In case you haven’t heard, I am going to be doing a live podcast recording with Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum. On stage, in front of a live audience, we’ll be discussing Ethereum 2.0, Polkadot, Substrate, governance and so much more!

It will be in New York City on the evening of March 20th and the venue will be announced soon. Keep watching my Twitter feed for updates. We’ll have food, drinks and giveaways. There are a just a few seats left, so buy your tickets now!

Also, you can pre-submit a video of yourself asking Vitalik a question. I’ll select a few to play during the event. Just record a short video of yourself — one minute max — stating your first and last name, location and affiliation, if relevant, and asking your question. Email it to [email protected] with the subject line “video question.”

As for this week’s news, Ethereum got upgraded without drama, while Coinbase took some heat over its listing of XRP. More details of Facebook’s crypto project came to light, and Venezuelans offered different perspectives on the effect crypto has had in the country.

This Week’s Crypto News…

Facebook, Messaging Platforms to Release Stablecoins

Here come the company stablecoins. Facebook’s, Telegram’s and Signal’s cryptocurrencies are on their way — perhaps as soon as the first half of this year, reports Nathaniel Popper and Mike Isaac in the New York Times. However, the companies claim that their coins will be decentralized to some degree.

Coinbase Adds XRP, Raising Questions About Lowered Standards

Coinbase Pro opened trading in XRP, a controversial move which some claimed showed the previously conservative exchange was lowering standards in a reach for revenue. For instance, the token violates some of the tenets laid out in Coinbase’s Digital Asset Framework since almost 60% of the coins are owned by Ripple, and lawsuits contend it is a security. Consider this further evidence that Coinbase is more a tech company than a finance company.

Some questioned whether or not the company had accepted payment from Ripple (as Ripple had offered in the past, according to Bloomberg); Coinbase wouldn’t answer and Ripple denied it. Crypto lawyers surmised that the risk calculus of offering what may be an unregistered security might have changed during the crypto winter.

How Much, or How Little, Bitcoin Is Helping Venezuelans

Picking up on last week’s Unconfirmed, I took note of this one New York Times essay pointed out that cryptocurrencies can be useful in Venezuela. However this Longhash piece soberly notes that the crisis is worsening, but cryptocurrency “remains unknown to the vast majority of Venezuelans.” (Plus, Meltem Demirors and Jill Carlson cover the Venezuelan government’s attempt at its own cryptocurrency, the petro, in this week’s What Grind My Gears.)

Constantinople Now Live

After being postponed last month, an upgrade to Ethereum, Constantinople, went through yesterday, ushering in several technical changes aimed at optimizing the network. What will community members mostly notice? The cutting of the block reward from 3 to 2.

Crypto’s Wash Trading Problem

Yowza. Fake volumes are fairly easy to spot, as this report from Coventure shows.

Chris Burniske on Building in a Bear Market

As one would expect of a VC in the space, the Placeholder Ventures co-founder is still bullish long term: “just as people in 2017 regretted their 2014/2015/2016 decisions to abandon bitcoin for blockchain, many people in 2021 will regret their 2018/2019/2020 decision to abandon tokens for equity.”