A crisis will inevitably happen for any company – but how it reacts to it and communicates it to the public can make or break it. Let’s take a look at how two different teams in the Cryptoverse communicated their recent incidents and what advice communication professionals offered.
BlockFi: head-in-the-sand (almost)
On May 19 it was reported that crypto lender BlockFi suffered a data breach, saying in an incident report that the attacker attempted to make unauthorized withdrawals of client funds on May 14, but only managed to access clients’ personal information. They added that they believe there’s no immediate risk to BlockFi clients or company funds, that the clients may experience more security checks in the withdrawal process, urged their clients to turn two-factor authentication and Whitelisting, and went on to describe their response, stating that they’ll continue “to provide clear and transparent communication.”
On May 20, BlockFi’s PR person told Our that “all affected clients were informed about the breach yesterday when it became public on Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM EST directly via email.” If this is true, for five days, affected customers were not aware that the hacker accessed their personal information such as name, email, date of birth, physical address and activity history. The company has not responded to other questions sent by Our.
The major crypto lender has faced criticism for their lack of communication regarding this event, not announcing it immediately, and on all of their available channels for easy access and distribution.
@matt_odell @TheRealBlockFi @BlockFiZac is this responsible disclosure?
— WhiteRabbit (@WhiteRabbitBTC)
When it comes to their website, the company published a post on “How to Keep Yourself Safe from Cyberattacks” on May 18. At the time of writing, we could not find any information on this incident on their Twitter account, Medium, nor CEO Zac Prince’s Twitter account.
Promoters and supporters of the company were criticized as well.
With all this in mind, we’ve decided to redeploy the tBTC contracts following a release candidate model. This release strategy is nearly as old as software itself, and is popular throughout open source.
— Matt Luongo (@mhluongo) May 22, 2020
Handling crisis comms situations
“In a crisis communication situation like this, regular, up-to-date and constant communication with customers is vital,” Samantha Yap founder and CEO of PR firm with a focus on fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrency startups YAP Global, told Our on how crisis situation should generally be handled. She said: