Wednesday marks the 10-year anniversary of Satoshi’s Bitcoin white paper. The movement it kicked off not only captured a feeling of betrayal
by our financial institutions, but actually offered an alternative.
A decade on, the crypto industry has matured in hugely significant and sometimes unexpected ways. This anniversary comes a few months after the cooling of the mass explosion of crypto ICOs and at what feels like the rumblings of a growing institutionalization. Coinbase/Circle’s USDC joined
the ranks this week of regulatory-compliant, fiat-pegged stablecoins; Binance announced
investment from the Singapore sovereign wealth fund and the drums of ETF
continue to beat.
For some, this has begged the question of whether mass institutionalization inevitably
means compromising the ideals and goals that Bitcoin was founded upon. The reality, of course, is that around the world, crypto means different things to different people. As research
this week suggests, it can represent a lifeline in turbulent Venezuela. In China, it is emblematic of an internal struggle between free market growth
and the surveillance state.
What’s clear is that the story of crypto is still being written. The threads and essays collected here are all parts of a narrative of which that none of us know the complete arc. Thanks for contemplating and thanks for being a part of the journey. Happy Long Reads.
ADMIN NOTE: Long Reads Live is going on a quick (2ish week) parental leave. We’re hunkered in Hudson Valley eagerly awaiting a (now overdue) bundle of joy, but look for brand new, Sleep Deprivation Editions in November. Check out the previous shows here: https://www.youtube.com/c/nathanielwhittemorecrypto
1/ Long Reads Sunday #18. It’s the 10 year anniversary of Satoshi’s white paper this week, so obviously the hottest thing in crypto are regulatory-compliant fiat-pegged stable coins. Wait, what? Slap some of those daddy warbucks down for a delicious PSL, it’s Long Reads time. 🎃
2/ First, warning: aggressive shill time. @APompliano and I recently got to chat about everything from what real security token experimentation could mean to the need for better crypto communications to aliens. Plus they made me this awesome graphic. Have a listen below. https://t.co/V3VSDvaIHv
3/ On to actually news now, Coinbase looked around and saw literally everyone else launching a stablecoin and thought “screw it, let’s do one too.” There’s is actually a collaboration with Circle and will come with the advantage of plugging into their massive user base. https://twitter.com/KyleSamani/status/1054785049009291265
5/ In the intro to his latest Proof of Work, @wheatpond riffs on USDC and comes to the conclusion that while USD-backed coins are a “great compliment” to real crypto, they are not, in fact the same thing. The questions of censorship and ability to freeze funds remain too great. http://proofofwork.news/
6/ As is clear from the poll below, there are a huge variety of opinions on what some are calling “fiat coins.” This is part and parcel of the battle to become new money and part of a larger question of the broader institutionalization happening across crypto.
7/ Speaking of institutionalization, the ETF hype train did its best to pull out of the station after a meeting between the SolidX/VanEck team (who have the most promising ETF proposal under consideration) and the SEC. @jchervinsky added some relevant context: https://twitter.com/jchervinsky/status/1054778737252843520
8/ From the “no bullshit big news” files meanwhile came the announcement that the Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund would be making an investment in Binance. This is interesting both in terms of the planned fiat-crypto exchange & service planned, as well as as a marker of state-level financial interest https://twitter.com/matt_odell/status/1054565895941603328
9/ But does all this institutionalization contradict the very point of crypto in the first place? That question is worth contemplate as we role towards the 10-year anniversary of Satoshi’s WP. Highly recommend @danheld’s 4-part opus on the founding. https://twitter.com/danheld/status/1056204023764676608
10/ Perhaps even more important than trying to parse out Satoshi’s intention is to understand the larger cultural context in which crypto is finding resonance. This is, as @avichal points out in this eloquent thread, a fundamental mistrust of institutions. https://twitter.com/avichal/status/1054873255226404864
18/ @obstropolos argued on @tokendaily in a similar vein that the word “decentralization” was a marketing distraction at best and that the more precise we are about the point of decentralization we’re trying to achieve - censorship resistance, accessibility, etc - the more likely we are to achieve it https://www.tokendaily.co/blog/the-death-of-decentralization
20/ @BMBernstein meanwhile explains how, even in a bear market, the dearth of talent leads to massive demand for a small handful of top projects, leading to excess capital, leading to ecosystem funds & other capital anomalies & warns of an inevitable early stage deleveraging. https://twitter.com/BMBernstein/status/1055917907295768578
24/ Speaking of Bitcoin, @woonomic shares a monster thread on the state of the markets using a number of different indicators including Sharpe Ratio, volatility compared to other assets, Mayer Multiple, NVT ratio and more. https://twitter.com/woonomic/status/1055738190953242624
25/ @TuurDemeester brought the Bitcoin perspective to a mainstream economic crowds at the George W. Bush presidential center, speaking on “Cryptocurrencies, AI and Disruptive Technologies” alongside forks like the current president of the Dallas Fed. https://twitter.com/TuurDemeester/status/1054509024543158273
26/ Crypto’s favorite essayist @tonysheng digs deep on how the price of BTC can actually stabilize, taking head on the idea that Bitcoin is a Keynesian Beauty Contest and exploring “Narrative Bubble Loops.” Slip a lil absinthe in the coffee for this one. https://www.tonysheng.com/keynesian-beauty-contest-bitcoin
28/ For those who want to focus a bit on the potential of what comes next, I highly recommend @ercwl’s live tweeting of his reading of the @elixxir_io technical brief. Elixxir has more buzz than many new projects based on it’s origin from true crypto OG David Chaum https://twitter.com/ercwl/status/1054969216636514305
30/ Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the big ideas chugging around Europe. Between the Web3 Foundation summit last week and upcoming DevCon, there is a LOT happening. @lrettig threads some from Web3 Fndn here: https://twitter.com/lrettig/status/1054288553063133184
31/ If these LRS threads feel like they move in and out of a million different thought streams, it’s because they do. @jon_choi_ called this the “crypto idea maze. Highly recommend taking some time to dig into his argument that money, finance and web crypto uses are related, but different. https://jonchoi.com/cryptoideamaze/
32/ And with that, we close! As always, tell me what you liked and what I missed. Find LRS wherever you are: