🤐 China Censors vs. Blockchain 😍 Google Loves Cryptos — Cryptos for the Rest of Us
Markets maintain their gains with Bitcoin trading around the $8,000 mark. The general mood seems cautiously optimistic. It remains to be seen whether these gains will be kept, but in the absence of major negative newsflow it seems possible.
🤐 China Censors Vs. Blockchain 2.0
There is a vaccination scandal in China. The scandal went viral over the weekend thanks to an anonymous WeChat post. The Chinese censors immediately started taking down these posts on all forms of social media. However, a copy of the post was engraved into the Ethereum blockchain. This ensures that nobody, including the censors, can remove the message. It’s available for everybody to see, for as long as the Ethereum blockchain exists.
A Chinese manufacturer falsified reports and was selling unsafe rabies vaccines. While the story began in November, it went viral over the weekend when an anonymous post on WeChat alleged a corrupt network that goes back decades. It also alleged that hepatitis B and chicken-pox vaccines were unsafe.
While the post itself was deleted in hours, reposts have kept it visible enough to become the hottest topic in China. Hashtags related to ‘vaccines’ have been viewed more than 600 million times.
In response to the censorship, one person put the article on the Ethereum blockchain. When Ethereum transactions are made, there is a section for ‘metadata’. This section allows notes to be added to the transaction, which is where the individual posted the article. They then sent themselves the transaction for 0.001ETH (~$0.47). Once the transaction was confirmed, it was permanently engraved in the ethereum blockchain.
Since the network is decentralised, it is effectively immutable. This means nobody can tamper with the message once it’s been posted. Nor can censors compel any individual to change or remove it.
This stands in stark contrast to how quickly the articles were removed from centralised social media like WeChat.
These censor and tamper resistant qualities are part of the appeal of cryptocurrencies. They allow participants to trust the network without the need for a centralised authority which can be bribed, corrupt, or authoritarian.
This isn’t the first time the Ethereum blockchain has been used to protect messages from censorship in China. China employs over 40,000 internet censors. Back in April, a similar method was used to immortalise allegations against Chinese university professors for sexual harassment.
We’re likely to see increased use of the blockchain to protect against censorship.
😍 Google Loves Crypto (Again)
Google are now showing ads for crypto exchange Coinbase again. This comes after Facebook lifted its ban on Coinbase ads. Coinbase is a crypto exchange that made it very easy for individuals to purchase cryptocurrencies. It’s widely believed that this contributed to the great bull run we saw at the end of last year.
Earlier in the year, most major social media sites stopped showing ads for cryptocurrency related businesses. In recent weeks they’ve begun reversing this ban with Facebook and Instagram both showing Coinbase ads again.
The reasons for the ban and reversal are unclear. There were many crypto scams being promoted through these social media platform so it’s possible it was an attempt to stop these.
Some have pointed out that the lack of crypto related ads has severely hurt the top line revenue for these companies. Therefore, the reason they’re reversing this ban is simply for the ad revenue.
Indeed, Facebook just released disappointing quarterly earnings. Both subscriber growth and revenue growth were lacklustre.
Cryptos have been off the radar for a while now. After the big price drops and lack of advertising on social media it’s easy for the average individual to write cryptos off as a failed experiment. If these ads come back, it could spur a revival in interest.
In particular, since Coinbase makes it exceptionally easy to purchase cryptos with fiat, it’s likely that the revived ads will bring more individuals into the market.
On a related note, Google have now started showing the price of Ethereum in search results too.
Finally, if crypto ads are back for good, then it’s one step closer to normalisation of cryptocurrencies in the ‘real world’.
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🗞️ Extra Reading
US Presidential Candidate (D). Founder of @venture4america, author of The War on Normal People about automation
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