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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #53

The beginning of the week was all about trying to figure out what was driving the price of Bitcoin up
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #53
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #54 • View online
The beginning of the week was all about trying to figure out what was driving the price of Bitcoin up (and up…and up…). Some riffed on (and argued that it wasn’t exactly the case that) “there were more buyers than sellers.” Others pointed out that, whatever it was, it wasn’t a new burst of retail like previous surges. 
Of course, as is in the spirit of true Bitcoin volatility, things came back down nearly as quickly as they went up. To some, this was simply the natural result of the price moving up nearly 4x in just a few months. Others thought it had to do with the nature of scarce assets with fluctuating demand. 
Yet for all of these arguments, there was also quite a lot of discussion about whether there might be larger macro forces at work. Growing negative yield sovereign debt came up, as did Iranian Bitcoin mining, as did, of course, China
A week after Facebook’s Libra announcement, Asia’s response is a growing interest. One Chinese government newspaper, for example, seemed to be setting up an argument against Libra. In Korea, meanwhile, Kakao Talk announced the governance association for their Libra competitor, Klaytn. BitMex CEO Arthur Hayes also provides his, erm, colorful take on Zuckbucks
This, plus videos from Zcon1 and Bitcoin 2019; important DeFi announcements from MakerDAO, and some institutional updates as well. 
Happy long reads! - NLW

Long Reads Sunday #53. Volatility is back on the menu baby! Up 20% one day and then back down the next. Then again, maybe BTC price is just a metaphor for an increasingly volatile world? Smack a little go go juice in yo cup, it’s Long Reads Time!
2/ In case you were on an Ayahuasca retreat or something and happened to miss it, the price of Bitcoin rocketed up all the way up from $11k to almost $14k before coming back down. The whole beginning of the week was about asking why? @krugermacro tweaks the classic “more buyers than sellers”
3/ @lawmaster meanwhile pointed out that all the indicators suggested it wasn’t a retail spike. Case in point, follower growth graphs for major exchanges which didn’t even sort of suggest a pop
4/ For a moment, everyone was giddy AF and hitting the browser refresh button on price sites like they were slots at a Casino. Yet in the madness, some cautioned restraint. Of course they were right
5/ As the price leveled, media started looking for the debrief. Was it Libra? Tether? China? Speaking with @Cheddar, @Pierre_rochard pointed out that this is simply the natural action for Bitcoin after rocketing up 4x it’s low from just a few months ago
6/ Over on @technology with @emilychangtv meanwhile, @CremeDeLaCrypto argued that this type of volatility is the natural byproduct of a scarce, limited supply asset with highly fluctuating demand
7/ One of the more interesting takes came from @tylercowen who argued that it may not be just one factor or another but a confluence of global instabilities that create demand for cryptocurrencies beyond the (full) control of governments
8/ In fact, one of the common themes of this price rally was that people were more curious about its connection to the global macro landscape. Back again is @Travis_Kling, this time comparing BTC price to sovereign debt.
9/ Others flagged the news that the EU’s channel for dealing with Iran (even around US sanctions) was up and operational - a possible sign of the wavering influence of the USG.
10/ —As an aside, @NoelleInMadrid provides a little more color on what this might mean in practice
11/ Iran was actually all over the discussion. @maasalan’s tweet about Iranian Bitcoin mining as a way to overcome economic difficulties caused by sanctions went viral (although she later pointed out there are questions about the photo’s origin).
12/ Still, whether that particular photo was accurate or not, Radio Free Europe reported on the electricity grid being challenged by mining and others pointed to news that the Iranian authorities had seized 1000+ Bitcoin mining machines
13/ For more discussion on Iran and Bitcoin, check out Friday’s Crypto 3@3. For those who haven’t seen it yet, Tue-Friday I’m streaming 3 minutes on 3 topics at 3pm EST. Archive on Youtube:
14/ Still, the biggest global discussion around Bitcoin price movements was China. @louAboudHogben reviewed recent Baidu search trends showing growth around Bitcoin. (H/t @martybent for catching this)
15/ @DecryptMedia meanwhile summarized recent pieces from Chinese state sponsored media characterizing Bitcoin as a safe haven.
16/ Bitcoin wasn’t the only cryptocurrency that has China buzzing, however. @DoveyWan here translates the highlights from an article in the official gov’t newspaper that starts to set out some very specific arguments against Facebook’s new Libra.
17/ In his criminally under-shared thread @abatalion argues that the very point of Libra is to compete with China for the battle to build a global digital currency.
18/ Of course, not everyone agrees that when it comes to a global digital crypto, Libra and China are the only games. Korea’s biggest messaging app @kakaotalk just announced their governance association for their Libra competitor, Klaytn.
19/ @raoulgmi makes the point that, whether Libra or one of the other announced currencies succeeds or not, “the true challenge to centralized fiat currencies has now started.”
20/ In one of his rare blog posts, @CryptoHayes makes a similar point about the impact of Libra on retail banks, central banks, and fiat currencies - albeit somewhat more emphatically.
21/ As another aside, @Bitmexdotcom just hit a TRILLION dollars traded in a year. That shit got Arthur like (video) 
22/ One more on the Bitcoin (or other crypto X) vs. State money front. Check out the fascinating conversation kicked up by @twobitidiot around what could kill Bitcoin (and in particular, the degree to which it’s about sovereign attacks)
23/ Even in a week of crazy Bitcoin price action, there was still a ton about Libra. Always insightful @jp_koning wrote about about the challenges of the path Libra has chosen to develop a new unit of account.
24/ In the wake of the Libra announcement, the crew at @isTruStory hosted a number of debates about the insurgent crypto. @iam_preethi sums up a number of the key points in these 5 short videos. Love this combination of formats.
25/ Another fun Twitter moment was when a “shower thought” from @ameensol turned into a whole conversation about whether an Ethereum consortium should run a Libra node.
26/ As we discussed last week, one of the biggest unclear issues with Libra has to do with privacy. In this thread, Zcash founder @zooko argues that Libra is part of the last cohort of cryptos that will be able to launch without putting privacy front and center.
27/ @dan_jeffries1 flagged this massive thread from @halhod about privacy and surveillance and contextualized in the threat of highly trackable and controlled money - which he worries Libra might become.
28/ If you’re interested in these types of topics, @ZcashFoundation recently put the full slate of videos from Zcon1 a couple weeks ago. Definitely worth a browse.
29/ Zcash wasn’t the only banner event with videos for those unfortunate to not attend. Last week also saw @bitcoinmagazine produced @bitcoin2019conf. The event was livestreamed and the individual vids like this great talk from @BMBernstein on macro tailwinds are popping up
30/ Ah crap. I segued back to Bitcoin. I guess that means I have to cover stupid CSW’s stupid court appearance this week. TL;DR. Dude had to show up, try to convince judge he’s S. Nakamotes. Didn’t go so wellz.
31/ Seriously though, for a full recap, check out: 1. @naomibrockwell’s legit recap video 2. @PeterMcCormack’s sentiment analysis 3. @CryptoBrekkie’s dramatic re-telling 
32/ Okay, blech, done with that. For a terrific Bitcoin palate cleanser, let’s hop over to the one and only @real_vijay and one of his patented threads - this time on the Bitcoin block reward halving.
33/ Man oh man. Is it me or are these things getting longer and longer every week? It’s like this industry know..growing or something. A bit more on DeFi, institutions, retail onramps, data, and we out!
34/ DEFI! The big news in DeFi this week was that MakerDao’s move to multi-collateral DAI is just on the horizon. @CamiRusso sums up the news here or check out the info straight from the source
35/ Interestingly, not everyone even in the Ethereum community is sold yet on multi-collateral DAI. @antiprosynth kicks off what turns into a great and wide ranging conversation in this thread
36/ Hey and here’s a #NarrativeWatch - Bitcoin starting to take back some of the decentralized finance narrative from Ethereum. We’ve already seen people asking whether things like BlockFi loans are DeFi, and this conversation is just going to increase
37/ Related, @KyleSamani flagged this project enabling DeFi for non-Ethereum assets, but is skeptical about the demand
38/ Back to the Ethereum side of DeFi for a second, before Bitcoin’s price went crazy, everyone was chattering about @PoolTogether_ a lossless lottery build on DeFi infrastructure of DAI and @CompoundFinance
39/ One of the most interesting parts of the story of @PoolTogether_ was, when the community pushed hard on why the project was closed source, they were open about reasons and decided to shift them. That’s the right type of network pressure.
40/ Let’s pop over to the institutional world for just a second shall we? Here are the quick hits. 1. @Gemini is heading to Chicago 2. Goldman is exploring tokens and stable coins 3. CFTC approves physically settled Bitcoin futures
41/ For those who like the indicator of titan’s of the old world getting in on the new, @AlastairJMarsh writes that KKR’s Henry Kravis has invested in former employee Ben Forman’s new crypto focused fund
42/ If you’re trying to make sense of all of these institutional movements, you could do a lot worse than @_kinjalbshah of @blockchaincap overview piece about the who, what and why of current crypto institutional investing
43/ And speaking of sources at the intersection of institutional money and crypto, @RampCapitalLLC just announced a new crypto blog from @btcfeen, right in time to capture the absolute top. Will be keeping an eye on it.
44/ Alright team, I think 44 tweets is just about enough. As always, let me know what you loved, what I missed, and happy long reads! Watch for the LRS video Top 5 tomorrow with @blocktvnews and sign up to get LRS via email here:

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Nathaniel Whittemore

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