Last week the WSJ had a detailed piece on Shapeshift, the Exchange/Wallet. Among a broader allegation that almost $90 million in criminal money was laundered through over 46 crypto exchanges, the article also alleged that Shapeshift might have helped launder around $9 million, over a period of two years.
Today, Erik Voorhees, the Shapeshift CEO came out swinging with his side of the story in a blog post. Makes a lot of sense, and makes for some fascinating reading, if you have ten minutes.
The cynical view here is pretty simple and brutal – those who can, do; those who cannot, write.
In all fairness, most mainstream journalists, like with most of mainstream everyone, are still coming to terms with crypto. Here is recounting some first-hand experience; Some months ago, let us just say somewhere in Asia, as a fly-on-the-wall during an interview between Zooko Wilcox of Zcash and one of the supposedly more ‘crypto-savvy’ journalists, it was disheartening to see that the first question from the journalist was, to paraphrase “I understand blockchain, it has immense potential. What is the point of bitcoin”. To his credit, the admirable Zooko handled this with aplomb, in spite of his jet lag post a transcontinental flight.
Mainstream journalists have a tough task, keeping up with developments in crypto. Even practitioners in the industry who live, breathe and eat this stuff are barely able to keep up with the relentless 24×7 crypto news cycle across the various channels. Also, in order to talk and write and propound about this stuff, one needs to be in deep. It is not a coincidence that some of the most informative material out there comes from practitioners themselves, such as Eric Meltzer, or Nic Carter or Jimmy Song.
In other news, Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat used the opportunity to speak in front of the august audience of the UN General Assembly to make the case for cryptos eloquently. This is probably the first instance of a Head of State talking exclusively about crypto at such an event.
While media would have you believe that we are all waiting for institutions to come in and start buying and adopting cryptos, Institutions, apparently, have been buying up crypto at a steady pace over the past couple of quarters. Most of these trades, especially pretty much anything over $100k, happens on large OTC platforms, such as Cumberland, or Goldman-promoted Circle. Traditional exchanges, quite simply, do not have the market depth to service such trades. The OTC market continues to be super attractive, and although we have moved from the ‘2 under/2 over spread”, where if you wanted to sell you would get a 2% discount to the market, and if you wanted to buy you would have to pay a 2% premium to the market, the opportunity is still very attractive as more and more institutions such as hedge funds, as well as single and multi-family offices continue to enter this market.
An elite member of France’s intelligence agency tried to sell state secrets for crypto. As someone said, trust the French to do serious things frivolously and frivolous things seriously.
Also, worth mentioning, the EEA (Enterprise Ethereum Alliance) and Hyperledger alliance. The two consortiums were pretty much in a dogfight over the whole ‘enterprise blockchain’ space, but a change of management at the former prompted a change of heart apparently. What this actually pans out to be remains to be seen.
“Crypto OTC Deals Gathering Steam” According to Bloomberg’s analysis, institutional investors are actively buying crypto, much more than what market participants are witnessing, through over the counter deals. Bitcoin has been trading in a tight range for the most of the year, paving the way for big money managers who have low tolerance for volatility. OTC enrollment is witnessing triple-digit growth, with roughly a third of the interest coming from Asia.
“ICO Treasuries and ETH” Yesterday, in association with TokenAnalyst, BitMEX released a research report which studied the Ether holdings of ICO treasuries and current balances. Out of the $5.4 billion equivalent in ETH raised by ICOs, almost all of it has been sold into the market. Surprisingly, however, even at current levels, ICOs are sitting on unrealized capital gains.
“Malta Reaffirms Support for Crypto” During a speech to the General Assembly of the U.N., Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that cryptocurrencies are the “inevitable future of money”. The leader further elaborated on his and his administration’s positive stance towards the upcoming market which has led many firms to relocate operations there including exchanges such as Binance and OKex.
“First Game on Tron” BitGuild has launched Magic Academy, the first game built on the Tron blockchain. The game allows players to buy wizards and in-game items and use them to produce the game’s currency – Jade. Jades are TRX20 token issued to the players depending on their collection of items and characters. The game apparently also supports TRX721-based unique collectibles.
“Volunteer Monero Group” A group called the Monero Malware Response Workgroup has issued guidelines to educate and protect buyers and users of Monero against hackers and ransomware. Monero, a privacy coin, has been at the centre of some controversy around it’s alleged use for financing illegal activities including as payment for ransomware. Due to the ease of installation of the Monero mining software, hackers were able to have the software installed on servers or personal computers and use them for mining.
Today’s NAV is ~$1.26, up roughly 29% since launch.
You can express your interest in 108 Token Series II here. This will be an open-ended, rolling vehicle.
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