Episode 18 – Crypto Charity: where you donate to random people making promises and get nothing in return — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Crypto Charity – where you donate to random people making promises and get nothing in return Crypto Critics' Corner

Today's episode is guest-less! Just Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discussing how particularly egregious cryptocurrency-based charities tend to be. Examples include Jacob Kostecki, Binance's Pink Care Token, and Deltec Cares.

In this episode Cas and I are discussing the problematic history of charities in the crypto space. 

I discuss Jacob Kostecki here:

Please enter your email to subscribe to my newsletter:

My Second Appearance on the Blockchain Debate Podcast with Sam Kazemian

Motion: Algo and fractional stablecoins are flawed (Bennett Tomlin vs. Sam Kazemian) The Blockchain Debate Podcast

Guests:Bennett Tomlin (twitter.com/bennetttomlin)Sam Kazemian (twitter.com/samkazemian)Host:Richard Yan (twitter.com/gentso09)Today’s motion is “Algo and fraction stablecoins are flawed.”A good stablecoin can sustainably hold its peg, and recover quickly from a premium or discount. This is a basic requirement for stablecoins. An obvious design is the bank coin model, where coins are backed 1-to-1 by fiat. But this creates a single point of failure and incurs compliance overhead. Hence MakerDAO, which made a smart contract driven stablecoin, and is de-coupled from the banking system. But it requires over-collateralization. So new designs popped up and tried to make the next capital-efficient stablecoin to allow under-collateralization, with innovative collateral adjustment mechanisms. We call these algorithmic and fractional stablecoins. Historically, most of these coins failed to hold their pegs. Is there a fundamental problem? Or can these challenges be overcome?The two debaters today include the founder of an algo/fractional stablecoin that has been holding its peg relatively well since launch, that is about half a year, as well as a well-known critic of various stablecoins.If you’re into crypto and like to hear two sides of the story, be sure to also check out our previous episodes. We’ve featured some of the best known thinkers in the crypto space.If you would like to debate or want to nominate someone, please DM me at @blockdebate on Twitter.Please note that nothing in our podcast should be construed as financial advice.Source of select items discussed in the debate (and supplemental material):Dragonfly research on FRAX stablecoin: https://medium.com/dragonfly-research/a-visual-explanation-of-frax-bcce72c1730fBennett Tomlin article on FEI stablecoin: https://bennettftomlin.substack.com/p/fei-protocol-analysis-last-reminderFrax stablecoin: https://frax.finance/Bennett Tomlin blog (mostly crypto): https://bennettftomlin.substack.com/Maker DAO's Black Thursday: https://medium.com/@whiterabbit_hq/black-thursday-for-makerdao-8-32-million-was-liquidated-for-0-dai-36b83cac56b6Guest bios:Bennett Tomlin regularly publishes articles about fraud in the crypto space via his blog. His dayjob is data scientist and fraud investigator in the pharmacy benefits area.Sam Kazemian is cofounder and CEO of Frax Finance, a stablecoin project that brands itself as the world's first "fractional-algorithmic" stablecoin. Sam also started Everipedia, the first decentralized online encyclopedia on the blockchain.

I returned to the Blockchain Debate podcast and in this episode I debated whether or algorithmic stablecoins are a valuable idea. I reference several different pieces of my work, so will drop the links to them below.

Please enter your email to subscribe to my newsletter:

The Available Evidence that Tether and Bitfinex Committed Bank Fraud

The Available Evidence that Tether and Bitfinex Committed Bank Fraud Bennett's Articles

https://bennettftomlin.com/2021/07/26/the-available-evidence-that-tether-and-bitfinex-committed-bank-fraud/ Recently Bloomberg reported that several Tether executives (archive) have gotten ‘target letters’ for bank fraud from the Department of Justice. There is evidence that Tether and Bitfinex may have participated in bank fraud. We have several reasons to believe that Tether may have committed bank fraud starting by this video that was saved by Bitfinex’ed. We’ve had banking hiccups in the past, we’ve just always been able to route around it or deal with it, open up new accounts, or what have you… shift to a new corporate entity, lots of cat and mouse tricks. Sometimes those accounts get shut down because the correspondent banks realize this is Bitcoin related. The specific claim that Bloomberg is claiming is under investigation is that Tether may have misrepresented to banks their line of business and tried to hide that it was cryptocurrency related. I think the above quotes make it extraordinarily likely that Tether was doing exactly what they are accused of. Update: I forgot to mention the below story that the NYAG revealed. https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/DocumentDisplayServlet?documentId=vIexA1b0spKOnK_PLUS_ZUGTJ3A==&system=prod (Archive) (My copy) When the New York Attorney General filed their request for an ex parte order they revealed that for a period that Bitfinex depended on ‘friends of Bitfinex’ who would use their accounts to service withdrawals. It is very likely in my opinion that this was not fully disclosed to their banks. It is also important to remember that Bitfinex and Tether relied on Crypto Capital Corp to provide ‘Bank Fraud as a Service’. Crypto Capital Corp would misrepresent to banks that they were in real estate, while actually providing shadow banking services to Bitfinex, Tether, Kraken, Quadriga, Bitmex and others. They would also use fake bond certificates to claim to have more funds than they actually did, and the principal was arrested with counterfeited bills and the ability to issue more. It is thanks to this fraudulent behavior that Crypto Capital Corp was able to maintain banking relationships for the periods where they could. When Tether lost banking in 2017, they likely depended on Crypto Capital Corp. It would be Crypto Capital Corp eventually having their bank accounts seized that would lead to Bitfinex robbing hundreds of millions of dollars from Tethers account. Moral of the story, don’t lie to your bank.

Recently Bloomberg reported that several Tether executives (archive) have gotten ‘target letters’ for bank fraud from the Department of Justice. There is evidence that Tether and Bitfinex may have participated in bank fraud.

Continue reading “The Available Evidence that Tether and Bitfinex Committed Bank Fraud”

Episode 17 – From Skeptic to Believer: Preston Byrne on the cryptocurrency ecosystem — Crypto Critics’ Corner

From Skeptic to Believer: Preston Byrne on the cryptocurrency ecosystem Crypto Critics' Corner

Lawyer Preston Byrne joins Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey for a wide-ranging discussion that goes from his own crypto journey (of skeptic to believer) to regulatory and legal risks for stablecoin operators. Visit his Twitter to see more from Preston https://twitter.com/prestonjbyrne

In this episode Cas and I are joined by Preston Byrne of Anderson Kill Law to discuss stablecoins, his perspective on crypto, and the interplay between regulation and decentralized finance.

You can find Preston’s Twitter here.

Please enter your email to subscribe to my newsletter:

Episode 16 – Stablecoins, CBDCs, and the STABLE Act with Rohan Grey — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Stablecoins, CBDCs, and the STABLE Act with Rohan Grey Crypto Critics' Corner

Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by Assistant Professor of Law at Willamette University and one of the authors of the STABLE Act, Rohan Grey. We discuss how stablecoins operate, what he hopes to see from CBDCs and the problems he sees in all kinds of new(er) money markets. Find him on Twitter @rohangrey

In this episode Cas and I are joined by Rohan Grey, Assistant Professor at Willamette Law and one of the creators of the STABLE Act to discuss money transmitters, stablecoins, CBDCs, and the STABLE Act.

You can find Rohan’s Twitter here.

Please enter your email to subscribe to my newsletter:

Episode 15 – Revisiting Enron with David Z Morris — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Revisiting Enron with David Z. Morris Crypto Critics' Corner

Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by David Z. Morris to discuss what happened at Enron, the ramifications of its downfall, and how the climate during Enron relates to today. If you'd like to hear more from David visit his website http://www.davidzmorris.com/  his twitter profile https://twitter.com/davidzmorris or subscribe to his substack http://davidzmorris.substack.com

In this episode Cas and I are joined by David Z Morris of Coindesk to discuss Enron and how we think this relates to the current cryptocurrency ecosystem. 

You can find David’s Twitter here, his Substack here, and his book here. (Note: this is an affiliate link which helps support my work.)

Please enter your email to subscribe to my newsletter:

Sunday Reads – Things I Found Interesting 2021-07-18

Stablecoins

Janet Yellen is getting together a whole bunch of regulators and law enforcement to figure out what the heck is happening with stablecoins.

ICYMI

I was able to go on the Grant William’s Podcast to discuss Bitfinex and Tether and he has also made his report on Tether and Bitfinex freely available.

In this episode Cas and I discuss his journey to try to find the offices of Bitfinex and Tether.

In this article I tried to figure out why Tether’s reserves look so…weird.

On this Twitter Spaces I was able to discuss Binance’s current situation with Frances Coppola, Cas Piancey, and David Gerard.

In this article I try to exhaustively document every audit, attestation, consulting memo, and letter meant to prove Tether was sufficiently backed.

Please enter your email to subscribe to my newsletter:

A History of Tether and Bitfinex’s Audits, Attestations, Memos, and Letters: Both Promised and Actual

A History of Tether and Bitfinex’s Audits, Attestations, Memos, and Letters: Both Promised and Actual Bennett's Articles

https://bennettftomlin.com/2021/07/17/a-history-of-tether-and-bitfinexs-audits-attestations-memos-and-letters-both-promised-and-actual/ Amidst all the confusion surrounding Tether and Bitfinex it can be difficult to keep track of what they have actually provided in terms of audits, attestations, and other documents to support their contentions. Here I will summarize, but the important note that needs to be included at the top is that both Bitfinex and Tether once hired an auditor, but neither ever completed the audit. Ever since Tether was founded they have promised to provide a full financial audit. It feature prominently in their whitepaper and on their website for years. They have never provided this audit, but have provided a variety of other documents meant to convince the public that they had sufficient backing for the tethers in circulation. In March of 2015 Tether and Factom announced (archive) they had formed a partnership to provide greater transparency into Tether’s holdings. The partnership never provided any additional transparency into Tether or its operations. In August of 2016 Bitfinex promised (archive) to provide a full financial and security audit after they were hacked. They initially announced that Ledger Labs was hired to perform both. No audit from Ledger Labs was ever released. This was likely in part due to the fact that Ledger Labs was not able to provide financial audits. In May of 2017 Bitfinex announced (archive) they had engaged Friedman LLP out of New York to audit them. As of today in 2021 we have yet to get an update from Bitfinex on the status of this audit. In September of 2017 Tether announced (archive) that they had engaged Friedman LLP out of New York to audit them. This audit would never occur, we would eventually get an update from a Tether spokesperson saying the relationship dissolved, citing the “excruciatingly detailed procedures”(archive) that the auditor wanted to undertake. Also in September of 2017 Tether released from previous attestations from a small accounting firm in Taiwan called TOPSUN. These were monthly attestations attesting to Tether having sufficient backing for the end of the month from December 2016 through March 2017. Strangely these were not completed at the end of the respective months but were all completed on May 23rd 2017. (Strangely approximately two weeks after they announced that Friedman had been brought on to audit Bitfinex) Read more… https://bennettftomlin.com/2021/07/17/a-history-of-tether-and-bitfinexs-audits-attestations-memos-and-letters-both-promised-and-actual/

Amidst all the confusion surrounding Tether and Bitfinex it can be difficult to keep track of what they have actually provided in terms of audits, attestations, and other documents to support their contentions. Here I will summarize, but the important note that needs to be included at the top is that both Bitfinex and Tether once hired an auditor, but neither ever completed the audit.

Continue reading “A History of Tether and Bitfinex’s Audits, Attestations, Memos, and Letters: Both Promised and Actual”

My Twitter Spaces with Frances Coppola and Cas Piancey and David Gerard on Binance

What is going on with Binance? CHAD

In this Twitter Space, we discussed all the current events around what's going on with Binance!  This was live in Twitter spaces from: https://twitter.com/chadsgx  Co-Hosted with: https://twitter.com/WOLF_Financial   Featured speakers:  https://twitter.com/Frances_Coppola https://twitter.com/davidgerard https://twitter.com/CasPiancey https://twitter.com/BennettTomlin  Subscribe for more great content like this!

This was a Twitter Spaces that I did a couple days ago with chadsgx, Wolf_Financial, Cas Piancey, David Gerard, and Frances Coppola. We discuss the current regulatory situation for Binance.

Please enter your email to subscribe to my newsletter: