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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #67

Long Reads Sunday - Issue #67
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #58 • View online
No intro this week due to a family wedding! Catch you next week for a normal edition. -NLW

Long Reads Sunday #67
Long Reads Sunday #67. This week started with regulatory fire and ended with new doubts about whether Facebook’s Libra will ever get it off the ground. In between, the world’s former biggest YouTuber came out as a hardcore bit coiner. Strap in folks, it’s long reads time!
2/ The Crypto Legal Corps shot right out of the gate this week to comment on the “Crypto Ratings Council” - a group of exchanges creating, as @msantoriESQ called it - a “Hot or Not” for the Howey Test
3/ @lawmaster meanwhile did a great thread on the Ratings Council…highlighting the pretty obvious and apparent conflict of interest. The question is whether, even with the clear interest exchanges have in designating things as not securities, this self regulation is valuable
4/ As it turned out, the ratings council was just the warm up act to everyone on CT having a legal opinion. Later on Monday, news dropped that the SEC had settled with Block One over the $4b EOS sale for $24m. As usual, @katherineykwu had the essential annotation
5/ A few more key reactions. @prestonjbyrne argues it actually doesn’t make a determination about whether EOS is a security or not: / @stephendpalley argues that this does NOT mean ICOs are back on the table:
6/ On 3@3 on Tuesday I argued that there were 4 camps of CT commentators on the EOS situation. 1. “They got off easy”; 2. “You’re all commies for wishing they got a bigger punishment”; 3. “It’s about the consistency” and 4. The Pragmatists.
7/ Regardless of what you thought, the reactions different folks had *did* highlight the weird tension between being free marketers on the one hand and rooting for government-distributed punishment for free market activity on the other.
8/ Still, for more analysis on the implications rather than just the gut level takes, check out @jchervinsky’s great thread on why he thinks that the SEC believes that EOS and Siacoins (the other project they just settled with) *AREN’T* securities
9/ Even in a week with such a big settlement from the SEC, I don’t believe that was the most interesting crypto rumblings out of Washington. As reported by @nikhileshde, two Congressmen sent Fed chair Jerome Powell suggesting the Fed explore issuing a digital currency
10/ This makes @APompliano’s appearance on @SquawkCNBC (as shared here by Congressman @WarrenDavidson) seem all the more prescient
11/ Responding to further comments from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve bank president that a US CBDC is inevitable, @ErikVoorhees argued that the US dollar already is, in effect, a digital currency. 
12/ For many in the crypto sphere, the threat of digital currencies is omnipresent financial surveillance. In his column for @bloomberg however @tylercowen provides another reason: an unbalancing shift of power away from private markets and to the state
13/ Of course, the reason for all of this discussion of digital currencies is Libra, which was beset throughout the week by reports that key members of the Libra Association including Visa, MasterCard (and later PayPal) were getting cold feet. @DavidMarcus responds
14/ The general sentiment in the moment on CT at the moment seems to be that Libra might not make it to launch. See: I’m not sure, although I do think pretty much all the responses except the US governments are noise. 
15/ The latest on that front (beyond the fact that there is now an active conversation about skipping Facebook and just making a US digital dollar) is that the US House is pressuring Zuckerberg himself to show up.
16/ Still, for some, all the buzz around Libra on the one hand and digital dollars in the other is just a reminder of the need for a truly non-sovereign, permissionless currency. Citing fear of “creeping authoritarianism,” @dailydirtnap argues as much in this column
17/ Speaking of creeping authoritarianism, let’s head over to our weekly check in on the state of the battle versus privacy versus surveillance. Hong Kong passed emergence powers that, among other things, ban the wearing of face masks at protests.
18/ To me, the idea that people aren’t allowed to cover their faces while expressing political dissent so as to be better identified and targeted is a great response to people who say privacy is just for criminals. But an even better response is this tweet from @SarahJamieLewis
19/ Oh and just to really, double, triple make it clear that this is about surveillance HERE, not just over there, read this WSJ report about US Attorney General pressuring Facebook to stop encryption plans….all in the name of protecting children.
20/ It’s sometimes easier to look abroad to see crypto as part of a growing tool kit of self-sovereignty than it is to see the impact that cryptocurrency and related technologies can have at home. @jswihart writes about a project in the South Bronx designed to use crypto as tools of financial inclusion and empowerment at home
21/ Let’s end this compact little LRS on a couple fun little notes. First, @michellephan, one of the YouTubers that invented YouTubers, is all in on bitcoin and pretty m.f. articulate about it.
22/ Second, in a true embodiment of the spirit of the “long read” @dergigi nails this eloquent, thoughtful and long-form post on “how to kill bitcoin.”
23/ One of my favorite pieces of regular curation is @_cryptowords, putting all of the absolute best bitcoin content together in one place - and making it downloadable. This is an insane effort and always worth a read. 
24/ And finally, an image to send you home with: BTC as X-Men toddler.
25/ Thanks as always for reading! To get LRS via email, sign up And to get LRS style content throughout the week
26/ Check out Crypto Daily 3@3 - my daily video podcast on the most important topics each weekday. Catch it here, on YouTube, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or just get it via email
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Nathaniel Whittemore

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