Don’t freak out, but big tech tokens are 👎


What actually matters this week, and why.

In my humble opinion…

A powerful open trading platform for crypto

As you’ll read later, Coinbase is beginning to fund Decentralized Finance (DeFi) projects. dYdX, an open trading platform for crypto, is built on Ethereum and is one of the first to receive money from Coinbase’s new fund. The project allows users to create crypto-related financial products (think of short sells, leveraged long positions, etc.) without a broker or trusted intermediary. It simplifies a lot of the complications that come with, say, shorting or longing a token. Their protocol is also completely open for others to build on top of. dYdX has received previous funding from other VC firms, such as Bain Capital Ventures and 1confirmation.

We’re not trying to freak you out, but digital currencies run by huge tech companies are probably bad news.

Crypto is coming to the mainstream, whether governments around the world like it or not. 40% of millennials say that in the event of a recession, they’d prefer to invest in crypto. The issue is figuring out what to do with them, if they’re able to be controlled at all. The consensus? “Steer technology towards the public good,” suggests Christine Lagarde, the chairman of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Take Catalonia, which announced the development of a decentralized identity platform called IdentiCAT, allowing citizens to control their own data when using online services. No, the government will not be collecting users’ personal data. Perhaps China should take a leaf out of their book…

We’re starting to see some eerie parallels with Libra and China’s digital currency; the authoritarian leaders of the projects; gaping black holes where data rights/usage should be; and motivations for the tokens blurring between control and the desire to fuel actual tech innovation. We can’t say we feel confidently about Libra’s non-crypto-crypto nor China’s token. Neither does American Senator AOC, who lays it all out pretty clearly. According to a U.S. Treasury official, Libra, along with all other tokens in the U.S., must meet the highest anti-money-laundering (AML) and terrorism financing standards. As for the general consumer, you’re going to have to make a choice for now: would you trade ease-of-use for potentially sacrificing your financial autonomy?

Phew, that was kind of a downer, wasn’t it? Let’s get to the exciting stuff: sexy tech dev and ETFs.

While we may be closer to getting a bitcoin ETF, there’s still a lot of work to be done with regards to price manipulation and transparency. That’s not to say there hasn’t been a ton of internal turmoil within the SEC regarding a crypto ETF. Some outlets are also freaking out about VanEck’s bitcoin-oriented trust (reminder: it’s not technically an ETF) only raising $41k in their first week. Relax, everyone. It’s been just a week, and investors have to complete due diligence, not to mention that it hasn’t been around long enough to deploy investor funds.

Meanwhile, Coinbase recently announced the USDC Bootstrap Fund – a fund for investing USD coin (USDC) into Decentralized Finance (DeFi) protocols. DeFi projects are traditional bearer instruments (financial products with no ownership info attached) built on top of a blockchain. Yes, they’re actually different than fintech. The first two lucky projects? Compound and dYdX, the latter of which we spoke about in our ‘Project Highlight’ section. It seems that Coinbase Custody has a new competitor, Gemini Custody, which will offer storage solutions for 18 tokens. Institutional custody has become a huge battle as exchanges race to lock in huge corporate accounts.

Musician and crypto enthusiast Akon defends Bitcoin against the FUD. While it may not be 100% accurate, the general principles are there. A- for effort!

Some company called Apple had a big tech release. Something something expensive phones.

Déjà vu – looks like there’s yet another blockchain phone coming from LG. Look out, HTC and Samsung.

Coin to Watch

(CRYPTO: XTZ) Ah, we’re swimming in a sea of red, this AM. While Tezos may also be looking down, they’ve been relatively stable in this tumultuous year.

You Laugh You Win

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