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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #49

It’s been a while we’ve seen a major crypto-powered product launch, but this weekend, Block One annou
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #49
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #49 • View online
It’s been a while we’ve seen a major crypto-powered product launch, but this weekend, Block One announced Voice, an EOS-based social network designed to address things like bots and data control and promising to reward users for the content they contribute. 
The announcement was greeted with skepticism, with folks pointing out that it felt a bit like Steemit 2, or questioning whether EOS was actually effectively more decentralized than Twitter. For me, the broader question is for the entire category of decentralized alternatives to existing social networks: do they offer a fundamentally different social experience that will make users want to shift behavior? 
Interestingly, that wasn’t the only social network at the center of the crypto news cycle. Kik kicked off the week by announcing “Defend Crypto” an effort to force the SEC to prove that tokens are securities (or be shown in court to not be able to). Then again, to some it seemed more of a bold faced attempt to weave a high minded narrative around what amounts to a crowdfunded legal defense fund.
In other regulatory news, we saw growing discussion around the Financial Action Task Force and the rising global surveillance network, as well as an announcement that the Binance desk would geoblock US citizens. 
Whatever happens the next bull run, one thing is clear: regulators are more aware than ever, and they will be part of the story. 
Happy long reads - NLW 

Long Reads Sunday 49. We’ve got funding DAOs. We’ve got large scale decentralized social networks with expensive URLs. We’ve got regulatory battles. And, because it’s all heating back up, we’ve got this frickin guy. Strap in kids, it’s long reads time:
2/ It’s been a minute since we had a big crypto-powered product launch to discuss, so let’s start with Voice - a new social media platform build on EOS and promising to offer more control of data, no bots, and rewards for content creation. @bradydale with the overview
3/ The announcement was met with some…skepticism, exemplified by @Shaughnessy119, who brought up the question of comparative centralization.
4/ The idea of decentralized alternatives to today’s social networks is such a prevalent meme in crypto I dug in with a thread on why I believe features, not ideology, have to be at the heart of any successful new network.
5/ There were a few other threads about related topics as well. @abbey_titcomb wrote about how networks can amplify human connection and @balajis wrote about looking for a candidate to disrupt with blockchain
6/ In a piece called “Twilight of the open tech era” @scottros chronicles the shift of tech companies from leveraging their openness as a moral high ground to an increasing closing off, potentially creating an opening for another pendulum swing in the form of a blockchain-based alternative
7/ Whether Voice (and btw, how bout that Block One money going to URLs, eh?) can make it or not, the issue that they’re trying to address with bots is a real one. Probably no one has done more thinking about this than @geoffgolberg
8/ While we’ll have to wait and see how the EOS Voice experiment proceeds, it was a different social network in Kik at the center of another big announcement this week: Defend Crypto
9/ There was honestly so much discussion about this announcement that I suggest you check out this @MessariCrypto board, curated by @WilsonWithiam at @ResearchCircle
10/ Long story short, Kik wants to force a legal confrontation with the SEC to get clarity on the status of tokens with the specific goal of proving that they’re not all securities. One prominent voice supporting the campaign is @FredWilson
12/ Crypto Twitter’s faithful legal core had diverse opinions amongst themselves. @iamsamkatz argues that even a victory doesn’t solve the bigger problem. @jchervinsky calls it “the most important storyline"
13/ Meanwhile, as this all was going on, the SEC was hosting a finch forum. @stephendpalley @propelforward and @nikhileshde were all their live tweeting it. This observation stood out to me.
14/ In other regulatory news, @MartyBent wrote about the Financial Action Test Force and why the international effort could effectively split Bitcoin into two distinct worlds: those who self-custody and those who are part of the new global surveillance regime.
15/ If you’re wondering if regulatory concerns are actually having an impact on the crypto space, look no further than the recent announcement from @Binance that it would begin geoblocking a set of 29 countries that includes the USA and other notables like Iraq, Syria and Venezuela.
16/ This is exactly the type of cyberbalkanization @jeffjohnroberts calls the Splinternet - a division of the global public internet into state-controlled pockets.
17/ Still, while the division of the world into state-dictated digital spheres is concerning, there is reason to be excited about the future as more and more people chose to work on Bitcoin and other crypto related projects
18/ One domain that is seeing the fruits of those efforts are DAOs. In this monster thread, @jessewldn from @a16z looks at the huge array of interesting governance and legal experiments with DAOs currently happening.
19/ Speaking of DAOs, @AragonProject has just released a new fundraising/token issuance tool, which @RyanSAdams argues fixes three key problems of ICOs
20/ Love it or hate it, the rapid iteration around things like tokenized fundraising seem to validate this great framing of the entire crypto space by @_alekslarsen
21/ At the same time, however, crypto does run the risk of overpromising. In the latest @arca essay, @davidJN79 implores us to avoid normalizing the expectation of returns like the 2017 ICO boom
22/ Still, there is a lot to be excited about. @AriDavidPaul runs completely counter to normal crypto Twitter with an entirely positive thread about BTC adding Schnorr/Taproot; the growth in non-custodial finance, and more
23/ Hey and speaking of exciting, let’s give a big welcome to @AdaptiveFund - a new effort focused on investing against on-chain metrics from @woonomic @muststopmurad @kenoshaking and @misir_mahmudov
24/ Those fine folks get to play around with a new set of metrics thanks to @Ikigai_fund, who just released a paper on “Bitcoin Days Destroyed” from new senior researcher @hansthered
25/ In addition to dropping new metrics, @travis_kling also dropped some serious insight on a recent @WhatBitcoinDid with @PeterMcCormick. “Quantitative Easing is UBI for rich people” is an early contender for line of the year.
26/ Alright team, just a few more and we’re out of here. 
27/ One of the interesting themes arising as the markets start to turn and new folks come in is the bifurcation between those who take advantage of the sovereignty inherent in crypto systems and those who want it abstracted away. @obstropolos explores
28/ Another crypto narrative that comes up over and over is about the importance of institutional investors to the next bull run. @noelleinmadrid argues that those institutions however are actually waiting to see what retail does
29/ Giving some love to the other curators: for the research minded out there, definitely check out @zkcapital’s weekly recap of all the research topics - including a new feature that reviews a “paper of the week.”
30/ I really liked this piece by @remyers_ of @gotenna about how mesh networks enable bitcoin usage around and beyond centralized ISPs
31/ Finally, one more podcast recommendation before we split. Fresh off discussing Bitcoin’s role as a tool for liberty at the Oslo Freedom Forum @_jillruth joins the crew at @epicenterbtc to chat about the Open Money Initiative
32/ And hey, one more for the lols
33/ Alright frens that’s a wrap! Another LRS in the books. Let me know what you liked and what I missed! Sign up to get LRS via email below.
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Nathaniel Whittemore

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