Episode 30 — Taiwan and Tether (with Sam Reynolds) — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Taiwan and Tether (with Sam Reynolds) Crypto Critics' Corner

Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by Blockworks author Sam Reynolds, a Taipei-based reporter, who discusses the early history of Tether in Taiwan and what can be implied by their issues with their early banking partners.

In this episode Cas and I are joined by Sam Reynolds of Blockwords to discuss the importance of Taiwan to the Tether story. Taiwan is where Tether originally started and where they originally banked. 

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Episode 29 — The Pandora Papers — Crypto Critics’ Corner

The Pandora Papers Crypto Critics' Corner

Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey talk about a huge investigative drop from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists: the Pandora Papers. The leaks will help the public understand how the rich, famous, and politically connected are able to evade taxes and move money without anyone knowing. If you'd like to read about the Papers yourself, please visit https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/ If you'd like to donate to the ICIJ, please visit https://checkout.fundjournalism.org/memberform?org_id=icij&installmentPeriod=monthly&amount=10&campaign=701f4000001A4kF

In this episode Cas and I discuss the Pandora Papers, why they are important, what has been revealed, and most importantly why this type of journalism is so valuable and so important.

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Tether’s Change of Heart

I have struggled for years to parse Tether’s behavior. It is very difficult to determine which of their inexplicable actions are motivated by incompetence, by negligence, by desperation, or by malice. Were they unbacked because they were taking advantage of their users, because they thought they had no better option, or because they didn’t realize that their disclosure was inadequate? More recent reporting has started to bring it into focus for me, but this post is going to be much more speculative than is my usual ilk. Take statements of fact as that, but when I speculate on the intent of Tether or its executives be sure to keep the appropriate amount of salt handy.

Continue reading “Tether’s Change of Heart”

Episode 28 — Liberty Reserve: The First Stablecoin — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Liberty Reserve: the first stablecoin Crypto Critics' Corner

Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey review Liberty Reserve – the first stablecoin and the first stablecoin shutdown by US regulators.

In this episode Cas and I discuss what we call the ‘first stablecoin’ Liberty Reserve. Liberty Reserve was a digital representation of a dollar that was marketed based on its censorship resistance that was frequently used for illicit acts and was shut down thanks to massive cooperation between regulators and law enforcement.

I wrote about Liberty Reserve:

Cas wrote about Liberty Reserve:

https://thecaspiancey.medium.com/jurisdiction-is-a-mirage-eb63b1e4868a

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Episode 27 — Evergrande with David Z Morris — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Evergrande with David Z. Morris Crypto Critics' Corner

Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined, once again, by David Z. Morris, the chief insights columnist at Coindesk, to discuss what's happening with Evergrande, why it matters for other regions and industries, and how the property market on the Chinese Mainland operates.

In this episode Cas and I are joined by David Z Morris of Coindesk to discuss some of the oddities surrounding the current situation with Evergrande in China.

You can find David’s Twitter here, his Substack here, and his book here.

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Episode 26 — Cryptocurrency Lending is Too Good to Believe — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Cryptocurrency Lending is Too Good to Believe Crypto Critics' Corner

Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey explore the incredible interest rates offered by centralized cryptocurrency lenders, how they likely make their money, and whether or not any of them are "risk-free."

In this episode Cas and I discuss the problems with cryptocurrency lending companies including BlockFi, Celsius, and Nexo. They are marketed as risk-free while actually you take on significant counterparty risk. 

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Episode 25 — Remembering Fraud: WorldCom — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Remembering Fraud: WorldCom Crypto Critics' Corner

Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey reflect on a fraud that began in the 1980s and ended when the Dot-Com Bubble burst: WorldCom. Are there applicable comparisons to cryptocurrency and securities markets of today? (Hint: Yes.)

In this episode Cas and I discuss one of the biggest corporate frauds ever: WorldCom. WorldCom was a telecommunications company that used mergers and acquisitions to grow and accounting fraud to stay profitable. You can read Cas’ article on it here

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Episode 24 — C.R.E.A.M. Cumberland Rules Everything Around Me — Crypto Critics’ Corner

C.R.E.A.M. Cumberland Rules Everything Around Me Crypto Critics' Corner

Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discuss the history and importance of DRW/Cumerbland Global, one of the top liquidity providers in the cryptocurrency space, and speculate on the influence the company exerts on the industry.

In this episode Cas and I discuss Cumberland Global (formerly Cumberland Mining) the cryptocurrency arm of DRW, a major Chicago trading firm. We discuss reporting suggesting that they are one of the top Tether issuers, and you can find that reporting here

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Episode 23 — Binance: The Tai Chi Document — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Binance: the Tai Chi Document Crypto Critics' Corner

Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey talk about the Binance Tai Chi document (which you can read about here https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeldelcastillo/2020/10/29/leaked-tai-chi-document-reveals-binances-elaborate-scheme-to-evade-bitcoin-regulators/?sh=6dbafb302a92). This was recorded *before* Binance introduced full-KYC (know-your-customer) practices, but highlights previous issues with Binance, Binance US, and other Binance affiliated companies. If you're interested in the book by Evan Ratliff that we mention, it can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Mastermind-Drugs-Empire-Murder-Betrayal/dp/0399590412

In this episode Cas and I discuss the Binance Tai Chi documents. A leaked set of documents as reported on by Forbes, which detail Binance’s plan to Binance US as part of a strategy of regulatory arbitrage. 

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Episode 22 — Blockchain Terminal with Robert Green — Crypto Critics’ Corner

Blockchain Terminal with Robert Green Crypto Critics' Corner

Robert Green (@robogreen on Twitter), a marketing consultant who ended up doing contract work for Blockchain Terminal – a company claiming to be "the Bloomberg Terminal," but for cryptocurrencies! – joins us to discuss his time at the bold project. The main problem with the company? One of the biggest fraudsters in Canadian history was running things under a pseudonym, "Shaun MacDonald," and was planning his exit scam from day one (perhaps even laundering funds from a pervious scam to bootstrap the project). Tune in to hear the full story.

In this episode Cas and I are joined by Robert Green, a marketing consultant who had worked with Blockchain Terminal. Blockchain Terminal was a fraudulent cryptocurrency company who was claiming to build the “Bloomberg Terminal” of crypto. The biggest issue with the company is that it was run by a known fraudster named Shaun MacDonald who was hiding behind the pseudonym ‘Boaz Manor’. 

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