intriguing. Each ecosystem represents a unique community with its own values and narratives. 

Currently, Ethereum is witnessing the emergence of a significant layer-two ecosystems. Optimistic roll-ups like Optimism and Arbitrum, as well as ZK roll-ups like StarkWare and Polygon’s ZK-Rollup, are gaining traction. Ethereum’s early mover advantage, dating back to the ICO boom, gives it a dominant position. It may be challenging for other layer-one protocols to catch up. However, it’s interesting to observe the growth of layer two solutions on top of Ethereum, which will likely lead to compelling stories in this space.

Cosmos is another important ecosystem to watch, especially with projects like dYdX transitioning from Ethereum to Cosmos by creating their own blockchain. There are also rumours of other major DeFi players in Ethereum potentially creating their own Cosmos blockchains. This makes Cosmos a noteworthy ecosystem in its own right.

What is the worst pitch you’ve ever received? 

Bad pitches are those without any explanation of their significance. As a journalist, the newsworthiness of a pitch is important, and if I don’t receive that information upfront, it can be a less appealing pitch. 

However, I can’t classify any pitch I’ve received as the absolute worst. I believe most PR professionals working in the crypto space are skilled at their jobs and work hard to communicate stories to journalists. It’s important for journalists to also recognize and appreciate the role that PR professionals play in their work. PR is a challenging field that requires a lot of effort, so it’s crucial to value the work that PR professionals do.

Stay connected with Vishal by following him on Twitter for the latest updates and engaging discussions.

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