February 18, 2022       /       Unchained Daily       /       Laura Shin

Daily Bits ✍️✍️✍️

  • The US Department of Justice  announced Eun Young Choi as the first director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET).

  • El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele called US Senators “boomers” in response to a recently proposed bill seeking to mitigate the risks to the US financial system from El Salvador’s BTC purchase.

  • During a presentation at ETHDenver, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin announced that he will be publishing a book in September.

  • SEC chair Gary Gensler outlined his plan to regulate crypto in an exclusive House Democrat event.

  • Nvidia, a computer chip manufacturer, saw its crypto-related revenue dip 77% between Q3 and Q4 of 2021.

  • A piece of legislation in Illinois would give tax incentives to cryptocurrency miners using data centers if passed.

  • NBA Top Shot is auctioning off 30 NFTs to give VIP access to the next five all-star games.

  • Virtual world and gaming company Animoca Brands acquired mobile game studio Grease Monkey Games.

Today in Crypto Adoption…

  • United Arab Emirates is looking to issue federal licenses for VASPs by the end of Q1.

  • Universal Music Group is developing an NFT platform with the help of Curio to launch NFT projects from its record labels, operating companies and recording artists.

The $$$ Corner…

  • Sequoia Capital is raising between $500 million to $600 million for a sector-specific crypto fund focused primarily on liquid tokens and digital assets.

  • Circle is now valued at $9 billion based on revamped SPAC terms.

  • Backers of The Graph are creating a $205 million fund to support developers building on the system.

What Do You Meme?

What’s Poppin’?

Let’s Talk Crypto Crime

Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics firm, released its latest crypto crime report this week. The 140-page behemoth documents the most significant trends in illicit crypto transactions from 2021. Here are three topics that really stuck out:

Money laundering isn’t just a crypto issue: 

Since 2017, Chainalysis estimates that approximately $33 billion in value has been laundered via digital assets. In the fiat world, the number is much, much larger. Chainalysis points to UN Office of Drugs and Crime data estimating that between $800 billion – $2 trillion is laundered each year (equating to as much as 5% of global GDP). In comparison, money laundering accounted for just 0.05% of crypto transaction volume in 2021.

Ransomware is still a problem:

In 2020, which Chainalysis dubbed the “Year of Ransomware,” nearly $700 million in crypto payments were sent from victims to ransomware operators. 2021 was nearly as bad, with Chainalysis reporting over $600 million in ransomware payments being made (and the expectation that this is an underestimate). The growth in ransomware crypto payments is shocking, as only $365 million was lost to extortion from 2016 to 2019 combined.

DeFi Had a Tough Year:

Chainalysis estimates that $3.2 billion was stolen from crypto services in 2021, marking a 6x increase compared to 2020. In addition to a large jump in value lost, the number of thefts more than doubled, jumping from 117 to 250 unique incidents. Notably, the lion’s share of theft came from DeFi protocols, which lost roughly $2.25 billion in 2021 (with 50% of that coming as a direct result of a code exploit).

You can read the full report here.

Recommended Reads

  1. @punk6529 on NFTs as the perfect medium for art:

  1. CoinDesk on why Ethereum users use Ethereum even though gas fees are high:

  1. SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce on why she is not a fan of the BlockFi settlement:

On The Pod…

Congressman Ro Khanna: How to Get More Democrats into Web3

Congressman Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, discusses crypto and decentralization, his new book, Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us, and how to regulate the crypto industry. Show highlights:

  • what Silicon Valley had to do with Congressman Khanna’s journey down the crypto rabbit hole

  • why Congressman Khanna is so passionate about decentralization

  • why Congressman Khanna thinks crypto could bring tech jobs across the country and world (rather than staying in hubs like Silicon Valley)

  • why Congressman Khanna thinks a new regulatory regime is necessary for crypto assets, like stablecoins

  • what Congressman Khanna would like vocal crypto opponents like Congressman Brad Sherman or Senator Elizabeth Warren to know about the crypto space

  • Congressman Khanna explains the difference between determining if an asset is a security and regulating an asset

  • what Congressman Khanna is doing to bring predictability to crypto regulation

  • how regulators could incentivize Bitcoin miners to use less energy

  • what Congressman Khanna thinks about know-your-customer/anti-money-laundering mechanisms in the DeFi world

  • how Congressman Khanna believes crypto taxes should be treated

  • what actions Congressman Khanna recommends for bringing more Democrats to the crypto side

  • whether Congressman Khanna thinks crypto is a bipartisan issue

Book Update

My book, The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze, is now available for pre-order now.

The book, which is all about Ethereum and the 2017 ICO mania, comes out Feb. 22. Pre-order it today!

You can purchase it here: http://bit.ly/cryptopians