The war on anonymous cryptocurrency

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

U.S. Secret Service: Action needed to address anonymous cryptocurrencies
(Forbes, by Aaron Stanley)

"A top U.S. Secret Service official on Wednesday asked Congress for help in preventing cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zcash, which provide users with enhanced privacy and anonymity features, from being used for illicit purposes."

Anonymous cryptocurrencies make financial watchdogs nervous. It first started with Japan: exchanges there are prohibited from listing privacy coins. It is widely known that with the right analytics tools, Bitcoin transactions are linkable and traceable. Privacy-focused projects such as Zcash and Monero stifle analytics using two different approaches. However, banning exchanges from listing these coins may not actually discourage their usage; decentralized exchanges will continue to trade them (see story below).

Technical Updates

Lightning & CoinJoin development looks to increase fungibility & privacy in Bitcoin
(Bitcoin Worldwide, by Twan Joseph)

"As Bitcoin continues to grow and develop, so too will the scrutiny against it. Certain governments or jurisdictions may take issue with the past history of Bitcoin transactions and use that against users."

The state of decentralized exchanges
(Gary Basin)

"Could there be a decentralized mechanism which is able to ensure properties like price-time priority of matches and prevention of front-running? In theory, you could use a blockchain to solve these problems. Either the block creation time would have to be fast enough where most of these effects are minimized, or you figure out some kind of consensus mechanism which can take into account price-time priority."

Firefox is back, it is time to give it a try
(NYT, by Brian Chen)

"Now Firefox is back. Mozilla released a new version late last year, code-named Quantum. It is sleekly designed and fast; Mozilla said the revamped Firefox consumes less memory than the competition, meaning you can fire up lots of tabs and browsing will still feel buttery smooth."

News & Commentary

Under new rules Quebec crypto miners will be required to bid for electricity
(CoinTelegraph, by Ana Alexandre)

"The new regime seeks to allocate up to 500 megawatts, in addition to 120 megawatts of already existing initiatives. The starting rate is reportedly 1 Canadian cent ($0.0075) per kilowatt hour, which is 20 percent above the industry standard price."

SEC documents detail scores of fraud allegations against Coinbase
(Mashable, by Jack Morse)

"This individual is far from alone in his or her suspicion. Numerous other people allege Coinbase is intentionally withholding their funds for untold purposes. One such complaint, originally submitted to the California Department of Business Oversight and then forwarded to the SEC, accuses the company of 'acting criminally.'"

A crypto acquisition spree: the rise of CFBLs
(Spencer Bogart)

"These CFBLs are entities whose primary cash flow generation has been from the sale of an inventory of tokens. CFBLs can be structured in a variety of ways (non-profit foundation, for-profit corporation, etc) and these differences affect the organization’s objectives but not necessarily their appetite for acquisitions."

Ben Hunt on the unparalleled power of narratives in financial market

Goldman Sachs: buckle up. Trade war fears will likely get worse
(CNN Money, by Matt Egan)

"For instance, Beijing could fight back by targeting US-based companies that operate in China. And China has already threatened to put tariffs on American crops, leaving farmers in states that voted for Trump caught in the middle."