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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #34

One of the themes that stood out this week was power.  Power and authority in community decision maki
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #34
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #34 • View online
One of the themes that stood out this week was power. 
Indeed, after a year of prolific crypto blogging, Tony Sheng found that it was the question of power that dominated his writing more than any other. 
Of course, alongside all this great thoughtful high falutin’ power talk were some barn burners in the news. Notably, Morgan Creek Digital raised $40m that included investment from the first two pensions to invest in crypto. And then there was JPM Coin - JP Morgan’s “cryptocurrency” which some argue isn’t a crypto at all. 
Will it be good for the industry by legitimating it? Distracting by confusing the meaning of crypto or even creating more fodder for lobbying against open, permissionless networks? Or ultimately a big ol’ meh - just something that happens along the inexorable march toward wherever we’re headed? 
That and more below. Happy long reads! 
Long Reads Sunday #34. This week, some of the biggest news was around a project whose name references a god of blood and sacrifice. I’m referring, of course, to JP Morgan’s JPM Coin. That, plus ETHDenver, plus pensions getting off zero and more, it was a week!
2/ All joking aside, the real project I was mentioning above is Moloch, a new coordination DAO meant to help the Ethereum community better allocate resources to shared infrastructure projects. H/T to @neeraj for the joke I borrowed.
3/ To learn more about Moloch, check out this video one of the project’s builders @ameensol did with @twobitidiot of @messaricrypto at #ETHDenver. As regular readers of LRS will have noticed, Ameen is one of the most interesting thinkers in Ethereum and crypto so highly recommend
4/ ETHDenver has been massively more accessible thanks to @twobitidiot, whose 15 interviews in 32 hour include this gem with @zooko, who discusses at 2:28 why it’s problematic to him how difficult it is to explain how decisions in Ethereum get made
5/ Quick aside on governance. For those tracking this conversation, a few recommendations. First, @mrjasonchoi is in the midst of a series of great pods on the topic and second, highly recommend this podcast with @ali01 and @phildaian.
6/ Back in Denver, another area of focus for the Ethereum community is around DeFi (or Open Fi, or whatever you want to acronym it as). A big part of that story is $DAI. In this thread @max_bronstein writes DAI’s growth & use
7/ DAI wasn’t the big DeFi story in Denver though. That belonged to @DharmaProtocol, who unveiled a new financial product Lever with, among other things, massive improvements in the the user experience
8/ Increased focus on UX is one of the most positive indicators for crypto in 2019. One of the leaders in that regard is @MyCrypto CEO @ exemplified by this recent talk “Building Confidence, Not Dapps”
9/ Another majorly bullish signal for the industry came this week with the news that Morgan Creek Digital had not only closed $40m but that @MarkYusko @APompliano and @JWilliamsFstmed had gotten pensions to get off zero for the first time in crypto.
10/ Of course, arguably the most discussed news of the week came when JP Morgan - previously known for its CEO’s dismissive take on Bitcoin - announced “JPM Coin” a new private..cryptocurrency? Some aren’t sure that term actually applies
11/ To explore the JPM story more, I did a poll to gauge people’s sentiment and, after reviewing dozens of takes, put together a short video arguing the positive, negative and meh sides of the argument. Scroll down for thread if you prefer to video.
12/ @CoinCenter was actually all over the scene this week. Before the JP Morgan story hit, they published an essay by CFTC Commissioner @CFTCquintenz that was a follow up to their own concerns about his previous public statements on applying regulation to software creators
13/ On the regulatory front, Wyoming continued to lap the rest of the US in taking a forward looking approach to cryptoassets, with numerous bills passed, including, notably, direct property rights for digital assets.
14/ Now, of course, not every one is sure that Wyoming actually exists: However, as @propelforward points out, even if a hoax, the right-headiness of their digital assets definition could have legs elsewhere
15/ Not every regulator-related discussion was quite so rosy. Last week @CoinCenter published a report on the challenges of a world without cash, and this week @hasufl and @zhusu built on similar themes
16/ @AriDavidPaul took the conversation even farther, arguing that the rise of state-backed crypto fiat monetary regimes will be a massive battleground for human rights. The right to privacy and people’s love for convenience will be in direct opposition
17/ @nic__carter also looked at the relationship of governments and money around the world, with a particular look at what happens when citizens make de facto decisions about currency adoption.
18/ Speaking of global currency regimes, @adamscrabble wrote this excellent thread breaking down how China’s currency policy actually works with regard to international trade. Slightly orthogonal to crypto but really excellent information
19/ For tracking what’s going on with crypto around the world, @La__Cuen is an absolute must follow. Her latest is about the Iranian government collaborating with blockchain projects to modernize infrastructure
20/ Finally on the global front, in this thread, @lawmaster breaks down some of the latest numbers from LocalBitcoins in Venezuela, and compares them to other places experiencing high inflation, including Argentina, Iran and Turkey
21/ @crypto_voices does a regular update about the global monetary supply. Their latest research suggests that Bitcoin is currently the 18th largest currency in the world. This thread has so much good info to dive into, give it a look.
22/ On the Bitcoin front, @woonomic just published an awesome new chart featuring 10 different approaches to valuing Bitcoin, which of course paints a much more robust picture than market cap alone
23/ One of those Bitcoin valuation methods is a new concept from @kenoshaking called “Delta Cap” which shows the difference between Average Cap and Realized Cap, in so doing providing an indicator of market tops and bottoms.
24/ Also in Bitcoin, a new essay from @Truthcoin has stirred up some serious conversation about transaction fees and Bitcoin’s long term security. Feels like the discussion here is still just heating up
25/ Speaking of…ahh..somewhat contentious discussions, @mdudas got all the gums flapping with this hot take on Binance’s $BNB Read the whole thread, and check out some response threads like this one
26/ Much less contentious but no less interesting is @cburniske’s latest essay on middleware - specifically the defensibility of middleware in the face of new market entrants on competing smart contract platforms.
27/ And speaking of Placeholder, the firm just announced a collaboration with @coinfund_io around their Grassfed Network initiative for generalized mining and other participatory engagements in decentralized networks.
28/ After a year of blogging, @tonysheng looked back and found that the most common theme was the question of who has power. It’s not hard to see why, even taking this LRS as a sample. This is the fundamental question of our space.
29/ In their retrospective of the the #LNTrustChain, @CoinSharesCo reframed things in these terms of power, and the new power crypto offers to allow people to secede from systems they don’t agree with. 
30/ This hot-off-the-presses thread from @saifedean takes a different look at power, arguing that the power to make war is directly tied to the power to print money. Address one and you address the other.
31/ The question of new ways to organize power is also why I’m so fascinated with things like this thread from @mayazi about dissolvable organizations and dissolvable game studios.
32/ If you’re interested in games, and power (and toughness), and are planning on being in NY for Blockchain week, you should come play some Magic the Gathering and talk Magical Internet Money. Inspiration thread: More info:
33/ And that, my friends, is Long Reads Sunday #34. What else was great? What did I miss? Let me know below and if you’d like to get LRS via email, sign up here:


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Nathaniel Whittemore

Bitcoin & crypto's most interesting Twitter threads and long-form essays.

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