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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #71

Long Reads Sunday - Issue #71
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #62 • View online
The original inspiration for Long Reads Sunday wasn’t about keeping track of events in crypto, but about capturing and collating the most interesting ideas that were written as Medium essays or Twitter threads and too easily lost to the constant churn of the industry. 
As things have evolved, the sheer amount of activity has pushed LRS in the direction of a narrative recounting of the events that shaped the space the previous week. I’m just fine with that - I think it’s the highest value I can add - but there are times that I miss the big think stuff. 
When I started to review content from this week, it was clear that it was a chance to return to those roots. There is so much interesting, thoughtful content. Part of it might just be coincidence, but part, I think, has to do with a sense that the stakes of all of this are rising right before our eyes. 
Think about it. We have folks like Dalio telling us everything is topsy turvy. We have governments around the world racing to figure out their digital currency strategies, highlighted by the economic battle between the US and China coming into greater focus. We have looming questions of the power and role of technology in a new age. 
And of course, we have these fledging alternative currencies and complete economic systems fighting to actually give people a chance to opt out and participate in something different. 
In that light it’s hard NOT to think big. I hope you enjoy this week’s selections. -NLW
P.S. We just released the second batch of episodes for Bitcoin Macro, the pop-up podcast I produced for CoinDesk as part of #InvestNYC. These include Josh Brown on why bitcoin is like the 1800s railroad boom; Ambre Soubiran on bitcoin’s ‘intrinsic value’; and Meltem Demirors on the 3 things bitcoin represents. 
PPS. Speaking of Invest: NYC - I’ll be speaking on a panel Tuesday morning with Dovey Wan, Joe Weisenthal and Leigh Cuen about - what else? - memes and crypto twitter and what they mean to the industry. 

Long Reads Sunday #71
Long Reads Sunday #71. Hedge funder warnings. Bitcoin analogies to past revolutions. Blockchains & Tyranny. De-Americanization. LRS returns to its roots with an edition that is almost all big ideas instead of just news. Get your <coffee> and let’s go 
2/ Apropos of an all big thought content issue, may I recommend Bitcoin Macro - a pop-up podcast I produced with @CoinDesk for #InvestNYC all about Bitcoin in the macro context. 2nd drop features @melt_dem @reformedbroker @Ambresoub
3/ Hey and speaking of @CoinDesk - I’ll be speaking about (what else) memes and crypto Twitter at #InvestNYC on Tuesday with @La__Cuen @TheStalwart and @doveywan. Say hi if you’re there.
4/ Back to the topics at hand, Bitcoin in the macro context has been big on everyone’s mind lately. Although he didn’t mention bitcoin specifically, @RayDalio’s “World Has Gone Mad” set the community alight
5/ Of course, Dalio’s warning is about more than just the shifts that set the context for bitcoin. Not everyone’s buying the connection between inequality, cheap money and tech valuations though.
6/ Still, to the extent that there is a larger frameshift happening in economic circles everywhere, bitcoin and crypto folks do tend to be on the early side of it. See @gaborgurbacs simply explanation of one key mindset difference
7/ That said, not everyone is convinced that trying to to convince the world to care about sound money principles is the path to large-scale adoption. This reminds me of recent debates about how much sound money vs. censorship resistance matters
8/ At the same time, @nic__carter makes an important point that “Not wanting your savings debased is an emotional, not an intellectual feeling.” This principle is one that I think has even more resonance the more meme’d it gets.
9/ Speaking of a big picture view of bitcoin, I absolutely loved this research report on the parallels between the Protestant Reformation and today from @TuurDemeester & co. This is the quintessential long read for your Sunday.
10/ @balajis added some additional thoughts on ’The Bitcoin Reformation’ re: the disintermediation of religion. I also thought this micro-thread on the US and China was provocative
11/ The atmosphere is thick with questions of technology, liberty and tyranny, with China often at the center of it. Take for example, @KyleSamani’s flagging of controversy around TikTok and what it might mean for decentralized platforms
12/ @Gladstein cut to the quick even more directly with his op-ed in @bitcoinmagazine featuring this epic line: A Blockchain-Based Digital Yuan: ‘Lipstick for a Panoptical Pig’
13/ With the critique that China’s blockchain projects are largely about exerting more control over citizens, it’s worth looking at where else examples of that control exist. See for example, new rules limiting time spent on games
14/ Ever thoughtful @benthompson wrote about tech and liberty in the context of Facebook’s decision to not fact check political ads (which, if you’ll remember, was basically all any Congress people wanted to discuss at Zuck’s Libra hearing)
15/ Speaking of Congress, @WarrenDavidson wrote a short opinion for the WSJ on why the House Financial Services Committee should overcome their fears around blockchain or risk losing talent and innovation
16/ His worries around un-founded. Huobi is the latest exchange to part ways with US customers, the latest in an ongoing de-Americanization #NarrativeWatch
17/ There is a strange dissonance between the intrinsically global and geographically unfettered potential of crypto and the fragmentation based on compliance. @jillruthcarlson made the observation that this is part and parcel of financial services and the internet
18/ Of course, many of the folks most interested in shifting that paradigm of geographically bound financial services are looking to DeFi. In this excellent thread, @ercwl argues that some are making a mistake ignoring it based on ideologically opposition to Ethereum.
19/ Within the DeFi world, many important conversations center around DAI - especially with Multi-Collateral Dai coming in just a matter of days.
20/ And speaking of DAI, with an erm shall we call it “forthright” prompt, Peter’s tweet on complexity and adoption ended up producing a pretty extensive and interesting conversation
21/ One more thing from the Ethereum world. A group just announced an Ethereum Marketing DAO. I have some intrinsic skepticism of collective decision making over individuals when it comes to marketing, but I’m glad to see such a full on experiment!
22/ @a16z announced a new educational program called Crypto Startup School, and I thought @brian_armstrong’s thread on why it was interesting and how crypto startups differ from other categories was worth a read
23/ Also from @a16z, they just published this excellent crypto glossary on key terms and concepts. Really great starting point for folks trying to immerse themselves
24/ Here’s another term for you: ‘blitzscaling.’ Multicoin follows up its February BNB report with this look at Binance’s aggressive moves in the space, including launching 12 major initiatives in Q3.
25/ Binance was one of the topics of the epic two part podcast I did with @ClayCollins on the history of exchanges. We talk about everything from the earliest Bitcoin Exchanges to today’s trends
26/ Anywhoo, Multicoin and A16Z weren’t the only investors putting out interesting content. Placeholder published their latest on how to think about value
27/ Speaking of Placeholder, I also really liked this guest post from @contentnow on @TheBlock__ about @BradUSV’s vision of data ownership
28/ Like I said, there was so much good content this week, it was an awesome reminder of why I started LRS in the first place. Let’s wrap it up with a couple of threads from @ChrisEspley1 - the first was from the summer but re-highlighted by @DTAPCAP
29/ The second, from just a few days ago, is about “why crypto will win” and argues the importance of something called ‘generatively’ - ‘the ability for unaccredited strangers to build, use and make changes to a network.’
30/ I could go on and on, but I’ll wrap there so you can actually make it through a reasonable chunk of these. If you prefer to read it all via email, sign up at
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Nathaniel Whittemore

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