Will Facebook try rip off cypherpunk, too?

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

Editor's note

Early this week, Facebook announced that the company is lauching its own blockchain division. While Mark Zuckerberg has said before he's considered cryptocurrencies in the context of Facebook, the announcement comes at a time the social network empire is plagued with mounting accusations about mis-handling user data: just yesterday it was hit with a new class action lawsuit over data on mobile devices.

Does Facebook's management believe a public blockchain will be a panacea for the company's data-sharing problems? If so, it would be a shocking turn in the cypherpunk or (cyberpunk) story. In the 90s, the cyberspace was imagined as an antidote to real-world corporate power--not an enabler of it. Will the world's predominant blockchains continue to be open-allocation, or will a Facebook-and-Wall-Street-backed copycat outstrip them? As financial services in particular grow more comfortable with Bitcoin, perhaps there's a middle way.

Commentary on the "financialization" of Bitcoin

This week's news recap

Monday: The "big lie" behind altcoins
Tuesday: Get a first glimpse at Ethereum's new consensus upgrade
Wednesday: Shrinking the "anonymity set" in Zcash
Thursday: As market oscillates, mainstream investors begin eyeing Bitcoin
Friday: In an unintentional nod to open source, News Corp CEO suggests "Algorithmic Review Board" for Facebook and Google

Further readings this week

Why I think ASIC resistance is fundamentally problematic and an undesirable property for a cryptocurrency

Why I think ASIC resistance is fundamentally problematic and an undesirable property for a cryptocurrency. from r/BitcoinDiscussion

How not to get hacked during Consensus NYC 2018 (or any other conference)
(Marsmensch)

"Do not accept storage devices, USBs or files from people you don’t know. DO NOT charge phones, computers, or other devices in public charging stations. There are known attacks involving these stations. Get a portable battery pack instead."

Decred investment thesis
(Placeholder VC)

"Decred’s killer feature is good governance, and with good governance, you can have any feature you want."

The elites and inequality: the rise and fall of the managerial class
(Quillette, by Neema Parvini)

"This concern with general inequality is frequently, of course, coupled with a concern for income disparities between particular groups of people categorised by gender, race or whatever other measure. It is fashionable to attribute gaps to ‘discrimination’, even if such discrimination is statistically impossible."

Darknet markets and the shadow economy
(Weekly Global Research, by Lee Banfield)

"Underground and darknet market use of Monero has a good chance of increasing as government persecution of 'non-compliant' cryptocurrency currency users intensifies with blacklists of 'tainted' coins and more scrutiny at centralized fiat-crypto exchanges leading to tax inspections."