Privacy coins versus watchdogs

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

News & Commentary

Japan's financial regulator is pushing crypto exchanges to drop 'altcoins' favored by criminals
(Forbes, by Jake Adelstein)

"According to the Japanese authorities, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to identify the recipients of currencies like Monero via a blockchain or any other public ledger. The anonymity makes the coins ideal for money laundering. The blockchain (public ledger) for bitcoin, makes it possible for seasoned investigators to follow the money."

Leek, candy, and big pancake: The slang Chinese crypto traders use to hide from the authorities
(Quartz, by Zheping Huang)

"Chinese crypto investors are still trading peer-to-peer on services like WeChat and encrypted apps like Telegram, and discussing trades on online forums like 8btc.com. The jargon helps avoid further government intervention by obscuring their intentions from prying eyes."

Who has your back in crypto?
(Hacking, Distributed, by Emin Gün Sirer)

"In general, open-source (OSS) developers, especially second generation developers who were not present at the inception of the project, have skewed interests that are at odds with those of the users. Depending on your investment thesis, either the miners or businesses have their economic interest best aligned with users. Let's discuss why."

WhatsApp founder plans to leave after broad clashes with parent Facebook
(the Washington Post, by Elizabeth Dwoskin)

"The independence and protection of its users’ data is a core tenet of WhatsApp that Koum and his co-founder, Brian Acton, promised to preserve when they sold their tiny start-up to Facebook. It doubled down on its pledge by adding encryption in 2016. The clash over data took on additional significance in the wake of revelations in March that Facebook had allowed third parties to mishandle its users’ personal information."

Your data is valuable, but you’re never getting paid for it
(engadget, by Edgar Alvarez)

"There's no doubt that the 2.2 billion people who use Facebook would love to cash a check from the company, but the sad truth is that this is nothing but a pipe dream. It also ultimately suggests that this isn't Facebook's problem to solve, it's yours, and that doesn't sound like a fair deal."

The digital vigilants who hack back
(The New Yorker, by Nicholas Schmidle)

"Carpenter’s team scrubbed malware from Lockheed Martin’s computers, and flew back to Albuquerque. But Carpenter, a lean, excitable man who speaks in tangent-filled bursts, wasn’t ready to move on to other projects—he wanted to keep chasing the criminals. At home, he quietly continued his investigation. Every night, once his wife went to bed, Carpenter drank coffee, chewed Nicorette, and schemed about ways to outwit the hackers."

Technical & Updates

The case for central bank electronic money and the non-case for central bank cryptocurrencies
(Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, by Aleksander Berentsen and Fabian Schar)

"We characterize various currencies according to their control structure, focusing on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and government-issued fiat money. We then argue that there is a large unmet demand for a liquid asset that allows households and firms to save outside of the private financial sector. Central banks could offer such an asset by simply allowing households and firms to open accounts with them. Finally, we conclude that a central bank will not issue cryptocurrencies in the sense of a truly decentralized and permissionless asset that allows users to remain anonymous."

Commentary on competition between ICO platforms

Commentary on the interest parties in cryptocurrency ecosystem

Commentary on Bitcoin governance

Blockstream announces an update mechanism that makes backups easier

Algorand is coming out with a public network

Commentary on Algorand security mechanism