What an incredibly thought provoking piece by Haseeb for anyone who initially bought into the cypherpunk narrative:
"Bitcoin was supposed to be the enemy of governments. It was supposed to destroy the state’s monopoly on monetary policy, it was supposed to be a battering ram against the banks and financial surveillance. Indeed, Bitcoin was supposed to erect nothing less than an uncensorable shadow financial system."
Haseeb wonders why it is that most governments have actually welcomed bitcoin with open arms, and his conclusion is that bitcoin is not a threat to them unless it becomes a medium of exchange, an outcome he doesn't believe it, nor any other crypto currency, can achieve.
Super interesting read overall, no doubt conclusions will be revisited once bitcoin becomes a global store of value and tech continues to mature, or depending on how the international economic and political landscape evolves...
On the topic of BTC as SoV, our friend Boris from the most recent Unplug retreat published a great essay filled with data on how bitcoin and Gold as asset classes fare in the eyes of institutional investors.
Lots of charts showing the uncorrelated nature of bitcoin returns to other asset classes, and Boris raising the interesting question of what would happen to such correlations once it becomes firmly part of institutional portfolios.
A really insightful post (which follows a paper from Northwester University) that invites us to think about private torrent trackers as actual markets with proprietary currencies.
The argument goes like this: - Upload/download ratio requirements are a currency system in disguise. Users are just trying to maintain a positive balance - Private trackers extend loans to new users to give them time to maintain a good ratio - Users with slow internet connections have lower “earning potential”and they work more hours to match that - Central ratio requirements price every file equally, distorting the market and suppressing supply and demand - Status and altruism motivate excess earning
I find posts like this one to be extremely useful, as they show us how the concepts of cryptocurrencies and tokens can be applied in areas where we're already using some sort of surrogate mechanism for coping with the same problem or incentivizing the same behaviors.
So, after reading this, we're kinda looking forward to seeing a private torrent tracker that implements some solution on the per-file price and similar issues.
A very pragmatic read outlining the growing concerns of a long term Bitcoin supporter about the direction 'maximalism' is taking and the dangers it represents. It was sure to stir up the Bitcoin community.
Whether you agree or not, it raises an important question about how Bitcoin, or any future version of sound money, can scale socially: while cults are clearly very powerful social forces, the risk is that they degenerate into an extreme and ultimately alienating meme.
Our friends at Fabric Ventures have released their report on the state of the market, which includes a whole lot of data on token distribution, fundraising trends and more, as well as their new investment thesis, which stands on the concept that Tokenisation is to ownership as digitization was to content.
A very handy STO list from one of our readers. It includes ones from non-blockchain companies who might have tokenized their equity or other revenue stream, actual blockchain cos, funds and real estate offerings.
It's a very long and technical presentation at times, but I find the final steps to be very clear and informative, with a comparison of PoS, PoW and Federated consensus and where they fit in the ecosystem based on their balance of efficiency, trust-minimization and fairness.
- Fidelity. The $2.5T AUM asset manager has officially announced it's entering the institutional crypto custody and brokerage business. This is their 'hello world' Medium post.
- ETHSF. A nice roundup of the finalists of their hackaton.
- Noncrypto -> crypto M&A. Ticketmaster has acquired a blockchain company called Upgraded.
- Sign o' the times. Civil is retroactively canceling its ICO and refunding all participants after failing to hit its soft cap.
- Grants. The Ethereum Foundation has released their new grants. The biggest ones are for Eth 2.0 clients (to Prismatic and Status) and non-custodial payment channels.
- CryptoHackers. North Korean ones apparently snatched a total of $571M this year.
- Bulletproofs. Activated on Monero mainnet and resulted in huge drop in tx size and cost.
- Devcon4. Draft agenda is out. We'll be around and keen to meet with founders!
- Tether. We let more qualified folks comment on the USDT shenanigans this week and you must all be on top of what's been happening. Here's an interesting theory that you may have missed though.
We've seen a few attempts at creating tokenized markets on top of social media and digital content more broadly, with things like Marble Card more recently for example.
SmartX is another take on it, an open source protocol to tokenize any kind of digital goods, build in revenue distribution and governance, and then create automated markets around them through bonding curves. Anyone can become a proportionate owner, while the creator gets to earn a royalty fee and validators can profit from providing work.
It's built on top of IPFS universal token & transfer protocol. Looking forward to giving it a spin when it's live.
This feels like a much bigger deal compared to the noise it made.
The POA Network team have launched an Ethereum compatible sidechain called xDai Chain, where the native currency is stablecoin DAI (technically xDAI, a representation of DAI that lives on the sidechain). The chain will support smart contracts interoperating with Ethereum and transaction fees will be priced in DAI, giving developers more certainty around the USD cost of using an Ethereum-based blockchain.
Wish this existed 18 months ago, before hundreds of projects launched their own native token as an internal medium of exchange...
Patrick, one of our guest writers and a overall a deep thinker in the space, has published a framework for an implementation of his idea for Decentralized Autonomous Cooperatives, in gaming.
Babafa is an unstoppable, self-sustaining onchain casino game with built-in economic incentive mechanics such that more engagement drives continuous value for the Commons and its participants. It even includes an implementation of Harbinger tax.
Have a read and provide feedback if you are interested in this stuff. You can find its authors on Twitter at @pjkershawnz and @lwsnbaker.
The MimbleWimble creator (or at least someone that goes by the same pseudonym) has dropped a new paper for a privacy protocol aimed to "obsfucate transaction amounts until the moment the coin is spent".
Mixed initial reactions from the community, but worth keeping an eye on it in case it really is the MW guy.
Novogratz and his old pals from GS have poured $15M in as part of BitGo $60M Series B round, as a strong sign to the institutional market that crypto custody is here and it's endorsed by big Wall st names.
The SEC has launched the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub), as a platform to encourage industry participants to engage with and seek inputs from the Commission around areas such as blockchain, fintech, AI etc.
This is clearly a very welcome endeavour and also a very smart one too by the Commission, allowing them to buy some more time and deal on a case by case basis, while raising amber/red flags against projects that decide not to engage.
A (personal) remark by a CFTC Commissioner sent cold shivers down the spine of many in the industry, while resurfacing the philosophical debate about code and law.
Specifically, the Commissioner expressed the view that it should be under the CFTC remit to prosecute smart contract developers for violative downstream uses of the code, using prediction markets as an example.
"the appropriate question is whether these code developers could reasonably foresee, at the time they created the code, that it would likely be used by U.S. persons in a manner violative of CFTC regulations."
Realizing how impractical it would be to actually enforce this in an open-source, global and often anonymous ecosystem, the Commissioner suggests developers should engage with the regulator early to ensure what they are coding falls within the right side of the regulatory fence. Which is obviously a great way to a) drive even more anonymity; b) stifle innovation and experimentation or c) force development to migrate to more friendly pastures.
As Ryan TBI Selkis eloquently pointed out this week, 'code is protected speech' is something worth fighting for as an industry.
PS: this is an excellent thread dissecting the news by Drew Hinkes, GC at Athena Blockchain.