This Week in Bitcoin is your roundup of the prime talking points from across the cryptosphere. From the major news to the minor debates that erupted into huge arguments, we’ve captured the flavor of the frenetic soup that is Bitcoin and all that simmers in it. In this edition, the deadline for the $8 billion Tulip Trust looms closer and bitcoin maximalists are caught behaving badly.
Monday: $8 Billion BTC and Post-Fork Fixes
On Monday, September 9, we led with the story of the Tulip Trust, which is due to deliver $8 billion in BTC to Craig Wright in less than three weeks. Supposedly. We also covered the SEC approving a bitcoin futures fund, and the new IRS tax form targeting crypto owners in Monday’s regulatory round-up.
Also on Monday, in the wake of Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork, researcher Antoine Le Calvez showed how thousands of dapps failed due to the changes made to smart contracts, which caused them to run out of gas. He noted how even crypto exchanges were affected, with Gemini unable to “sweep user deposits into its hot wallet after the fork, each attempt resulting in an out-of-gas error.” The Ethereum ecosystem suffered another blow on December 9 when a different researcher explained how a well-funded attacker could “turn $20M into $340M in 15 seconds” by exploiting the Makerdao contract.
On crypto Twitter, a debate broke out over Bitcoin’s lack of privacy. Business-owner Jason Smith explained his reservations with paying overseas staff in BTC, confessing: “I became frustrated with how open Bitcoin is. It exposes way more than one wants to the staff. That lead me to consider the improbability of the world adopting a financial tool that doesn’t afford business decent levels of privacy.” Ironically, Smith was formerly opposed to privacy coins, before undergoing a volte-face and paying his overseas employees in zcash.
Tuesday: Blockstream Alienates Everyone
On December 10, Blockstream caught flak after its plans to raise $50M by issuing a BTSE exchange token were leaked. The revelation that Blockstream was projecting an increase in revenue of 3,700% for 2020 to justify the token sale forced Samson Mow onto the defensive, a position he’s occupied on crypto Twitter for weeks, as the company’s beleaguered CSO has poured fuel on fires that were of his own making. As Cobra Bitcoin put it, “Liquid is just Blockstream’s platform for scam token issuance as a service. And how exactly does an exchange forecast going from $2M in revenue in 2019 to $100M+ in 2020?” The BTSE row was to rumble on all week, with Samson Mow and Adam Back digging themselves deeper into the hole they had constructed.
Elsewhere, in The War on Cash, Marty Bent highlighted tough new laws in Greece and Italy effectively criminalizing the use of cash, opining: “The governments of these countries are herding their citizens into the digital panopticon that is the current global financial system so that they can milk them for all of that sweet sweet tax money.” In related news, we covered Italians’ love of cash and growing appreciation for crypto. And in unrelated news, Ross Ulbricht had a stab at predicting when bitcoin’s next all-time high will occur.
Wednesday: Jack Tries Some Blue Sky Thinking
On December 11, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey got the cryptosphere all of a stir when he revealed Blue Sky, a “small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media,” funded by Twitter. “It would be incredible for the future of free speech and censor-resistant information to see a decentralized twitter protocol with various clients and front-ends built atop that standard,” enthused Messari’s Ryan Selkis.
“A tech CEO that understands Bitcoin and decentralized social networks,” tweeted Blockstack’s Muneeb. “Facebook is trying to start Libra. My guess is Jack will prefer to extend existing open crypto networks instead.”
Thursday: Bitcoin Maximalists Bust out the Banhammer
Crypto is full of contradictions, with one of the greatest being the glee with which certain proponents of censorship-resistant money will censor their opponents’ opinions. We’re looking at you, bitcoin maxis, with your high follower count and low tolerance for dissenting voices. The loss of Crypto Deleted, a Twitter account that screenshotted the foolish tweets hastily purged by members of the cryptorati, was led by Jameson Lopp.
Critics of the circle-jerking maximalists, including Romano, were quick to point out their hypocrisy. “Imagine writing a blog post that ultimately led to mass reporting and suspending an account that you didn’t agree with. And then imagine celebrating it – as a cypherpunk nonetheless,” chipped in Larry Cermak.
Friday: Tether Time
Friday 13th was to prove unlucky for Tether, which found itself on the receiving end of yet another legal brief from the New York Attorney General. “If these allegations are true Bitfinex/Tether’s chances in this case should be toast,” tweeted ‘lex node’ who broke down the filing for those who couldn’t face trawling through the full document. Others demurred, however, asserting that the NYAG’s latest doc contained nothing new.
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Meanwhile, over on crypto Twitter, bitcoin maximalists finished the week the way they’d started it: by acting hypocritically and getting called out for it. This time it was Peter McCormack’s turn to get grief for his double standards and general sycophancy.
Finally, in real news, Dutch banking giant ING declared it was developing a crypto custody service, and the European Central Bank’s Christine Lagarde outlined her plans to keep the ECB “ahead of the curve” when it comes to digital currency and stablecoins.
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