There must be a better way.
People running big U.S. institutions have provided great evidence lately why we need decentralized alternatives
Re-sharing below the latest edition of #Web3Weekly, my regular newsletter about decentralization. This installment covers Oct. 3–9, 2021. If you’d like to get #Web3Weekly in your inbox every Sunday, please subscribe here.
As Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood pointed out last week, Facebook just gave us a perfect demonstration why we sorely need a decentralized web.
The social giant was hit by both a worldwide outage Monday and blistering revelations by a former product manager who says the company consistently prioritizes profit over user safety. Such issues increasingly highlight why it might not be such a good idea to allow a single company to dictate almost 3 billion users’ daily experience of the internet.
On a similar note, the supposed safety of conventional money versus the blockchain-based stuff looks more specious by the day. Just witness the week’s wrangling in Washington over whether to raise the U.S. government’s self-imposed debt limit — and thus avoid certain global financial catastrophe.
Lawmakers ultimately delayed such a reckoning by reaching a temporary debt ceiling increase on Thursday that should last through December. But we can almost certainly expect the whole awful game of chicken to repeat then.
That may include renewed discussion of one truly loopy debt workaround that was briefly entertained this time around by purported Serious People in Washington. The idea was that, if Congress failed to pass a new bill to raise the debt ceiling, the president could instead use executive action under existing law and order the U.S. Mint to print a $1 trillion platinum coin to pay the government’s bills. Among the people who thought this might not be such a bad move were an American Nobel laureate in economics and the Mint’s former director.
It also happens this idea was a plotline on The Simpsons in 1998. It’s literally a cartoonish way to manage a currency.
Perhaps something to keep in mind the next time someone tries to tell you that bitcoin is some wild and woolly concept. Yeah, because who needs an automated, transparent, predictable way to print money in fixed and ultimately limited quantities when we can instead have… this?
The week’s other headlines:
- Bitcoin rallied to reclaim the $50,000 price threshhold for the first time since early September. The surge has of course particularly been a boon for miners, whose revenue is now up 488% since the last Bitcoin network “halving” in May 2020, according to Decrypt. Among the recent entrants to that corner of the crypto industry is the government of El Salvador, which has begun mining bitcoin using power generated from volcanos. Brazil is also considering whether to formally recognize bitcoin for payments, although a pending bill stops short of giving the token full status as legal tender.
- Several thousand Coinbase users suffered a phishing attack that targeted text message-based authentication of their accounts from March to May. The exchange said it will reimburse any funds lost. It’s also encouraging users to switch to a more secure form of two-factor authentication such as an external hardware device or an authenticator app. (Decrypt)
- Sales of non-fungible tokens surged to $10.7 billion in the third quarter, according to DappRadar data. (Reuters)
- MoneyGram is partnering with Stellar and Circle to enable payments using the latter’s USDC stablecoin. (CoinDesk)
- The Korean exchange KuCoin is booting users from China’s mainland amid a widening crackdown there on third-party crypto services there. (Decrypt)
- Mirror, an Ethereum-based publishing platform, opened to the public. (Decrypt)
- Audiobooks are awesome, and we should stop treating them as inferior to dead-tree books, says New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo. Agreed!
That’s it for now. Thanks for spending some time with the newsletter today! A full revision history of it, including earlier drafts, is available here. If you’d like to get updates like this in your inbox every Sunday, please join our email list here.
As ever, a quick disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for journalistic purposes only, not as investment advice. For the latter, please DYOR and consult appropriate financial pros to make the most suitable choices for your needs.