Crypto News: July 30, 2018

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Bitcoin has to succeed or the crypto industry will fail.

This was the argument of Alexander Liegl over the weekend. Here are a few notable quotes from his tweetstorm:

  • “Either Bitcoin thrives, and with it the crypto industry, or nothing thrives and the party stops.”

  • “If Bitcoin ever does get overtaken by another coin, what stops that coin to be overtaken as well? Investors will live in constant fear that their current Store of Value will be usurped by some future Store of Value.”

  • “The crypto industry *needs* Bitcoin to stay alive and prosper because its entire narrative breaks if it doesn't. There is no way around believing in Bitcoin if you believe in blockchain technology's potential.”

  • “There is an unspoken bond that keeps Bitcoin on the throne. A game-theoretic incentive that prevents any other coin from ever successfully displacing it.”

  • “As long as Bitcoin is kept in first place, the system will prosper. If the market ever forks away from Bitcoin by installing a successor (and another, and another), it will experience massive value destruction.”

To be clear, Liegl is not making a technology argument, but rather one based in human psychology and game theory. People need to believe in the long-term sustainability & dominance of any store of value or medium of exchange. It is nearly impossible to drive mass adoption, if the majority believes the asset may be replaced by a new, improved version.

Bitcoin has the advantage of (1) being the first mover, (2) having the most hash power / highest level of security, and (3) being truly decentralized. If Bitcoin was to fail, even after having a strong head start, there would be little hope that a decentralized, digital currency could achieve the global success many are planning for.

The human psychology element of crypto is rarely talked about enough. Historically, humans have trusted human-led organizations to create and govern. We are now seeing millions of humans enter an experiment where we are trusting software code (Bitcoin network) to govern. Eventually, I wouldn’t be surprised if humans begin to trust robots and code to also create (ex: AI writing software code), along with govern.

Until then, we have Bitcoin and the pursuit of “sound money.” It is in everyone’s best interest that the current dominant digital asset is successful. If not, all this work may be for nothing.

You can read Alexander’s full argument by clicking here to see the Tweetstorm.

- Pomp
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THE RUNDOWN:

How Brock Pierce went from child actor to Bitcoin billionaire (longform): Brock Pierce’s skyrocketing popularity has made him one of the most controversial figures in crypto. For one, he wants to turn Puerto Rico into a Burning Man-style utopia for other early crypto evangelists. This profile characterizes him as “visionary and madman, idealist and opportunist, entertainer and businessman, magician and hedonist, narcissist and community builder.” Read more.

SEC rejects Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin ETF: The SEC rejected a bid by the Winklevoss twins to create an exchange traded product for Bitcoin, citing the potential for market manipulation and a lack of liquidity. The SEC’s 3-1 decision came after the Winklevoss twins asked the agency to revisit its earlier rejection of the ETF in March of 2017, and was based in part on comments from the public. Read more.

Mastercard CEO calls anonymous cryptocurrencies junk,’ again: Ajaypal Banga, the CEO of Mastercard, blasted cryptocurrencies during the “New India Lecture” at the Indian Consulate last week. Banga described anonymous, non-state-issued cryptocurrencies as “junk,” because their prices can fluctuate “wildly” and thus they do not “deserve” to be considered a medium of exchange. Read more.

Telegram reveals personal ID verification tool for sharing data with ‘finance, ICOs:’ Encrypted messenger app Telegram has released a personal identification authorization tool. The tool, dubbed Telegram Passport, reportedly encrypts a user’s personal ID information and let’s users securely share their ID data with third parties, which the Telegram post elaborates on as “finance, ICOs, etc.” Read more.

Poloniex is officially in trouble after ignoring dozens of complaining customers: The Department of Justice showed its interest in Poloniex — a Delaware-based cryptocurrency exchange platform — in a rather unexpected fashion: Chief Special Investigator of the Investor Protection Unit Craig Weldon emailed a number of Poloniex users, asking them to respond if they have any difficulties with their account. Now, there is an “open investigation.” Read more.

Blockchain could save free speech (commentary): While blockchains are usually used to record currency transactions, the unstoppable web of recordkeepers underpinning the network provides an innovative way to shepherd messages, avoiding censorship or surveillance. Read more.

A small crypto coin is making big claims about a private proof-of-stake: Spectre (not be confused with a separate project called SPECTRE), created two crypto tokens – the aptly named spectre token and the xspec token – in 2016, but hasn't received much notice from the crypto community so far. Its tokens rank in the 500s, with a total market capitalization of $5.7 million. But that might soon change, as the project is taking a growing interest in a technology called staking. Read more.

How major Bitcoin narratives changed over time: Visions of Bitcoin are not static. Technological developments, practical realities and real-world events have shaped collective views.This Medium post aims to aggregate the various dominant narratives that have characterized Bitcoin throughout its 9-year history. Read more.

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