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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #66

Long Reads Sunday - Issue #66
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #57 • View online
There’s no denying that the banner headline from this week was the massive, unexpected market drop that took BTC from ~$10k to ~$8k. Some blamed BitMEX; some blamed Bakkt; some threw their hands up and said “no idea.” 
Interestingly, for as jarring as such a huge swing can be, the conversation on crypto Twitter hasn’t been all doom and gloom. Far from it, in fact, as the back half of the week saw a significant amount of substantive conversation that had nothing to do with price. 
One topic that got people jawing was Libra and the latest in central bank digital currencies. ING’s chief economist argued that full fledged government backed digital currencies were just 2-3 years out. An exec from the European Central Bank said that Libra had provided a wake up call for governments around the world. 
There are, of course, plenty of reasons not to be thrilled about these developments. Digital currencies bring with them the threat of much greater financial surveillance at a time when governments are already working to pressure tech companies to provide that sort of information. The latest is news that Facebook Messenger & WhatsApp would be compelled to share data with UK police. 
This sort of creeping, encroaching surveillance is part of why one of the more exciting announcements came from Fold, a bitcoin-cash-back app that calls itself “incognito mode for payments.”
Thanks as always and happy long reads - NLW 

Long Reads Sunday #66. It was *SUPPOSED* to be a great week. Bakkt futures launching, Binance.US cranking..and a 20%+ price dip? On the upside, for whatever reason crappy prices tend to bring the best content - so let’s dive in!
2/ If you’re reading this, you are (perhaps painfully) away that prices dropped from just north of $10k to just south of $8k in about 45 minutes earlier this week and have hovered there. The question is why. For some, the answer was obvious For others, inscrutable:
3/ Interestingly, some wanted to point to Bakkt as explanation - reminding that better price discovery doesn’t mean better prices. 
4/ Beyond simply why the price dropped, the question was, what does it mean for bitcoin on the whole. @MessariCrypto pointed out that BTC had fallen more than 10% in a single day 70 times previously - i.e. this isn’t out of the range of normal
5/ Even more reassuring for the worriers out there, @hansthered went through fundamental indicator by fundamental indicator…365 daily moving average of transactions, hash rate, code commits and more - finding them all in spectacular health
6/ Of course, that didn’t stop the skeptics from coming out in force, as the professional hater class came out in force not seen since we were back around $4k. That was stage 2 in my 10 Twitter stages of a dump.
7/ @zhusu argues that this is a healthy market movement that prepares us to look to higher levels.
8/ Then, proving that any press is good press, the price got @APompliano back over to @SquawkCNBC where he wrenched the conversation away from short term price to the much bigger emergent global competition for the future of digital money and the global reserve currency.
9/ Indeed, this week saw an undercurrent of discussion around not only Libra but the rapidly changing landscape of government-backed digital currencies. @DavidMarcus added Libra’s voice directly in his latest essay
10/ @ercwl triggered some meaningful portion of Crypto Twitter by suggesting that, far from being a flop if it gets to launch, Libra will be more like the Netflix of Money.
11/ It’s not just Libra being discussed in this realm though. ING’s Chief Economist predicted that governmental digital currencies were just 2-3 years out. This speed is a direct result of Libra, which an ECB exec called a “wakeup call”
12/ What’s more, the idea of a synthetic hegemonic currency as introduced by the Bank of England’s Mark Carney last month is also getting some intellectual support from places like the IMF
13/ As usual, @NeerajKA hits the nail on the head with both what a cashless society means and what the “choice” between different central bank digital currencies actual means
14/ Just in case these arguments of the dangers of surveillance money were too theoretical, news broke that Facebook and WhatsApp would have to share messenger messages with police in the UK
15/ That wasn’t the only frustrating thing to come out of the UK last week. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority is also looking to ban bitcoin products, with potential regulatory implications everywhere
16/ Speaking of regulators, there *was* a Congressional hearing touching on crypto this week, as all 5 SEC commissioners testified. TBH, there wasn’t a whole lot new, but @nikhileshde live tweeted the whole thing so you can see for yourself
17/ Outside of this big picture global future of money stuff, there were also a number of interesting bits of crypto product news. First, while it didn’t set the markets ringing, the Bakkt launch did represent some important milestones. See @WhiteAdamL w. @jchatterleyCNN
18/ As a quick aside - the rise of more bitcoin derivatives is making some wonder what potential threats they create, in addition to their upside. @notsofast has been doing some interesting polls along those lines
19/ Back to the product world, I perked up when @MrHodl called the launch of @fold_app more bullish than Bakkt. Going back to the above conversation on surveillance, I love their description as “incognito mode for payments.”
20/ In the world of “decentralized alternatives to leading social networks” @AudiusProject announced the launch of a decentralized SoundCloud competitor and by the end of the week said that 20,000 people had signed up
21/ If you’re interested in the evolution of the norms of software from closed to open, check out @spencernoon piece in @CamiRusso’s The Defiant on the topic @Balajis covers similar ground in this viral tweet, as well
22/ Speaking of new products, we’re in week two of @BinanceAmerica. @VentureCoinist latest pod is with the head of that project @cryptocoley and gives a nice overview and preview of what’s to come
23/ One of the more interesting things going on in the world of tokenization is Brooklyn Net’s @SDinwiddie_25 attempt to tokenize his contract and create a template for others to do the same. @lawmaster goes deep:
24/ As of right now, the NBA doesn’t look particularly keen to let @SDinwiddie_25 attempts go through. But Spencer’s team looks to be pretty on top of this and it seems likely that we haven’t seen the end of this story.
26/ Speaking of existing power structures combatting the new….there are some…interesting? accusations of weirdness and impropriety from the @CFTC going on from the Ledger camp. Follow @paul_l_chou for more or read @coindesk’s article
27/ And speaking of weirdness…Kik’s sorted crypto tale took a new turn this week when the company announced that it would be shutting down its messenger app to focus on Kin adoption. I got into all of that on Tuesday’s Crypto Daily 3@3
28/ As we draw to a close, let’s zoom back out to the larger macro context. It was week two of repo market intervention from the Fed. @caitlinlong_ provides her explanation here.
29/ @EpsilonTheory meanwhile argues that yes, indeed, these shifts are portentous
30/ Still, the question for some is just what the hell repo intervention has to do with crypto? The point, for many, is the larger connection between the macro environment and the crypto markets.
31/ And while we’re on the topic of larger connections, one of the most fascinating discussions this week was whether news of Venezuela’s government looking to crypto as a way to work around sanctions was good or bad for BTC.
32/ Alright alright, we’re already in the 30s so a few more essentials and we’re outta here. @ljxie continues her essay streak with a new piece on interoperability and comparability in Ethereum.
33/ In this extremely popular thread @ericsavics1 argues that the problems being blamed on capitalism are, in fact, a result of a particular debt-based system.
34/ It was 24 years ago that Windows 95 launched, giving us one of the most beloved cringe videos in the history of tech. @MCamerlengo breaks it down.
35/ Finally, huge should out to @TheCryptoBubble, the undisputed master of the crypto cover song genre. Chef’s Kiss.
36/ As always, you can get Long Reads Sunday delivered direct to your email. I highly recommend this, as Twitter loves burying threads these days.
37/ To get LRS style content all week long, check out Crypto Daily 3@3 - my daily news analysis video podcast. You can get it on YouTube, via any podcast app, or via email.
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Nathaniel Whittemore

Bitcoin & crypto's most interesting Twitter threads and long-form essays.

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