Sunday Reads – Things I Found Interesting 2021-06-13

Books I Read

Insomnia – This book by Stephen King is a supernatural thriller (like many of King’s books). If you are a fan of King you will likely enjoy this, especially with the references back to Dark Tower and to Derry more broadly. If you are not a fan of King, I think he has better works for you to read. Be forewarned if you listen to the audiobook, the music selections between chapters are incredibly annoying.

Movies I Watched

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room – This documentary takes a look at the Enron fraud. There are many messages to be learned here that can be applied to other frauds.

I did a thread with my thoughts while watching the movie:

El Salvador

David Gerard covers the El Salvador situation brilliantly.

Yashar Ali

A fascinating profile on the prolific tweeter in LA Magazine.

ICYMI

In this article I try to look at the absurdity of Elon buying, selling, and shilling Bitcoin and Dogecoin.

In this article I try to wrap my head around just how big Tether really is.

In this article I discuss why I do not see venture capitalists as a sign of quality or due diligence for a crypto protocol.

In this episode Cas and I discuss the new initiative for Coinbase Media and Coinbase fact checking

I wrote about Coinbase media here.

Cas covered it here.

In this show we discuss the NYAG investigation of Bitfinex and Tether, the history of Bitfinex and Tether and more.

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Elon and the Absurdity of Bitcoin

Elon Musk is considered by fools to be among the smartest people alive. He will be discussed as though he has the intellect of Nikola Tesla, combined with the ability to create products of Thomas Edison. This towering intellect is a facade built on the willingness of others to continue to propagate the myth, and nothing makes that clearer than Elon’s relationship with Bitcoin.

Continue reading “Elon and the Absurdity of Bitcoin”

Sunday Reads – Things I Found Interesting 2021-05-30

Ethereum

Vitalik breaks down the limits to scaling.

Hard Forks

Eric Wall shares a flowchart from the Segwit2X Bitcoin scaling debate that can serve as a useful model for understanding contentious hard forks.

Steve Bannon’s Italian Gladiator School for Western Culture

Ben Munster breaks down the absurdity of the above phrase.

ICYMI

In this article I try to summarize what I see as the difference between the trader perspective and skeptic perspective on Tether and Bitfinex, plus it’s like a greatest hits of their fuck-ups.

In this podcast episode Cas and I discuss Crypto Capital Corp, the shadow bank to the cartels and to Bitfinex and Tether.

In this article I try to work through my thoughts on why Coinbase listed Tether.

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Episode 6 – Crypto Capital Corp: the quiet billion dollar cryptocurrency scam — Crypto Critics’ Corner

In this episode Cas and I take a look at the payments processor for Bitfinex, Tether, Kraken, Quadriga, and Bitmex. They’re implicated in money laundering for the cartels, wire fraud, bank fraud, embezzlement, and more.

Episode 6 – Crypto Capital Corp: the quiet billion dollar cryptocurrency scam — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Crypto Capital Corp: the quiet billion dollar cryptocurrency scam Crypto Critics' Corner

Cas and BT discuss Crypto Capital Corp, a defunct, fake, Panamanian money services transmitter that helped service almost every important cryptocurrency exchange, owned and operated by Reginald Fowler, Ivan Manuel Molina Lee, and Oz and Ravid Yosef. 

In this episode Cas and I take a look at the payments processor for Bitfinex, Tether, Kraken, Quadriga, and Bitmex. They’re implicated in money laundering for the cartels, wire fraud, bank fraud, embezzlement, and more.

I covered it here:

Cas discusses tracking Ravid Josef using her Google reviews here

He also discusses Crypto Capital Corp and the web around it more broadly here.

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Sunday Reads – Things I Found Interesting 2021-05-23

Stu claims many things, all on his personal Medium

Stu felt he had to respond to posts like mine here:

SafeMoon the US Based, Ponzi-like, FBI Related Token

SafeMoon is a popular cryptocurrency (especially on places that prey on unsophisticated investors like TikTok) and based on reporting by Protos Media it seems to be a shit-show. Founders are US based, apply for government contracts, and may even be paying people to shill it.

USOCC Signals Caution

As the former agency head departs for Binance US, the new head signals caution and review of crypto guidance. From Nikhilesh De at CoinDesk.

Food

Helen Rosner wrote a brilliant piece at the New Yorker about the nature of exclusivity for restaurants.

Books I Read

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday – This was an excellent book that summarized creating and marketing ‘long-tail’ projects. Art and creations that you want to continue generating forever. I also highly enjoyed Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan as well.

Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Mustangsart showed off some prosthetics they were working on for a Witcher RPG, but they are a brilliant inspiration item for any other game masters.

TBM Games has a really cool homebrew for a time-traveling rogue.

Programming

Miguel Grinberg has a new Flask library I am really excited about thanks to its potential to keep me from having to write Javascript.

ICYMI

I appeared on the COINTELPRO podcast:

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My Appearance on COINTELPRO

Cointelpro is a new podcast that I went on, quite different from other ones I’ve done. Much broader in scope and much less focused on crypto. My interview starts a little after the 15 minute mark. We discuss what is crypto, why is crypto, and how does crypto inherit from classic American con men.

Episode Links:

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Sunday Reads – Links I Found Interesting 2021-05-16

https://tether.to/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/TetherWhitePaper.pdf

Tether Releases Asset Breakdown

I wrote up my thoughts on it here.

Cas Piancey and I also did a podcast episode on it:

David Gerard wrote up his and seems to have trouble determining what a ‘reverse repo note’ might be:

http://web.archive.org/web/20210513214721/https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/2021/05/13/tether-publishes-two-pie-charts-of-its-reserves/

Amy Castor (archive) also wrote up her thoughts on this not particularly valuable breakdown.

The Financial Times did some coverage as well and got some great quotes.

Nikhilesh De at Coindesk had some of the best ‘breaking’ coverage of it the morning it came out.

Protos also had some excellent coverage which helped dissect the backing.

Crypto Capital Corp and Backpage

Kyle Gibson discusses some of the links between Crypto Capital (who I covered here) and Backpage.

Zhao Dong Tried and Sentenced

Protos Media covers the sentencing and the trial 

http://web.archive.org/web/20210511061038/https://protos.com/china-crypto-otc-king-zhao-dong-criminal-charges-court-docs-show/

http://web.archive.org/web/20210514141136/https://protos.com/renrenbit-zhao-dong-bitcoin-billionaire-pleaded-guilty-money-laundering/

My co-author Cas Piancey did a summary podcast.

Cas has been one of the most proactive in covering Zhao Dong.

Zhao Dong Still Matters: Here’s Why

Zhao Dong: The Final Word

Another Usecase Bites the Dust

Elon Musk Finally Learns About Bitcoin

Dungeons and Dragons Combat Wheelchair 2.1 Released

This is a really cool item and ruleset if you have players at your table who want to play with a wheelchair.

ICYMI

Protos Media revealed that one of the top Brexit donors Christopher Harborne is a Bitfinex shareholder. It is currently unclear if he is related to Will Harborne, former leader of EthFinex.

I compared Tether to wildcat banks and Liberty Reserve and gave away how I think the story ends.

I spent some time detailing troubling links between the 2015 Bitstamp Hack, the 2015 Bitfinex hack, and the 2017 Tether hack.

This old podcast is worth a listen. Larry Cermak (Director of Research at the Block) and I discuss whether or not Tether is a good actor. He says he would be shocked to find out that Tether was less than 98-99% backed.

I finally got to give this homebrew item to a player in my campaign and they seemed quite excited.

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New Episode of ‘Tether: A Stable Discussion’ with Cas Piancey: Tether’s Pie Charts

Episode One

Episode Two

Episode Three

My co-author and friend Cas Piancey and I got together to discuss the recent pie charts released by Tether. You can find the discussion of it here:

You can find my article on this topic here:

And Cas’ here:

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