Why Today’s Cryptocurrency Crash Could, in Part, Be Blamed on Burning Man
Cryptocurrencies plunged suddenly in afternoon trading on Wednesday, spurring a guessing game of potential catalyst among enthusiasts and investors. The price of Bitcoin dropped below $10,000 for the first time since July. The largest digital token fell as much as 5.6%, before trading at $9,686 as of 3:40 p.m. in New York. Peer coins also sold off, with Bitcoin Cash falling close to 4% and Litecoin dropping about 8%. As with many things crypto, enthusiasts and skeptics alike were quick to point the finger on Twitter and Reddit, though it remained anyone’s guess as to what the catalyst was. “From our end, it looks like it was a sell-off to cash settle futures that are coming due on Friday for BTC,” said Dave Balter, chief executive of Flipside Crypto in Boston. His firm tracks blockchain transaction data, differentiating between users and speculators, and includes large trades and their originations. Thin trading volumes likely exacerbated the moves. That made sense to Jeff Dorman, chief investment officer at Arca. “It’s the week before Labor Day. Half of crypto is at Burning Man and the other half is sitting on their hands doing nothing,” he said. “Volumes are low and it takes very little to move markets right now, and you have big futures/options expirations coming up at the end of the week. The only definitive thing I can point to is that the move was led by declines in EOS, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC and other large-cap tokens that have been out of favor for months. I just don’t think there are a lot of investors willing to defend price right now.”
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger: Bitcoin Is ‘Bad For Humanity’
Expect Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of business software giant VMware, to speak out more often about technology’s harmful effects on society. Tech companies must pay more attention to ethical issues and ensure that their products don’t damage society, he argues. “You can’t have company business models that are fundamentally prying on people’s personal data and the only way for them to deliver financial returns is to become more invasive of humanity,” Gelsinger told Fortune. Gelsinger’s comments come as VMware hosts its annual conference in San Francisco, starting Monday. His warnings are quickly becoming more common from tech leaders, many of whom had previously spent years praising the fruits of innovation. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Salesforce’s co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Keith Block, for example, are increasingly calling out the data privacy practices of big tech companies like Google and Facebook. Gelsinger believes that tech companies need to take more responsibility for the impact that their products and business models have on society. Doing so could help rehabilitate the technology industry’s reputation, which has declined in recent years amid a series of controversies. These days, companies like VMware, which is part of the Dell Technologies family of enterprise firms, are trying to distance themselves from the heat. Gelsinger fears being subject to future regulations that are actually designed to rein in ad-driven tech companies. Although not singled out for data privacy violations, VMware must comply with Europe’s tough GDPR privacy law, for example. “The customers of my products need to be GDPR compliant,” Gelsinger said. “And while some may say I may not be a company that is monetizing personal data, both the customers of my customers are.” His point is that if tech companies don’t stop their bad behavior, “then the social-political framework will manage them in.” This could result in over regulation, something he fears will stifle innovation. Among Gelsinger’s biggest complaints about the tech industry involves the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The blockchain technology that powers Bitcoin is an example of a “neutral” technology while Bitcoin digital currency is an example of how blockchain can be misused, he said. Bitcoin, Gelsinger said, is contributing to the climate crisis because of the immense electrical energy required for mining it using computers, servers, and cooling machines. “It takes the energy of a home, half-a-home a day, to do a single entry into a Bitcoin ledger,” Gelsinger said. “It’s climate intolerant, it is so extreme, it is bad design.” He also says that people primarily use Bitcoin for illicit activities, and that overall, it is “bad for humanity.” Gelsinger’s comments are sure to provoke backlash from the Bitcoin community, who view Bitcoin as a possible global currency that’s akin to a digital gold. But he said that he’s ready for it. “Of course, because to me the dialogue is exactly what we need,” Gelsinger said. “We don’t get to be absent from the policy and social debates—we have to be an active participant in them in shaping technology to be good.”
CryptoKitties Ran Wild on Ethereum First. Now Tether Is Clogging the Digital Ledger
The digital ledger behind the supposed better version of Bitcoin is running out of capacity. That was the warning last week from Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who noted that the cost of processing transactions done in the digital token Ether on the underlying blockchain may get too expensive for some users. Ether’s network utilization has spiked into the 90% level, according to tracker Etherscan. As utilization increases, transactions costs could follow suit, possibly making potential corporate users hesitate to use Ethereum, Buterin said. Almost two years ago, Ethereum was getting clogged up as the digital game CryptoKitties took off. Then thousands of initial coin offerings, which turned out to be mostly scams, took up space on the network. More recently, though, as a majority of the ICOs went bust, a new tenant is taking over Ethereum: The controversial coin known as Tether. In the last 30 days, Tether paid computers which process transactions on Ethereum’s digital ledger $260,000 in fees, according to data researcher Ethgasstation. That’s about 17.5 times more than CryptoKitties and six times more than the world’s largest distributed exchange, IDEX. Tether’s use has been growing, as more of the coin has been issued. Its market capitalization recently passed $4 billion, up from $2.7 billion a year ago, according to CoinMarketCap. And at least 40% of all Tether runs on the Ethereum network, John Griffin, a finance professor at University of Texas at Austin, estimated in July. Tether was used in 40% and 80% of all transactions on two of the world’s top crypto exchanges, Binance and Huobi, respectively, Coin Metrics said recently. As Tether takes up more capacity, that leaves less for other developers. Ethereum was touted by enthusiasts when it was created as a better Bitcoin—one with extra features that would let people automate tasks and even set up so-called autonomous corporations, ones that run themselves via software. But most of the most popular so-called dapps—apps designed for such networks—currently run on competing digital ledgers, according to tracker DappRadar. Some developers are staying away from Ethereum for now, waiting for it to tweak its technology to increase network capacity, said Jeff Dorman, chief investment officer at Arca, a Los Angeles-based asset manager that invests in cryptocurrencies and other digital tokens. “So the biggest implication today is simply that developers may be incentivized to wait until this transition happens before fully committing to build on Ethereum,” Dorman said. “Tether isn’t helping.” Ethereum is still working to figure out how to get to its ambitious vision of Ethereum 2.0—requiring a major overhaul of its technology that some worry may not even work. While Ethereum currently employs computers called miners to verify transactions—a setup Bitcoin uses as well—it’s moving to so-called staking, a completely different way of verifying transactions. Techniques such as sharding, in which certain groups of computers keeping track of only certain transactions versus all transactions on the network—should help as well. But this technological transition “is not a guarantee and is still on the horizon,” Dorman said. “The Ethereum blockchain has been ‘almost full for years,”’ Buterin said in an email to Bloomberg. “I think it’s still good to develop apps, but anything substantial should be developed with scalability techniques in mind, so that it can survive higher transaction fees that would come with further growing demand for Ethereum. In the longer term, Ethereum 2.0’s sharding will of course fix these issues.” The number of Ethereum transactions is actually down from their peak in January 2018, according to Etherscan. Average Ethereum transaction fees are still many times lower than Bitcoin’s, but they’ve been volatile, according to BitInfoCharts. Tether was introduced in 2015 as a way to provide liquidity to exchanges because lingering concerns about illegal uses have made it difficult for them to secure banking services. New York’s attorney general in April accused the companies behind Tether of engaging in a cover-up to hide losses and co-mingling client and corporate funds.
First of all, there's nothing you can do about the vote. Calling your Reps, I mean they don't give a s*t about you. We know that. Don't waste your time. They know our position already. Internet has spoken. We don't like it. We don't want this. They won't listen. Revolving door and lobbying > Internet. But you can do stuff about your privacy even if this passes
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