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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #37

Some weeks are so jam packed with news it crowds out all the analysis, but this week is the opposite:
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #37
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #37 • View online
Some weeks are so jam packed with news it crowds out all the analysis, but this week is the opposite: more research, insights and interesting debates than you can shake a stick at. 
On the research side, some of the highlights include Electric Capital’s deep dive on crypto developers that finds that the number of devs working on public coins has doubled over the last two years; Delphi Digital’s latest missive, this time focused on Ethereum; Circle Research’s latest goes deep on Mimble Wimble; BitMex Research puts the spotlight on the history of Ripple; and independents Hasu and Su Zhu add the fourth installment of their “Bitcoin for skeptics” series, focused this time on how to think about value. Finally, congrats to Token Daily for launching their own research arm in collaboration with many of the fine folks from ZK Capital. 
Beyond actually research, there was some additional interesting content around Bitcoin. The Human Rights Foundation launched a new publication, kicking off with this killer intro to Bitcoin privacy. The Block mapped out all the companies building around the Lightning Network. CoinShares Ryan Radloff argued that for many people, Bitcoin will actually represent an evolution of personal finance. And this weekend, the annual #MITBitcoinExpo streamed more content than you can shake a stick at. 
On the news front, Fidelity Digital Assets opened up about its first clients; while Zuckerberg penned a memo on privacy that many in crypto aren’t buying. Could the timing have had anything to do with Elizabeth Warren announcing a campaign pledge to go after tech companies as monopolies
On the regulatory front, more analysis from the latest laws in Wyoming; Argentina pledges to match investment on local companies participating in Binance Labs, and the financial head of the French National Assembly calls for banning anonymous cryptos. If that sort of call makes you nervous, check out the latest from CoinCenter around why it would be unconstitutional to push software devs to enable spying on users of anonymous currencies or DEXes. 
Finally, it was International Women’s Day on Friday. Coinbase wrote a great report around women and crypto around the world, and I did a long #FollowFriday of some of the amazing minds who make my job at LRS easy. Check it out and give ‘em a follow. 
Happy Long Reads
Long Reads Sunday #37. Some weeks, LRS is just chock full o’ news. This week, however, the crypto community came hard with the research, analysis, and debate so thoughtful you’ll wish the bear market never ends. You’re going to need to carve out some *serious* time for this.
2/ On the topic of the bear market, one of the commonly held sensibilities of the past year is that while users might not be flocking to crypto, developers are. @cburniske argues here that it’s because “can’t be evil” matters more to them.
3/ Turns out, this sensibility about devs is correct. According to some amazing new research from @ElectricCapital, the number of devs working on public coins has doubled in 2 years - more than 4k devs contribute code to 2.8k projects.
4/ There are a ton of interesting takeaways in the Dev Report, but one is that the Bitcoin and Ethereum dev communities continue to be in top health. In a fun provocative tweet, @twobitidiot argued that those are the only protocols to reach maturity, but MKR, BNB, LTC are the closest
5/ Speaking of Maker has undeniably been one of the breakout crypto protocols of the last year. In fact, it’s grown so much that it’s starting to get the sort of scrutiny that only happens when a project matures. Case in point, this super thoughtful Reddit post & thread from @CremeDeLaCrypto
6/ I believe strongly that this sort of open dialogue is essential for protocols. The conversations about Maker and DeFi are part of what I’m observing as a larger reflective period for Ethereum about its governance, competition, and purpose. See:
7/ Ethereum also got the @Delphi_Digital treatment this week, with this massive research deep dive that cuts across economics, security, roadmap, scaling and vision. This sort of analysis is such an important compliment to the debates that happen in the court of public opinion (i.e. Crypto Twitter)
8/ Luckily for us, the state of crypto research is getting nothing but better. This week, @TokenDaily joined the fray announcing a new research wing featuring the contributions of @raulitojordan @MohamedFFouda @lmrankhan @drmelseidy
9/ Since we’re on the topic of great research, a couple more to highlight. First, @ResearchCircle has been consistently putting out good stuff, including a recent report on Venezuela and their latest on everything Mimble Wimble.
10/..and of course, there is @BitMEXResearch. Their latest is an extensive history of Ripple, plumbed from a huge array of sources and highlighted here by @nic__carter.
11/ On the independent research side, @hasufl and @zhusu have been pumping out great content on their Uncommon Core blog. Their latest is part 4 of their “skeptics” series on Bitcoin, this time focused on ways to consider the value of Bitcoin.
12/ There was, in fact, a bunch of really interesting content on Bitcoin this week. This piece by @CoinSharesCo @RyanRadloff argues that “For technologists and historians, [Bitcoin] may well be a revolution; but for everyone else — it’s an evolution in personal finance.”
13/ Coming at ya with a different format, @iam_preethi and @hosseeb live-streamed a debate about whether Bitcoin would ever be more than a store of value. Love the experimentation with the live format.
14/ For those interested in Bitcoin and privacy, @ercwl comin’ at ya with this MASSIVE overview. Made even cooler by the fact that it’s the first article of a new dedicated @medium publication from @HRF. For those keeping track of the math, privacy = a human right.
15/ For those whose Bitcoin interest is more Lightning-y, I have to call out another great market map from @TheBlock__ - this time focused on quickly developing ecosystem of Lightning wallets, hardware, payments and more
16/ One more spot I’ll be watching for more killer Bitcoin content. This weekend marked the annual #MITBitcoinExpo, which has just an insane lineup and is live-streaming everything. Livestream link & Schedule here: or just peep this bomb sentiment:
17/ Okay, going back to the news for just a minute, the most exciting Bitcoin news of the week had to be that one of the most anticipated and important projects in the space, @DigitalAssets is live with a first cohort of clients.
18/ In this interview with @TheBlock__ @fintechfrank, @DigitalAssets head Tom Jessop gives more color on the company’s first five clients and its plans for a slow and steady rollout. Custodianship continues to be one of the most important parts of the ecosystem still in development.
19/ Speaking of news, Elizabeth Warren made news this week when she called for a breakup of companies like Amazon and Facebook. In many ways, it feels like an inevitable conclusion both to concerns about data practices as well as a rising populist tide, although not every 2020 Dem candidate agrees
20/ The announcement was preceded a few days earlier by a new memo from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the company’s privacy plans. The crypto community, who sort of have strong opinions on this privacy thing, weren’t buying. + +
21/ Still, others argued that the Facebook’s rising public stance around privacy and private communications and its depend engagement with blockchain is not just coincidental timing.
22/ Long story short, what mass-scale social platforms like Facebook decide ultimately to do with crypto will have impact on the space akin to what governments decide to do. We live in a world where these are global, supra-national entities. It’s likely to get weirder before it gets clearer
23/ Speaking of governments, while everyone else is yutzin around, Wyoming continues to plow on. In the latest dispatch from the regulatory frontiers, @CaitlinLong_ shares an analysis/guide to the states new commercial law around blockchain
24/ And speaking of crypto *friendly* governments, news from Argentina this week that the government there would be matching investments in local participants in @Binance Labs incubator. Impossible to deny that company’s global hustle.
25/ In one happy update to a story last week (that has to do with governments, surveillance, and crypto), after significant internal and external pressure, Coinbase announced that they had let go the part of the team they had acquired with Neutrino who had previously been with Hacking Team.
26/ Looking globally, it feels likely to me like regulatory neutrality will be in shorter and shorter supply, with states & nations lining up either on the “crypto is an opportunity” side or “crypto must be stopped.” Taking the later approach, see the French Nat’l Assembly’s Finance Head
27/ On the topic of anonymous monies, @CoinCenter has been en Fuego of late. Their latest is this essay arguing that pushing software developers to spy on users of anonymous digital currencies or decentralized exchanges would be unconstitutional
28/ The opportunities that crypto enables for marginalized groups to operate outside of the constraints of wherever they happen to be from continues to be one of the most motivating reasons for participation in this space. @soonaorlater flags a @coinbase report on Women & Crypto released during International Women’s Day
29/ Finally, speaking of #InternationalWomensDay, I did my favorite #FollowFriday ever about just a few of the folks who I turn to every week for the content that becomes LRS. Give it a look and give everyone a follow - you will not be disappointed.
30/ And there we have it, your LRS37! As always, I want to know what I missed and what content you love. If you’d like to get LRS via email, you can sign up at this link. Happy Long Reads Sunday!


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Nathaniel Whittemore

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