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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #48

In the US, Memorial Day marks the official beginning of Summer, and in crypto, it certainly feels lik
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #48
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #38 • View online
In the US, Memorial Day marks the official beginning of Summer, and in crypto, it certainly feels like a seasonal change is upon us. 
For one, the drumbeat of the IEOs continues to rise. See this analysis about how they compare to traditional equity/debt issuances, or this observation around how the dynamics of BNB might impact whether people move into other coins. 
IEOs highlight the centrality of exchanges in the market. Unfortunately for those of us in the US, exchanges like Poloniex argue that the regulatory tea leaves aren’t looking good, with implications for the industry as a whole.
Speaking of IEOs, one of the more interesting narrative tensions that surround the markets at the moment is whether they will incentivize builders to go start their own chains (as happened during the ICO boom), or whether there is momentum in the other direction, with talent instead choosing to build farther up the stack on the most successful chains. 
Other big themes from LRS this week:
DeFi debates, Ethereum plans, unbundling, and improved building infrastructure 
And finally, a very different look at Bitcoin pizza guy
Happy long weekend long reads! - NLW

Long Reads Sunday #48. Welcome to a very special long weekend long reads. For readers in the USA celebrating Memorial Day, happy official beginning of summer. As this week’s LRS shows, the weather’s not the only thing that’s heating up. 
2/ Case in point: @nic__carter flagged this @circlepay blog post arguing that recent SEC guidance suggests a shift in tone making it dangerous for exchanges like Poloniex to operate in the US.
3/ In a follow up thread, @fredwilson argues that the stakes are a generational loss of the industry as talent and capital flee to Asia to avoid being bogged down by old rules designed for different types of assets.
4/ Exchanges and VCs and the shift in power from an old model to a new were also at the center of the conversation around Sequoia and @cz_binance, who took the firm back to court in order to make the results of their previous suit public.
5/ In his latest Crypto Trader Digest, @BitMEX head @CryptoHayes also ruminated on how traditional VCs just didn’t buy his vision for crypto derivatives trading. Oops.
6/ That wasn’t the only topic of the newsletter, however. @CryptoHayes also discussed the emergent phenomena of IEOs, arguing among other things that, while IEO exchange token holders don’t have rights, the exchanges that do best by their customers will win.
7/ As it gets clearer and clearer that IEOs are here to stay, we’re seeing more analysis pop up. Check out, for example, this monster thread from @arca’s @jdorman81, which shows how IEOs are and aren’t like tradition equity/debt offerings
8/ @zhusu points out that the particular dynamics around Binance IEOs might change the calculus of whether people “fomo [into] random alts]
9/ On the one hand, IEOs would theoretically incentivize people to start new chains - as we saw with ICOs. On the other, @CremeDeLaCrypto argues that building activity is starting to shift “up the stack” on leading protocols
10/ These sort of narrative tensions - builder energy moving up the stack on winning chains vs. being dispersed to new chains to lure IEO capital - was the subject of a talk I gave at @etherealsummit and threaded for Twitter.
11/ Another one of the narrative battles I discussed had to do with forks and whether we’d continue to see forks designed to remove the friction of native tokens. In his Proof of Work newsletter, @wheatpond discusses this in the context of Veil and Augur
12/ Still another one of the narrative battles from the talk was that around DeFi. In this thread, @panekkkk argues that the important underlying piece is transparency.
13/ Whatever your thoughts, it’s hard to deny that DeFi is one of the leading parts of the current Ethereum narrative and that, for all the contenders, Ethereum remains the default smart contract platform. See the Ethereum Foundation’s spring update
14/ At the same time, in his latest post, @KyleSamani argues that Ethereum is increasingly becoming unbundled, with interesting implications for the long term monetary premium of ETH.
15/ The counter point is, of course, that all these new chains that people are excited to experiment with have a long way to go to prove themselves. That’s the point made by @katyaandme in this response thread
16/ Indeed, in his reflections on the recent @ETHNewYork hackathon, @spencernoon notes just how much more developed the building infrastructure is for Ethereum than it was even a few short months ago
17/ Part of the reason there is so much emphasis on infrastructure across chains is the presumed impending entrance of larger institutional players to the crypto markets. @MattWalshInBos brings us inside the minds of corporates peering over at “blockchain”
18/ Speaking of inside the minds, financial advisor @TR401 kicked off a great conversation by sharing what a sample standard crypto portfolio might look like in a few years
19/ Of course, one natural portfolio shift might be from gold to Bitcoin as a form of digital gold. @ObiWanKenoBit argues in this thread that gold can “no longer act as an economic brake”
20/ Between IEOs, rising BTC prices, and better access to on ramps, it’s likely that the number of crypto holders is set to expand. Given that, this great piece by @Panama_TJ on security threats couldn’t come at a better time
21/ As @Melt_Dem points out though, the threat isn’t just malicious actors but overstepping regulators that compromise privacy. Everywhere one looks, the battle for privacy and sovereignty grows.
22/ Of course, despite regulatory concerns, it’s impossible to deny that those of us who are celebrating Memorial Day in the US have it good relative to many parts of the world. @MotamediMaziar writes how LocalBitcoins has been pushed out of Iran
23/ Meanwhile, the MIT Technology Review looks at @RipioApp and how Argentinians are exploring cryptocurrencies as a hedge against volatility and the deflating value of the peso
24/ Still, for as exciting as the potential of cryptoassets is around the world, we should be cautious of blithely pushing the developing-world-as-use-case for the sake of our adoption narratives, as @MiguelCuneta forcefully argues here
25/ Okay, everyone’s got some BBQing to do, so let’s wrap up with just a few more. 
26/ @BitwiseInvest follows up its March 2019 presentation to the SEC about fake exchange volume with new research examining 83 exchanges. This work has (finally) put the conversation about volume and wash trading front and center.
27/ One of the big themes at #NYBlockchainWeek was Layer 2. See for example this interview with Matic from @LilUziVertcoin and check out the panel I moderated featuring @skalelabs @Connextnetwork and more
28/ Speaking of big themes, the impending launch of ZuckBucks is undeniably one of the most talked about events in the space. The BBC reported that Facebook plans to launch ‘GlobalCoin’ in 2020 
29/ To get a flavor of what crypto folks think about Facebook coin (and other similar projects like JP Morgan coin, check out the discussion around this Tweet from @zooko
30/ You’re forgiven if you’ve heard the word “re-org” enough in the last few weeks to last a lifetime, but for those who want to learn more about what it actually means, check out this piece by @pyskell
31/ With election season upon us, you’re going to be hearing about Modern Monetary Theory a lot more. Check out this great piece on “Satoshi’s Rebuttal of MMT” by @jpurd17 for @MessariCrypto
32/ I always look forward to @crypto_voices quarterly looks at the global monetary base. @TraceMayer captures why these analyses are so interesting
33/ For whatever reason, this week saw even more infighting than usual - which is frustrating in that it crowds out space for discussion about, you know, real things that matter. One breath of fresh air in that was this piece by @imacallyouJawdy
34/ I also love “premise threads” like this one from @real_vijay about unpopular opinions about Bitcoin or this one from @matt_odell about the best starting resources for new entrants
35/ This week was the 9 year anniversary of Laszlo Hanyecz spending 10,000 BTC on a pizza, and I loved that @AsILayHodling @bitcoinmagazine gave him his due as a miner, not just a meme
37/ Phew and there we have it! Your long weekend long reads, complete. As always, let me know what you loved and what I forgot. Sign up to get LRS via email, and keep your eyes peeled for something very special tomorrow!

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Nathaniel Whittemore

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