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

Books I Read

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins: Series I & II Collection – A beautiful and brilliantly written series of comic books that tell the story of how the adventuring group Vox Machina came to be. I truly enjoyed reading through this collection on a quiet Sunday morning.

The Four Hour Workweek – This book by Tim Ferriss is a book I have read several times now. I always have somewhat complicated feelings towards it. There are many techniques and ideas in the book that I personally am unlikely to ever use. However, it is often useful for me as a reframing tool. It is a good way to remind yourself that there are often social scripts that we allow to develop into limits on ourselves. Also there is good advice on starting information businesses.

Dungeons and Dragons

This video is incredibly valuable for 5e DMs who would be interested in pulling forward material from 4e to help combat. It convinced me to go out and buy the 4e Monster Manual. Giffyglyph has an awesome tool to make 5e monsters in the style of 4e as well.


Protos reports on the blow up of the NFT bubble.


In this article I rant about the new media and fact checking initiative by Coinbase

In this episode Cas and I discuss the ill-fated Canadian bitcoin exchange QuadrigaCX

In this podcast I discuss Tether, Binance, MakerDAO, and other systemic risks.

In this article I make a simple argument that shows there were unbacked Tethers.

I did a quick little question and answer about Bitfinex and Tether. Since no one was there at the beginning I just started sharing Bitfinex and Tether fun facts.

There are still way too many unanswered questions surrounding the acquisition of TrueUSD. Cas Piancey takes a look.

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

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:

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

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.


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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Conjure Spectator

This is a homebrew spell that I created for my Dungeons and Dragons group. It is meant to integrate well with the lore surround spectators and their role as summoned protectors of spaces.

Name: Conjure Spectator

Level: 4

Casting Time: 1 Action

Range/Area: 90 feet

Components: Verbal, somatic, four beholder eyestalks, drop of casters blood

Duration: Concentration, creature stays summoned for up to 101 years

School: Conjuration

Spell Text:

You summon to an unoccupied space within 90 feet of you that you can see a spectator.  The spectator is friendly towards you and your companions, unless attacked by one of you.  The spectator should be tasked with protecting a location or item and it will do so for 101 years.  The spectator acts on its own initiative.  For as long as you maintain concentration you can command the creature as a bonus action.  Once concentration is broken, the creature still exists and as a bonus action you can try to ‘suggest’ a course of action to the creature, but it is not guaranteed to follow it. (DM will roll a d100 and if the die roll is less than the number of years the spectator has existed on this plane, then it may interpret it’s directive broadly, otherwise it will follow exactly.) 

This spell consumes all material components.  Creature cannot be dismissed by ending the spell, it remains until sent to another plane using magic, or is killed.  If the creature is not killed it will remain and guard the location or item of the summoner’s choosing for up to 101 years.  The longer it has been since the spectator has been summoned, the more likely it is for the madness that is their type to affect them. 

If this spell is cast at level 7 or higher, then a Gaust is summoned instead of a Spectator.

Note: You must have all material components, and they are consumed in casting this spell.  An arcane focus or component pouch does not allow you to bypass these material components.  

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