The BBC has abruptly canceled a documentary on a cryptocurrency entrepreneur after the Guardian raised concerns about the show’s core idea.
The episode was named The Crypto-Millionaire and was planned to be broadcast at 7.30 pm on Wednesday night. It was to recount the story of Hanad Hassan, a 20-year-old from Birmingham who said he had become enormously wealthy by trading cryptocurrency. The documentary said he had transformed a $50 (£37) investment at the start of 2021 into $8m (£5.9m) by the end of the year – meaning he had generated an incredible investment return of over 16,000,000 percent in just nine months.
“Fifty dollars turned into $500 (£369) three days later,” Mr Hassan said of his financial journey that began at the age of 19. “Two more days later, it was $5,000 (£3,690).”
An accompanying BBC online piece headed “Birmingham’s self-made crypto-millionaire giving back” also highlighted Hassan’s £30,000 BMW and his city center flat while stating how he “decided he was going to become a millionaire when he was still a teenager.”
The program, planned to be shown on BBC One in the West Midlands, followed Hassan as he delivered the money to food banks in Birmingham, reportedly sponsored by a charitable cryptocurrency he set up himself.
BBC’s snappy decision to pull the show down
The BBC promptly claimed it had pulled the episode but did not make any more remark on their editorial checks. A companion online piece, which had featured prominently on the BBC News site, was likewise withdrawn without explanation shortly after the Guardian raised suspicions. Hassan has also been sought for comment.
The decision to yank the episode off BBC One schedules hours before it was set to be shown is humiliating for the corporation, given it was one of the channel’s flagship commissions for its new regional television news show We Are England. This new show replaced the long-running Inside Out regional current events series, which was axed as part of BBC funding cuts in a move that resulted in many investigative journalists stationed outside London losing their jobs.
The BBC’s coverage of cryptocurrencies and stories about young entrepreneurs gaining enormous sums of money via online trading has been spotty. In October, the company made headlines when it touted the quickly growing price of a cryptocurrency named after the Netflix program Squid Game, just days before its price plummeted in an apparent scam.