City of Berkeley, CA is considering an ICO

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

In the wake of the fatuous Venezuelan petro coin scheme, one local government in California thinks it can turn tokenized municipal debt into a reputable investment.

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News

Bush security advisor warns against blockchain cold war
(CoinDesk, by Michael del Castillo)

"Juan Zarate is widely credited with helping create sanctions tools and financial instruments that put pressure on enemies of the state. But as blockchain technology begins to break down borders and empower the unbanked, Zarate is growing concerned it might also be weaponized to illicit ends."

City of Berkeley looks to cryptocurrency to raise funds
(Bloomberg, by Romy Varghese)

"Under the initiative, the city would go to market with a public initial coin offering, allowing investors a chance to purchase either monetized digital tokens or municipal bonds issued in U.S. dollars. Coupon payments would be the same for those buying the bonds as those investors who want the digital currency instead."

Economists stick with optimistic U.S. outlook despite market turmoil
(WSJ, by David Harrison and Ben Leubsdorf)

"Economists surveyed in recent days by The Wall Street Journal on average predicted U.S. gross domestic product would rise 2.8% in 2018, accelerating from 2.5% growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 versus a year earlier, supported by the recent package of tax-code changes."

Commentary

Brokerage app Robinhood thinks Bitcoin belongs in your retirement plan
(Bloomberg, by Max Chafkin and Julie Verhage)

"This convenience has made the app controversial—it’s a little bit like putting a casino in an investor’s pocket—but it’s helped Robinhood grow quickly among millennials, a market the financial-services industry has found hard to crack."

The next phase in digital revolution: intelligent tools, platforms, growth, employment
(Communications of ACM, John Zysman, Martin Kenney)

"The increasing power of the firms that own platforms raises the question of how to define the tension between private power and public governance. Far more than with most previous industries, digital platforms are regulatory structures. Even more than in natural monopolies (such as electric and water utilities), today's digital platforms deeply structure the rules and parameters of action available to users."

The case for breaking up big tech
(Esquire, by Scott Galloway)

"The only way to build a company with the dominance and mass influence of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple is to appeal to a core human organ that makes adoption of the platform instinctive."

Technical

A closer look at Tethers blockchain
(Medium, by Alex Vikati)

"In Tether’s case, the top 200 addresses out of Tether’s nearly 100K active addresses hold over 2B USDT. Yes, the top 0.2% owns over 90% of the token’s total supply. This is more than double BTC’s wealth concentration."

Elements of the theory of dynamic networks
(Communications of ACM, by Othon Michail, Paul G. Spirakis)

"What computations can be performed by a collection of automata, such as nanodevices or even molecules, which cannot control their own interactions? Even if the computing entities are powerful devices, like smartphones or tablets, can they still carry out basic distributed tasks, such as leader election or counting the size of the system, and with what algorithmic techniques and under what required guarantees about the network's dynamics? Are the traditional network measures adequate for dynamic networks?"

A Faraday cage or air gap can't protect your device data from these two cyber- attacks
(Techrepublic, by Brandon Rigvialoro)

"Researchers have found a way to bypass Faraday cages and air gaps to transmit data using low-level magnetic fields that are impossible to stop with traditional methods."

Research for practice: Private online communication; highlights in systems verification
(Communications of ACM, by Albert Kwon, James R. Wilcox, Peter Bailis)

"While messaging protocols such as Signal provide privacy guarantees, Albert's selected research papers illustrate what is possible at the cutting edge: more transparent endpoint authentication, better protection of communication metadata, and anonymous broadcasting. These papers marry state-of-the-art cryptography with practical, privacy-preserving protocols, providing a glimpse of what we might expect from tomorrow's secure messaging systems."