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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #69

Long Reads Sunday - Issue #69
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #60 • View online
The meta-theme of this week was the clash of old vs. new.
Now, one could of course make the argument that every week has this theme in crypto, but it was on particular display in, first, central bank response to Libra and, second, bitcoiner debates about institutionalization and censorship resistance.
Libra had a better week last week than the defection heavy previous week, announcing the 21 official first members of the Libra Association and a new, official 5-member board. At the same time, the BIS and G7 published a paper on concerns with any private stablecoins and countries like France argued in no uncertain terms that digital currency should remain in the domain of governments.
After Chainalysis helped law enforcement break up a child porn site using bitcoin addresses, a Twitter dustup ensued around whether censorship resistance and the ability to use bitcoin outside and around existing power structures was its most essential feature. As you might expect, the conversation flared hot, but it was, ultimately, much more productive than the average Twitter debates.
With Zuckerberg testifying before Congress on Wednesday, it’s hard to imagine that this big theme of the clash of old and new won’t continue right on into this week as well. Happy long reads - NLW

Long Reads Sunday #69
The meta-theme of last week was the clash of old vs. new.
Bitcoiners debated whether institutionalization meant giving up on ideas like censorship resistance, while central banks continue to react to the Libra threat.
Saddle up, it’s Long Reads time!
2/ After a battering previous week which saw the defection of Stripe, Visa, Mastercard and more all its payment partners, Libra rallied to announce the official starting Libra Association and 5 member board of directors of the Libra Association.
3/ Libra also saw some vocal support from @SenatorRounds who pushed back on the open letters from his colleagues in previous weeks.…
Some, like @mikejcasey argue that, indeed, Libra’s obituaries are being penned prematurely.
4/ If nothing else Libra has smashed central banks out of their complacency around digital currency. The BIS and G7 issued a report last week on the opportunities and risks of private stablecoins…
5/ Some countries, led vocally by France, are drawing a line and saying that digital currencies ARE essential - and Chinese leadership in that domain a threat - but that they need to remain the exclusive right and role of government’s themselves.
6/ On the other hand, some nations are taking a very different approach. Bermuda made a number of interesting announcements last week, including accepting USD stablecoins. Follow @DenisPitcher @BermudaPremier @fintechbermuda to keep an eye on this one
7/ CBDCs vs. Libra wasn’t the only old vs. new debate, however. @TheStalwart whipped bitcoin twitter into a frenzy questioning whether bitcoin’s anti-establishment roots are sufficiently appreciated by the forces driving institutional adoption
8/ As you might expect, there were lots (and lots) of responses.
@APompliano disagreed that the *only* value proposition was non-censorability…
9/ @LucasNuzzi pointed out that bitcoin’s permissionless nature creates the opportunity for entirely different markets to sit side by side…
@nic__carter tended to agree that perfect integration might come at significant costs
10/ I thought the debate was interesting enough to dedicate an entire episode of Crypto Daily 3@3. Even though tempers got a little hot in places, I believe these sort of discussions about the most essential features of BTC to be protected are vital
11/ Speaking of censorship and resistance, @sbanjo wrote this fascinating thread about the “red scare” that has come over Silicon Valley when it comes to China
12/ And speaking of dystopian concerns, I’m a sucker for open-ended big think question threads like this one from Meltem on “what is the most dystopian thing about bitcoin?”
13/ The week rounded out with a bunch of news from the exchange space. @Binance hit over $1B in cumulative profit (and $200m in burned BNB) & announced 125x leverage, which even @cz_binance pointed out is a product for a very specific type of investor only
14/ And in that late Friday news dump slot was @circlepay announcing the spin out of @Poloniex and subsequent withdrawal of the company from the US. @crypto_bobby held a video requiem.
15/ These massive seismic debates on the nature of future money can crowd out the discussion space, but if you look closely, crypto governance has moved firmly out of the realm of the theoretical. For example, the debate around the Zcash dev fund
16/ I’m going to wrap this (one day late - sorry team!) LRS a little early, but I’ll leave you with this thought.
As much as it might seem quiet right now, the shifts happening all around us are absolutely tectonic. Now is as good a time as ever to get involved.
17/ Thanks as always for reading! Let me know what you loved and what I missed. And of course, sign up to get LRS via email
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Nathaniel Whittemore

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