News: Ripple’s partners are fog, Bitcoin ups and downs and downs, Kik vs SEC, unbanking the banked

  • Reminder — I’m speaking at Blockchain: Utopia or U-turn? at the Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece on Sunday 17 February — my bit’s 7:30-8:00pm, talking about Attack of the 50-Foot Blockchain. Jemima Kelly from FT Alphaville is on straight after me. “The entrance is free and on a first come, first served basis. The distribution of entrance tickets begins one (1) hour before each event.”


Nobody uses Ripple Labs’ tech — Ripple’s “200+ Institutional Clients” Claim Is A Scam. “Not a single one of Ripple’s clients appears to be real, or an actual client.”

Ripple Labs signs up Euro Exim Bank to use XRP! … insofar as Euro Exim Bank can be said to be a thing, let alone a “bank.”

Remember how Ripple Labs claimed a “partnership” with Santander — and told the press things like “We are covering 50% of all the FX payments the Santander Group does annually,” then tweeted them from the official Ripple account? It turns out they’re talking about an iPhone app, “Santander One Pay FX,” which uses Ripple’s xCurrent. The app has 17 ratings and one review — almost nobody uses it. It turns out that “covering” means the app is available in Spain, UK, Brazil and Poland — which together contain 50% of Santander’s customers — and does not in any way mean that those customers use it.


Bitcoin reaches a new record of sustained achievement! — it’s gone down in price every month for the past six months.

But that’s okay! Crypto hedge fund Pantera Capital says the crypto winter is actually good news for Bitcoin.

Crypto mining hardware provider Nvidia warns investors that it will have to start selling video cards to gamers again.

How to generate transaction volume: Two hacker groups who stole $1 billion in coins from exchanges moved them 5,000 to 15,000 times before cashing out — that’s $5-15 trillion of faked on-chain volume.

Look, decentralised exchanges were just a talking point to keep the press coverage going — nobody was going to use them, because they suck to use. Also, they’re way too expensive to pump or dump on.

The hugest news of the week is QuadrigaCX collapsing into Mt. Quadriga. I’m compiling a separate post on that, which will probably be up tomorrow. And Quadriga’s Litecoin “cold” wallets are being drained as I write this — I guess the ghost of Gerald Cotten’s finding the afterlife pricier than he’d expected. Update: no they’re not. But, have the full update.



Unbanking the banked in the UK — the story of a poor businessman who was just experimenting with crypto and was dumped by his bank! No warning! They dumped his business too! A few paragraphs down — oh, he was trading with random people on LocalBitcoins and expected the bank to be fine with that. A few paras further — oh yeah, his “business” was an electric bicycle that “mines” his crypto token as you ride. There’s a tacked-on “whatabout” that bitcoins are considered taxable in the UK, as if that has anything to do with banks’ money-laundering risk from serial entrepreneurs.

In 2016, a Miami judge dismissed charges against Michell Espinoza of illegal transmission and laundering of $1500 worth of bitcoins, on the basis that they weren’t money — just “poker chips that people are willing to buy from you.” The prosecution appealed — and the decision has been reversed. “The anarcho-libertarians living in their mother’s basements are undoubtedly tearing their hair out tonight, but the reality is the appeals court has kicked this back to the jury,” said expert witness for the defense Charles Evans of Barry University.

Shocked, shocked to hear that health startup used false claims about partners and advisors to gin up investor demand in its ICO token.

SingularDTV — the subject of one of my earliest dire warnings about all things crypto, and their own section in chapter 12 of the book — seem to have decided that their crypto news site Breaker is the thing they’re good at, and have changed the company name to Breaker too. But is “Breaker breaker Breaker breaker breaker breaker Breaker breaker” grammatically correct in English?

TRON bought BitTorrent, Inc. and did an ICO for their new BitTorrentToken. It sold out quickly … but the interest amongst BitTorrent users — even those using the BitTorrent, Inc. official uTorrent client — is all but nonexistent. Looks like it’s entirely speculators.

Kik’s ICO for its Kin token led to the completely predicted trouble with the SEC, who think Kin is an unlicensed security. (This has been cooking a while — I posted about it a year ago.) Kik are fighting the SEC on this one! Unfortunately, The Block found a video with CEO Ted Livingston saying things like “it will become super valuable on day one” and “you win, you make more money, we win, we have that 30% but then we both win because we can both ride the upside of it” “you invested $50 million, maybe we’ll give you $500 million out of that $9 billion.”



Binance’s new charity pays recipients in crypto. Can they use it for anything but Binance-approved goods? Yes! If they convert their crypto to cash via the Binance Uganda exchange.

Lightning Network software Bluewallet is renowned for its ease of use! It doesn’t let you withdraw, but that’s apparently coming later. (Why would you want to withdraw or anything. Hodl!) If you press “withdraw,” Bluewallet sends you to the highly reputable ZigZag Exchange — which is currently running at a transaction every hour or so. Liquidity!

Remember that Augur bet on “Which party will control the House after 2018 U.S. Midterm Election?” They’re currently in the throes of their sixth round of dispute on whether code is LOL. Will they conclude that “smart contracts” aren’t contracts, and that we have lawyers and courts for a reason? … nah.

Enterprise blockchain now is like XML was 20 years ago — an excuse to spend money on interoperability and technical debt. Except XML is occasionally useful.

There’s a ridiculous recent Bitcoin maximalist article on Hacker Noon insisting proof of work is good actually, by claiming Digiconomist doesn’t show his numbers. Alex de Vries notes the completely false claims in the piece, and also shows you how to work out his numbers: “Verify, don’t trust”.

Emin Gün Sirer on decentralisation — “All of the existing coins are far from the decentralized dream that has been sold to the masses.”

Quinn DuPont: Researching the Traders Behind the Cryptocurrency Mania. Who was into crypto right at the peak of the bubble, and why?

Mike Dudas at The Block asked for a good piece from a crypto skeptic. I gave him The Buttcoin Standard: The problem with Bitcoin. The reception so far seems to be that non-bitcoiners love it, and Bitcoin maximalists are outraged. Most bizarre objection from maximalists: that there are more serious criticisms that I didn’t cover … and then they’re unable to say what these “serious” criticisms are, even on repeated request. I’m sure they’ll get to it eventually.





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