How the NYT wields junk science in their attacks on Bitcoin

Pictured: the NYT cruelly wasting energy and destroying the rainforest

I want to thank the formerly eminent New York Times. I read their latest article on Bitcoin at 5:30 am this morning and I was immediately jolted into a state of alertness — no coffee needed. Their latest missive on Bitcoin’s climate footprint is so poorly-researched that once I read it I knew I had an immediate duty to push back. I’ve transcended resignation at this point. My current attitude is astonishment. I am simply amazed that the NYT would publish such shoddy work. Presumably, someone at the NYT knows about Bitcoin. Why would they put through such a weak…


A response to Noah Smith

Excess natural gas being employed to mine Bitcoin at an oil well in Alberta, CA. Used with permission by Upstream Data

The Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith has a lot of thoughts on Bitcoin. Some of them are really solid and engage with the reality of the protocol itself, which is rare for a member of the mainstream media circuit. He also discloses that he owns Bitcoin, which is impressive for an economist and a member of the establishment. So I’m pretty happy with him overall. I don’t want this piece to be interpreted as a blanket critique of Noah’s stance on Bitcoin. …


An excellent account of a revealing epoch in Bitcoin’s history

Sometimes a text comes along that you feel a powerful obligation to read. Jonny Bier’s The Blocksize War ($22 for the paperback on Amazon) is one such book. Bier is the rarely-seen face of BitMEX Research, arguably the most insightful research desk in the industry. BitMEX Research consistently produces original content, spanning a vast array of technical, historical, financial, and economic concepts. Bier’s repertoire is incredibly vast, and betrays a deep understanding of protocol design, crypto markets, and the broader macro context. …


A disambiguation

NFT “Birth,” from the Ethstory project by @takenstheorem. See details in postscript.

I keep seeing the pro-NFT crowd complain about Bitcoiners “not getting it.” Bitcoiners are to NFTs as nocoiners are to Bitcoin, the saying goes. The argument is an endless circle:

“How can you not see the value of digital scarcity? You’re a bitcoiner!” This is invariably met with the retort: “NFTs aren’t scarce, you can copy and paste them!” Ad nauseam.

The reason proponents have a hard time explaining NFTs, in my opinion, is because NFTs aren’t a singular concept. They’re a bundle of related concepts. …


Barnhill, the cottage on the Scottish isle of Jura where George Orwell wrote 1984

A few years ago, I realized that I was writing for myself rather than others. As a kid, I had a bit of a reputation as a writer, having written short fiction stories from a young age. These were mostly rip-offs of books I was reading at the time. From the ages of seven to ten, I was obsessed with a series called The Edge Chronicles, and I wrote a shallow recreation of Beyond the Deepwoods called Into the Thick Woods, if my memory serves. …


Gold ore in quartz. Credit: JXSC

During a recent debate between myself and hedge fund investor Mike Green, Mike insisted that Bitcoin should not be considered money by virtue of my comparisons between Bitcoin and gold, because gold itself was not money.

This led me to ponder why gold was not money.

If I’ve understood him correctly, Mike is right when it comes to gold. Gold, in its elemental, disordered form, should probably not be considered money. …


Please do better, journalists

In mid-January, a blogger writing under the moniker ‘Crypto Anonymous’ published an article in which they claimed that the price of Bitcoin was supported by unbacked Tether issuance. This analysis relied in part on data from a provider called CoinLib purportedly showing the flow of money within the crypto ecosystem. As I will demonstrate, this data is not sufficient to make the case that Bitcoin liquidity is dominated by Tether, and relying on it is liable to mislead. Unfortunately, the mainstream financial press is now amplifying these erroneous claims. …


Castle Island Ventures recently submitted a letter to FinCEN regarding their proposed rules on digital assets. The following is the contents of the letter:

Re: FinCEN Docket Number FINCEN-2020–0020, RIN 1506-AB47, “Requirements for Certain Transactions Involving Convertible Virtual Currency or Digital Assets”

To Whom it May Concern:

Castle Island Ventures welcomes the opportunity to submit this letter for consideration by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) with respect to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding “Requirements for Certain Transactions Involving Convertible Virtual Currency or Digital Assets” (the “NPRM”).

We respectfully request that FinCEN extend the comment period for this NPRM to 60 days in order to allow greater industry participation and dialogue around this issue.

About Castle Island Ventures

Castle Island Ventures…


Answer key and references for the Very Hard Bitcoin Holiday Quiz

So for this holiday season, instead of talking about all the coins I thought would die, I decided to undertake a brain dump of some of the Bitcoin trivia I’ve picked up over the years. I’ve been accumulating niche and esoteric information about Bitcoin and altcoins for quite a long time now, and it’s time to let it out.

Recently, The Block’s Larry Cermak made a great (and challenging) quiz covering crypto markets to filter prospective interns. I was inspired by this and decided to make an even harder quiz, focusing mostly on half-forgotten moments from Bitcoin’s history. …


Why this bull run is fundamentally different from 2017

Bitcoin is nearing its prior all-time high (ATH), set in December 2017. It’s entirely plausible that we could regain the heady $20,000 level within the next few weeks or months.

This time, it’s happening without much fanfare, and without the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) phenomenon which intensified the price action (investors bought BTC in order to participate in ICOs, driving the price up).

If you gauge metrics of retail investor interest in the asset, whether it’s tweets or google searches, Bitcoin is still languishing well below it’s highs. This is causing a fair amount of puzzlement.

Many are wondering what…

Nic Carter

Partner, Castle Island Ventures. Cofounder, Coinmetrics.io

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