The tide of hype goes out

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

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Editor's note

At macro scale, things appear rosy: the U.S. jobless rate just reached a 48-year low, equity markets are still holding ground, and geopolitical risks appear to be alleviating.

The ICO phenomenon, however, is waning, as the most powerful players scramble to push out tokens to an ever-less-interested market. The leading exchanges in particular are racing to consolidate the market by distributing platform tokens of their own issuance (see story below).

News of wider blockchain adoption is emerging from mainstream corporates like Facebook, Uber, and Google, but these may merely be experiments. If macro-economic growth turns out to be a chimera, it's unclear whether the cryptocurrency ecosystem is sufficiently mature to survive a macro bear market.

The founder of Kik, one of the hottest ICOs from last year, now has a much less optimistic view of the underlying tech. One bellwether to watch will be the launch of EOS, the multi-billion-dollar ICO whose network launched this week amidst some technical confusion. Should its block producers fail to unify around a single chain, the prospects for other large ICO-funded chains like Kik, Tezos, and Filecoin will continue to dim.

Iterative Live

This week the Iterative Capital podcast returns with a 45-minute discussion of the crypto-markets featuring journalist Ben Schiler.

Discussing the markets (with Ben Schiller)

This week's news recap

Tuesday: Is Layer 2 the right solution to scalability?
Wednesday: What's at the root of bitcoin's cultural divide?
Friday: How crypto exchanges became little empires

Further readings this week

Macro matters now, just not the data
(Marc to Market)

"The main concerns of investors do not arise from the high-frequency data that are due in the coming days. Last week, the somewhat firmer than expected preliminary May CPI for the EMU failed to bolster the euro. The stronger than expected US jobs data, even if tipped by the President of the United States, and the pendulum of market sentiment swinging back in favor of two more Fed rate hikes this year did not trigger new dollar gains."

Commentary on the amount of debt in the system

The acrobat and the fly
(Epsilon Theory, by Ben Hunt)

"The most painful realization of all in a world awash with Narrative, of course, is that the people who disagree with us are not especially hypocritical or contradictory. It is that they are our brother. Our sister. Made out of the same earth. And probably every bit as smart, upstanding, independent-minded and, yes, flawed as we are."

ZenCash statement on double spend attack
(ZenCash Blog)

"The ZenCash network was the target of a 51% attack on 2 June at approximately 10:43 pm EDT (03 June 02:43 hrs UTC). The ZenCash team immediately executed mitigation procedures to significantly increase the difficulty of future attacks on the network."

Move deliberately, fix things: How Coinbase is building a cryptocurrency empire
(Washington Post, by Brian Fung)

"And what was a staff of 100 people a year ago has ballooned to 300, with plans to add 450 in the next year. That’s not counting support contractors, who number more than 1,000. On top of existing satellite offices in New York and London, Coinbase is looking to open others this year in North America, Europe and Asia."

Simple Schnorr multi-signatures with applications to Bitcoin
(Gregory Maxwell, Andrew Poelstra, Yannick Seurin, and Pieter Wuille)

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first multi-signature scheme provably secure in the plain public-key model which allows key aggregation. As an application, we explain how our new multi-signature scheme could improve both performance and user privacy in Bitcoin."

Security debt and the keys to the kingdom
(Decipher, by Dave Lewis)

"Security debt is the accumulation of the patches missed, the risks accepted, and the configurations misapplied. Over time, these grow and the interest is compounded from these risks. Case in point: the mismanagement of user accounts with an enterprise."