Daily Bits – facepalms, tokens and chess – June 15th, 2017

In the past couple of days I’ve read some staggeringly misinformed interpretations of the potential of digital currencies. It could just be the heat making me fractious, but c’mon, really…

First up: an article in Business Insider on crypto (and cryptic) comments made by the head of the Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann. I disagreed with something in almost every paragraph – I’m assuming that it’s because of poor reporting, Jens seems like a smart guy.

Perhaps the most egregious infraction is his alleged concern that central bank digital currencies will make the financial system more unstable by exacerbating bank runs. It’s so much easier to withdraw your deposits online than having to wait in line at the ATM. (Why would you even have deposits at shaky commercial banks with central bank digital currencies???)

Then came the normally quite good Investopedia, reporting on a proposed bill that hopes to force entrants into the US to declare their cryptocurrency holdings at the border. Um, how would they enforce this? Got that covered: “a global monitoring system could be put in place to watch over blockchain ledgers”. Of course. Yes. That should do it. And the crypto communities won’t mind at all.

One small thing: just who would do the monitoring? Ever heard of JURISDICTIONS?

Deep breath…

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Digital token fever seems to have hit a high this week, with the (perplexing) Bancor issue raising $125m ($150m using the ether price on Monday, the day of the sale) in under three hours.

And then Civic went and sold out of its IPO… before it even started. But, in what is probably an unprecedented move, investors will return one third of their tokens so that others may have a chance to bid for them. Extraordinary.

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Other particularly interesting articles on CoinDesk this week:

Kasakhstan’s central bank wants to use blockchain technology to sell debt directly to investors. Why, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the rapid settlement? Although that would mean that investors would need blockchain-based currencies with which to pay. I need to look into this some more, it’s perplexing.

A step forward in smart contract deployment came from Thomson Reuters, who released in beta a “smart oracle” that will give smart contracts access to its financial data streams. The question is: how decentralized is this? Thomson Reuters’ data has a reputation for being reliable – but are we supposed to trust that? There’s a lot to unpack here on how we can avoid having to trust one source… and if that is worth the usability complications.

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Whether you like chess or not, this is beautiful: a chess set modeled after New York buildings (via MyModernMet).

Skyline Chess, via MyModernMet
Skyline Chess, via MyModernMet

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