News: Kleiman and Wright settling, Libra, Tether, Initial Sucker Offerings, enterprise “blockchains” as back-end datastores, Marshall Islands, Telegram TON software

Kleiman v. Wright is heading for a settlement, after Dr. Craig Wright’s stunning loss on motion — “The parties are currently engaged in good faith settlement discussions. To that end, Dr. Wright and Plaintiffs respectfully request a 30-day extension of all discovery and case deadlines to facilitate these discussions.” The court has mostly granted this extension.

I laughed my head off at this podcast, in which three lawyers discuss Dr. Wright’s comprehensive defeat in Florida, and why all of this is hilarious to a lawyer. Contains salty language. ALAB Podcast Series: Episode 3: Faketoshi — The Perfect Client. You will not regret spending 80 minutes on this.



Libra says “A B C,” these obviously imply “X Y Z,” and regulators see “X Y Z” and worry — but when Libra say “A B C,” what they actually mean is “monkey dishwasher purple meow what-the,” because they are thinking entirely in crazy Bitcoin moon language. Colin Platt wrote an essay in July on what Libra’s inchoate blatherings on how they think a reserve works would mean in practice.

Libra met with central bankers on Monday, and tried to convince them of their benign intentions. Benoît Cœuré of the European Central Bank gave a speech yesterday — Libra is a busted flush, but he thinks we need central bank stablecoins to head off the threat of a competent company trying the Libra trick.

The director of FINMA, Mark Branson, was interviewed (translation) about Libra, and what it means for Switzerland to be the main — but definitely not only! — regulator for a project of this scale.

Bertrand Perez of Libra says it will definitely launch in the second half of 2020, for sure, you betcha.

David Rosenthal suggests that Libra is a bargaining chip that Facebook is throwing to regulators to appease them in the face of anti-trust investigations. I’m not convinced — I think Facebook were entirely sincere, and just arrogant to the point of stupidity.

I was quoted by AMBCrypto on Facebook’s Libra.



How liquid is Tether? Well, the USDT/USD pair had a sudden spike up to $400 on Monday. Only for a minute, you understand — just long enough to burn all possible shorts.

Global Trade Solutions was one of the web of companies, involving Crypto Capital Corp and Reggie Fowler, that did fraudulent US dollar banking for crypto exchanges who couldn’t get proper US banking — including Bitfinex and Tether. GTS has just been placed under regulatory supervision by FINMA, the Swiss regulator — which, in Switzerland, means FINMA takes it over completely.

Tether clogged Ethereum again. The reason for Tether on Ethereum is that the block time is 12 seconds, rather than the 10 minutes of Bitcoin — so if you’re moving your tethers around to wreck the margin traders, you can get them there much more quickly. And the reason for Tether now running on multiple chains is that blockchains don’t scale.

Is the stablecoin business model — exchange fees, buy/sell fees and interest on the reserve — stable, or endangered? With quotes from me — I don’t think well-regulated stablecoins have much use case, because traders want a fast-moving poker chip like Tether to move around bottom-of-the-barrel exchanges.



If you’re going to get ripped off using a crypto exchange — make sure it isn’t an elaborate fake crypto exchange.

OKEx Korea has delisted all “privacy coins,” on the basis that these violate the Financial Action Task Force’s “travel rule.” The travel rule is for business-to-business transactions, so that doesn’t make sense as a regulator action — but it makes complete sense as something their bank might have required of them, the same way that Coinbase and’s UK bank required them not to support ZCash in the UK.

The costs of running a failed Initial Exchange Offering — apart from the median return on investment of minus-81%, the upfront fees to the exchange can be tens of thousands of dollars. Also, it’s the smallest and dodgiest exchanges that are most fond of this variety of Initial Sucker Offering. But Coinbase — evidently feeling the pinch of trading volumes going through the floor — is thinking of setting up an IEO platform!

Don’t bet on decentralised exchanges becoming the new crypto frontier — their liquidity is terrible, and, at some point, you probably want to get actual money in or out.



Bitcoin is still unbanking the banked — “Sold a few grand worth of Bitcoin on Local Bitcoins — someone reversed a transaction and now Barclay’s have ruined me.” I wonder why there would be a price premium between Coinbase (favoured by retail traders) and LocalBitcoins (favoured by crooks).

Bitcoin core developer Luke-Jr is outraged that people are clogging the Bitcoin blockchain by using it for actual things, and — even worse — using SegWit.

China is pushing Bitcoin miners in Inner Mongolia to shut down (original) — “pseudo-financial innovation unrelated to the real economy, and should not be supported.” The coal power doesn’t help either.

VanEck’s “limited Bitcoin ETF” attracts a total institutional investment of … around four bitcoins.



Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge has released its Second Global Enterprise Blockchain Benchmarking Study. Out of 67 “live enterprise blockchain networks,” 77% are based around a single entity, another 20% are single-entity but have potential to be multi-entity,and 3% — precisely two — were genuinely multi-actor consensus systems. The platforms of choice are Hyperledger Fabric, R3 Corda and MultiChain. The survey subjects are mostly not listed — though IBM/Maersk’s TradeLens in particular has a “case study” about how it’s an utterly centralised system, that’s bought into the “blockchain meme.”

How is the Australian National Blockchain, which I wrote up in October 2018, going? Well, the website’s stopped working already. I’ve contacted Data61 asking what’s happening with the project.

I just found a 2015 essay by Tim Swanson on the use of “blockchain” as a euphemism for “Bitcoin” — particularly when seeking venture capital. I thought it started earlier, but Tim places the big change around mid-2015.

Blockchains in spaaace! Spacechain, whose big project was to run blockchain nodes on satellites, just got a grant from the European Space Agency — specifically, ESA Business Applications and Space Solutions’ Kick-start Activities programme — to write a report on applications of blockchains in space. Um, OK. The most surprising thing about Spacechain is that they’re sincere about this, even as their SPC token has dropped from 50 cents to 0.25 of a cent in the past two years. Jemima Kelly wrote it up for FT Alphaville, with quotes from me.


Despite all the warnings of what a terrible idea this is, the Marshall Islands really is going to do its own cryptocurrency. “The country doesn’t have a starting date set yet, as officials still need to resolve compliance and regulatory issues, and work with entities like the U.S. Treasury and the International Monetary Fund,” who are the people who said what a terrible idea this is.

North Korea is developing a cryptocurrency to work around sanctions. At least Iran is trying to use widely-accepted coins for the job.



Telegram released test software for their TON blockchain last week. I downloaded, compiled and ran it, but haven’t had a chance to mess with it much. Robert Stevens from Decrypt interviewed Mitja Goroshevsky from TON Labs about it, and there’s a few quotes from me in there. It looks like Telegram are determined to release this on 31 October, no matter what regulators might make of it afterwards — $1.7 billion pays a lot of regulator fines. I worry at the lack of discussion of security in the original or updated white papers — Goroshevsky is sure it’ll be fine, but, as I told Stevens, “We’ll see how TON goes when it’s live with money circulating in it, and attackers have a prize to win.”

Another private lawsuit against a 2017 ICO for promising the moon and stars to investors, while failing to register as a security — this time, against Uledger over the ULD token.

Steven Nerayoff and Michael Hlady were just charged with trying to extort an unnamed crypto startup while consulting on its ICO — pay them a pile of ether, or be destroyed. Per the complaint, Nerayoff demanded 30,000 ether if the total sales went over 60,000 ether, as well as a large pile of the ICO token — and if not, he threatened to “sabotage the crowd sale, generate negative press for Company 1 and use his contacts with influential people to ‘destroy’” the company. The US Justice Department describes it as “an old-fashioned shakedown.” Nerayoff founded the Alchemist crypto consultancy — he was in on Ethereum early, and advised Overstock’s tZero securities trading blockchain project, as well as a long list of other ICOs. Hlady used the alias “Michael Peters” in this instance.

Code is fLaw — spamming the EOS network to unusability, to scam 30,000 EOS from a gambling app. Dan Larimer was quick to defend all of this as perfectly normal on EOS, which would work just fine if people weren’t on it. The blockchain cannot fail, it can only be failed, especially when it’s EOS, which is centrally controlled by the block producers in a cartel. Sorry, I mean “consortium.” Sorry, I mean “spontaneous network of free persons.” Crypto in general is a complicated machine to funnel decreasing supplies of actual-money from retail suckers to about twenty guys — and EOS is a miniature version of that, with most of the same guys.




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