Profile picture
Nathaniel Whittemore @nlw
, 33 tweets, 19 min read Read on Twitter
Long Reads Sunday #25. Crypto winter is settling in thick and cold and this week, it’s all about competition for the narrative. How to address Bitcoin skeptics? Can Ethereum recover? Is crypto a tool for freedom, state power, or both? And WTF is 2019 going to be? Buckle up! 👇
2/ Let’s start with one of the most important threads you’ll read this bear market. @PeterMcCormack tells the tale of turning $32k to $1.2m to zero. In a week when so much is about narrative and spin, the unvarnished realness here is a breath of fresh air.
3/ Speaking of realness, @abztrdr really has a novelist's eye for detail and a poet’s sense of beauty to his own understated thread about the markets. Read this whole thread - I promise you’ll come away with all the feels.
4/ Okay, now that you’ve recovered from that, let’s get back to Bitcoin. There was actually quite a bit this week. @Delphi_Digital released a “State of Bitcoin” report, arguing that BTC’s potential revolves in part on providing a check on gov't currencies
5/ Also just released is @CambridgeAltFin’s 2nd Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study by @ProfPieters @mrauchs & more. Highlights: +139m global “users” incl. 35m identity-verified users +Mining less concentrated than commonly perceived…
6/ As prices across the industry fall, crypto skeptics are predictably piling on. In this thread, @danheld takes on the most common critiques - from volatility to manipulation to everyone’s seasonal favorite energy consumption
7/ Speaking of addressing skepticism, @hasufl and @zhusu are now three deep in their series explaining Bitcoin for those not bought in yet. This essay focuses on how “Bitcoin detaches property rights from the legal system and the monopoly on violence.”…
8/ For people who are interested in numbers over narratives, the fine folks at @coinmetrics have added Realized Cap - first presented by @nic__carter at #BH2018, as well as Realized Value-Market Value ratio, introduced by @kenoshaking and @MustStopMurad…
9/ One of the questions that can give those learning about Bitcoin pause has to do with control - specifically who controls Bitcoin core? @lopp takes on that question and reiterates why it’s so hard to bring a traditional organization perspective to BTC…
10/ On the point about complexity and learning, here’s one for the "interesting analogy” files. @bquittem argues that, like mushrooms and other fungi, Bitcoin is a decentralized super organism.
11/ Many of the hopes of market recovery are caught up in the potential approval of a Bitcoin ETF. The SEC recently made the final delay possible on the most promising proposal from VanEck/SolidX. @jchervinsky gives his outlook for the decision
12/ Bitcoin isn’t the only crypto seeing a battle for narrative. In part b/c of how ERC20s enabled the ICO craze, Ethereum has been under intense scrutiny all year. In this thread, though, @econoar explores how it could unlock new incentive structures
13/ @VitalikButerin zoomed out and looked at the implications of improved UX and reduced fees to enable new categories of non-financial blockchain based applications. The point below seems particularly pertinent:
14/ When the CFTC (and cryptodad @giancarloCFTC himself) requested public comments on crypto-asset mechanics, the Ethereum community went HAM with this GitHub repository of answers…
15/ Looking at transactions and network activity on both Ethereum and Bitcoin, @cburniske argues that the market price of each is down quite a bit more than is their utilization.…
16/ @Crypto_Macro has a different take on the fundamentals of ETH, arguing that for investors considering getting back in, they have to ask themselves: will ICOs make a comeback (and how) and second, is there a new wave of Ethereum-based Dapps on the way?
17/ @KyleSamani takes the Ethereum conversation in a different direction, arguing that the best thing to happen to it this year was the emergence of EOS as a viable competitor - putting pressure on the Ethereum community to evolve and ship more quickly.
18/ EOS wasn’t immune to its own set of narratives this week either, getting it's very own “death spiral” narrative! With no difficulty adjustment equivalent in PoS systems, some are wondering if this one may be a little more on the nose.
19/ Maybe the most important narrative to pick up steam this week was ICO refunds. When Basis announced it would be shutting down and returning funds to investors, it set off a wave of speculation about whether this would be the fate of every ICO project.
20/ Especially as we consider the possibility that nearly every project that raised through an ICO could be wiped from existence through settlements, lawsuits, and simple social pressure, it’s worth asking ourselves: what are we really trying to do here?
21/ One raison d’être that I find particularly compelling is the idea that cryptocurrencies can represent economic opportunity for those underserved by today’s institutions. This speech from @astrange, for examples, argues why its too expensive to be poor.
22/ Even more than just providing resources for the underserved, however, crypto can provide a bulwark against tyranny. I’ve been glad to see more and more in the crypto thought space from @gladstein of @hrf, including this interview on @WhatBitcoinDid
23/ Crypto as an anti-authoritarian force is not something we can take for granted. In fact, there is evidence of the opposite, as states recognize opportunities for control. See: the Venezuelan gov't shifting pension payments from bolivares to Petros
24/ State Power Crypto is sadly poised to be a major narrative in the coming years, as states begin to recognize that cash is the most anonymous currency there is, and a digital central bank currency creates incredible opportunities to monitor citizens
25/ All of this makes me glad that one of the quiet, non-price stories of crypto2018 was advancements in privacy tech. To catch up on all of that, I highly recommend @shaughnessy119 new research report on the subject
26/ It also makes me glad to see - despite critique -more efforts to actually do something to get crypto in the hands of more people. @TheAirTM has been airdropping crypto in Venezuela and this week Coinbase announced its own initiative through @givecrypto…
27/ There is some concern that Venezuela has been reduced to a virtue meme or marketing campaign. Critique matters when it comes to global impact. I will say, however, that this space is already ahead of the curve compared to most by giving money directly…
28/ @nic__carter goes further in exploring just how tricky it is to bring crypto to the places that could stand to benefit the most from it. Having spent a big chunk of my life in the impact world, these are the types of conversations we need to be having
29/ All of that said, we should also keep in mind, it’s not just the developing world who are at edge with the relationship of money and power. @hasufl surfaced this interview with a Yellow Vest in France about money and sovereignty.
30/ The point is this:

There will never be a better moment than today to deciding why we’re involved in this industry and with this technology, and what type of world we want to leverage it to build.
31/ Okay, speaking of where we’re headed, two fun prediction threads to round things out.

+@Ragnarly asks what will happen next year:
+@zaoyang zooms out ever farther and shares some (maybe not so) wild predictions. Must read
32/ Finally, RIP to Tim May, author of the Crypto Anarchist Manifesto and cypherpunk pioneer.
33/ Happy Long Reads Sunday #25! Get LRS wherever you are:

+Long Reads Live (returning 2019):… … … … …
+LRL on iTunes:… … … … …
+LRL Podcast home:
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Nathaniel Whittemore
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!