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I was on my way to the gym this morning when an idea struck me about the future of exercise with regard to technology. It occurred to me that the coming era will have technology integrated in such a way so as to easily and consistently provide relevant insights & data without breaking the flow of exercise. Alot of this information will be value-adds that people never even knew they wanted, but will be so attached to once they get them. …


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As the concept of money-transmitting continues to attract attention within the distributed ledger ecosystem when pertaining to digital currencies & assets, a global understanding becomes assumed about the necessity of know-your-customer controls. Know-your-customer, abbreviated and commonly known as KYC, is the process by which a business verifies the identity of its clients and assesses the potential risks of illegal intentions within the business relationship. While that serves as the “official” definition, the term has taken a new form since the formation of cryptocurrency discussions to also include the role of government in validating the identity of individuals for regulatory purposes.

In response to recent world events, some large incumbent players have galvanized the charge for digital identities on the distributed ledger. …


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Stablecoins have emerged as one of the larger distributed ledger conversation topics since late 2017 and into 2018. Over the course of the year, the conversation has put to question whether stablecoins are a viable model and, if so, which type of stablecoin model?

It was pure ignorance, derived from the distaste of the Tether fiasco, that up until a few minutes ago, I was about to write something resembling a hit piece on the viability of stablecoins. But before I decided to go further with the piece, I wanted to look into the article I had glanced at recently, that detailed the different stablecoins that Huobi had recently brought onto their exchange. It was at this point that I realized that “the” conversation is changing (evolving) to focus on cryptoassets rather than currencies. …


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Proof-of-Work

With the ICO chaos beginning to get itself resolved, the ecosystem is finding new direction with the rise of the security token. Startups are moving in that direction. Standards are underway, with some of them having direct focus on the regulatory component. Market factors are knocking out those who can’t adapt. When the smoke clears, there will be a much more tight-knit competitive landscape that bodes greater promise for regulators, investors, and users.

The juxtaposition of the space’s technoeconomic complexity and its “gold rush” zealotry has provided some interesting results with no clear-cut answer as to whether the first-mover or wait-and-see approach harbors a better go-to market model. Currently, a few major issues being worked out include the viability of the proof-of-work consensus mechanism (whether centralized or decentralized), the balanced incentivization of market participants, and the ability for tokenized debt arrangements. …


In December of last year, a guy by the name of Kai Stinchecombe released a Medium article titled ‘Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain’ where he made quite a few bold claims about perceived shortcomings behind blockchain technology. Despite his sentiment being in the right direction toward ensuring that our systems remain secure through conventional means, many of his criticisms of distributed ledger technology are skin-deep issues which incumbents within the space already understand. Based on his usage of very entry-level industry jargon, I don’t feel that the author has delved too deep into how the space has progressed since its roots in Silk Road and its early crypto hype. …


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As we move toward the end of 2018, we have a lot to reflect on for the year within the world of cryptocurrency.

In the beginning of the year, the SEC began issuing subpoenas to many of the non-compliant ICOs that sprang up before and during the ICO Mania of 2017. Throughout the year, the SEC has been going after a lot of the low hanging fruit to establish litigative precedence for the future. They also seem to have taken a deliberative approach to assessing where cryptocurrency futures lie.

The CFTC, meanwhile, has warmed up to a lot of potential that the cryptocurrency ecosystem offers, though they still have some figuring out to do as well. ICO launches seem to have been at a low this year, as law obscurity and proactive litigation by regulators, have disincentivized the “rush to market” mindset. For similar reasons, recent startup companies with token offerings centered around cryptocurrency-based offerings have been meticulous about prioritizing compliance over innovation during this “Year of the Security Token” in an effort to avoid massive fines or jail time. …


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Recently, two bipartisan bills have been drawn up by United States Congress Representatives Darren Soto (D-FL) and Ted Budd (R-NC) that serve to incite Congressional involvement in cleaning up virtual currency markets. The Medium article by Tim Cotten provided a solid summary on the broad strokes behind what these bills would cover.

Looking into the content of the bills, it becomes clear that Congress is not yet ready to provide definitive rulings on market manipulation, as the bills point toward gaining research. Both bills are fairly simple, neglecting specificities (maybe this is generally how it is with bringing in new topics for congressional bills, I’m not sure), and serve to provide exploratory reports into cryptocurrency market implications. The report within the Virtual Consumer Protection Act of 2018 bill will serve to describe the impact that cryptocurrency markets may have on the domestic economy, and provide opportunities to remedy current market manipulation. …


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I recently had the chance to read the Medium Post by Nic Carter titled The Dark Underbelly of Cryptocurrency Markets, where Nic provided a tell-all about the crony conflict-of-interest that exists between coin creators, coin rating sites, and coin exchanges. If you haven’t checked out the article yet, I recommend you do so now, as I’ll be touching up on only a few of the points delivered in the article (although the entire thing is well-done).

In the article, Nic discusses that retail investors get the short end of the stick when it comes to making informed decisions about coin legitimacy in a similar fashion to betting against the house at a casino. Understanding that the community has already written off exchanges and coin creators as potentially dubious actors that must be properly investigated, he discussed that coin ranking sites still have yet to be attract attention from regulatory bodies and financially investigative enthusiasts despite the same lack of legitimacy as the other two. Between listing fees, adsense, referral links, and wash trading, economic incentives point these three market actors toward quantity-based rather than quality-based decisions regarding onboarding coins (at the expense of retail investor ability to properly assess the market). …


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Over the course of the past four weeks, serious protests have been mounting in France that have lead to destruction of property, desecration of monuments, and even violence. These protests have had drastic consequences on the French economy, and have kept political action in France in a deadlocked state. What ultimately brought about this chaos was French President Macron’s proposal to raise the fuel tax, which proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, unveiling a slew of other issues within French society. Deemed the “Yellow Vest protests” (gilets jaunes), the demonstrators stand united on both sides of the political spectrum, united under a shared agenda for an oust of Macron. …


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Oh, How Things Have Evolved

As we begin toward closing out 2018, we find the cryptocurrency niche of the distributed ledger ecosystem in a very different place than the same time last year. Where December 2017 proved to be an all-time high for cryptocurrency since the dawn of its existence, 2018 has seen monthly successive degradation of currency value and investor hopes given the sustained devaluation from its former glory. Capitulation is the buzzword to describe the sentiment among many investors. Accompanying this monthly loss of value are the rise of enterprise entrants, celebrity profiles, and, of course, regulatory action. …

About

Devon Rusinek

Distributed Ledger Consultant; Working toward bringing together DLT within the social, investment, and regulatory realms.

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