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It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Crypto

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Welcome to The Block. I’m Jeremiah Lewis, crypto-enthusiast and early adopter. This is a twice-weekly
 

The Block

March 26 · Issue #27 · View online
Weekly curated #cryptocurrency news and commentary.

Welcome to The Block. I’m Jeremiah Lewis, crypto-enthusiast and early adopter. This is a twice-weekly email digest comprising one or two short topical essays followed by a manageable collection of curated links.
If you know anyone who’d be interested in this kind of content, forward this email, or they can subscribe here. I love feedback, so don’t hesitate to email me.

Quote Fo' The Day
Financial Stability Board (FSB) Chairman Mark Carney on risk factors with crypto:
Even at their recent peak, [cryptocurrencies] combined global market value was less than 1% of global GDP. In comparison, just prior to the global financial crisis (in 2008), the notional value of credit default swaps was 100% of global GDP.
Preach.
Cryptocurrencies’ numerous properties have caused lawmakers to scratch their heads about how to categorize and regulate crypto. The SEC considers crypto to be a security, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) considers tokens to be a commodity, the IRS considers tokens to be property, and FinCEN evaluates tokens as currency.
This regulatory uncertainty, along with various other concerns (exchange hacks! smart contract vulnerabilities! massive selloffs!), has led to the ongoing bear market.
The problem is, none of them are wrong.
Cryptocurrency has three significant properties (at least), which makes it challenging to categorize:
It’s an Asset and/or a Security: think of ICOs, which, like IPOs, are investment vehicles for utility or security in a company or product.
It’s a Commodity: You can trade it just like precious metals.
It’s Property: It sometimes acts like a currency (i.e., you can transfer it to someone else far away in exchange for a service or goods) it is considered a property. It’s in the name!
How do we reconcile these apparent differences in the single entity of cryptocurrency, and how do we stabilize and recenter from the resulting confusion, ambiguity, and uncertainty that’s likely the primary cause of the market downturn?
Regulation, like it or not, is coming, but until these various agencies can come to a consensus on just how to treat cryptocurrency, the chaos is likely to continue unchecked. 
April 18th is inching closer, and with it, the question of crypto taxes. If you’re unlucky, you’ve lost money and can write off your capital losses. If you’re lucky, you made a ton of money and now owe the government on some of it.
And if you’re this Reddit user, it’s all coming as a big surprise! Don’t be like this Reddit user:
How to avoid a surprise tax bill from investments like bitcoin
Four Minutes
I discovered a neat little website that explains various whitepapers in 4 minutes or less. It’s called infourminut.es, appropriately enough. Since it’s been a while since I talked about Ethereum, I thought it might be a good re-introduction. So here’s their Ethereum whitepaper explainer. And you should check out their other crypto whitepapers while you’re at it. You’ll be an expert in no time.
Links of Note
A LIVING LEDGER
These cryptic artworks hide a Bitcoin fortune - all you have to do is decode them
What the Founding Fathers' Money Problems Can Teach Us About Bitcoin
New Survey Shows Around 26 Million Americans Own Cryptocurrency
Where Could Bitcoin Succeed as a Currency? In a Failed State
Bitcoin Bull Tom Lee Says Alt-Coin Bear Market Is Largely Over
This next bit is fun (ie, not fun) if you’re wondering if your Bitcoin purchases were anonymous. They weren’t, and likely aren’t, at least to the NSA. Enjoy the panopticon!
The NSA Worked to “Track Down” Bitcoin Users, Snowden Documents Reveal
Check out the redactions on those intercept docs:
Pages From OAKSTAR Weekly 2013-03-08
Wrap Up
That’s it for today. Thank you for reading! Did you find this newsletter useful and interesting and think someone else would enjoy it? Please forward it to them! Subscribe or read back-issues here. If there’s a topic you’d like me to write about, let me know.
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