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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #16

In what may come as a shock to those crypto folks who have spent any time on Twitter of late, more ha
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #16
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #16 • View online
In what may come as a shock to those crypto folks who have spent any time on Twitter of late, more happened this week than a Senate hearing featuring a person who has made their career on the currency of critique, foaming-at-the-mouth theatrics and all.
In point of fact, many things happened which were much more telling to the current state of affairs. San Francisco Blockchain Week, for example, brought with it dozens of interesting new hackathon projects, and more presentations than you can shake an NYU professorship at. Coinbase was in the news twice, once for a new ZRX listing and once for ditching its institutional investor-aimed investor index. The Liquid Bitcoin sidechain went live; Bitfinex (and Tether) continued to be surrounded in intrigue; Blockstack announced new steps on its path to decentralization while Cardano’s decentralization woes were very public. 
And on top of this, there was a spate of incredible thinking a good deal more interesting than anything you’d find on CSPAN: “Futility Tokens;” the real impact of Bitcoin whales on the market; the difference between value creation and value capture
With all of this to read, who has time for debates? Happy Long Reads
ANNOUNCEMENT: A very special Long Reads Live #3 is tomorrow night at 7pm EST, co-hosted by the one-and-only Rocco live from The Block in NYC!
ANNOUNCEMENT DEUX: For those of you who want Long Reads Live in Podcast form, the first two episodes are available here (and coming to iTunes, Spotify, etc soon)
1/ Long Reads Sunday 16. It was, unexpectedly, a week of crypto unity; a full throated affirmation of our shared future over our contentious present. Or, a reminder that we are nearly preternaturally incapable of *not* rising to the bait of trolls. Strap in, it’s long reads time!
2/ For the 2 of you who don’t know what I’m referring to, it was the live US Senate Banking Committee hearing that got everyone’s type-tongues wagging. Twitter’s reigning legal thread champion @jchervinsky was there to capture it all
3/Some noticed that the presenter brought in to represent the “anti”-Crypto stance seemed just a *tad* angrier than might behoove a congressional witness. @buchmanster also live tweeted: & @alansilbert dissected the prepared statement
4/ From the pro-crypto side, @coincenter’s @valkenburgh brought a thoughtful take — without the theatrics that go with coming from the long, ignominious line professional doomsayers. @Panama_TJ put together a great thread of the video highlights.
5/ One the one hand, crypto shouldn’t ignore meaningful critique. On the other, we would do well to remember that trolling only becomes legitimate political opinion when we treat it as worthy of debate. That said, response of the week goes to @acityinohio
6/ If all this congressional hearing got you all riled up for some regulatory exploration, @katherineykwu has your back. This edition of @messaricypto’s Unqualified Opinions goes deep on accredited investor standards & more
7/ Now back to interesting things actually being built rather than talked about. One big piece of news this week was the launch of Liquid - a Bitcoin sidechain promising, among other things, faster transactions. @matt_odell on the summary
8/ @lucasNuzzi made the interesting argument that the more interesting part than the benefits for businesses, exchanges etc was the way Liquid can enable testing of new Bitcoin tech like privacy in, as he puts it, “a financially incentivized network”
9/ The Liquid launch hasn’t been without some skepticism, of course. To get the response direct from the source, check out this FUD review thread by @excellion, CSO @blockstream
10/ Another interesting tidbit this week came when @fintechfrank @TheBlock__ broke the news that Coinbase would be shutting down its index fund aimed at institutional investors - a product that many felt never really made sense for its intended audience
11/ Coinbase wasn’t done though, with Coinbase Pro announcing that it would be listing ZRX, the native token of the 0x decentralized exchange protocol ecosystem.
12/ For those who want to go a level deeper, 0x is one of the best places to see the debate about the relationship between value creation and value capture play out, with one perspective being that the protocol is amazing, but the token unnecessary.
13/ @devonzuegel also kicked off an amazing thread about exactly this contrast between the differential between open source value creation with a relative lack of financial support
14/ Speaking of listings, one emerging narrative is exchange de-listing. To some, it’s the final phase in the inevitable death of overhyped ICO tokens from 2017. To others, its simply a sign of the industry making itself healthy. @ILOVECRYPT0 explores
15/ With regard to the fate of tokens, @Obstropolos dives deep on four examples of how “utility” tokens are changing their fundamental structures. This feels like a good way to see what future tokenization experiments might hold.
16/ Another narrative that’s been surging are questions around Tether - most recently triggered by questions around Noble Bank & issues with the related Bitfinex. @TheBlock__ & @lawmaster on it again: + 
17/ A couple more interesting sources on Bitfinex and Tether: +@OguzSerdar explained “trans-mining” in the context of USDT +@IamNomad dug into reddit even before fiat suspension happened:
18/ Of course, not everything was bearish this week. As a fund manager @kyleSamani is frequently asked how big the crypto market can really get. His new post provides some compelling thinking about why its bigger than you might think
19/ Kyle and Multicoin also *have* to win the award for comprehensiveness when it comes to summing up SF Blockchain Week. @RyanTheGentry summarized highlight panels & Kyle profiles dozens of hackathon projects
20/ Another interesting thread from SFBW came from @_jillruth who explored what “security token” actually means. This is one of the more loaded terms in crypto at the moment, and inevitably one of the most important headed into 2019.
21/ One more interesting idea from SFBW from @jon_choi_ who participated in the #RadicalMarkets event is this notion of “participant ownership” that is an emergent feature of networks - whether or not it is actualized through blockchains
22/ Speaking of interesting - and contrary ideas - this analysis of Bitcoin whales by the @chainalysis team suggests that the largest BTC holders are actually a stabilizing, rather than destabilizing, force for the market.
23/ Another subtle but important idea is @cburniske pointing out how, while crypto-USD prices may feel static, comparing cryptoasset charts to BTC (and ETH, if on the Ethereum blockchain) shows movement in relative value accrual
24/ In the “new product launch” category, people have been *extremely* stoked for the @gotenna @samouraiWallet enabled TxTenna mesh networking for BTC transactions. @yassineARK writes a monster thread explaining the excitement.
25/ Another “new” this week is new mini-cast “What Grinds My Gears” with @_jillruth and @melt_dem - who skeptics-eye their way through all the crypto news in just 10 minutes. Keep an eye on this one.
26/ Some interesting activity in the project leadership space. First, @blockstack posted their “Path To Decentralization,” a plan for how the ecosystem can grow without centralized power, including splitting up (sorta) dreamteam @ryaneshea & @muneeb
27/ Of course, decentralized project management is hard. Just look at Cardano, whose leadership have resorted to open letters and self-organized community movements to try to get the Cardano Foundation to, you know, do their job.
28/ Paradigm shifting is also the theme of this essay by @pierre_rochard, a response to an A16Z blog post that argued that crypto investing is more or less like regular ol’ VC and you should just work with the same GPs you did before (head guy)
29/ From the crazy macro files, you might want to add a little vodka to your coffee as you dive into this look at Ukraine: “Bitcoin and Guns, That’s The Only Way To Save This Country”
30/ And finally, for a little dose of the positive, @oleganza argues that we’ve entered a new Renaissance Era for cryptography. (H/t @zooko on this one)
31/ Alright, that’s that! What else was good? What did we miss? As always, you can get LRS: +archive: +email: +Long Reads Live Mondays at 7pm EST +LRL podcast version:


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Nathaniel Whittemore

Bitcoin & crypto's most interesting Twitter threads and long-form essays.

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