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Why we kept racist comments out of our Indexed Finance hacker interview

An interview published by DL News this week raised questions about the ethics of giving a voice to wrongdoers or extremists.

The story featured Andean Medjedovic, a fugitive from Canadian justice who is alleged to have stolen about $15 million from the DeFi protocol Indexed Finance.

Medjedovic is innocent unless he is convicted by a court.

He admits, however, that he exploited the money from Indexed Finance. He publicly mocked the victims. He failed to show up when summonsed to a court hearing to answer lawsuits filed by those same victims. And he declines to say where he is hiding.

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For all those reasons, there can be no doubt that it was in the public interest to interview him. The interview is also of particular interest to the crypto community – our core audience.

Medjedovic claims he now contributes to a platform called Immunefi to help protect investors from hacking. This kind of work enables projects to spot the kind of vulnerabilities in code which allow for exploits.

Medjedovic is a proponent of the view that “code is law.” Familiar to many in the crypto community, that defence will be tested in court if Medjedovic is ever arrested or turns himself in to the Canadian authorities.

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Medjedovic is clearly a highly unusual person. A maths prodigy who obtained a master’s degree at a young age, he is a gifted programmer.

But, as he demonstrated during the interview with our director Paige Aarhus, he is also capable of making racist or misogynistic remarks and of hinting that he holds extreme political opinions.

One reader asked why DL News did not quote Medjedovic’s hateful comments verbatim.

“IMO you shouldn’t ever deny assholes and idiots the opportunity to further display these personality traits.” But he added that he understood our decision not to do so.

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Letting bigots condemn themselves out of their own mouths might work in some ideal world – a discussion between Plato and Socrates, say, or an 18th-century town hall meeting with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

But it did not work in Nazi Germany and it will not work in social media, where people are rewarded for expressing their worst selves.

In addition, quoting him would not add significantly to the profile which emerged from the interview.

It would be different if he was a candidate for public office, where it is important to know precisely what was said, so comments can be compared and recorded.

Andean Medjedovic is a fugitive who claims to have reformed. Our readers have enough information in the interview to make up their own minds about his sincerity.