Future headline?

Of course crypto couldn’t close out the year just with holiday parties and slow news weeks. Continuing the DAO trend, Parity decided to move maintenance of the Parity Ethereum client to a DAO, kicking up a tweet storm — and I don’t mean the intellectual kind. Meanwhile Metacartel Ventures proposed a for-profit DAO, which is quite different from the original DAO, probably on purpose. Chainalysis showed how the PlusToken Ponzi scheme in China is likely depressing the Bitcoin price, while Fortune gives us the backstory on the Libra announcement this past summer.

Meanwhile, on Unchained, we have a great episode chock full of information on why North Korea is interested in cryptocurrency, how the country converts its coins to fiat and how North Korea carries out the various cyber attacks used to net itself some cryptocurrency. Plus, on Unconfirmed, Meltem Demirors joins us to talk about the past decade of Bitcoin and what she’s looking for in 2020.

The next two weeks, the newsletter will be a shortened version without the news recaps. Happy holidays everyone!

End-of-Year Giveaway!

For the end-of-year — actually, end-of-decade — festivities, we at Unchained will be doing a giveaway of all kinds of nice items that we accumulated this year. If you want to win one of these nine lovely items, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Tweet about Unchained with a link to your favorite episode or the show itself.
  2. Give us a favorable review on a podcast platform such as Apple Podcasts.
  3. Send us links to your tweet and your review, plus your top three swag items in order of preference, as well as how you’d like to be called when we announce the winners on the show. Also include your mailing address (which we will not be announcing on the show). Email all this to [email protected] with the subject line Giveaway by midnight on Sunday, January 5th.

These are the items we’re sending to nine lucky winners:

If you are one of the winners, we obviously can’t guarantee you’ll receive your top-choice swag, we will do our best.

Again, to enter to win, tweet about the show with a link, review us on a podcast app, and then send the links to those to us at [email protected] with the subject Giveaway along with your preferred picks for swag by midnight on Sunday, January 5. Good luck, and we will announce the winners and send the swag out in 2020!

This Week’s Crypto News…

PlusToken Scammers Pushing Down the Bitcoin Price? 

Chainalysis has an incredible breakdown of how the $3 billion PlusToken scam in China is likely pushing down the Bitcoin price. Although the Ponzi scheme was shut down last summer and several individuals connected to it were arrested, Chainalysis was able to track $2 billion from the scam and believes at least one scammer is still at large and has liquidated at least $185 million via OTC brokers on Huboi. Definitely check out this post for the graphics showing how the flow to the OTC broker correlates with drops in the Bitcoin price.

Mnuchin on Libra: ‘I Hate Everything About This’

Robert Hackett at Fortune had a great feature on what went down with the publicity rollout of Libra this year. As you probably deduced from my headline, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was not a fan of Libra when he got the pitch. I especially enjoyed Robert’s behind-the-scenes piece in which he placed his cutting-room-floor material, which includes tidbits like that members have yet to submit their initial $10 million membership fee.

Parity Shifts Maintenance of Its Ethereum Client to a DAO, Causing a Twitter Blowup

Parity, creators of one of the main Ethereum clients, will no longer actively maintain its codebase and is instead shifting management of it to a DAO called OpenEthereum. Given that the news comes in the midst of a $5 million grant from the Ethereum Foundation awarded last January, before the full amount of the funds have been paid out, this caused a bit of a kerfuffle. Former Parity developer Afri Schoedon tweeted to Parity CEO Jutta Steiner, “If you had listened once to my advice, you would have never gone through such a public-relations nightmare putting the client in a DAO right after receiving a tranche from the EF.” (However, he later apologized.) Others discussed ways to pay Afri to maintain the client, with this tweet by Taylor Monahan kicking off the discussion: 

Not helping matters at all were some comments Parity cofounder Gavin made in his end of 2019 piece for CoinDesk. Referring to how $100 million of the money Parity had raised in an ICO was frozen when a developer exploited a bug, he wrote, “If you take the view that an exploitable and obviously unintended bug, such as that used by devops199 to disable hundreds of wallets, must be considered ‘fair and intended use’ of a platform, then it surely becomes morally permissible for one platform to actively support efforts to find—and exploit—those same bugs in competitive platforms.”

MetaCartel Ventures DAO Revives For-Profit Investment DAOs

MetaCartel is launching the MetaCartel Ventures DAO, which, like the infamous DAO of yore, will be an investment DAO. However, it is quite different from the original DAO in a number of respects, such as that part of it is structured as a limited liability company, and that members have to be approved and can also (rage) quit at any time. And, since crypto likes to keep it weird (or perhaps JK Rowling is a secret member?), the DAO uses a lot of funny names for the various roles and entities, such as mages and goblins and a grimoire, even if some of those terms refer to things like accredited investors. Btw, my dictionary and its pronunciation button got a workout so I could read that last line in the podcast version of the news recap.

Iran Proposes Creation of a Muslim Cryptocurrency

Because of course 2019 couldn’t close out without yet another story about how crypto is becoming a geopolitical issue, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani suggested Muslim nations form a payment system as well as their own cryptocurrency.

Blockchain Capital Year in Review

Blockchain Capital had a good year in review with lovely charts, plus a few bold 2020 predictions. In 2019, crypto markets rose $73 billion, but Bitcoin accounted for 93% of that growth. Financial institutions such as Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, JPMorgan and Bakkt, also entered the space, while crypto companies matured, with Anchorage, Gemini and Coinbase becoming qualified custodians. My favorite of their bold 2020 predictions are, “a federal judge rules against the SEC in a crypto case,” “KYC/AML become the primary regulatory battleground for DeFi” and “Bitcoin price blows past all-time high.”

Impeachment + Bitcoin = Funny

I’m the queen of laughing at stupid jokes. So forgive me, but I found this tweet by Michael Goldstein funny. “You know what can’t be impeached? Bitcoin.”