David Marcus, The Latest Top Executive To Leave Meta/ Facebook’s Crypto Project

Another one bites the dust. David Marcus stepped down as the head of Novi, Meta/ Facebook’s fintech division. The company’s first order of business was to create a cryptocurrency, but regulators around the world were not keen on the idea. After a few missteps and name changes, they finally released a wallet called Novi to little fanfare. The coin, now named Diem, is still in development and unreleased. Related Reading | What Zuckerberg’s Meta Means for the Metaverse David Marcus Says Goodbye This is not the first time this happens, other top executives have abandoned Meta’s ship over the years. CNBC recapitulates: “Marcus’s departure follows that of other key executives who led Facebook’s ill-fated efforts in blockchain. Fellow project founder Morgan Beller left the company in September 2020 to go into venture capital. Kevin Weil, another one of the project founders, left in March to join Planet, a San Francisco company.” Ex-Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel will replace David Marcus, who in a Facebook post announcing his departure said: “The one thing I’m the proudest of during my time here is the amazing kickass team we’ve assembled over the last three years. This is the most resilient, passionate, determined and talented group of humans I’ve ever worked with. I find comfort and confidence in knowing that they will continue to execute our important mission well under Stephane Kasriel’s leadership, and I can’t wait to witness this from the outside.” Mark Zuckerberg responded to David Marcus:  “I’ve learned so much working with you and I’m so grateful for everything you’ve done for this place. We wouldn’t have taken such a big swing at Diem without your leadership and I’m grateful you’ve made Meta a place where we make those big bets. You’ve built a great team, and while I’ll miss working with you, I’m looking forward to working with Stephane to lead the team going forward.” https://twitter.com/skasriel/status/1465747314371227650 For his part, Stephane Kasriel said via Twitter: “I am so honored for the opportunity to lead the awesome Novi team, and look forward to continuing to build products and services that allow more access for people and businesses to the financial system and digital economy.” FACEBOOK price chart on BMFBOVESPA | Source: TradingView.com What’s The Deal With Libra/Calibra/Novi/Diem? After many iterations, Diem is now a stablecoin prototype. For its part Novi, the wallet, is only available in the United States and Guatemala. Facebook/Meta is running a pilot program to test the technology and gather data. They’re trying to steal the remittances market in Guatemala, which constitutes 14% of the county’s GDP. Using the Novi wallet, it’s almost free. Nowadays, Facebook/Meta is using the Paxos stablecoin USDP as their standard. About this, David Marcus said via Twitter. “USDP is a well-designed stablecoin that’s been operating successfully for over three years and has important regulatory and consumer protection attributes.  I do want to be clear that our support for Diem hasn’t changed and we intend to launch Novi with Diem once it receives regulatory approval and goes live. We care about interoperability and we want to do it right.” Related Reading | Facebook Officials Claim Novi Received Approval From Major U.S. States However, will Diem ever receive regulatory approval? For Facebook/Meta, that’s the Trillion-Dollar question. The company’s reputation regarding its handling of personal data is hampering the whole operation. And, well, governments around the world don’t seem to want a company like Facebook in charge of the money. And, well, the project’s been all over the place from the very beginning. No offense to David Marcus, who claims to be Diem’s “Co-creator & Board member.” The project’s slogan is “To build a trusted and innovative financial network that empowers people and businesses around the world.” And, well, that’s Bitcoin. Why don’t they just plug in to the winning open network? Because Meta wants to be in control of the money supply. And that’s what government’s around the world are trying to prevent. Featured Image: mohamed_hassan on Pixabay | Charts by TradingView

Kaspersky Experts Assess The Biggest Cyberthreats In Crypto For 2022

Don’t read this Kaspersky report if you’re prone to paranoia. The cybersecurity experts and antivirus manufacturers released its annual “Cyberthreats to financial organizations” paper and two items are about cryptocurrencies. Prepare to be spooked. The report begins with an evaluation of last year’s predictions and they were only wrong about one, and not by much. Plus, this year’s cyberthreats sound very much like a possibility. Luckily, you found this article and can prepare yourself accordingly.  Related Reading | Hackers Nab $16 Million In BTC Through Bitcoin Wallet Exploit Both Cybercriminals And State-Sponsored Actors Will Target Cryptocurrencies First, Kaspersky paints the picture and gives us the least scary threat: “The cryptocurrency business continues to grow, and people continue to invest their money in this market because it’s a digital asset and all transactions occur online. It also offers anonymity to users. These are attractive aspects that cybercrime groups will be unable to resist.” And then, Kaspersky makes our skin crawl: “And not only cybercrime groups but also state-sponsored groups who have already started targeting this industry.” As the honeypot grows, criminals will be increasingly attracted to cryptocurrencies. That much we can deal with. However, the state-sponsored groups are also a logical progression. How could they not target cryptocurrencies? And they’re going to use much more sophisticated methods to get at you. For example: Friendly reminder that @fold_app recently partnered with @NianticLabs, backed by the @CIA #DeleteFoldApp https://t.co/IdyXO5eAKb — Louisa Alexa (@LouisaAlexa) November 24, 2021 The people behind Pokémon GO recently partnered with Bitcoin rewards card Fold App to make a Bitcoin-themed Pokémon GO clone that pays in BTC. We have no idea if what this Twitter user says holds any water, but the whole enterprise does sound suspicious. And in light of this prediction by Kaspersky, even more so. However, just to be clear, NewsBTC knows nothing about Niantic Labs and the Fold App. Do your own research. BTC price chart for 11/26/2021 on Oanda | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com Manufacturing Fake Devices With Backdoors Once again, Kaspersky makes us rethink our security methods: “While some people consider it risky to invest in cryptocurrencies, those who do realize that their wallet is the weakest link. While most infostealers can easily steal a locally stored wallet, a cloud-based one is also susceptible to attacks with the risk of losing funds. Then there are hardware-based cryptocurrencies wallets. But the question is, are there sufficiently reliable and transparent security assessments to prove that they are safe?” However, their prediction is much more concerning: “In the scramble for cryptocurrency investment opportunities, we believe that cybercriminals will take advantage of fabricating and selling rogue devices with backdoors, followed by social engineering campaigns and other methods to steal victims’ financial assets.” There are already horror stories about dubious software wallets that end up in lost funds. And yeah, fake hardware wallets seem to be a logical next frontier. Just this year, following the Ledger hack, reports of weird-looking Ledger wallets took over the Internet. However, if a more sophisticated criminal made a better-looking device, it could wreak havoc through the cryptocurrency community. And if Kaspersky says it will happen… Related Reading | DeFi Hack: Vee Finance Losses $35 Million To Hackers Following Mainnet Launch Kaspersky Identifies Even More Cyberthreats The “Cyberthreats to financial organizations” contains a few more items that aren’t fully related to cryptocurrencies, but may be of interest to all of you. They predict “an exponential growth in infostealers,” and a rise in ransomware from “small regionally derived groups.” Plus, data breaches in Open Banking, Mobile Banking Trojans, and identify risk in remote workers using company equipment for entertainment purposes. Read the whole thing and be prepared for everything. Featured Image: vickygharat on Pixabay | Charts by TradingView

How Do Crypto Profits Impact The Housing Market? An Informal Report

Is the housing market in a bubble? Is the cryptocurrency party about to blow up? This informal study is fascinating because it doesn’t come from the crypto world. The author, Rick Palacios Jr., is Director of Research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting. The results are surprising, to say the least. Especially considering how early we are. Whatever camp you’re in, one thing’s for sure, cryptocurrencies will be a big factor for the rest of the decade. Maybe for the whole century, even. Related Reading | Virtual Real Estate Takes Off With Backing From Billionaire Mike Novogratz Palacios Jr. begins by painting the current situation’s general picture:  “Low interest rates and a world awash in liquidity set the stage for financial markets and asset-value froth as an adult today. As market participants, we watch with a healthy dose of nervousness, wondering just how long we’ve got until the inevitable bubble-bursting cleanup ensues.” Even though the housing market is on the rise, “this period of ephemeral effervescence isn’t sustainable.” He doesn’t get into the rampant money printing that his country is living with, but we will. Inflation is one of the effects of all of these inorganic dollars entering the market. Another effect is that people feel, maybe subconsciously, that their money is losing purchasing power and turn to hard assets. Before Bitcoin, real state was the hardest asset there was. It’s only logical for the newly printed money to make its way to the housing market, raising prices. An Informal Survey Shows Surprising Results “Trying to gauge crypto & NFT boom impact on housing market.” To test his hypothesis, the researcher turned to Twitter. His question was, “Have you or someone you know used profits from crypto and/or NFTs to help with the down payment of a home purchase?” In 72 hours, Palacios Jr. received 385 votes.  Trying to gauge crypto & NFT boom impact on housing market. Have you or someone you know used profits from crypto &/or NFTs to help with down payment on home purchase? — Rick Palacios Jr. (@RickPalaciosJr) September 4, 2021 “To my amazement, 20% of respondents indicated yes, they had indeed used profits from crypto and/or NFTs to help with the down payment on a home purchase. Heading into the survey, my ballpark estimate would have been below 5%, probably closer to 1% or 2% if you’d asked me to place a bet. Yes, the Twittersphere likely understands and uses crypto/NFTs more than the general adult population, but still, 20%!” If NewsBTC ran this poll through our Twitter account, numbers this high would be somewhat surprising. However, Palacios Jr.’s audience is not a crypto audience. His tweets are usually about the housing market. So, these numbers are outstanding. What’s happening here? BTC price chart for 11/25/2021 on Coinbase | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com Conclusions About The Housing Market After the survey, Palacios Jr. turned to his contacts in the real state business. He found out that “the percentage of home buyers voluntarily documenting crypto accounts during mortgage underwriting has gone from almost 0% one year ago to between 5% and 10% today.” In the case of down payments, though, “most lenders and builders I spoke with estimating the percentage at roughly 5% or less. On occasion, 10% to 15% was noted, namely in higher price points and/or communities skewing toward younger buyers more familiar with crypto.” Over the last few months I’ve spoken with dozens of real estate & mortgage industry executives, trying to gauge what impact (if any) #crypto is having on the #housing market. Here’s what I’ve concluded. (1/) https://t.co/cNdaPrMSdY — Rick Palacios Jr. (@RickPalaciosJr) November 16, 2021 So, the phenomenon is real. Also, take into account that “most home buyers don’t disclose crypto accounts, as it is voluntary and not required.” Also, there’s still some stigma attached to cryptocurrencies. To qualify for loans and to get cleared by real state agencies, “Most home buyers are liquidating crypto gains well ahead of purchasing a home for the funds to appear “seasoned” during underwriting (typically sitting two to three months in a traditional checking or savings account).” Related Reading | The Game Changer: Real Estate Investment for Everyone So, are crypto and the housing market in a bubble? They may very well be, but we can’t be sure. This informal study’s conclusion is that the cryptocurrency market is probably feeding the housing market’s growth. To what degree? That’s the million-dollar question. Featured Image by June on Unsplash – Charts by TradingView

Collins Dictionary Picks “NFT” As 2021’s Word Of The Year

The Collins Dictionary crowned the amazing year NFTs had. According to the UK-based dictionary, “NFT” was the most important word of 2021. There’s no denying that the NFT phenomenon grew immensely this year, and not even Ethereum gas fees and environmental FUD could deter its trajectory. Congratulations to all the artists and businessmen that managed to benefit from the growth, and take Collins Dictionary’s acknowledgment as if it was yours. Related Reading | DAO To Make Jodorowsky’s Dune Manuscript Public: Member Won $3M Bid How Does Collins Dictionary Define NFT? On the Word of The Year page, Collins offers a simple and elegant definition: “‘NFT’, the abbreviation of ‘non-fungible token’, the unique digital identifier that records ownership of a digital asset which has entered the mainstream and seen millions spent on the most sought-after images and videos, has been named Collins Word of the Year 2021. It is one of three tech-based words to make Collins’ longer list of ten words of the year, which includes seven words brand new to CollinsDictionary.com.” The other tech-based words were “crypto” and “metaverse,” so you know NFT had some fierce competition in 2021. The abbreviation of “cryptocurrency” seems like a bigger and wider concept. And it might’ve been even more everpresent than “NFT.” However, it didn’t have the novel factor. On the other hand, “metaverse” did have the novel factor but it came too late into the race. When facebook announced that the company was changing its name to “meta,” it was already too late. Mark Zuckerberg commanded headlines with those clumsy and cringy videos, but it didn’t help. NFTs had already won the year. Digging deeper into NFTs, the Collins Dictionary’s blog expanded on the concept and provided an example: “Unique” is important here — it’s a one-off, not “fungible” or replaceable by any other piece of data. And what’s really captured the public’s imagination around NFTs is the use of this technology to sell art. For example, the rights to a work by the surrealist digital artist Beeple sold at Christie’s in March for $69m. Called EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS, it was a collage of all the images he’d created since he committed in 2007 to making one every day.” BTC price chart on Bitbay | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com About The Collins Dictionary And Its WOTY The history of this UK-based publication goes way back: “Collins dictionary publishing began in 1824, with the publication of Donnegan’s Greek and English Lexicon in partnership with Smith Elder. In 1840, the first in the series of Collins Illustrated Dictionaries was published alongside the Sixpenny Pocket Pronouncing Dictionary which went onto sell approximately 1 million copies. 20 years later and with the addition of steam presses, Collins could publish dictionaries in all sizes, prices and bindings.” Related Reading | Beeple’s “Human One,” A Sculpture + NFT Hybrid, Sold For $28.9M At Christie’s The organization has been declaring a Word Of The Year since 1990. It’s a newer phenomenon so, from the beginning, there’s a strong link to technology. In 1993, the WOTY was “information superhighway”; it was “cyber” in 94, and “web” in 95. When it came to 1997 it was “millennium bug,” and it was the prefix “e-” in 98. Of course, it was “Y2K” in 99. Recently, though, Collins Dictionary has been concerned with social movements and gender identities. Last year, of course, it was “Covid,” and in 2021 the tech world took over the throne with “NFT.” Featured Image: Collins Dictionary WOTY site | Charts by TradingView

EIP NFTs: How To Retroactively Fund Contributors To The Ethereum Ecosystem

Introducing the EIP NFTs. Only authors of finalized Ethereum Improvement Proposals can mint these new NFTs that represent their contributions to Ethereum as a whole. This is a way to, not only recognize, but retroactively fund the work of the developers and philosophers that make the Ethereum ecosystem what it is. How will the market value these EIP NFTs? That’s what the experiment is about. Related Reading | Why This Crypto Billionaire Abandoned Ethereum Before we get into EIP NFTs, what’s an Ethereum Improvement Proposal? According to the project’s documentation:  “Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) are standards specifying potential new features or processes for Ethereum. EIPs contain technical specifications for the proposed changes and act as the “source of truth” for the community. Network upgrades and application standards for Ethereum are discussed and developed through the EIP process.” 4/ Each NFT that gets minted implements #ERC2981 which means that royalties will be paid in perpetuity to the minting address (i.e. EIP author). The artwork is heavily inspired by @Uniswap v3 LP NFTS by @crypt0glitter. You can see the collection here: https://t.co/ba5hBSH7n0 — blainemalone (@blainemalone) November 17, 2021 Retroactive Public Goods And The Results Oracle Before we get to EIP NFTs, we have to explore the Retroactive Public Goods idea. As with everything in the Ethereum ecosystem, this comes from the mind of Vitalik Buterin. “The core principle behind the concept of retroactive public goods funding is simple: it’s easier to agree on what was useful than what will be useful,” Vitalik explains in the article that poses the idea. The Optimism PBC organization expands the idea. “So… what would happen if suddenly, exits did exist for public goods projects? An exit determined by how much public good has been created by the project rather than quarterly profit. Would we see more vigorous investment and innovation on technology that maximizes community benefit? Would we see more nonprofits thriving rather than surviving?” We’re LIVE on Ethereum mainnet! 🎉 EIP Authors can now claim their EIP NFTs representing their contributions.https://t.co/zMgKr3eWVC — aka labs (@aka_labs_) November 17, 2021 How to answer those rhetorical questions? The article offers a solution, again in Vitalik’s own words. “A DAO, which we can call “the Results Oracle”, funds public good projects. Long term, the results oracle can be funded by protocol fees (eg. if implemented by an L2 project, sequencer auctions are one candidate). But unlike other public goods funding DAOs, the Results Oracle funds projects retroactively, rewarding projects that it recognizes as having already provided value.” ETH price chart for 11/24/2021 on FTX | Source: ETH/USD on TradingView.com What Are The EIP NFTs, then? The people behind the AKA Labs took the Retroactive Public Goods concept and stripped it of complications. They developed a first implementation that doesn’t need to raise funds or to create a DAO. Let’s read their explanation. “Acknowledging the fact that building a fully functional “results oracle” would be a large undertaking. This project dips its toes in and tries to shine a light on the space. The fun part of this experiment is observing how the market decides to value each EIP NFT. We fully encourage EIP authors to mint their NFT/NFTs and participate in the experiment.” To mint EIP NFTs “users must prove that they’ve authored/co-authored an EIP.” So far, nine of them exist, but they haven’t produced any financial activity. This is where the Ethereum community comes into play. The process of valuation starts with them. By making offers and funding the retroactive recognition themselves, they will define how much each of the NFTs is worth. Will the most important proposals get a higher valuation? Or will the community value them all similarly? Related Reading | Christie’s Will Auction Original Art From Gary Vee‘s Veefriends NFT Collection It’s worth noting that “each NFT that gets minted implements #ERC2981 which means that royalties will be paid in perpetuity to the minting address.” The minting goes through the EIP’s author address, AKA labs don’t get a cut. The project is a nonprofit, just like the projects they’re trying to help thrive.  Will the EIP NFTs experiment succeed or fall by the wayside? That’s for the Ethereum community to decide. Featured Image: Screenshot from the EIP NFTs Open Sea page | Charts by TradingView

IMF Report On El Salvador Is Positive… Except For Everything Bitcoin-Related

In a recent report, the IMF praises the way El Salvador handled the COVID-19 situation and announces their economy grew 10% in 2021. The International Monetary Fund also recognizes El Salvador’s government efforts to reduce crime, “diversify the energy matrix, foster economic diversification, and enhance financial inclusion.” However, when it comes to Bitcoin, the IMF is completely against it. As they should. Because Bitcoin renders them irrelevant. But first, about the report titled “El Salvador: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2021 Article IV Mission” “A Concluding Statement describes the preliminary findings of IMF staff at the end of an official staff visit (or ‘mission’), in most cases to a member country. Missions are undertaken as part of regular (usually annual) consultations under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement.” Anyway, let’s go to the IMF’s wacky opinions about Bitcoin. BTC price chart for 11/23/2021 on Oanda | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com What Does The IMF Think About Bitcoin As Legal Tender? After praising El Salvador’s efforts to foster “financial inclusion and raise growth,” the IMF attacks the very tool that the country’s government is using to accomplish that. “Given Bitcoin’s high price volatility, its use as a legal tender entails significant risks to consumer protection, financial integrity, and financial stability. Its use also gives rise to fiscal contingent liabilities. Because of those risks, Bitcoin should not be used as a legal tender. Staff recommends narrowing the scope of the Bitcoin law and urges strengthening the regulation and supervision of the new payment ecosystem.” Translation: The IMF can’t even think of one good reason for Bitcoin not to be legal tender. One Bitcoin is one Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency’s volatility is intrinsically related to the assets we compare it with. In this case, the US Dollar. It’s also important to remember that Bitcoin is legal tender in El Salvador ALONGSIDE the US Dollar. If people don’t want volatility, they can easily exchange all of their money into US Dollars.  The IMF also conveniently ignores the fact that Bitcoin’s volatility can bring positive results for its users. And that their other option, the US Dollar, is going through an inflationary period like no other. Plus, when the US government prints more money, its citizens get certain benefits out of it. But El Salvador doesn’t. A Dollarized country that’s not in control of the money printer gets its purchasing power decreased by relentless inflation, but doesn’t get the airdrops and inorganic money artificially stimulating the economy. Does The IMF Have Any Other Advice? Of course, they do. After praising financial inclusion, the IMF recommends implementing the exact same measures that keep 70% of El Salvador’s population out of the financial system. “Stronger regulation and oversight of the new payment ecosystem should be immediately implemented for consumer protection, anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), and risk management.” Why are people in El Salvador unbanked? Do they think it’s by choice? Is the IMF unaware that their outdated and inefficient methods are causing the bottleneck? Bad actors have incentives to bypass AML and KYC procedures. They do it with ease. Normal people can’t produce all those documents. And for banks, the cost of processing all that data makes acquiring a new client expensive. There are no incentives to serve the lower-income population. “Recently announced plans to use the proceeds of new sovereign bond issuances to invest in Bitcoin, and the implications of trading more broadly in Bitcoin, will require a very careful analysis of implications for, and potential risks to, financial stability.” Translation: What’s all this about a Bitcoin City?!!!!! And they’re building a pet hospital?! ALERT! ALERT! The US Pauses Relations With El Salvador In semi-related news, Reuters informs that U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Jean Manes said in local TV that relationships between the two countries are on hold. “Obviously we’re on a bit of a pause because the government of El Salvador is not giving a signal that it has an interest in our relationship,” she said. “On behalf of the White House, the State Department, we’ve offered a bridge, and the (Salvadoran) government decided not to take it. As far as we’re concerned, we’re interested in having the best relationship with El Salvador.” Sure, Manes. That sounds totally believable. Nothing suspicious here. Featured Image: AbsolutVision on Pixabay | Charts by TradingView

Lessons From Reason’s “The Fake Environmentalist Attack on Bitcoin” Mini-Doc

Phenomenal piece by Reason Magazine. We at NewsBTC have been countering the Bitcoin is bad for the environment narrative for a while now. Now, we have a new tool. A short and sweet documentary that rests on a devastating premise. “Such environmentalist attacks on bitcoin are best understood as a strategy by economic, media, and political elites to undermine a powerful new form of money that they can’t control.” Boom! That’s exactly what’s happening. Related Reading | Bitcoin Mining Vs. The World: BTC Leads Sustainable Energy Let’s explore the idea further, but first, let’s let Reason Magazine define who they are and what they stand for: “Reason is the planet’s leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Go to reason.com for a point of view you won’t get from legacy media and old left-right opinion magazines.” You’ve been warned. This is the perspective you’ll get from this article and from “The Fake Environmentalist Attack on Bitcoin” Mini-Doc: The mini-documentary starts with the filthy propaganda the state usually serves: “Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are terrible for the environment,” declares Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “It’s an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions,” pronounces former Federal Reserve Chair and current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “It’s a way to both hide dirty money and destroy the environment at the same time,” says Daily Show host Trevor Noah. Reason Magazine Summarizes The Government’s Perspective Then, Elizabeth Warren brings up the most ridiculously flamboyant stat ever uttered. According to the Senator, a single Bitcoin transaction uses the same amount of energy that an average house uses in 53 days. WHAT? Couldn’t these government people control themselves and provide a more plausible number? Do people actually believe these made-up stats? Apparently, they do, as the Discord story proves.  “Discord’s founder and CEO Jason Citron hinted at possible integration with the Ethereum ecosystem, with NFTs, and with the incoming Web3. And all hell broke loose. Discord fanatics spammed Citron’s replies and canceled their subscriptions to their Nitro premium service. Discord’s own employees took to social media to express their discomfort. Video game culture influencers rallied the masses and gathered hundreds of Likes and Retweets. What were their reasons? Environmental concerns.” Back to Reason’s documentary, Bitcoin spokesperson Nic Carter dismantles the government’s techniques. They establish an exaggerated per transaction cost, and then “extrapolate Bitcoin’s transactional load to hundreds of billions per year.” They’re not dumb, they know that “The electricity consumed by mining isn’t used to power individual transactions.” However, the average citizen doesn’t. Nic Carter closes with, “Bitcoin’s transactions and Bitcoin’s energy use are not really correlated.” They aren’t. Bitcoin produces one block full of transactions every ten minutes on average. If we reduced the mining to only one machine, Bitcoin would still produce the same amount of blocks in the same amount of minutes.  BTC price chart for 11/19/2021 on Capital.com | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com The Media Claims Are Outlandish, To Say The Least The mini-documentary’s host is Nick Gillespie, Reason’s Editor At Large. He admits “The energy used by Bitcoin mining has increased significantly and it will continue to grow, but the media claims are outlandish.” As an example, he offers this ridiculous 2017 Newsweek article titled “Bitcoin Mining on Track to Consume All of the World’s Energy by 2020.” As you might suspect, Newsweek’s prediction didn’t come true. Then, it’s time for some real stats. According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, Bitcoin consumes “just over a hundred terawatt-hours per year.” That’s 117.02, to be exact. That’s on the high end of the spectrum of Nick Hansen’s estimations. If the network uses 14.2 Gigawatts per hour, that would amount to 124 terawatt-hours per year. However, “most likely, the Bitcoin network is between 4.2 and 14.2 Gigawatts.” So, it would be considerably less by Hansen’s stats. Pick the number you trust the most, it’s a worthy investment considering everything Bitcoin brings to the world. Critics Tend To Ignore These Facts Reason defines mining as”the process through which a global network of computers maintains the bitcoin network through computation. Though energy-intensive, this process is what makes bitcoin a truly decentralized monetary system.” And that’s a fact. Proof-Of-Work is essential to decentralization. There is no alternative. A little later, Reason’s Nick Gillespie hits us with another home run, “the work being carried out by this global computer network is what allows Bitcoin to be controlled by mathematical rules instead of human actors vulnerable to government or corporate control.” Then, the documentary presents another crucial fact, “Miners are incentivized to use energy that would otherwise go to waste.” The Human Rights Foundation’s Alex Gladstein puts it in another way, “Bitcoin miners need energy that nobody else wants.” Why? Because it’s cheaper. The incentives are clear as day. After that, Reason brings out the ace under Bitcoin’s sleeve, “In the Western United States, mobile Bitcoin miners are already running on electricity derived from unused natural gas from oil wells that can’t be captured because there are no pipelines to carry it.” Luckily for the government, Reason doesn’t bring up everything Bitcoin mining is doing for the Navajo Nation. Reason Closes It Off With Even More Stats  In a questionable move, Reason quotes the Bitcoin Mining Council controversial report. That one puts Bitcoin’s sustainable energy use at around 56%. Let’s quote NewsBTC’s report on that number. “The good news is, there’s data to show that Bitcoin’s “mining electricity mix increased to 56% sustainable in Q2 2021.” Is that data valid? That’s another question altogether. The Bitcoin Mining Council elaborates on the results: The results of this survey show that the members of the BMC and participants in the survey are currently utilizing electricity with a 67% sustainable power mix.” Related Reading | Power Ledger Blockchain Firm Signs Deal with Japanese Green Energy Supplier We can say that because, here at NewsBTC, we’re partial to Bitcoin. Was it a good idea for Reason to use it? Maybe not, but notice they used the conservative 56% figure and not the aspirational 67% one. The magazine knows what it’s doing. That’s why they brought back Nic Carter to close the documentary, “Bitcoin is a vote of no confidence in the monetary and financial system that exists today.” That’s exactly what it is. Among other things. Featured Image: Screenshot from the documentary | Charts by TradingView

Binance ’s Road To Compliance Continues With A List Of Rights For Crypto Users

After a few scares, Binance ’s offensive moves start. Regulators around the world surrounded the biggest cryptocurrency exchange by market capitalization. Their lawyers were working overtime. There were pitfalls all around. A few months later, Binance is the one setting the rules. They’re the ones inviting the regulators to the castle. They’re trying to set the tone and define what a fully compliant cryptocurrency exchange is.  Related Reading | Breaking Down The Bitcoin Binance Flash Crash By The Second The campaign started with Binance’s first ad in the company’s history. A full-page in the Financial Times and a website to complement it. “Crypto belongs to all of us. But there’s still work to be done if we want this breakthrough innovation to become part of our daily lives. Like seat belts in a car, a more regulated crypto market provides greater protections for everyday users,” says the copy. Exactly what the regulators want to hear.  How #Binance plans to welcome the next billion crypto users. pic.twitter.com/0oigvdgQCj — CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) November 16, 2021 What Did Binance Say To The Press? The company’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao AKA CZ, spoke to Bloomberg to spread the news. About the aim of their campaign, he told them: “We have been communicating with many regulators around the world. As a new industry, we like to share what we think is important for users.  We want to put this out there so everybody understands from our position what’s important. We already shared this — not in this format — with different regulators, and we want the users to know as well. We have a much more detailed framework that we share with regulators directly.” He also tells them that the regulators were skeptical of Binance at first, but that in-person meetings have helped win them over. “When people see me in person, they say, “look, CZ is very reasonable, very calm, not a crazy guy.” In a related topic, when they ask him if the users leave as they tighten compliance, CZ answered “There is a small group of people who do not like to do know-your-customer rules, get verified etc. It’s a free market. There are other platforms they could use.” And then claims, “We only lose 3% of the users.” BNB price chart on FTX | Source: BNB/USD on TradingView.com Highlights From The “10 Fundamental Rights For Crypto Users” Since the focus of this article is regulation and compliance, let’s focus on the three rights that touch the subject. For those interested in the rest of the text, here’s the website. Binance basically promises financial services, security, and privacy for everyone.  “II. Industry participants have a responsibility to work with regulators and policymakers to shape new standards for crypto assets. Smart regulation encourages innovation and helps keep users safe.” Binance pledges to work with regulators and invites them to the castle. Does the part about “smart regulation” contain a light threat? If it does, it leaves space for plausible deniability.  “III. Responsible crypto platforms have an obligation to protect users from bad actors and implement Know Your Customer (KYC) processes to prevent financial crimes.” Once again, Binance promises to implement KYC to all its users. The platform used to let unverified accounts transact small amounts. As soon as the regulators started knocking at their door, Binance announced KYC for everyone.  “VII. Regulation and innovation are not mutually exclusive. Crypto users deserve safe access to emerging technologies and practices, including NFTs, stablecoins, staking, yield-farming, and more.” Binance is willing to work with regulators, but they also have to play ball and let them work. The company’s tactic so far is to aggressively pursue every and all innovations in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. And they want to keep doing it. Or else. Related Reading | Binance 17th Burn Sees ~$640 Million Worth Of Crypto Taken Out Of Circulation The last two “fundamental rights” also deal with regulations, but in a less direct way. They are also pretty obvious. Number nine says “Marketplaces that offer derivative instruments should be subject to the appropriate regulations.” Number ten, that “Crypto regulation is inevitable.” and users have the right to voice their concerns. All in all, it’s a pretty empty text that doesn’t say much. Perfect for regulators. CZ is a genius and Binance’s future looks bright.  Featured Image: Binance’s first ever ad from this tweet | Charts by TradingView