This week saw the latest rumbles of the thunderous whisper of crypto institutionalization. Big enterprises and endowments are coming to the industry not with a symbol crash like last year’s ICO boom, but with the slow, steady beat of a drum.
Over the past 7 days, Goldman Sachs and Galaxy announced
in BitGo, and in what some called the biggest news
the news of the year, Fidelity announced it would launch Fidelity Digital Assets in 2019, even referencing
the cypherpunk roots of the movement in its Medium launch series.
And then, there was Tether. Many folks
spent a good part of this week trying to understand what the loss of the peg last week meant, as well as to understand the implications of the some $600m of USDT
that has been retired.
If that wasn’t enough to keep us occupied, Monero became bulletproof
; the trade war
came home to American mining; a new indicator called Bitcoin Network Momentum
was proposed; and some madmen proposed
a decentralized autonomous game experimenting furiously with the unique properties of digital native assets and communities. Happy Long Reads.
Tune In Mondays at 7pm EST for Long Reads Live
1/ Long Reads Sunday 17. I don’t if it was excitement around the big institutional announcements, the battle for interpretation around stablecoin instability, or something else, but crypto brains popped off this week. Cancel your plans, it’s long reads time.
3/ It’s only one small detail, but it’s telling that on the day of the announcement, the new Fidelity group published a medium post surveying the pre-Bitcoin history of digital cash. Although we should expect it, contextual awareness of crypto history is novel for a big firm https://twitter.com/nic__carter/status/1051884180920041473
5/ Following these two major custody announcements, @brucefenton dug in with this 10 minute video conversation about the topic, including how institutional custody and “not your keys, not your coins” co-exist. Key point: many holders do not *want* to control their keys. https://twitter.com/novogratz/status/1052906076142632962
6/ For a little more in-depth analysis of the Wall St-Crypto relationship that goes beyond these banner headlines, there’s no one like @caitlinglong_ This thread focuses on, among other things, the emergent choice of self-custody or holding with a broker/dealer https://twitter.com/CaitlinLong_/status/1052178551930261504
7/ The other big conversation that kicked off the week was Tether. After a couple weeks of heightened FUD, USDT started losing its peg last weekend, leading to a whole bunch of chaotic price action and speculation. I tried to sum it up on Monday AM https://twitter.com/nlw/status/1051816709328437248
8/ A couple days later, the USDT price had started to stabilize, but the questions of what the movement means for crypto remained. @CarpeNoctom TL;DR’d that on the one hand, stablecoin comp is good for consumers, but on the other, USDT remains a single point of failure https://twitter.com/CarpeNoctom/status/1052674720502558721
10/ A few weeks ago, @Travis_Kling predicted “weaponized FUD” as those with interests in other competing stablecoins (or simply those who profit from volatility) could exploit USDT worries for their own gain. @CryptoMacro points out that that is exactly what happened https://twitter.com/Crypto_Macro/status/1053688089221054464
11/ For those who want a deeper dive conversation on Fidelity, Tether FUD & more, check out last week’s Long Reads Live, featuring @Obstropolos @crypto_bobby @amandapfrankel @lawmaster @fintechfrank https://youtu.be/pTJMULo7aJs?t=3119
12/ Another theme this past week was the global macro context of crypto, specifically China. @Melt_Dem highlights the simmering conversation about RMB as a global reserve currency & what a central bank crypto from China would mean. https://twitter.com/Melt_Dem/status/1052175920335851520
13/ What would (will?) happen when Facebook launches a cryptocurrency of its own? @real_vijay explores that notion in this thread. Honestly, the scale of FB makes this conversation best suited to sit next to the idea of a central bank issued crypto https://twitter.com/real_vijay/status/1052401634028871681
23/ Speaking of economics, @cburniske highlighted research from @sebastianhrw on value accrual and the Fat Protocols thesis. The thread and related post have a ton of insight about the landscape, even if it remains hard to draw strong conclusions https://twitter.com/cburniske/status/1052201578256580608
26/ At least all the fund managers who drove STOs and ICOs and other 3-letter acronyms are doing fine right? Maybe not. In this thread, Pomp argues that many funds are likely to be victims of their own success and unable to reach previous returns, shut down https://twitter.com/apompliano/status/1053286967402811394
30/ The point is not just that things are interesting, but that they’re evolving in ways too numerous to possibly track - even with a 30-deep thread. And with that, we close for the week. As always, let me know what was great and what I missed. Thanks for reading.