I don't want to get too deep into this subject but I do want to make it clear that this whole mess isn't Google's fault. It is a mix of bad planning at CCN, greed and centralization. Let me break that down.
CCN should have been prepared for this.
SEO is a shitty business to be in and people who work in this field know exactly what I am talking about. Google knows that there are millions of SEO experts out there that are constantly trying to "crack the code" and figure out how their content will stand out and get shown as the top result for specific keywords. They are ready to do unethical stuff like post links on shitty forums and websites that have a high DA. On top of that they hire people who have PBN (private blog networks) to get even higher rankings. These networks usually contain very little quality content and are only used for link spamming while they are usable. This tells Google that the links coming from high DA websites are trustworthy and the websites they are linking to must be popular since more and more people are linking to them. Keep in mind that this whole operation has no quality filter and if you do manage to crack the code you can have tons of shitty content on your website and Google will still see it as relevant. The only mechanism they have to combat this is bounce rate and this is also something that is easy to manipulate.
At the end of the day, CCN was playing on Google's court and under their terms. When Google decides to change the rules you either adapt or move on because there are other players on the sidelines just waiting to take your place. Since they have been playing the game for almost 7 years they should have known that rules are changing constantly and they should have been ready to adapt. In this specific case, they should have had a fund ready for a different SEO approach.
This is the main force that drives people to crack Google's magic algorithm in the first place. Usually, the ones that do figure out how it works use it for quick gains, money grab schemes and affiliate marketing. You will rarely see a website with real quality content looking into these things. This is the root of all problems and Google has all the right to combat it however they chose to because you are using their search engine and their platform to promote your content. The algo itself is not perfect and it probably never will be. CCN is a great example of this since they are best ranked for the keywords "Bitcoin" and "Bitcoin price" and not something that relates to them like "Cryptocurrency news"... I didn't see them complaining about that...
A fact that many seem to overlook in this situation is that Google is a company and operates as a company that wants to please their shareholders. Also, this company has been established in 1998 and it didn't just fall from the sky to the No1 search engine spot. This company worked hard to become the most popular search engine and if you don't want to use it if you don't have to. Seeing a publication like CCN printing shirts with "Googlemocracy" written on them is just sad. You used a centralized platform to promote your content and now you want to put the blame on them? Whether Google holds a grudge against crypto or not, you can't really blame them for anything. It's their product and they have all the right to modify it as they wish. That's what centralized companies do.
The moral question does stand though. Should Google take any responsibility for all of this? I would say yes and no. While I do feel compassion for all the people who lost their jobs at CCN (not really since they are being transferred to HVY ) I do have to say that CCN was surely not the pinnacle of crypto journalism (or any other form of journalism for that matter). If we really see everything that is wrong in the world and try to correct it with blockchain tech, does CCN support that ideology with clickbait articles and false information they shared more than once on their website? I would say no since their goodbye article is riddled with numbers, percentages, and stats.
At the end of the day, I see this as a great result since we are moving in a better direction. If HVY does stay true to their ideology of paying out Journalists 100% of ad revenue generated, we will have more quality content to read and the actual JOURNALISTS will have more incentive to shift to crypto but let's leave that subject for another time.