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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #28

Welcome to the first Long Reads of 2019. As you might expect, this one is full of reflections of the
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #28
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #28 • View online
Welcome to the first Long Reads of 2019. As you might expect, this one is full of reflections of the year that just finished and prediction about what’s to come. Summarizing:
Reflections & Predictions: Arjun Balaji’s 63 crypto thesis pretty well took over the conversation this week. Ryan Selkis & Nic Carter both recapped their predictions from last year. Coindesk invited a ton of good people to write about reflections - from rebuilding from crisis to blockchain as defense against AI overlords. Mike Karnjanaprakorn and Fred Wilson both made a larger set of macro & tech predictions that included crypto. Finally, I think Farb Nivi’s look at why 2018 was the best year yet for “Liberty Crypto” is great.
Bitcoin at 10: 1/3/2019 was the 10 year anniversary of the Bitcoin Genesis block. As you’d expect, there were some great reflections, including an eloquent thread from Vijay Boyapati, a personal piece from Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong, and this sick ad in The Times from BitMex.
Everything News: This week wasn’t just reflections, of course. We saw redemption issues with fiat-backed stablecoins; interesting conversations about the Ethereum foundation and open source funding and governance; premature excitement about Monero being accepted at the Fortnite merchandise store; and the challenges of quant crypto funds.
A Big Theme: Get used to conversations about censorship - both deplatforming and more concerning forms of global repression. Neeraj wrote about it in the context of new laws in Vietnam, while Dan Elitzer pointed out 0xChan, an “uncensorable social media.”
Happy Long Reads - NLW
**
1/ Long Reads Sunday #28 - First Of 2019 Edition! What fresh madness will the New Year bring? Is the herd coming? Is it the year of open finance? Will NFTs and games matter at all? Smash a coffee and a crumpet it’s long reads time! 
2/ Let’s kick things off with a recap of the recaps and predictions thread. Gotta give the first slot honors to @arjunblj, whose 63 crypto theses took over the conversation. I particularly love the convention of sharing confidence intervals. https://medium.com/@arjunblj/crypto-theses-for-2019-dd20cb7f9895
3/ Last year’s biggest prediction piece was @twobitidiot’s 95 crypto theses. Ryan published a recap scoring how he did, and also challenged @arjunblj to a duel for getting out ahead of him on this years predicts. They debate on a new live pod with @apompliano next week! https://messari.substack.com/p/scoring-my-95-theses-for-2018-unqualified
4/ Inimitable @nic__carter also recapped his predictions from the year before - focusing on a set of projects and protocols that he thought would be dead by now. There is a Arya Stark “what is dead may never die” reference in here somewhere.  https://medium.com/@nic__carter/fifteen-dead-cryptocurrency-predictions-twelve-months-on-d08e7b310ff1?sk=6bf533fe93ac84adf065ff122d77cde3
5/ Coindesk did a nice year in review series, curated by @pete_rizzo_ and @wmougayar and featuring an array of topics and writers from @DoveyWan on rebuilding after the crash to @santisiri no why blockchain is a defense against our AI overlords https://www.coindesk.com/category/2018-review
6/ It isn’t only about crypto, but @mikekarnj tech predictions threads was one of my favorites. Highlights for me include massive monetization of podcasts + new generation of entrepreneurs not being afraid to take on social network giants. https://twitter.com/mikekarnj/status/1080433621553631233
7/ @FredWilson’s annual predictions post included thoughts on crypto (next bullish phase starting in 2019, catalyzed by 2017 vintage projects and promises coming to fruition) and also speculated on the likelihood of global macro volatility https://avc.com/2019/01/what-is-going-to-happen-in-2019/
8/ Speaking of the larger world, one of my favorite recap threads was @farbood’s argument that 2018 was actually the best year yet for Liberty Crypto - the idea that crypto should be less about price and more about sovereignty. Must read. https://twitter.com/farbood/status/1080637248440160259?s=21
9/ One auspicious sign for what 2019 might mean to crypto is that on January 3rd, we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Bitcoin’s genesis block. @real_vijay tells the story with characteristic eloquence https://twitter.com/real_vijay/status/1080615974884134912
10/ When thinking about the historical significance of the Genesis block, one of the things to look at is what firsts it represented. @hugohanoi captured a set of those firsts https://twitter.com/hugohanoi/status/1081571741288132609?s=21
11/ @Coinbase’s @Brian_armstrong also wrote about the significance of the 10-year anniversary, remembering how reading the white paper set him on a journey that led him to found what has become one of the largest companies in the space https://twitter.com/brian_armstrong/status/1080909501190918144
12/ Finally, @BitMEXResearch came to play for the 10-year. First, they wrote this thoughtful piece asking “Would Bitcoin’s mass adoption fundamentally transform the financial system” https://blog.bitmex.com/thetimes/ Second..well..just look. https://twitter.com/BitMEXResearch/status/1080590401323450368
13/ Of course, this week was more than just reflections and predictions. For starters, BitTorrent, freshly purchased by Tron, is releasing a token. BitTronnet? https://twitter.com/Melt_Dem/status/1080824718981246976
14/ In the wondrous world of regulated stablecoins, @TheBlock__’s @lawmaster flagged a story about the challenges of redemption, which @MustStopMurad argued is yet another reason to focus on censorship resistance over stability. https://twitter.com/MustStopMurad/status/1079681084722417665
15/ @malloc8 kicked off a hell of a conversation about not only the Ethereum Foundation but asset distribution in the context of open source ecosystems more broadly. I’m interested to see if and how experiments like Moloch from @ameensol & others impact this https://twitter.com/malloc8/status/1080949156250759168
16/ One theme worth watching wrt ETH this year is the uptick in usage in the context Open Finance/Decentralized Finance. Is it possible that thanks to the need for ETH as collateral, demand will exceed supply? https://twitter.com/JohnTodaro1/status/1080930660691394561
17/ Ethereum continues to be ground zero for a huge amount of experimentation and learning around how to organize and govern productive communities outside of traditional business structures. @lrettig goes deep on the latest: https://medium.com/@lrettig/how-open-is-too-open-bfc412cf0d24
18/ The beginning of the year is creating context for many crypto protocol communities to evaluate where they stand. A good example is this @zcashco forum thread on the future of Zcash in the year 2020, contemplating things like changes to the miners reward, GPU-focused mining and more https://forum.zcashcommunity.com/t/the-future-of-zcash-in-the-year-2020/32372
19/ A theme throughout many of these conversations are the relationships between different categories of stakeholders within a crypto ecosystem. A new post from @jmonegro describes the dynamics of these relationships https://twitter.com/placeholdervc/status/1081608004250722304
20/ One moment that got many in crypto excited this week was when news broke that the Fortnite merchandise store would accept Monero. Could this be a catalyst for mainstream adoption. Unfortunately, it turned out to be less than it seemed. https://twitter.com/timsweeneyepic/status/1081708879472410625
21/ Still, while it may not be from Fortnite, I continue to be excited about the intersection of blockchains, cryptocurrencies, gaming and virtual worlds. @FEhrsam points out that the native characteristics of digital worlds creates opps for more rapid experimentation https://twitter.com/FEhrsam/status/1079428933773344768
22/ Back home in the real world, one of the themes for the year seems poised to be the friction between growing global social volatility and increasing government or platform led censorship. @NeerajKA takes a break from memes to get real about this: https://twitter.com/neerajka/status/1081419816454504450?s=21
23/ @mdudas flagged “deplatforming” as early candidate for most used & abused term of 2019 https://twitter.com/mdudas/status/1081713995411791872 so it’s no surprise to see experiments in uncensorable social media pop up. https://twitter.com/delitzer/status/1081449803643420672?s=21
24/ Questions of censorship resistance and the uncomfortable alliance between free speech advocates and the people whose opinions they don’t like but seek to protect are just some of the topics we covered in my chat with @amandapfrankel @Davidjn79 https://twitter.com/amandapfrankel/status/1080881199445430273
25/ Sorry to stay on the self-shill for a second tweet, but I have to call out @Astattine, who did this amazing summary. I would kill for every podcast to have a recap this tight. Huge value to the community. https://twitter.com/Astattine/status/1081535413997789184
26/ Phew, for a short work week, there was still hella content. A few more, then we’re out. For quant investor geeks, this piece by @AliBHamed and Ateet Ahluwalia on @TokenDaily is a gem https://www.tokendaily.co/blog/why-building-a-quant-fund-in-crypto-is-harder-than-people-think
27/ I liked this short thread from @udiWertheimer on why it seems unlikely to him that Facebook’s foray into crypto would include doing a native stablecoin. This runs counter to a lot of the speculation so far, but hey, that’s what Udi is for. https://twitter.com/udiWertheimer/status/1080490707792642048
28/ At any point in the market cycle, it’s worth looking at how price compares to fundamentals. @Crypto_Alex17, who also recently did a great curation of crypto valuation content, dives in on that here: https://blog.goodaudience.com/market-outlook-fundamentals-vs-price-23e803475d35
29/ Zooming out of crypto to the larger macro economic context for a moment is this thread from @JohnArnoldFndtn about deficits and the challenges of political will in addressing them. https://twitter.com/JohnArnoldFndtn/status/1080951524057145344
30/ Finally, a quick recommendation. If you’re not following @PeterMcCormack yet, it’s pretty clear his New Year’s Resolution was to kick the shitposting to 11. https://twitter.com/PeterMcCormack/status/1081497728935477249
31/ And there we are! Happy 2019, everyone. Looking forward to a year full of big changes and great long reads. Get LRS to your email here: https://www.getrevue.co/profile/nlw

 

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Nathaniel Whittemore

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