Whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen …

This week, there was still a lot of recapping of what happened in 2019, and one of the biggest ones was a report on what happened in Ethereum last year — there is quite a lot to unpack, but it’s worth a read. Meanwhile, Square Crypto announces what it is working on, and it’s very much in line with the group’s ethos: open source, and Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin. Plus, as usual, there’s a bit of drama in the Bitcoin Cash world, another Libra Association member defects, and one of the earliest tokens to have an ICO votes to dissolve. 

Meanwhile, on the podcasts, Brendan Eich of Brave tells us how BAT intends to decentralize, and we hear from Tom Schmidt of Dragonfly Capital on how liquidators are making money in DeFi.

This Week’s Crypto News…

2019: ‘The Year Ethereum Grew More Confident’

The 2019 version of the annual monster “Year in Ethereum” post is out. Authors Josh Stark and Evan Van Ness call 2019 “the year Ethereum grew more confident.” The piece showcases the increasing diversity of the DeFi space with significant funds in DeFi being locked in a number of different protocols, ranging from single collateral and multi-collateral Dai to Compound, Uniswap, dYdX, InstaDapp, Synthetix, etc. Some of the more interesting figures in here include the fact that Uniswap liquidity providers earned more than $1.2 million in fees, which was greater than the transaction fees paid in 2019 on Ethereum Classic, Litecoin and Ripple combined. They also call out a trend that they describe as, “financial applications that look like games, and games that look like finance.” As one example, they name PoolTogether, the subject of last week’s Unconfirmed. But another one I would include was this week’s launch of Set Social Trading on TokenSets, which is a place where traders can publicly create and manage their own sets, and others can follow these trading strategies simply by minting a token that copies their trades. By the way, I am not recommending anyone do this — in fact, it sets off all kinds of alarm bells inside of me — but it is an example of financial applications that look like games and vice versa. Anyway, as for the 2019 Year in Ethereum report, there’s a lot more in there, so definitely check the full post out.

Square Crypto Announces Lightning Development Test Kit 

Square Crypto reveals a bit of what it’s working on: a Lightning Development Kit (LDK) that “gives wallet and application developers a convenient way to create custom experiences.” They hope it will make it easier to add Lightning capabilities to existing Bitcoin wallets and support “multi-device, multi-application access to a single wallet.” They decided on developing this LDK because they were looking to have an outsized impact on bitcoin, particularly non-custodial bitcoin, and to meet an underfunded need of the ecosystem that doesn’t have a clear business model. Meanwhile, Square, the funder of Square Crypto, won a patent for seamless crypto to fiat transactions.

Bitcoin Cash Miners Create ‘Infrastructure Funding Plan,’ Setting Off Controversy

While a number of blockchain protocols such as Decred set aside a portion of the block reward for a treasury to fund further development of the protocol, a recent plan proposed by a Bitcoin Cash miner raised eyebrows for how they planned to go about it. Jiang Zhuoer, CEO of BTC.top, wrote a Medium post on behalf of a group miners representing a majority of the Bitcoin Cash hash rate. They intend to allocate 12.5% of the Bitcoin Cash coinbase rewards to a fund to support Bitcoin Cash infrastructure for six months. However, he raised eyebrows when he also stated that the miners would orphan BCH blocks that do not follow this plan. They plan to initiate this on May 15, 2020 — we’ll see what happens. 

Yet Another Libra Association Defection: Vodafone 

Welp, an eighth company leaves the Libra Association. This time it’s Vodafone. CoinDesk reports, “Libra intends to admit new members to the Association in 2020, a person familiar with the situation said. The waitlist is currently north of 1,500 companies. A roughly two-thirds majority of existing members must agree to add any new participant.”

DigixDAO Votes to Dissolve; Will Distribute $64 Million in ETH to Token Holders

One of the earliest token projects to have an ICO, DigixDAO, has voted to dissolve. The token holders voted to liquidate the ETH in the DigixDAO treasury, worth about $64 million. The Block reports, “DigixDAO raised over 460,000 ETHs in 2016 via an initial coin offering (ICO). In total, the amount of ETH was worth about $5.5 million at the time. However, its value has since gone up significantly. DGD token, on the other hand, was trading at a 60% discount to DigixDAO’s treasury balance last month. Thus, DigixDAO gave DGD token holders an option to completely dissolve its treasury.” Hilariously, of course, now the value of the DGD token has gone up, so the market cap is now almost three times what it was a month ago.

The Importance of ‘Digital Bearer Assets’ 

Nick Grossman of USV wrote a short and sweet post about how crypto or Web 3 applications enable a new user experience. He says, “By bearer assets, I mean that you just show up with them, and they are respected sight unseen by whatever applications are expecting them. … For example: a device that has has Helium data credits loaded on it can present itself anywhere on the Helium Network, and it will start working. No user account, no credit card, no contract — just show up holding the token and it will ‘just work’.” I like how he describes it here, and in case you’re looking for a way to explain it to newbies, I think this is something that could be pretty easily grasped.