Mashable, Others Run With Dubious Bitcoin Press Release

We love Mashable for giving us up-to-the-minute tech news, but a recent snafu shows us that they are not immune to the “reporting on a less-than-accurate press release” phenomenon.

Here’s the deal: “bitcoin” is a new kind of digital currency that’s popping up all over the news. The appeal behind the product is the ability to deposit, exchange and spend money without going through a bank (ICYMI, people aren’t too keen on banks right now). In Europe, which is still suffering through the aftershocks of the latest economic crisis, more and more people have become interested in the bitcoin concept — and yesterday several sources including Mashable reported on this press release announcing entrepreneur Jeff Berwick‘s plans to open the “world’s first bitcoin ATM machine” in Cyprus, the country hardest hit by the current crisis. (Note: “plans” is the key word in that sentence.)

The problem? The ATM featured in the video below is not the one mentioned in the PRWeb release — and it wasn’t created by Jeff Berwick.

The “bitcoin ATM” in the video is this one, introduced last month by two entrepreneurs at the annual 2013 Liberty Forum, a Libertarian-leaning conference sponsored by the political advocacy group Free State Project.

The reason the video makers used it in their spot is that, in keeping with the press release we mentioned above, Jeff Berwick has not actually created an ATM. He has only “announced” his “plans” to create it. Big difference there, guys.

We supposed one could forgive Mashable/Now This News for using the video, but the “world’s first” claim is simply not true.

Not that Jeff Berwick minds.