Silicon Valley's test crash dummy is you

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

Editor's note

The headlines in the past week sound dystopian: an autonomous Uber killed a pedestrian; Facebook, it was revealed, had "leaked" data. Like petroleum in the mid-20th century, personal data is now highly commoditized, and the heavyweights are concentrated.

Could cryptocurrency be a viable platform for secure and transparent applications that break the cartel? Mark Zuckerberg himself acknowledged it might be in his 2018 annual note, when he said currencies like bitcoin "take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands."

This week's news recap

Monday:Trump bans U.S. investors from trading Venezuelan ICO token
Tuesday:What's wrong with hardware wallets?
Wednesday:Taking stock of the lies bankers tell about Bitcoin
Thursday:This Nobel-winning economist thinks "stablecoins" can reduce volatility
Friday:Where is the world's largest crypto exchange now?

Further reading this week

Facebook faces a reputational meltdown
(The Economist)

"That doesn’t go nearly far enough. Facebook needs a full, independent examination of its approach to content, privacy and data, including its role in the 2016 election and the Brexit referendum. This should be made public. Each year Facebook should publish a report on its conduct that sets out everything from the prevalence of fake news to privacy breaches."

You’ve always been the product
(Hackernoon, by Kerry Morrison)

"Every web service you use that is free has made you the product and exists to give your data to other companies. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and every inch of Google are advertising businesses wrapped in platform services."

Galloway: break up Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

3 essential things I learned being part of an ICO
(Hackernoon, by Michiel Mulders)

"I don’t like to say this, but it sounds like one big scam (most likely bribed reviewers). 1) The explanatory video is just shilling the project; 2) The project is aggressively marketed which is a historical indication of a red flag; 3) There is no need for these robotic drones to run on a decentralized network and use cryptocurrencies."

Bug caught that allowed Coinbase users to garner unlimited amounts of Ether
(Bitcoin Magazine, by Nick Marinoff)

"1.Set up a smart contract with a few valid Coinbase wallets and one final faulty wallet.
2.Transfer appropriate funds to the smart contract.
3.Execute smart contract adding the set amount of ether to the Coinbase wallets without ever actually leaving the smart contract wallet because the complete transaction fails at the last wallet.
4.Repeat until you have more than enough ether in your Coinbase wallet.
5.Cash out, transfer to offsite wallet."

Bitcoin explained

Bill Gross investment outlook: killing each other
(Bill Gross)

"When it comes to financial markets, (both bond and stock) the 'beast' is really leverage, and while it's hard to pinpoint when enough is really enough, the Great Recession really informed us that Hyman Minsky was right – 'stability leads to instability' as good times and higher prices lead to a false sense of optimism."