Ambitious "blockchain" startups disintegrate, while practical services flourish

Chris Dannen

By Chris Dannen

Blythe Masters, widely credited with popularizing the credit default swaps that contributed to 2008's credit crunch, was CEO of a promising blockchain startup--until today. Fortune has reported that she has left her role as CEO of Digital Asset, the consulting company that positioned her as the blockchain-whisperer for banks. Meanwhile, practical services that address real friction in cryptocurrency markets (such as accounting tools like website http://bitcoin.tax) continue to earn praise, despite being free to use. Ultimately, when Bitcoin-like networks come to extinguish private settlement networks, it will be a result of their cheapness and reliability, not their flash.

Accounting Will Come to the Forefront of Blockchain in 2019
"Developing and communicating guidelines, frameworks, and suggestions for how various cryptoassets should be accounted for is a challenge that needs to be addressed in 2019 for these different assets to achieve broader adoption. Some of these accounting specific issues that we will be tackling in 2019 include 1) how to classify cryptoassets from an accounting perspective, 2) how to correctly value (both initially and over time) different cryptoassets as part of investment portfolios, and 3) the audit and attestation issues surrounding the crypto space."

CEO of Blockchain Startup Digital Asset Steps Down in Surprise Departure
"Blythe Masters left her job as a high-flying JPMorgan Chase executive in 2014, and soon after became CEO of Digital Asset, a blockchain startup that caters to banks and startups. Now, three years and a half years later she is stepping down. On Tuesday, Digital Asset announced that Masters is leaving for personal reasons, and that AG Gangadhar, who joined the company’s board of directors in April, will serve as the acting CEO."

Other News

Bitcoin Data Science (Pt. 3): Dust & Thermodynamics
"The amount of dust in the blockchain is determined by the current UTXO set and transaction fee market. At peak fees (~December 2017), between 25–50% of the UTXOs in the Bitcoin blockchain could have been called dust! At the same time, the amount of BTC contained in these dusty UTXOs was small: only a few tens of millions of dollars. So, depending on how you measure it, dust is either a huge problem or a trivial one. Either way, we discuss possible solutions for minimizing new dust and cleaning up existing dust."

Syncing Data Between Bitcoin Nodes Is About to Get Easier
"'Set reconciliation, in short, is the problem of trying to figure out what the differences are between two sets stored on different computers, while minimizing how much data needs to be exchanged between them. In particular, it’s trying to do so while sending less data than the entire set of data,' Wuille told Bitcoin Magazine. For Bitcoin, this means discerning the differences in transaction data between nodes. Maxwell likened set reconciliation to the process of syncing your phone’s contact list with another person who has many of the same contacts."

Alex Bosworth - Lightning channel Management

Druckenmiller on Economy, Stocks, Bonds, Trump, Fed: Full Interview

Questionable Coinbase Earn Is Launched

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly — Crypto 2018
"Looking at the big picture, bitcoin has been grounded dead over 300 times in the past, yet we still see an increasing number of experienced professionals transitioning in the blockchain and crypto assets ecosystem. Also, the total value of daily transaction continues to show positive growth; suggesting increase usage of various crypto networks. It will be interesting to see how the underlying technology of blockchain will be involved in the future core infrastructure of society."

Intel Discontinues the Custom Foundry Business!
"After mentioning what I heard at IEDM 2018, that Intel was officially closing the merchant foundry business as an aside in a SemiWiki forum discussion, I got a lot of email responses so let me clarify. Honestly I did not think it was a big surprise. Intel Custom Foundry was an ill conceived idea (my opinion) from the very start and was not successful by any measures. To be clear, it is not something I just heard, it is something I have verified through multiple sources so I believe it to be true, absolutely."

Fed Raises Rates, Demonstrating Confidence in Health of Economy
"The Federal Reserve announced a widely expected quarter-point increase in its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday, and signaled that it plans to continue raising rates next year. The Fed emphasized the strength of economic growth in a statement released after a two-day meeting of its policymaking committee. It said firms keep adding jobs and consumers keep spending money. The statement made no mention of recent turbulence in financial markets."

Bitcoin’s Tech Trends of 2018: What This Year Brought Us (Part 2)
"Where 2017’s dizzying price highs embedded 'hodl' into the public consciousness, 2018 was the year that 'buidl' became a trend in the crypto-industry — and Bitcoin was no exception. Anticipated in Bitcoin Magazine’s first cover story of the year, Bitcoin’s technological progress only accelerated in 2018. Improving Bitcoin from around the world, developers and entrepreneurs furthered Segregated Witness adoption, rolled out the Lightning Network, released privacy solutions, realized sidechains and made progress on a Schnorr signature solution — all of which were still around the corner only a year ago."