In this last edition of our Lookback Series, we pick our eight favourite posts from 2018.
We have truly enjoyed sharing our analysis and views with you through the newsletter and on the website, and we thank you for your valuable feedback and continued patronage. We try to keep these posts insightful, edgy, often contrarian and always relevant. Time is money, and we want to make sure you get your bang for your buck.
This will also be our last post for 2018. We wish all our readers a great 2019. Looking forward to connecting with you again in the new year. Until then, happy reading, hopefully somewhere warm!
This post draws parallels between the key technology wars of the last three decades; the browser war, the social network war and the current battle for the crypto crown. Importantly, it makes the case that unlike the earlier scenarios, in the crypto war, incumbents have an unfair advantage conferred on them by virtue of the financial aspects of tokenization.
A number of projects claim to be superior to Bitcoin and Ethereum in terms of scalability. This post explores the underlying tradeoffs between scalability, decentralization and consensus and how many projects with fallacious scalability claims offer very little decentralization, in comparison to BTC and ETH.
The widening pension fund deficit is a potential tsunami that will hit the global economy at some point in the future and could set off the next crisis. This post is an analysis of how cryptocurrencies offer a possible solution, both from a risk/reward as well as a diversification standpoints to reduce the yield shortfall.
Unlike features such as scalability,privacy, and decentralization, governance does not receive the same attention in crypto debates. In this post, we look at the possible challenges and tradeoffs that exist in a comparison of on-chain and off-chain governance, a topic that is increasingly coming to the fore these days.
A short read on how the price of Bitcoin and its peers seemed to brush off changing mainstream narrative with institutional investors ready to dip their toes in crypto waters. (This was authored pre-October, before the downward break in BTC price from the 5k-6k range, but the essence of the post still remains valid, we think)
There is a set of fundamental trade-offs at the heart of decentralized blockchains. There is this potential for disruption, for the development of trustless and censorship-resistant decentralized applications et al, but that remains a pipe dream for the foreseeable future as these blockchains are limited in their ability to scale up. This delves into the fundamental tradeoffs that most blockchain projects inevitably run into.
Crypto valuations are very much in their early days. As an investor in this space, it makes sense to be agile and take small wide-spread bets, given that the bulk of the great ideas are very much in the seed-stage.
Stablecoins are very much a strong contender for the idea-du-jour of the crypto world. In 2019, the search for an alternative to the US dollar as a global reserve currency will only accelerate in some quarters, especially with countries such as Iran, Venezuela, Russia and China motivated for various reasons related to American macro and trade policies. In addition, a number of countries continue to explore launching crypto versions of their fiat currencies.
“Japan Regulator Grants JVCEA Self-Regulatory Status” Japan’s Financial Services Agency (JFSA), Japan’s top financial regulator has revealed its expectations for the self-regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan. The agency has approved the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (Jvcea) as a self-regulatory organization (SRO), which it is working closely with to ensure compliance. All 16 regulated crypto exchanges in Japan are members of this self-regulatory organization.
“WSJ Report on Scam ICOs” Recent research by the WSJ revealed that hundreds of cryptocurrency offerings showed signs of fraudulent activity, improbable returns and plagiarism. In the course of its research, the WSJ downloaded “white papers” of 3,291 cryptocurrency projects that announced an initial coin offering (ICO) from three ICO websites. The analysis reportedly indicated that 16 percent — or 513 — of the aforementioned white papers showed signs of plagiarism, identity theft and promises of implausible returns.
“Bitcoin Miner Arrested in Taiwan” A bitcoin miner in Taiwan was arrested and charged for mining 100 million yuan (roughly $14.5 million) in crypto using NT$100 million (or $3.2 million) in stolen electricity. The man is accused of operating 17 illegal cryptocurrency mining centers using fake storefronts across Taiwan. The bootleg mines were located in the municipalities of Xinbei, Taoyuan, and Hsinchu. The criminal activity was uncovered after Taiwan’s state-owned electricity company, Taiwan Power, investigated a faulty power supply in one of Yang’s dummy doll shops.
“PwC Leader on Crypto 2019”According to Henri Arslanian, the “fintech and crypto leader” at PwC Asia, institutional investors will be the main drivers of digital currency adoption in the next 12 months. Reflecting on the recent business activity, Arslanian noted that “we saw a lot of the big banks enter the space and in 2019 I expect many more to enter the space as well, in different ways. Some of them may decide to launch their own solutions, like Fidelity did here in the US by setting up a new company”.
A Primer on Blockchain Interoperability by Aleks Larsen