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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #55

It was the tweet heard round the world. On Thursday evening, an already wildly eventful week - full
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #55
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #56 • View online
On Thursday evening, an already wildly eventful week - full of bank layoffs, SEC approval for token sales, and the Fed chair calling Bitcoin a store of value - ratcheted to the next level as the Donald took to Twitter to share his, ahem, distaste for Bitcoin, Libra, and the whole damn crypto space.
CT popped off. Some screamed about the bull signal of being elevated to the national discourse. Others took is as a teachable moment. MSM jumped in the next day, with surprisingly on point analysis.
So what does it all mean? Well, firstly, it feels like the root antagonism is towards Facebook, Libra, and Zuckerberg, with Bitcoin being more or less shoehorned in. Many also commented that it felt at least partially written by someone else.
Still, if there is one takeaway for me it is this: the mainstream has now arrived at our doorstep. There is no cryptocurrency advocacy group with a mission to explain things to the general public (noting and appreciating the difficult work CoinCenter puts in trying to ensure DC is up to speed). By virtue of being a leaderless, non-company organization, Bitcoin has no marketing department.
The good thing about that is that many of today’s seekers and malcontents have found their way to our space, finding in it a salve to their critique of the world as it is.
The bad thing is that there is no communications front line to counter the narratives that misinformed media or antagonistic politicians wish to put forward.
That is, there is no front line except all of us. Now is a damn good time to think about what Bitcoin and the rest of the industry mean to the world and scream that story from the rooftops.
Because the world is here, and it’s watching to see what happens next.
Happy long reads -NLW

Art by @CryptoScamHub
Art by @CryptoScamHub
More content goodness
Some of you may have noticed that I’ve begun livestreaming a short summary of the industry called the Crypto Daily 3@3. It’s a brief look at the three key conversations I’m seeing in the Bitcoin and crypto world - 3 topics, 3 minutes each. You can watch it live on Twitter/Periscope, YouTube, or Twitch. It’s now also available as a Podcast: Direct Listen/Download, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify.

And now on to LRS55
Long Reads Sunday #55. The Donald Debrief. Let’s be real, no matter what else happened, this will forever be the week that Trump tweeted about Bitcoin. How’d we get here, and what does it mean? Strap in friends, it’s long reads time! 
2/ Quick Shill! As you guys know, I’ve been doing a daily livestream - 3 topics, 3 minutes each, 3pm EST. But now it’s available as a podcast! Check it out: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/2lEH6JKmL41AA07cOyNzsx?si=fjF3s643Sn2nxnUaHACPlQ / iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/crypto-daily-3-3/id1438693620 - now back to the content!
3/ The week started with a bang, as 18,000 Deutsche Bank bankers showed up on Monday to discover they didn’t have jobs. Some pondered what it said about the state of the global banking system, but most grabbed on to a very specific picture. https://twitter.com/MartyBent/status/1148244749452623872
4/ Seriously, everyone was on this. It seemed to perfectly encapsulate the zeitgeist….Until we realized that it wasn’t laid off bankers, but tailors who happened to be walking by. https://twitter.com/matt_odell/status/1148621011333656582
5/ Now, there is an argument to be made that it almost makes more sense this way, with meme making the reality. Still, for those interested in a deeper analysis of what actually went on at DB, check out this thread. https://twitter.com/jeuasommenulle/status/1148122513085521920
6/ Libra too was front of mind right from the very beginning of the week. CoinCenter released a piece (which would be made even more relevant by ahem later events) about how Libra and Bitcoin differ. https://twitter.com/NeerajKA/status/1148256729244884992
7/ @EpsilonTheory meanwhile went OFF on Libra, arguing that - quite different from those who have suggested FB’s crypto was good for Bitcoin - that Libra was designed to co-opt everything good about Bitcoin. https://twitter.com/EpsilonTheory/status/1148076898611806210
8/ Over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday, the conversation shifted away from the high falutin’ macro picture to the (for many people) much more pressing question: when alt season!? https://twitter.com/Crypto_Bitlord/status/1148960072610959360
9/ Seriously, as soon as Bitcoin began picking up, people started asking this question. I just don’t see it happening - not enough profit yet in BTC; average buyer more sophisticated, and bear market advocates told the BTC story https://twitter.com/woonomic/status/1149050679094206465
10/ For the slightly more emphatic reasons why there isn’t going to be an alt season (at least one resembling what happened last time around), check out @jdorman81 from @arca https://twitter.com/jdorman81/status/1145897192244166658 or, even more crisply: https://twitter.com/PeterMcCormack/status/1148991855809503233
11/ Interestingly, while there weren’t moves to suggest the sort of pumpydumpy altseason some have been hoping for, their WERE crypto financings - just in base layer protocols and infrastructure. https://twitter.com/ljxie/status/1148997993485328384
12/ What’s more, on Wednesday evening @muneeb announced that Blockstack had received the first ever approval for an SEC-cleared token offering. https://twitter.com/muneeb/status/1149091053024231424
13/ Within hours, @YouNow’s @PropsProject became the second to get the same approval through rule A+. https://twitter.com/cburniske/status/1149356486008680448
14/ One of the main reasons that people were excited was that through these rules, non-accredited investors are able to participate alongside accredited investors. https://twitter.com/APompliano/status/1149073645869895680
15/ As @jchervinsky pointed out though, it’s not just a question of whether the SEC will approve these crypto Reg A+ filings, but whether the market actually cares. https://twitter.com/jchervinsky/status/1149376434554540032
16/ @propelforward makes the point poignantly here: these sales will show whether tokens can have value because people want to use them or whether it’s always just been about pumping and dumping on unregulated exchanges https://twitter.com/propelforward/status/1149328874490277889
17/ Still, by the end of Wednesday and beginning of Thursday, much of the conversation was shifting back to the larger macro political context. This was because Fed Chair Jerome Powell discussed Bitcoin in a hearing https://twitter.com/krugermacro/status/1149350354770898944
18/ Seriously, let’s take a pause for a second. The most important central banker in America 1) said he could see a return to an era of multiple currencies; and that 2) Bitcoin was being used as a speculative SoV. https://twitter.com/krugermacro/status/1149350359527305216 
19/ In ANY OTHER WEEK basically since 2010, Powell’s statements would have been *THE* big story, endlessly repeated and analyzed. But, in true Trumpian fashion, DJT stormed in will the most aggressive “Hold my beer” in Bitcoin’s History. (CryptoScamHub Image)
20/ It was the Tweet heard around the (crypto) world. On Thursday night, every other conversation came to a screeching halt as crypto denizens from Twitter to Telegram to Twitter came out to holler about this doozy https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1149472282584072192
21/ The first response was…. BULLISH. This sentiment was exemplified by @paranoidbull https://twitter.com/paranoidbull/status/1149479202254573568 and by @jerallaire https://twitter.com/jerallaire/status/1149483620370796550
22/ @Coinbase @brian_armstrong wrote about how this moment completed a long standing dream, and made an analogy to the “then they fight you” stage which was another common theme https://twitter.com/brian_armstrong/status/1149492705673695232
23/ Others used the platform created by the tweet itself to make important counterpoints. @NeerajKA discussed the thread of the looming surveillance state https://twitter.com/NeerajKA/status/1149474265055420418
24/ @CaitlinLong_ argued that when it comes to crypto, the genie is out of the bottle, and “if the US fights this we will simply be bypassed by other countries that are welcoming it.” https://twitter.com/CaitlinLong_/status/1149480354748612608
25/ In a delightful twist, the MSM coverage of the event was actually rather good. @srussolillo’s piece for the @wsj featured that quote from @caitlinLong_ among others. https://twitter.com/nlw/status/1149668888138801152
26/ @SquawkCNBC invited @APompliano to discuss it, who made this great point about how far we’ve come just after @JoeSquawk pointed out that the US government has the most to lose from Bitcoin’s success https://twitter.com/SquawkCNBC/status/1149664358919577600
27/ Interestingly, there was a meaningful group of Trump’s constituency that wasn’t pleased. For those who voted for him as a total shock to the system, attacking the most outside the system money ever invented was a bit jarring https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/11/20691188/president-donald-trump-bitcoin-cryptocurrency-facebook-libra
28/ @NickSzabo4 made this point more or less on the thread itself https://twitter.com/NickSzabo4/status/1149489828657893378 and Slate covered @prestonjbyrne’s response https://slate.com/technology/2019/07/pro-trump-cryptocurrency-fan-reacts-to-the-presidents-disapproval-of-bitcoin.html
29/ Now, one interesting note is that it DID feel a bit like this antagonism and the immediate context for this tweet was more about Libra, with Bitcoin being shoehorned in as a straw man for the criminal argument. https://twitter.com/jerrybrito/status/1149489539557163015
30/ @TwoBitIdiot and @jillruthcarlson hung out with @TheStalwart and discussed, among other things, just how different Bitcoin and Libra are, with Jill arguing that BTC has more in common with gold. @pierre_rochard did a great summary with clips https://twitter.com/pierre_rochard/status/1150193562732118020
31/ I also agree with the implication of @jeffreyatucker’s tweet, which is that - ready or not, the world is coming to Bitcoin/crypto. Either we can let someone else shape the narrative, or we tell the story, loudly and direct to everyone who will listen https://twitter.com/jeffreyatucker/status/1149637885198397441
32/ In case we needed a reminder of what happens if we let others shape the narrative, @TheBlock__ broke the news of the stupidly named, stupider conceived “Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act” https://twitter.com/mdudas/status/1150351137117265920
33/ The good news is that there is evidence proactive engagement can work. As TrumpTweet was going down, one of the best known central bankers in the world, BoE’s Mark Carney (who may be the next IMF chief) was defending Libra - a project which had *actively engaged with him* https://cointelegraph.com/news/bank-of-english-governor-on-libra-as-a-solution-to-financial-problems
34/ For more of this discussion - particularly what it means in terms of how we might want to organize to tell the Bitcoin and crypto story - check out Friday’s Crypto Daily 3@3. Podcast at: https://t.co/8vFQVAFAIq?amp=1 or vid below https://t.co/pCaUBW0fXb
35/ And finally, I think it’s at least worth asking the question - to the extent that the antagonism towards Bitcoin ratchets up - what are the relevant attack vectors? https://twitter.com/nlw/status/1149737531103223809
36/ One possible impact of increased pressure is for companies to contort themselves in pretzels as traditional services aren’t available to them. See, for example, @coinbase setting up it’s own insurance company https://www.coindesk.com/coinbase-is-in-talks-to-launch-its-own-insurance-company
37/ Anyway, it’s my strong guess that we’ll be discussing and dissecting this one for, well, ever. So let’s take a few more tweets to check out some of the other great content I haven’t mentioned yet. 
38/ For those who want to stay big picture, check out @pahueg’s interview with @aantonop about the change to the nation-state system that will be wrought by Bitcoin https://twitter.com/pahueg/status/1148261382388953088
39/ Or check out @jbrukh’s latest essay about the forces that are driving economic systems to incentives for even greater decentralization https://twitter.com/jbrukh/status/1148353229576712194
40/ For those interested in the permissioned vs permissionless debate brought up by Libra, @AndrewDARMACAP flags this piece by @jwolpert arguing that there will be an inevitable shift, akin to intranets to the public internet https://twitter.com/AndrewDARMACAP/status/1148585132527407104
41/ I still can’t really believe that this is a real thing, but just in case, check out @CryptoTaxGirl’s analysis of 181 of the ugliest slides you’ve ever seen on the IRS’s plans to investigate crypto holders https://twitter.com/CryptoTaxGirl/status/1148370517415456768
42/ Update: the IRS confirmed it. Weep, child, for your eyes can never this unsee. https://twitter.com/crypto_bobby/status/1149742168246030337
43/ If the surveillance state implications of cashless society do get your worry bones working, check out @dergigi’s thread on the new tech behind keeping track of you https://twitter.com/dergigi/status/1148572041416708097
44/ For those who want to veg out with some premium grade Bitcoin video content, @BitcoinMagazine has posted all the videos from #Bitcoin2019. Day 1: https://twitter.com/BitcoinMagazine/status/1148329999256215552 Day 2: https://twitter.com/BitcoinMagazine/status/1148333331542695937
45/ Is the term “Decentralization” causing more harm than good? This conversation, in the context of a recent move by 0x protocol to thwart a bug, turned into a pretty expansive exploration of just that. https://twitter.com/nlw/status/1150056611194560512
46/ Speaking of “decentralization” - one narrative I’ve been watching is the rise of people talking about Decentralized Finance or DeFi — but with Bitcoin at the base instead of Ethereum. @MohamedFFouda @tokendaily dive in: https://medium.com/tokendaily/pathways-for-defi-on-bitcoin-a68563c4c95
47/ One note on Libra that has been overlooked with so much emphasis on the regulatory issues and comparison to BTC: what the market things? @Melt_Dem is on the case, and it seems to like it: https://twitter.com/Melt_Dem/status/1149808087177601024
48/ Given how much oxygen Libra, Powell and Trump sucked out of the room, my feeds were a little Ethereum light, but I still noticed this interesting thread from @MuteDialog about the platform’s ascent as a global platform for all digital assets https://twitter.com/MuteDialog/status/1149047398532075526
49/ Also notable: many projects came together to help @ideocolab launch a new crypto startup studio. This thread by @ianjohnlee is an epic history of the firm and how it got into the blockchain space https://twitter.com/ianjohnlee/status/1149706806077186049
50/ For those of you interested in @Tezos (or simply noticing that, despite basically no marketing, it keeps creeping into the conversation) check out this big one from @Obstropolos https://twitter.com/Obstropolos/status/1148284814463651840
51/ Finally, because I love a good historical piece, check out this great one on the original cypherpunks by @TheVladCostea (h/t @brucefenton for surfacing!) https://twitter.com/brucefenton/status/1149304159826563072
51/ Phew, alright, there we have it. This week was one for the record books - I’m glad you could hang out and join for this ride. As always, let me know what you liked and what I missed. You can sign up to get LRS via email at https://www.getrevue.co/profile/nlw

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Nathaniel Whittemore

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