News: Australia “nah mate” to blockchains, Bitfinex/Tether push Rothschild conspiracy theories, JPEG blockchain DRM, miners as locusts, Initiative Q

  • “The market can stay irrational longer than you can retain hope for humanity.” — Klyith

Back in May, Australia’s Digital Transformation Authority got AUD$700,000 in the May budget to “provide $0.7 million in 2018–19 for the Digital Transformation agency to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for Government services” — apparently at the personal request of then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The DTA’s come back:

For every use of blockchain that you would consider today there is a better technology … a lot of the big vendors are pushing blockchain very hard and internationally most of the hype around blockchain is coming from vendors and companies, not from governments and users and deliverers of services. It’s not that we don’t trust any of the vendors — that would be an unfair characterisation — we trust the vendors, but note that the motivation is generally sales and making revenue.

This was chief digital officer Peter Alexander to a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday morning — the transcript will likely be out later this week. This is 100% the correct conclusion, and I hope they went through the sensible process of spending $30 on my book, writing the conclusion, and putting the next $699,970 toward the booze that would be medically necessary to recover from knowing about blockchains. Edit: full transcript now up.

Also in Australia — Global Tech, a “crypto community for the people, by the people” company fronted by cricketer Michael Clarke, has folded after the local securities regulator ASIC called them up to have a word. “As a result of this Global Tech has issued full refunds to all investors.”

If tethers are indeed each backed by a genuine US dollar, then the Bitfinex crypto exchange, owners of Tether, has been taking advantage of the depressed price of tethers — they’ve taken 630 million back out of circulation.

Meanwhile, tethers flood into Kraken — one of the few exchanges where you can trade USDT directly for USD. Ignore that tethers are not available to US residents, while Kraken USD withdrawals are only available to US residents — said US residents certainly are.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but on the blockchain: Bitfinex themselves are hot on the case of the Mysterious Manipulation of Tether Prices — they think the culprits are … the ROTHSCHILDS!! Yes, it was an International Banker conspiracy theory — and not Bitfinex’s banking problems, or Tether’s continuing failure to produce an audit or redeem tethers.  But don’t worry, bitcoiners only occasionally start ranting about Zionists.

“Everything after mid-2013 is essentially a combination of Mt. Gox fraud and Bitfinex fraud” — Bitfinex’ed interviewed by Modern Consensus.



Blockchain advocates tout as their latest HUGE SUCCESS! … a centralised securities depository, to be run in France by UK fintech Setl. But the backend is sort of blockchainy, honest.

It seems Barclays Bank put its crypto trading desk project “on ice” in September.

Nearly two-thirds of those seeking cryptocurrency agent certification — about 250 lawyers, accountants and auditors — failed to pass the Malta Financial Services Authority exam. This was after the MFSA made changes to try to boost the success rate.

The Bank of Zambia says that “while cryptocurrencies have some monetary characteristics … cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Zambia” and that the general public should be aware of the risks.

The SEC has launched a new Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology — a special office just to talk to ICOs and similar regulation hazards. Because they’d rather you did it right, and not wrong. For instance, don’t claim SEC approval when you’re publicising your ICO.

How the CFTC is addressing the prediction market as bucket shop problem — they’re contemplating coming after the developers.I think the appropriate question is whether these code developers could reasonably foresee, at the time they created the code, that it would likely be used by U.S. persons in a manner violative of CFTC regulations.

President Trump’s trade war with China just hit Bitmain — AntMiners will have an extra 27.5% tariff.

The Joint Photographic Experts Group’s Touradj Ebrahimi on people not liking JPEG’s blockchain DRM initiative: “Most of the comments are stupid and rubbish by people who have no clues about what they are talking about. No wonder Trump became president!!! These people deserve no better!!!” JPEG’s Vancouver Blockchain workshop has produced some documents, which found their way to the Internet Archive. If they’re claiming their Blockchain JPEG initiative is totally not about the DRM bits, they need to stop talking quite so much about the management of digital restrictions.

Here’s KodakOne’s official launch announcement for their Post-Licensing Portal! That’s “launch” as in “not launched yet.”

As usual, bitcoiners’ contribution to green energy is a lot like locusts’ contribution to other greenery — “miners requested approximately 1,500 megawatts of power — or nearly three times as much as the county’s residents and businesses were using.”

When normal people find out just how much power Bitcoin uses, they get justifiably angry. “Bitcoin (and its many mutations and outgrowths) is a planetary-scale mistake, a whiny tech-bro fantasy and an environmental catastrophe that’s already happening.Destroy Bitcoin. Smash the mining rigs. And “Bitcoin is made from ashes, and if ashes were legal tender, humanity would burn everything in sight and call it progress.”

Weaknesses in the Web 3.0 thesis: “Trust is Social and No One Understands the Math.”

There’s no Technical Analysis astrologer like a Bitcoin Technical Analysis astrologer. Here’s Ryan Okrant (US, UK) — and I think he’s serious. (Edmund Schuster: “Also like how all good reviews were written within 24 hours. 5 million years of data, but the enthusiasts all dropped in on a rainy day in Feb. THAT’S what I call a previously missed micro indicator.”)



My post about Initiative Q has been taking off again — 500 hits most days, 4000 hits yesterday, 23,000 so far today — and is, literally, the third-most-popular I have ever written anywhere in my entire life. As the only detailed critical post on Initiative Q, I expect this to continue. This morning, my stepdaughter posted the article link on her Facebook, to get her more gullible friends to stop advertising this rubbish — what a well-brought-up young woman. I just recorded an interview about Initiative Q for BBC 5 Live “Up All Night”, which will be here on iPlayer by tomorrow morning.

The BBC quotes me concerning the problem with blockchains: “All the people selling magical flying unicorn ponies, and writing in detail about the measurements of the wing feathers, are ignoring that unicorns don’t exist.”

I’ve just polished up my press coverage page, with a section of academic citations — more welcomed! — and handy internal links to each section. I always say “yes” to podcasts and media! Contact me now!



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