News: WeChat ban, Virtual Commodity Association, MyHealthRecord and RMIT Blockchain, Venezuela, TRON guts BitTorrent, Inc., Bitfinex/Tether, Deloitte blockchain survey

Dedicated Bitcoin dealer and ardent money launderer Jacob Campos has just been indicted by the US Department of Justice. That he was an enthusiastic Bitfinex customer is purely coincidental.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related accounts have just been banned from WeChat in China.

US crypto exchanges have set up an industry “self-regulation” group, the Virtual Commodity Association. It includes Bitstamp, bitFlyer USA, Bittrex, and Gemini — and not Kraken or Coinbase, the two highest-volume US exchanges. I’ve emailed asking what’s up with that.

Australia’s proposed one-stop medical record MyHealthRecord is already a complicated disaster. So let’s add blockchains! The Victorian government has bunged AUD$99,000 to the RMIT Blockchain blogging unit, which will “look to provide” a “framework for supporting the use of information as a valuable asset that can be protected and traded” — which sounds just dandy, given said unit’s politics ranges from extreme libertarian to Institute of Public Affairs.

In this connection, I’d just like to recommend Stephen Wilson and David Chou’s paper from last year “How Healthy Is Blockchain Technology?” which I wish I’d seen at the time. It answers why everything blockchain promises is the opposite of what you want from a health records system. Steve’s other stuff is well worth your time too.

Venezuela’s “new Bolivar” is pegged to the Petro, which is a “cryptocurrency” that is not traded anywhere at all — the “crypto” aspect is largely meaningless.

I mentioned Venezuela hype in chapter 3 of the book — here’s a report from the ground on actually using crypto in Venezuela. It’s not any sort of mass movement, it’s a very few individuals — it’s for richer people who can afford miners, and changing the crypto into usable bolivars is quite difficult. Interview by ecurrencyhodler, who interviewed me on his podcast recently.

TRON has bought BitTorrent, Inc. — so Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent and founder of the company, has disclaimed any interest in TRON or what the company is doing now, as he’s busy with his new proof-of-disk-space crypto, Chianet. Meanwhile, TRON’s acquisition has sparked a wave of employee departures. The actual BitTorrent protocol is open and open source, and continues just fine.

Tether’s Printing Press Has Churned Out $415 Million in August. That’s nearing half a billion (notional) dollars is in under three weeks.



I didn’t notice at the time — but in June, the CFTC denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for subpoenas issued to Bitfinex and Tether. “… thousands of responsive records, all of which are exempt from the FOIA’s disclosure requirement.”

Cas Piancey got a photo of Bitfinex’ head office in Hong Kong!



After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency Investors — the retail investors who got burnt in the zero-sum game of crypto trading.



Deloitte ran its 2018 Blockchain Survey (PDF), polling 1,053 senior executives at companies with $500m or more annual revenue. “Respondents had at least a broad understanding of blockchain and were familiar with and able to comment on their organizations’ blockchain investment plans.” 70% of these executives consider themselves “blockchain experts”. And the biggest advantage of blockchain technology is … “speed.” Today’s lesson is: NEVER believe polls of what people think of themselves. Unfortunately, it’s certain that this survey will be quoted in future inane blockchain white papers until the end of time — probably as evidence of how fast blockchains are.

The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous gets its third outside review, after mine and Frances Coppola’s! It’s from libertarian thinktank the Cato Institute, and … they’re not very impressed either. “Surely such assertions are better suited to Twitter posts than to a work purporting to convey serious lessons about monetary economics, Austrian or otherwise … How Ammous thought such an ad hominem attack on Keynes would help his argument that Bitcoin can provide a decentralized alternative to central banking is unclear.”

Finder (Australia) covers my leaked KodakCoin offering memorandum.

Initiative Q fans keep coming to my Initiative Q writeup and … trying to spam Q token signup links. This isn’t gonna work, guys.






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