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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #29

There is a feeling, out there in the strange El Niño winter, of waiting and anticipation. It's as tho
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #29
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #29 • View online
There is a feeling, out there in the strange El Niño winter, of waiting and anticipation. It’s as though the new year hasn’t begun yet - hasn’t even decided, in fact, what comes next.
The first evidence of this comes from the 51% attack on Ethereum Classic, which produced a barrage of analysis about the security of smaller chains and the idea of these attacks as a Darwinian evolutionary mechanism, and which ultimately turned out to be the work - at least in part - of a whitehat hacker who returned the money.
The next bit of this feeling comes from the fact that, after months and months of being little more than a punchline, people are talking about Tron. Sure, it’s to talk about what rubbish it is and why a BitTorrent token won’t work, but still, there the project is on our collective radar, with full coffers and ambition to spare.
Ethereum is mired in debate on the one hand, but financing its own future on the other. Bitcoin plods continually along, both silent and deafening at the same time, not caring particularly what the rest of the industry thinks as it moves. And then there is mischievous Grin, smiling in glorious anticipation of a mainnet launch this week.
Of course, while the blockchains build, the world heaves. The hearts of the #GiletsJuanes are filled with fire as they call for a bank run in France. Indeed, in some ways, the story of crypto’s next few years seems like a question of where the rubber of the disruptive potential of global, censorship resistance, non-sovereign money meets the road.
Whatever happens, I can promise I’ll tell you the story the best as I see it every Sunday. Happy long reads.
1/ Long Reads Sunday #29. 51% attacks! Yellow Vest bank runs! Ethereum ASIC debates! Privacy coin launches! Bitcoin at 10. And…Tron? Really? Saddle up fam, it’s long reads time!
2/ The week really kicked off a bang with news that Ethereum Classic was in the midst of a 51% attack, bringing a game theoretical scenario to life in a major way. @hoseeb explains a) what a 51% attack means; b) why exchanges are targeted
3/ Building on a conversation with a group of miners, @DoveyWan reframed 51% attacks as an evolutionary feature that ensures only the fittest proof of work chains survive.
4/ As if to validate the point that 51% attacks are an evolutionary mechanism, it later came to light that the attacker was a whitehat hacker who actually returned $100k to the exchange they targeted. Fascinating.
5/ Over in the other Ethereum chain, much of the convo this week was about the ProgPoW proposal for ASIC resistance, which had consensus among core devs but disagreement in the community. @TheBlock__ @teo_leibowitz with the summary
6/ Speaking of ASIC resistance, Grin, one of the buzziest projects in the space, is set to launch Mainnet on the 15th. Learn about the MimbleWimble protocol grin is based on with this huge overview by @arjunblj
7/ To get even deeper into Grin’s monetary policy, I highly recommend this piece by @CryptoProfG - part of a 4 part series. Important, considering iinterest in Grin and Beam - the other live implementation of MW
8/ Here’s something unexpected. People are talking about Tron this week. No really, that’s not a joke. @breakermag @davidzmorris wrote why one frmr exec thinks the recently announced BitTorrent token won’t work
9/ A few more related Tron threads. 7 Reasons why Tron is a disaster: A Tron/BitTorrent overview and finally, a broadening of the context to what the purpose of decentralization really is
10/ But enough about Tron. Why would we pay attention to them when we could be getting in on the ground floor of Pablo Escobar’s crypto which is promising to impeach Trump?
11/ Okay for real though, back to actually news. Wyoming continues to set the standard for Blockchain regulations, with a new regulatory Sandbox bill passing and Cardano announcing a move to the state.
12/ There is rampant speculation that Bitmain’s Jihan and Zhan are both to step down. @DoveyWan (who basically did this week’s LRS for me) reported this in December and it has now made it to larger Chinese news outlets
13/ Another interesting piece of news comes from the #GilesJuanes Yellow Vests protests in France, where there has been buzz all week about a planned bank run. For original info, translate this article:
14/ It’s powerful that just 10 years after the first block was mined, Bitcoin has become part of a powerful cry for financial and political liberty and sovereignty around the world. @Coindesk commemorated Bitcoin at 10 this week:
15/ Perhaps because of the 10th anniversary, there was a lot of great Bitcoin content this week. Example: this piece by @yassineARK and @misir_mahmudov on whether crypto will be a winner take all market
16/ Emerging Bitcoin content star @bquittem wrote about the surprising benefits of the in-fighting within the bitcoin community, arguing that they effectively represent trial by fire for new ideas.
17/ The St. Louis Fed wrote another interesting piece about the prospects of Bitcoin as an investment while @Delphi_Digital explored possible price bottoms based on UTXO ages across cycles.
18/ @nic_carter is back with the latest FUD dice while @surja795 writes a great piece about the much better FUD conversations to be having
19/ An interesting point counter point on energy consumption in Bitcoin mining. @fiege_max writes a rebuttal to the idea of renewables as clean energy while researcher @HassMcCook shares his sustainability models 
20/ For an expansive view on the entirety of the crypto markets and their implications for the broader financial system, check out this tome by @PanteraCapital’s @joeykrug - already stirring much debate
21/ @cburniske wrote this interesting little thread about programmable value and why he believes that, while crypto-money will likely be the largest space for value capture, there will be many other types of programmable value as well
22/ Writing in @wired, @cdixon reiterates the core thesis he has been articulating since his piece “Why Decentralization Matters” - that cryptos provide a new force challenging the control of massive closed technology platforms
23/ @js_horne wrote this super interesting thread speculating about whether 2019 might be the year of personal tokens - a possible force inverting different types of debt and capitalization. Paging @eriktorenberg re: personal investments
24/ Last week, we looked at a debate thread about Ethereum Foundation grants arguing in part for $5m+ financings. Welp, @ParityTech was just announced as the recipient of a $5m grant! Congrats to their team & excited to see what they build
25/ If you’ve been reading LRS for a while, you know I keep pretty close track of Bitcoin/crypto in emerging/unstable markets. I enjoyed this interview with @AlegW around Venezuela and forthcoming @makeopenmoney
26/ Speaking of @AbraGlobal, check out this cool collaboration they did with @Unbankd_co telling the Bitcoin story in a highly visual way
27/ For my enterprise folks, check out this piece by @ImranKhan for @TokenDaily about what ledger databases could actually do for big business - outside and beyond the easy “blockchain” hype
28/ Multicoin sparked some cool conversations this week. First, @KyleSamani a look at what markets are actually better decentralized while @TusharJain_ asked how blockchains die?
29/ Two interesting things from the blockchain-games world. 1) A new @tonysheng essay about in-game economies and fun and 2) a collaborations between @GodsUnchained x @CryptoKitties
30/ Finally, it was the 10th anniversary of @halfin’s “Running bitcoin” tweet. This commemorative piece by @cryptograffiti is absolute art.
31/ And that’s it for LRS29! What did you like? What did I miss? As always, you can subscribe via email at and stay tuned here for more news on the return of Long Reads Live!  


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Nathaniel Whittemore

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