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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #68

Long Reads Sunday - Issue #68
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #59 • View online
Happy Long Reads everyone
For the past few months, I’ve watched engagement on Twitter threads (LRS and beyond) plummet. Because of that, I’m going to be focusing more energy on this newsletter, including some different ways to summarize the week’s content. If you just want the classic LRS format, just scroll down! If you enjoy this and want to help, please forward or tweet - it makes a huge difference.
Themes of the week
This was a governmental get rekt week. First, it was the SEC denying the latest Bitwise ETF proposal. Next, it was the IRS dropping their first guidance in 5 years, suggesting that forked tokens airdropped to people (whether wanted or not) creates a tax liability. The CFTC was the only bright spot, with Chairman Heath Tarbert indicating that ETH was a commodity. But even with all that, the real action happened minutes before the close of business on Friday. 
A fire Friday
I was already nearly checked out for the weekend when the bomb dropped that Mastercard, eBay, Stripe, and Visa would be leaving the Libra Association. This was made much more disconcerting by the fact that earlier in the week, two Senators had sent threatening letters to a number of those companies. And to really reinforce the theme of government-mandated rektness, the SEC announced emergency action against Telegram’s $1.7B ICO. 
Meme of the week
Huge ups to César Rodriguez, whose Joaquin Phoenix meme is one of the best templates I’ve seen.
The week in podcasts
Every day, I do a video + podcast called Crypto Daily 3@3. You can catch them all on YouTube or on your favorite podcast app:
Thanks as always for reading!

Long Reads Sunday #68
Last week was a walloping. US Senators pressure co’s to leave Libra & won; the SEC took down a $1.7B ICO; the IRS said forks are taxable; and basically every company kowtowed to China. Buckle the hell in, it’s Long Reads Sunday #68.
2/ Seriously, this LRS is like Rekt Week edition. To get a preview and see if you’re really up for it, check out this summary from @CarpeNoctom. Okay, you still with me? Here we go!
3/ Let’s not mess around and start with the A-Bomb that was Stripe, eBay, Mastercard (and Visa about 30 minutes later) all announcing their withdrawal from the Libra Association effectively at 4:59 pm Friday. Facebook’s @davidmarcus said don’t count them out yet
4/ The withdrawals came after US Senators Sherrod Brown and Brian Schatz wrote open letters to the CEOs of Stripe, Mastercard and Visa urging them to exit the ‘chilling’ project. @brucefenton captured the frustration of politicians strangling new technologies in their beds without understanding
5/ Sorry, I want to move on, but let’s seriously take a minute and read the letter from the Senators. It basically says “if you do this, not only are you enabling child sex predators, but we’re going to come after your business.”
6/ Others had different responses. Some, like @alex_dreyfus, @_RJTodd and @arrington seemed to put it in the category of “that which does not kill them makes them stronger” / / /
7/ For others, the whole episode reinforced the stakes of the non-state money game, and served as a reminder of the fundamental political power inherent in the long shadow of Satoshi’s ghost.
8/ Earlier in the week, @HaileyLennonBTC asked “why can WeChat and Telegram have “cryptocurrency” but FB can’t?” Welp, just minutes after Libra’s big news dropped, SEC went all “hold my beer” and dropped this doozy.
9/ The most worrisome issue for some with the SEC’s emergent halting of the Telegram token distribution was what it suggests about their opinions on SAFTs. See this thread with commentary by @lex_node @prestonjbyrne @stephendpalley
10/ This wasn’t the only hammer the SEC dropped this week. On Wednesday, the agency released a massive, 112-page order disapproving the latest @BitwiseInvest bitcoin ETF proposal. @jchervinsky can’t see how things change under the current leadership.
11/ Not content to let the SEC have all the fun, the IRS also popped in with their first tax guidance since 2014. The contentious question was that they seemed to indicate that recipients of airdropped tokens of forked chains would be subject to taxation. @CoinCenter summary:
12/ For the definitive explanation, however, on the IRS guidance, there is no better source than @lopp. First, on three contentious issues that arise and second, on the overall feel
13/ And because we didn’t get quite enough of the US govt’s opinion on things between all these agency actions and Senator’s writing letters and things, @ChairmanHeath jumped in saying that the CFTC considered Ethereum a commodity and expected derivative products soon. Oh, I guess that one’s actually good.
14/ Weeks like this are good reminders of how lucky we are as an industry to have a stalwart legal corps who break all of these regulatory actions down. There are lots of people to shout out here, but for a full recap check out @prestonjbyrne’s new regular “Not Legal Advice”
15/ So speaking of Ethereum, DevCon5 was this week. If you could wade through the 90% of the CT conversation debating article headlines, there was actually some fascinating stuff going on. Of course, scalability and the transition from eth1->eth2 was top of mind. Here’s @sassal0x summing up @VitalikButerin’s publishing tear
16/ Another big announcement was that Multi Collateral Dai was just around the corner, coming as soon as November. @cyounessi1 discusses here the impacts in terms of both governance and risk
17/ One project that got some buzz — and not necessarily the good kind — was OpenLibra, the idea of which is to take the good stuff from Libra but leave the whole complicated messy FB relationship behind. While some were excited, the general reaction was…skeptical
18/ Meanwhile, the rest of the world chugged along. The Fed, for example, announced a plan to buy $60B in Treasury Bills monthly starting in October. This tweet from @Travis_Kling happened before the announcement but captured the sentiment
19/ We also saw the uncomfortable challenge of trying to participate in Chinese markets without losing principle. The NBA censoring employees and fans and Hearthstone kicking out gamers for pro Hong Kong statements are emblematic of a larger challenge.
20/ Even as that export of censorship was happening in other domains, we saw the challenge for crypto companies operating in China as well. After Binance announced that it was accepting Alipay and WeChatPay, those companies aggressively re-stated their anti-crypto stance
21/ As @udiwertheimer describes, the stakes of the AliPay/Binance conversation are bigger than just one exchange and one payment solution.
22/ In just 20ish short tweets we’ve seen just how classically crypto chaotic this week was. Let’s wrap with just a few pieces of great content that are worth checking out on their own terms, starting with @hasufl’s latest research on bitcoin’s security model.
23/ This one is a bit of a cheat, since it’s actually a 12-in-1. @Obstropolos threads up the twelve articles he’s written over the last year, about everything from futility tokens to TCRs to DeFi.
24/ Zoom out and read this epic from @morganhousel on demographic shifts, rising inequality and access to information.
25/ Let’s actually get one more about Facebook, Libra and the letter. @collins_belton captures why it feels ominous and gross no matter what we think of the company it’s happening to.
26/ And finally, huge congrats to @PeterMcCormack for the launch of his new podcast Defiance. As you can probably tell from this LRS, the theme is one I think is massively important
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Nathaniel Whittemore

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

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