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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #74

Long Reads Sunday - Issue #74
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #65 • View online
Every year around this time, the end of year reflections and next year predictions start rolling in. This year is poised to see even more of that as the first decade since Bitcoin was born comes to a close. 
The mood as those pieces roles in is a little strange. On the one hand, there is a low hum of lethargy, which might simply be the price being about half as high today as its peak in June. On the other hand, if one digs just a little, there are plenty of good reasons for optimism - such as the fact that the number of unique addresses holding BTC has never been higher. 
In some ways, I think part of the benign boredom might be simple exhaustion in a year that has seen so much change - from the rise of DeFi to the true emergence of a global digital currency wars in which its not clear which type of actor - be it governments, private companies, or decentralized protocols have exclusive ownership over the future of money. 
Whatever the case, the end of year content this year promises to be fascinating. It’s only just starting, but keep your eyes out for a lot more in the weeks to come. Happy Long Reads - NLW 

Long Reads Sunday #74
Long Reads Sunday #74. Ah December. A time for family, celebration, and - of course - reflections to figure out just what the hell happened in the past year. So what’s the mood as the EOY content starts to roll in? Grab a nog and let’s do this thing - it’s long reads time!
2/ One sentiment I’ve seen a number of times recently is something between frustration and benign boredom. @Twobitidiot expressed something like this a week or two ago and this tweet from @BtBust really summed it up
3/ There are plenty of indicators that explain the glum. @TheBlock__ wrote about the more than 70 crypto hedge funds that have shuttered this year while @robustus cites the 46% price dip since the June high.
4/ At the same time, there are some pretty positive fundamental indicators as well. @intangiblecoins writes about the recent all-time high in # of addresses holding BTC.
5/ For those more interested in technical fundamentals, @LucasNuzzi smashes the “bitcoin = old tech” meme with this massive landscape of more than 40 protocols being built on top of bitcoin. 
6/ Over at @bitfinex, meanwhile, the exchange announced support for deposits and withdrawals on the Lightning Network.
7/ For those interested in infiltrating the institutions of power, we’ve learned over the last two weeks that the CEO of @bakkt @SenatorLoeffler was being appointed to the Senate in Georgia until a Nov 2020 special election
8/ Frankly, part of me feels like what people might be feeling is simple honest exhaustion after a year that has been filled with such seismic change. For my money, no change is bigger than the entrance of world governments onto the digital money stage.
9/ If the announcement of Libra created urgency around the world, it is the aggressive response of China and their push for a digital yuan that is putting the digital currency wars center stage. @paulvigna wrote an overview for the @WSJ this week
10/ One of the central issues with central bank currencies that @paulvigna points out in that piece is their nearly unlimited capacity for surveillance. In the first full post on his new blog @bullyesq discusses the privacy implications of gov’t involvement with crypto
11/ I came across that post from @BullyEsq after it was flagged in an excellent thread on privacy from @melt_dem. Meltem ends on an important question: if privacy is a fundamental right, what steps can we take to preserve it and who pays for privacy preserving features?
12/ A quick aside - speaking of privacy-related projects, check out this piece in the New Yorker about @CryptoAcevedo and the Zcash supported Crypto Community Project which helps students in the South Bronx learn about the new cryptoeconomy
13/ Anyway, back to privacy and digital currencies, part of the reason that many are worried about what authoritarian governments will do with their own digital currencies is that we’re seeing the way they already exert control on their citizens digital lives
14/ This control also matters at an ISP-level. @danheld flags a piece by @CoinDesk @La__Cuen on the last mile issues for using bitcoin in the places that it matters most and the projects working to address those issues.
15/ Good or bad, it’s clear that gov’t backed digital currencies are an inevitability. @haileylennonbtc flags an announcement from the BVI while @APompliano caught similar news out of France
16/ I anticipate that as more end of year content starts rolling out, the rise of government digital currencies will be one of the most discussed trends, but it is hardly the only one. This piece by @masonnystrom argues that 2019 was the year of DeFi
17/ That piece comes from a larger set of end of DECADE content from @ConsenSys. Check out this year by year walk through of key events for a rock-skipping-over-the-pond type of take on a momentous ten years.
18/ For those more interested in listening than reading, check out @andypickeringnz curation of the top podcast episodes from the last year. I love the episode-level granularity on this
19/ I anticipate a huge amount of additional end of year content to come out over the next couple weeks, but for now, let’s do just a few more recent topical pieces and then get you out of here to enjoy the rest of your Sunday. 
20/ On the topic of DeFi, one of the DeFi themes I anticipate becoming a much bigger topic of conversation in 2020 is decentralized liquidity. Check out this piece by @m_t_prewitt and @Steven_McKie for an overview
21/ Also in DeFi land, check out this research on why DeFi can unintentionally cannibalize PoS security from the always interesting team at @dragonfly_cap
22/ I missed a lot of the debate and discussion around @virgilgr and North Korea over the holiday, but a few threads I think worth noting: +@La__Cuen profile // @VitalikButerin on the situation // @laurashin on NK more broadly
23/ On a very different Ethereum topic, the Istanbul hard fork is now live. I imagine that they’ll be a lot more commentary and analysis to share on this in the coming weeks, but for now, check out this link from @sassal0x on why it’s noteworthy. 
24/ Finally, I’m always thrilled when the fine folks at @Delphi_Digital put out their Macro Outlook, and their latest just dropped.
25/ Reading everything above, one thing is sure: this space keeps moving. Despite a bit of lethargy now, when I asked folks if they were more optimistic or pessimistic than when the year began, an overwhelming 78% said more optimistic
26/ This is why I think pieces like @APompliano’s on Missionaries vs. Mercenaries (shared here by @DTAPCAP) ring so true. If one can step away from the bickering and short term thinking, there is so much to be excited for.
27/ And if you need evidence that there are still new things to get excited about, check out this spur of the moment post conversation thread from @RaoulGMI
28/ And that’s a wrap! I can’t wait for all the juicy end of year content to come, so if you see great things, please tag me in them! As always, you can get LRS via email here:
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Nathaniel Whittemore

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