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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #25

A few themes stand out this week: First, the battle between surveillance and privacy. Get used to thi
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #25
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #25 • View online
A few themes stand out this week:
First, the battle between surveillance and privacy. Get used to this as a theme, because it’s likely to be one of the defining conversations of the next decade. This week, we saw: a tremendous new Coin Center report on the importance of cash; a great threat about the difference between Bitcoiners and Keynesians that connects the dots around cash; and some interesting conversations around the just revealed Zcash vulnerability.
Second, the farther into the bear market we get, the more we’re taking the time to consider the macro context we’re operating in. See for example: this assertion that the pain of the correction is actually due to the disparity between how relevant crypto is as a counterweight to emerging discourse and how ready it is for prime time; and, the rising specter of MMT as the mortal enemy of the Bitcoin ideal. 
Third, it wouldn’t be crypto without some delicious controversy. This week was a little calm, with only a $190 million exchange-founder-death-lost-keys-or-maybe-he-just-faked-it thing and an it-turns-out-Brock-Pierce-owns-Mt.Gox-and-wants-to-bring-it-back-thing. So, you know. Chill. 
Lastly, just because everyone was talking about it, don’t sleep on Jack Dorsey taking on the Lightning torch, and all of the JD BTC convo that followed. When the leader of one of the largest and most important content networks in the world is talking positively about adding BTC-based tipping to said network….well, that’s not nothing
Thanks as always for reading, and happy long reads. -NLW 
Long Reads Sunday #33. Jack takes the Lightning torch. An exchange founder death strands $190m. A new plan to resuscitate Mt. Gox. Skirmishes in the ongoing battle between privacy and surveillance. Crypto finds a new moral enemy in MMT? Strap in, fam, it’s long reads time. 
2/ Bet you didn’t think you’d read about Mt. Gox here on LRS in 2019, eh? @BrockPierce announced a plan to bring the infamous exchange back. Not without controversy, of course, as witness by the comments in this thread.
3/ Speaking of Gox, @TuurDemeester did an interesting little exercise comparing BTC circulating supply to gold reserves. By analogy, the Mt. Gox Trustees currently control an amount of BTC bigger than the gold reserves of the Swiss Central Bank.
4/ Still, let’s be real. Even with some good ol’ fashion Goxian controversy, the most exciting thing on crypto…err Bitcoin Twitter this week was @jack accepting the Lightning torch #LNtrustchain
5/ For an awesome visual history of the Lightning Trust Chain - a global experiment showing off the power of the technology and the strength of the community initiated by @hodlonaut - check out this awesome video by @TiKawamoto
6/ To me, the event was more than just cool advocacy for Bitcoin. @jack isn’t just a public figure, he’s the head of one of the largest global content networks in the world. What might that mean? Well..
7/ If Gox & Lightning aren’t enough to spice up your week, how bout $190m of funds being locked up forever after the founder of Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX passed away? Boy oh boy is there a lot going on with this story. Start here:
8/ In the wake of the …fishy…news, @tayvano_ went HAM on the forensics, with her research convincing her that Quadriga didn’t, in fact, have cold wallets for ETH.
9/ My guess is we’ve barely begun to see the fallout of Quadriga. @propelforward wrote this timely paper about the legal ramifications of private keys while @iamjosephyoung flagged this more personal story of loss
10/ I’ve said before that I think the battle between privacy and surveillance is one of the most important battles of the coming generation. @coincenter released a phenomenal report this week arguing that cash - i.e. private transactions - are essential to an open and free society
11/ Interestingly, @TheStalwart also wrote about this exact point in this great thread breaking down the intellectual battle between Bitcoiners and Keynesians (and why they’re not as incompatible as one might assume)
12/ One of the projects at the heart of that battle for privacy is Zcash, who were themselves all over the discourse this week after revealing the successful addressing of a flaw that could have opened the crypto up to counterfeiting
13/ One discussion prompted by the Zcash vulnerability is whether privacy belongs only on Layer 2, being too unsafe for Layer 1. @derek_hsue looked at a different layer 1 privacy chain, @grinmw, through the lens of governance
14/ Governance continues to be one of the themes of this year. @Melt_Dem built on thoughts about governance from her recent #Aracon2019 presentation in this post/thread, arguing that, currently, on-chain governances are trending towards oligopoly
15/ Speaking of governance and Aragon, the company shared more about its forthcoming payroll tools, which allow employees to claim salary as frequently as every block. Particularly interesting in the context of this thread about crypto & payday lending
16/ Pay Day loans are far from the only part of the existing financial infrastructure that crypto could remake. If you’re looking for a good 101 primer on #DeFi, I recommend this recent piece by @tehoban1
17/ @avichal wrote about prospective crypto disruptions to traditional financial infrastructure not from a Wall Street perspective but from Silicon Valley, looking at seed capital, founder vesting, liquidity lockups and more
18/ Speaking of existing financial infrastructure, @DavidJN79 and @AriDavidPaul both wrote about the current state of institutional investors in the context of the “blockchain, not Bitcoin” mantra. Check out David’s essay then find Ari’s thread:
19/ For those interested in helping institutional investors wrap their head around investing in the new space, you could do a lot worse than all 10,000+ words of this overview on smart contract platform investing by @katyaandme on the @nomicsfinance blog
20/ I’m always glad to see a week with so much chatter about engaging with investors outside of crypto. This is going to get even more important as Modern Monetary Theory - which is basically diametrically opposed to Bitcoin’s philosophy on inflation - becomes more prominent
21/ If you’re just trying to catch up on and wrap your head around MMT, here are some resources: Twitter thread collecting overviews / The high level from @epsilontheory
22/ Speaking of the macro market context, I found this thread by @CMcgarraugh fascinating. The argument is in part that crypto is actually such a natural response to the macro times that the viciousness of this correction is in part about disappointment that it’s not ready for prime time.
23/ And speaking of the correction…as always, we’ve gotta ask…how close to the bottom are we? In this thread, @MustStopMurad looks at a slightly different type of indicator - tweets about Bitcoin - and finds himself just as gloomy as with price charts
24/ Still, if the market isn’t great, the march of building, discovery and learning continues unabated. @jbrukh checks in on what we’ve learned about crypto protocols and value capture since the Fat Protocols thesis from a couple years back
25/ On the theme of learning and improving, @twobitidiot takes the broad and growing critique of market cap as an indicator to the next level and suggests some tangible ways to improve it - specifically to improve how we measure token supply.
26/ @MessariCrypto also announced its second group of participants in the Messari Registry - a self-regulation initiative designed to make crypto more transparent and generally above board
27/ These sort of improvements are an essential part of the development of the industry, as is better regulation. On that front, check out @PatBerarducci’s recap of SEC Comissioner @HesterPeirce’s recent speech touching on crypto innovation.
28/ Finally, to the extent that the implications of crypto aren’t just about new investment opportunities but improving people’s lives, it’s worth keeping track of where that’s actually happening.
29/ To that end, check out @PeterMcCormack’s recent Venezuela update with @alegw @gianfiorella @cryptonomista and then check out this tremendous analysis of LocalBitcoins
30/ And that’s it for Long Reads Sunday #33! As always, let me know what else was great and what I missed. Subscribe to get LRS via email here:


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Nathaniel Whittemore

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