Nathaniel Whittemore Profile picture
Sep 30, 2018 31 tweets 17 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/ Long Reads Sunday #14. Daaaamn crypto, you really went for it. This was a week full of big announcements, market manipulation, regulatory enforcement, and a dash of various other assorted intrigue. Strap in, folks, it’s long reads time.
2/ One LRS note. Last week I announced that we’re taking this conversation off Twitter and into the realm of live. Well, it’s happening this MONDAY ~7pm EST. My first guest co-host will be @Travis_Kling and I couldn’t be more excited. More guests TBA soon.…
3/ Little has gotten our big-little industry yapping like the Bitmain IPO. For weeks, the convo has been intrigue w BCH, but with the IPO filing, @katherineykwu @MessariCrypto hulked out & summarized all the numbers.
4/ With regard to regulation, Bitmain noted the challenge in keeping track of changing US regulatory opinion. Interestingly, for some investors - notably @arrington - this lack of clarity actually means an opting out of US investments entirely
5/ Interestingly, the SEC did get frisky this week, shutting down 1Broker, a site where customers could participate in security-based swaps with Bitcoin (and notably, without KYC/AML). @matt_odell argued it’s the beginning of a giant game of whack-a-mole.
6/ @Crypto_Macro flagged that the 1Broker shut-down was a joint enforcement action with the CFTC and that the CFTC side of the complained could potentially implicate other popular crypto exchanges.
7/ On the other hand, @wheatpond argued that swaps are uber-regulated and that the SEC action is in keeping with a "hands-off for most, enforcement for the most egregious" attitude. There is no denying that, post Dodd-Frank, swaps *are* hyper scrutinized.
8/ Speaking of the CFTC, @jchervinsky flagged another case in which their assertion that cryptos are commodities was held up in court. The lack of clarity around which bodies have jurisdiction is one of the challenges slowing regulatory processes.
9/ Given that a key concern of regulators is money laundering, how much is actually happening? The WSJ took a look, made some assertions, and immediately the crypto community pointed out that ML through crypto is actually less by %s than through banks
10/ Still, the potential for market manipulation is real. @AriDavidPaul points out a set of reasons why manipulation is comparatively more likely in a market like crypto - but also argues that it comes with the territory of any nascent market
11/ Without a doubt, the manipulation story of the week was the explosive allegation that Huobi was conspiring with a set of other EOS Block Producers to concentrate power.
12/ When I say “explosive,” maybe “completely and utterly predictable” is a better way to describe parties w deep financial incentive coordinating for their own benefit. @VitalikButerin pointed out that this can be a structural problem of coinholder voting
13/ At the same time, it’s not like governance is solved. In fact, transitioning from centralized to decentralized decision making is one of today's biggest challenges. @VladZamfir wrote a long piece on the topic, prompting an excellent conversation.
14/ In one of the best essays of the week, @eiaine argues that “confidence in a network’s decentralization is critical to a cryptocurrency’s value,” and that in fact, that confidence comes not from trust but paranoia.…
15/ Governance was also an unexpected star of a funding announcement. While a deal for A16z to buy 5% of Maker is a strong vote of confidence in the crowded stablecoin space, some questioned the process by which the decision was made.
16/ To me, this reflects a reality we’re still coming to acknowledge: decision-making processes in decentralized systems are political acts, and protocols are likely to see the same campaigning, alliance-building and other tactics from politics ported over…
17/ Speaking of, one of the best recent pieces about how different blockchains are from companies is by @libovness, an essay about leaderless protocols, protocol-encoded temporary leadership and what it means to live in the long shadow of Satoshi’s ghost.…
18/ Of course, without leaders, how are important decisions made? A fascinating conversation where some project leaders doing their current thinking out in public is Proof of Work protocols considering Proof of Stake design.
19/ The whole thread is a learning labyrinth and could more or less have taken this entire LRS, but for the skeptical-at-a-fundamental-level view, @nic__carter has the must reads:
20/ Honestly, there was so much this week that I can’t even close to capture it all. I want to highlight a few more great long reads, but so you don’t miss the actual news, @APompliano has you covered with a single tweet.
21/ First, Ethereum has obviously dealt with quite a bit of skepticism this summer. That makes @lrettig’s tome on all the good things happening in the ETH community even more impactful. Don’t miss @VitalikButerin adding 6 more in the comments…
22/ Next, after years of trying to align the traditional finance and business world with crypto, @anguschampion wonders if private blockchains are simply too much of a contradiction to be overcome. Money line: “You can never be half decentralized”…
23/ It’s no secret that users are falling out of love w centralized services like Facebook (see: 50m accounts compromised & 2FA phone #s used for ad targeting) & @jarroddicker argues on @tokendaily that one key change for web3 is a rethink of reputation…
24/ Speaking of the tech giants and their outsized influence on what we see and how we experience the world around us, @TokenHash argues that in the future, a threat to worry about is who controls what sidechains exist and who can build new projects
25/ Because long-thinking narratives are what Sundays are for, how bout 21 tweets on how we go from a currency “first perceived as an internet toy for cypherpunks” to “local monopolies on money” being described by historians as “a relic of the past”
26/ Blockchains are chiseling away the distinction between capital and labor, but this thoughtful thread by @cburniske demonstrates why the capital-but-not-work contributions of investors to ICOs has made cryptonetworks economically stagnant
27/ @brucefenton expanded a short presentation of his from #bh2018 on securities, stocks and the future of security tokens. By expanded I mean 10 videos, 92 minutes of total content. I’ll be the first to say a big Thank You Sir for this awesome content.
28/ Speaking of #bh2018, one of the highlight talks came, again, from @nic__carter. He published the slides last week, but @woonomic did this great summary making the highlights available without even leaving Twitter.
29/ And finally, I’ll leave you with this. If you needed a reminder why all of these debates we have and all the thinking and work that goes into this new industry matters, just read this, be grateful, and carry on.
30/ With that, we’re wrapped! As always, please use the comments to share what I missed, and what else had your brain humming this week. To get LRS via email, sign up below. Thanks for reading and catch you tomorrow for the first even Long Reads Live.
APPENDIX 1/ One more that I really meant to get in here. One thing to inspire some usage bull excitement is the surging of Pixel Master - an EOS mashup of FOMO3D style rev sharing mechanics and a collaborative digital canvas.

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More from @nlw

Oct 7, 2018
1/ Long Reads Sunday #15. Queue the “Bitcoin-as-stablecoin” jokes. As BTC hovers at ~$6600, this week was most definitely not about price action. Instead, the story is a bubbling undercurrent of institutional activity setting the stage for what comes next.
2/ On Friday, news broke that Yale’s endowment, led by David Swensen, inventor of the swap (hi Bitmex), had invested in Paradigm, a $400m crypto fund led by @matthuang, @FEhrsam, @_charlienoyes. @APompliano summarized in Off The Stack…
3/ While some tried to suggest the deal was being overhyped, @cryptorae, with a background in endowment investing, articulated just how influential top endowments and Swensen in particular are to other institutionals
Read 30 tweets
Oct 4, 2018
“‘Centralization' gets used as a four-letter word..”

On Monday I was joined by @travis_kling, @katherineykwu @myles_snider for the first ever Long Reads Live and riffing on market manipulation, regulatory uncertainty and weaponizing narratives. /1
2/ Of course, ain’t nobody got an hour to kill, so on this Medium post I’ve captured the key time stamps so you can go straight to the parts that are actually interesting to you. I also posted some shorter clips on specific topics.…
3/ The motivation for LRL is: 1) I think people might be into hearing not about what smart crypto people do for work, but what they think about the right then issues that impact all of our work; and 2) conversations are more fun than interviews. See:…
Read 6 tweets
Sep 28, 2018
Drumroll please 🥁 are the most clicked links from last week's Long Reads Sunday.…
#5 One of the godfathers of the crypto space (as in, inventor of things like blind signatures OG) has a new blockchain project. @Adam_Tache recaps a recent presentation, summarizing everything shared so far
#4 At last weeks #bh2018, @brucefenton delivered this presentation arguing about how distributed ledgers will change traditional securities systems and, importantly, why the cypherpunk set should care.
Read 7 tweets
Sep 23, 2018
1/ Long Reads Sunday #13. What a week it was. We saw: XRP surge and (momentarily) flip ETH; a massive ratchet up in scrutiny around exchanges; a significant Bitcoin bug and so much more. Get your coffee black and steaming, it’s long reads time.
2/ Firstly, damn XRP. Ripple went crazy this week, doubling its market cap Thursday-Friday and bringing back echoes of 2017. @crypto_macro pointed to a couple of the better attempts at explanation.
3/ One part of the XRP surge story seems to have been significant volumes on BitMEX. If 2017 was the year of altcoins buying on Binance et al, 2018 has been all about leveraged trading, shorts, and perpetual swaps on BitMEX.
Read 34 tweets
Sep 20, 2018
1/ One of the most fascinating conversations happening on crypto twitter right now: on a global scale, what matters more - anti-inflationary crypto-fiat stability, or cryptocurrencies that are truly immune to seizure by hostile forces?…
2/ The conversation was prompted by the @multicoincap boys who, whether you agree with them or not, can spark a debate like pretty much no one else. In short, they argued that crypto-fiat like Gemini Dollar will suck a huge amount of oxygen out of the room
3/ Unsurprisingly, more than a few people were like “WTF Mate?”
Read 13 tweets
Sep 18, 2018
1/ What do memes, shitposting, #NO2X and “community” have to do with one another? Riffing on @spencernoon’s community thread from yesterday a little.
2/ If blockchains are network organization tools, one of the most important answers to “why decentralize” is to eliminate the distinction between network owners and network participants.
3/ When networks have owners who are separate from participants, at some point incentives diverge. In the case of network businesses like Amazon or Facebook, this manifests as higher fees or more data capture to satisfy shareholders. @Kjer called this the “Extraction Imperative”
Read 12 tweets

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