Occasional musings on crypto from an early investor, entrepreneur, and two-bit idiot.
TBI's Daily Bit

The Myth of Decentralization

April 12, 2018
Daily Bit

No bit today, as I'm at the Placeholder / Blue Yard / USV event, "Decentralized & Encrypted: NYC."

Lots of good discussions / people, and I believe they're doing a live stream, but I don't have the link (sorry). Will post the recap once we have it, as well as some final thoughts on this week in tomorrow's edition. 

In the meantime, check out our first two free research reports on Storj and Aragon on the new Messari research site, and let us know if you have any feedback!


I Like Pictures

How am I just learning about Jackson Palmer's incredible website Are We Decentralized Yet:  

Note that all of the networks listed have three or fewer entities that control the majority of mining or voting power. Jackson's weekly token video series are also solid. He explains and critiques projects like Hashgraph, IOTA, Stellar and many more. Excellent, stuff.

Red Pillz

The volunteer army at Messari is building a free, open-source library that anyone can use as a resource, so you can go down the crypto rabbit hole a bit more efficiently.

Today, we bring you Storj, the first of several distributed file storage systems we'll plan to cover in the coming weeks. You can download our free tear sheet here.

The brief plus its curated "further reading" resources should help you grok the Storj basics in less than an hour. If not, we'll give you your money back (provided you share ideas for how we can improve the product).


TBI's Compression Algorithm

More government blockchain money from the EU. On the EU’s Digital Day 2018 last week, 22 countries signed a declaration to create a European Blockchain Partnership to ensure Europe continues to play a leading role in the development of blockchain technology. This comes two months after the launch of the EU Blockchain Observatory Forum, which invested more than €80 million in blockchain-related projects. Around €300 million more is to be allocated to blockchain by 2020. The global blockchain arms race is on. European Commission 

Today in I Can't Even. Ripple invested $25 million worth of XRP Tokens into a sidecar fund in the recently announced $150 million Blockchain Capital Fund. I'm curious to learn more about the mechanics of this deal. How long must Blockchain Capital hold XRP? Did the XRP get distributed at a discount to market rates? When your chief marketing strategist is bragging they have 150 years of runway to invest $200mm / year it raises one other question: how do those returns flow back to XRP holders? 

Root for the little guy. An Idaho resident has sued J.P Morgan in a million dollar federal lawsuit that accuses the bank of charging surprise fees on cryptocurrency transactions. The plaintiff said Chase charged both extra fees and substantially higher interest rates on his transactions - as cash advances vs. credit card purchases - without advanced warning. The bank then refused to refund the charges when customers complained, which sparked the lawsuit on the grounds that Chase may have violated the U.S. Truth in Lending Act, which requires credit card issuers to notify customers in writing of any significant change in charges or terms. Statutory damages could potentially be $1 million. Reuters

Police stop blockchain conference in Shanghai. Good thing Consensus is in NYC. The one-day Shanghai event, the Global Fintech & Blockchain China Summit, was abruptly broken up by the police who kicked all attendees out of the venue. Apparently, some investors who had lost money on an ICO whose founder was presenting reported the event to authorities. Two morals of the story: 1) stop inviting scammy ICO projects to your conferences, 2) get ready for the class action suits! CoinDesk

Quick Bits (Don’t read that, I read it for you)

Choke Points (Exchange news)
+ Blockbid, a crypto exchange that insures users against potential cyber-attacks, received permission from the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre to legally operate in the country.  
+ Bittrex reopened registrations on Monday, but seems to have bumped into a few hiccups in the past two days. Some users are unhappy with the new interface, but the overwhelming influx of new users caused the company to hit pause on registrations. Again.  
+ NASDAQ is delisting the shares of beverage company Long Blockchain Corp (formerly known as Long Island Corp) today, following their conspicuous pivot from...tea.  

Startup Signals (ICOs, Cryptos, and Startups)
+ Protocol labs launched a $5 million crypto grant program that seeks to further research efforts for teams in the crypto space. Completed solutions will not be considered.  
+ Telegram, having raised $1.7 billion in a private fundraise, may cancel its public sale due to regulatory uncertainty. Mo' money, no problems.

The Powers That Be (Legal/Reg/Policy)
+ The Philippines SEC said that cloud mining contracts should be classified as securities and could be taking against those unregistered issuance of securities.
+ The Caribbean Tourism Organization is going to introduce cryptocurrency payments for tourism services and products offered in the region.  
+ A protest led by angry investors in two allegedly fraudulent ICOs outside of Modern Tech's Ho Chi Minh City headquarters sparked an official investigation by Vietnamese authorities. As much as $660 million may have been lost as a result of the schemes.

BigCo Noise (Enterprise initiatives)
+ China’s largest e-commerce website, Taobao (subsidiary of Tech giant Alibaba) announced a full ban on all goods and services related to ICOs, including marketing, technological development services, and business proposal writing. 

+ Hedge fund manager Claudio Guazzoni de Zanett listed his six-story townhouse on New York’s Upper East Side for sale and says he’ll accept $29.95 million in U.S. dollars or about $45 million in Bitcoin, Ethereum or Ripple. Chump change. Apparently he expects 30% slippage on his trade.
+ Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are granted a patent for their legal entity, Winklevoss IP, LLC. The patent application suggests use within Gemini's infrastructure.

Did I miss something big?

Send me the link, your twitter handle and your best imitation compression algorithm write up. If I really whiffed, I’ll include your bit tomorrow (with attribution).


Shameless Plugs

Hit me up when I'm in your city!

Upcoming Travel:
+ SF (4/8-4/10 - Blockfin at LendIt) 
+ Boston (4/25-4/27 - Pillar VC's Unchained) 
+ SF (5/1-5/3 - private event)
+ NYC (5/10-5/17 - Fluidity, Ethereal, Consensus, Token Summit)
+ Asia (Japan, Korea, Hong Kong early through mid-June)

My company, Messari, is hiring:
+ Front-end developer, blockchain engineers, data engineers
+ Volunteer analysts and summer interns
+ Content curation lead (compression algo tinkerer)

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