News: Craig Wright hearing transcript, US Congress staff unimpressed with Facebook Libra, Reggie Fowler court date, Ledger Wallet bad firmware, Roubini/Hayes debate


The transcript of Craig Wright’s 28 June evidentiary hearing in Kleiman v. Wright is now available. This was the one about whether Wright should be found in contempt of court for dragging his feet in discovery — it’s 239 pages of large print, but it’s a rollicking comedy ride.

Ben Munster gives general highlights of the transcript, Kim Nilsson gives technical highlights, and Stephen Palley and Daniel Kelman give legal ones. Palley thinks it looks bad for Wright — particularly the bit where Wright is asked if documents that he supplied were forgeries, and he says “I don’t know” — but the trial’s not over yet.

(Daniel Kelman is also the guy who filed for a trademark on “Mt. Gox” in the US just a few months ago. Maybe he’s going to sell T-shirts or something.)

Here’s a whole thread of questionable documents that Craig Wright has submitted in discovery in Kleiman v. Wright. These are what the expert witnesses will be going through at the 7 August hearing, which is the second part of the 28 June hearing.

Craig Wright allegedly interacted with several people while he was allegedly developing Bitcoin. But they all seem to be … unavailable.



Facebook fights back against Libra criticism — specifically, the Financial Times’ criticism. The FT appears to have struck all the correct nerves.

European Libra users will have to treat their Libra holdings as an asset for capital gains tax purposes — and for the UK, HMRC confirms that, as a basket of currencies, Libra doesn’t qualify as a currency itself. “The problem would potentially be even more serious with no annual capital gains exemption in France, Italy or Spain and a much smaller €600 limit in Germany.”

Inside the Congressional Staff Meeting About Libra, by A House Democratic Aide. The US Congressmen’s staffers weren’t very impressed with Facebook. “They kept selling Libra as a means of providing banking services to 1.7 billion unbanked people around the world. When challenged on how they were going to do that, and asked directly whether they’d figure out how exactly a digital currency would be an answer for people who can’t access credit currently, they said, ‘The short answer is no.'”

Nobel Memorial prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is also unimpressed with Libra from several angles. “In just a few short years, Facebook has earned a level of distrust that took the banking sector much longer to achieve.”

J. P. Koning on the problems Libra will face from not being a unit of account.

Frances Coppola: “Facebook is the last organization on earth that should have anything to do with digital identity or standards setting. For that reason, Libra must be stopped.”

Like Libra, Wala also wanted to “bank the unbanked” in Africa. It failed — it turned out to rely on the banking system. And it was completely centralised, though it had aspirations to decentralise at some unspecified future time. “In the end, banking the unbanked requires, well, banks.”



Reggie Fowler was the money mule for Crypto Capital Corporation, who provided actual-money banking services for a pile of crypto exchanges, most notably Bitfinex/Tether. He was arrested in April, and is out on bail. His next court conference is 24 July at 10am, according to Roy Katsiri of Globes. Fowler’s fellow indictee Ravid Yosef is apparently still at large in Tel Aviv.

FT Alphaville on the Bitcoin price: “About $417m worth of bitcoin was traded on Friday on the main dollar-based exchanges. Which sounds decent until you notice that about $37bn worth of Tether was traded.” quoted me at length on Libra, and on how the Bitcoin trading market is completely manipulated by the big boys. “This pool is full of sharks, and you look tasty.”




The Financial Conduct Authority wants to ban the sale of crypto derivatives to retail customers in the UK. Amongst many other reasons, the FCA considers that cryptoassets “have no reliable basis for valuation.”

Nouriel Roubini debated Arthur Hayes of BitMEX — and BitMEX is refusing to release the full recording, instead releasing “edited highlights.” Roubini is threatening to sue. Back in the day, creationists used to pull this stunt when they debated a biologist on evolution and got their backsides kicked — always, always, get your own recording. Mike Dudas from The Block has posted his notes from the debate.

The Ledger hardware wallet and the “MCU firmware is not genuine” error message, leaving many users locked out of their bitcoins — not your firmware, not fabbing your own chips? Not your coins, evidently.

How the Wal-mart/VeChain blockchain-based provenance trial in China works in practice:

  1. Customers go into a Wal-mart-owned store.
  2. They scan the QR code on the item into an app.
  3. Data is retrieved from a back-end data store and displayed.
  4. Having a “blockchain” as the back-end data store makes no difference to anyone involved, except the ones writing press releases.

The Block reviews crypto-backed debit cards: “A pricey thrill-ride for an insiders club” — where “insiders club” translates as “suckers,” because the “thrill-ride” is that they gouge you on fees so you can feel more validated as a believer. “It wouldn’t be unfair to call most of these cards a sexy marketing stunt; pulling at the heartstrings of the enthusiasts by showing their commitment to ‘adoption’ while chewing down a generous pay-off.” proudly supports Bitcoin! — though actually trying to use it to buy stuff from them won’t work out so well. “Somebody has my Bitcoin. It’s just not clear who. What are my options? Help! … tl;dr: don’t do this.”

Scammers steal CDN$200,000 from Bitcoin ATMs across Canada (archive), by exploiting Bitcoin’s slow confirmation time and the “replace by fee” feature — “The attack involved withdrawing money from one kiosk and remotely cancelling the transaction before the withdrawal is processed.”

Bitcoin investment scam steals tens of thousands of dollars from couple. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. This pool is full of sharks, and you look tasty.




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