Best TruStories of the Week - #11


#46

Claim: Post offices in Leichtenstein will start exchanging Crypto to Fiat and visa versa.

Source: https://twitter.com/AjeetK/status/1097448427162664960

Stake: Back 100 Cred

Evidence:
Official announcement: https://www.post.li/ueber-uns/medien/medienmitteilungen/medien-detail/news/news/liechtensteinische-post-ag-bietet-neu-den-wechsel-von-kryptowaehrungen-am-schalter-an/

Simple Google translate of article: “In search of new business opportunities, Liechtensteinische Post AG has decided to offer a new exchange of cryptocurrencies in its post offices.”


#47

Claim: Dolphins get high off pufferfish that would normally poison other animals and pass them around like volleyballs.
Category: Animals
Source: https://twitter.com/DannyDutch/status/1096333538557874177?s=19
My Stake: Challenging with 100 Cred
My Argument/Evidence :

This claim came from a 2014 BBC Documentary, and quickly caught wild-fire on social media.

But after digging into it, I’m not so convinced that Dolphins get high off Pufferfish. All the assumptions that the Dolphins are high break when you consider that Dolphins exhibit these behaviors already.

  1. They pass around other fish or things in a playful manner. Source.
  2. They’re mesmerized by their own reflection already. Source.
  3. Dolphins have gotten killed by this toxin before. Source.

Christie Wilcox, a Science writer for Discover Magazine, gives another compelling argument

I find it tough to believe that dolphins are so careful that they can walk the fine line between tingly lips and maddening paralysis, especially when different individuals of the same species of pufferfish can carry vastly different amounts of toxin in their tissues. Instead, what I hear in the BBC’s description is naive animals learning a hard lesson: soon after ‘puffing’ on puffer, young male dolphins were filmed behaving strangely, even near-motionless at the surface. It doesn’t sound like a happy high; it sounds like the first stages of tetrodotoxin-induced paralysis, with the dolphins instinctively (and perhaps luckily) hovering in shallow water to retain the ability to breathe. It seems unlikely that they interact with puffers like this routinely. Even if the dolphins were pleasurably intoxicated, the inability to react quickly would leave them dangerously exposed to predators like large sharks, not to mention the inherent risks to their lives associated with the toxin involved.

Caveat: There isn’t lot of research on the study of TTX on Dolphins. Perhaps, their molecular biology has evolved to react differently to TTX.


#48

Claim: Solar panels actually work best in cold environments.

Category: Energy

Source: https://www.prospectsolar.com/6-common-misconceptions-solar-energy/
Thank you @Priyatham for the document on interesting claims.

My Stake: Back Claim[100 Cred]

Background: A photovoltaic system, also PV system or solar power system, is a power system designed to supply usable solar power by means of photovoltaics.

My Argument:

The general equation for estimating the voltage(V) of a given material(here - PV polycrystalline) at a given temperature is:

V(T) = 0.12 + (25°C -T ) + V(T_ref)

T -> for a given temperature
T_ref -> reference temperature

Hence, for every 1°C decrease, the voltage increases by 0.12V. Source

For Silicon solar panels, the “thermal coefficient” of silicon solar panels 60cell module is 0.41. Celsius i.e for every 1 degree C increase in temperature, 0.41% of efficiency is lost. Conversely, for every 1 degree C drop in temperature, 0.41% efficiency is gained. Source.


#49

Claim: Bill Gates mentioned that “A lot of people underestimate just how much life has improved over the last two centuries”

Category: Development, Poverty

My stake: Challenge Claim [100 Cred]

Source: https://twitter.com/BillGates/status/1086662632587907072

My argument / evidence:

  1. real-world poverty data has started to be collected in 1981 & vulnerable population with no money were able to stay self-sufficient due to the abondance of land, water and foot. source: The Guardian (disclaimer: it is a detractor article, therefore biased)

  2. The data is in % of population. It does not take into account the rapid growth of population in emerging economies and how a large chunk of the population in absolute numbers might be left behind. When Bill states “just how much life has improved” it does not imply he’s talking relatively to world population.

  3. There are poverty traps (nutrition and income primarily) that did not exist 100 years ago, meaning individuals are trapped in poverty no matter what they do. (Abhijeet Banerjee and Ester Duflo).

  4. Population in 1800 was about 1 billion. UN estimates under-nourished population @ 821 million in 2017, up from 800 million in 2016, which implies life has not improved in the short term. (10.6% to 10.9% between 2015 and 2017) source: UN FAO. (I’m assuming reducing world hunger is a crucial factor of “life improvement”)
    Furthermore, in absolute numbers, it’s hard to believe that the condition has “improved” from 1800 till today - if so it would mean that in 1800 under-nourished population was higher than approx 85% of the population.


#50

This was too good to believe.

Backing Claim: 50 Cred

Couldn’t find direct source but found two supporting evidences to back the claim

  1. TheCo-founder and CMO of Bitex officially tweeting the news.
    https://twitter.com/mbeaudroit/status/1096902776527994882

  2. The official site of the bank BMV listing the collaboration with Bitex around May 2018.

Impressive to see Latin America taking the lead towards sovereign economy.


#51

Claim: Total light vehicle sales growth in the US in 2018 was only made possible by the arrival of the Tesla Model 3.

Category : Electric Vehicles

Source : CleanTechnica.com

My Stake : Back with 100 TruStake

My Argument/Evidence :
Total sales of light vehicles (of all types) for 2018 were 17.27 million.
(Light vehicles include cars, SUVs and light trucks and pick-up trucks, but excludes heavy truck).

This is down from the all-time high in 2016 at 17.6 million, but slightly higher than 2017 at 17.23m.
This increase from 2017 to 2018 of 43,814 cars includes 361,307 electric vehicles.
So without electric cars, total vehicle sales would have declined by over 300k.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/16/fossil-vehicle-sales-are-officially-now-decreasing-in-china-europe-us


http://www.ev-volumes.com/country/usa/

But what about Tesla’s contribution to the total?

Of those 361k electric cars sold in 2018, 191,627 were Teslas.
139k of those were Tesla Model 3s.

In other words, without the advent of the Model 3, total light-vehicle sales in the US would have declined. So this claim is true.


#52

In response to the above story, Parth Shah asked:

If I understand the question correctly, this is because the most any other brand sold was 27.5k electric cars (Toyota Prius Prime). No other brand (or make) sold enough to push the total car sales up from 2017. The 139k Model 3’s, which basically debuted in 2018, are what made the total vehicle sales in 2018 an up year.


#53

This is interesting. I think what classifies VC from hedge fund is also that hedge fund trades in secondary markets while VC invests in primary markets startups (taking equity). In the crypto world, it seems that this line is more blurred as crypto funds can invest token/equity in pre-ICOs, but also trade tokens that already launched in public markets. Is this because of lack of regulation in the space?

Not entirely sure how crypto funds work, but along the line this actually makes them more flexible in operations and capture the good opportunities more easily?

Also, what do you guys think about this classification for blockchain investors?


#54

Claim : UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is an authoritarian document written up by governments to figure out what do we globally work on without threatening our own power.

Category : Democracy

Source : https://www.whatbitcoindid.com/podcast/alex-gladstein-on-why-bitcoin-and-decentralised-technology-matters-for-freedom

My Stake : Back with 100 cred

My Argument/Evidence : The SDGs can be found here. This argument by Alex Gladstein who’s from Human Rights Foundation is pretty interesting because SDGs are often used as a framework for what are globally important things to work on.

Alex mentions that themes such as democracy, privacy are mentioned zero times and human rights and corruption are barely mentioned. I found also an article by Quartz Africa where the same thing is pointed out with additions that there’s no mention of themes such as anti-corruption, civil liberties, free expression, press freedom, independent judiciary, separation of powers, free and fair elections, and civil society.

So who are the ones to decide these goals and what might be their incentives? UN gathers governments of nations worldwide together to draft these goals so that nations can together agree on these and continue this work together. Quartz article points out that “Today, dictatorships like Algeria, Belarus, China, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe are part of the Open Working Group tasked with implementing and monitoring SDG progress.” “Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, for example—arguably the 21st century’s most brutal human rights offender—was involved in drafting the SDGs and has since promoted them worldwide.”

So it is indeed the governments of nations worldwide, which is the main point why the goals are what they are. Considering that according to Human Rights Foundation >50% of world’s population is living under an authoritarian regime, and those government are participating in planning these goals, it might be no wonder that themes such as anti-corruption and freedom are absent.

Based on these findings, I will back this claim.


#55

Claim: There are as many $100s in circulation as there are $1s. There are forty $100s for every citizen in the US. Cash in circulation is way up since 2008 as a % of GDP. Seems counter intuitive as the world rushes to a cashless society but cash is growing as a store of value.

Category: Markets (or Scalability? Or Facts?)

Source: Michael Novogratz Tweet @novogratz

My Argument/Evidence:

There are 4 claims made in this tweet.

Claim #1: There are as many $100s in circulation as there are $1s.

Stake: Back 100 TruStake

Evidence: https://www.federalreserve.gov/paymentsystems/coin_currcircvolume.htm

There are 12.5 billion $100 bills in circulation currently and 12.1 billion $1 bills.

Claim #2: There are forty $100s for every citizen in the US.

Stake: Challenge 100 TruStake

Evidence: Combine from above claim with https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US#

The estimated US Population is 327 million. (327,167,434)

If every person in the US had 40 hundred dollar bills, there would need to be 13,086,697,360. That is roughly 1 billion more than current circulation. Novo must have been using an old census estimate.

Claim #3: Cash in circulation is way up since 2008 as a % of GDP.

Stake: Challenge 100 TruStake

Evidence: “Way up” is a bit too vague, but we’ll just pretend he said “has increased by more than 5%”.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports GDP.

I built a table using GDP growth since 2008 compared to circulation. I would strongly disagree that this is “way up.”

Claim #4: Cash is growing as a store of value

Stake: Challenge Claim 100 TruStake

Evidence: Anything that is a “store of value” needs to MAINTAIN value. The USD is subject to inflation and devalues perpetually, therefore it is not a growing store of value.


#56

Claim: Arizona is microchipping some cactus plants to prevent theft.

Source: The Cut

Category: Plants

My Stake: 100 creds, backing the claim

My Evidence:

The article suggests there is a new dark market for millennial favored succulent (mini cactus) Thievery for these plants is on the rise that Arizona park rangers have resorted to microchipping cactus plants in the Saguaro National park. Further video evidence shows how park rangers do the microchipping process. The US Department of Agriculture estimates in 2014 the cacti/succulent market is worth an estimated $40 million.


#57

Claim: The University of Michigan Endowment Fund is supporting a crypto VC fund

Source: Bloomberg

Category: Venture Funding

My Stake: 100 TruStake, backing

My Evidence:

The University of Michigan’s Endowment is worth $11.5 Billion dollars. This is important because the endowment fund only has an asset allocation towards VC of 13% but generally has a long-term investment horizon where they grew by $1B in the last year. Considering that the endowment performs well, supporting a high-risk VC fund in crypto could be seen as favorable. The VC fund in question is managed by Andreessen Horowitz. A letter from The University of Michigan Board of Regents says the university is “committed $3 million to CNK Fund I, L.P.”

The University of Michigan is following in the footsteps of other education endowments (Harvard, Yale, Stanford) investing in the crypto/blockchain space.


#58

Claim: “Bitcoin Cash adoption rate is increasing, especially in Slovenia”

Category: Cryptocurrency / Bitcoin Cash

Stake: Challenge (50)

Source: Bitcoin.com and Marcocoino

Evidence: In order to challenge this claim, I am looking to prove that merchants are not solely accepting Bitcoin Cash, but rather a payment gateway that accepts Bitcoin Cash as a form of payment and therefore not “adopting Bitcoin Cash specifically”, but cryptocurrencies as a whole.

  1. After contacting a few merchants present on MarcoCoino’s data , all those who’ve replied have indicated that they accept cryptocurrency via Elipay, a Slovenian-based payment gateway.

  1. A quick cross-check from Elipay’s merchant data (exported in a gsheet here) and MarcoCoino suggests that MarcoCoino’s 207 location are fed from Elipay’s data. Need to export the MarcoCoino data from their google map app and cross check with Elipay’s merchants lists. I’ve tried a few things but not able to export MarcoCoino’s data (any help appreciated!)

  2. Although the claim is technically correct - BCH’s adoption rate is increasing, I feel there is a nuance between a merchant adopting Bitcoin Cash (which is what Bitcoin.com is claiming) and a merchant accepting a basket of cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin Cash amongst others, via a third-party payment gateway.
    The article suggests the former, although the latter appears to be the status quo. Merchants are adopting Elipay and cryptocurrencies, not Bitcoin Cash.


#59

I’ll back this. It looks like the reason this is such a big deal is because of the incredibly slow growth rate.

These plants have a lifespan that is estimated to be from 150 years to 200 years if they aren’t cut down and if they have the right conditions. As such, when they are ten years old, they might still be tiny, perhaps under two inches tall.


#60

Claim: (1) Staking Coins for Gains Potentially a Good Strategy in a Bear Market (2) but Is Not Without Risk

Source:

Category: Proof of Stake

My Stake: (1) Back 5 Cred. (2) Back 100 Cred

Evidence/Analysis:

Definition: Staking coin occurs in Proof of Stake (PoS) system, where node validators stake an amount of their tokens so as to have a chance of being selected to validate blocks of transactions, and get rewarded for doing so.

Context:

Staking seems to be a business idea. A number of startups is focusing specifically on providing staking services to investors, including Anchorage, Eon Staking Inc., Figment and Staked. (e.g. Staked announced that they raised $4.5 million in seed investment from a number of institutional investors that included Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Winklevoss Capital)

Rationale:

(1) Staking Coins for Gains Potentially a Good Strategy in a Bear Market

Staking coin and receiving stake reward is like earning dividends from holding stocks. In Bear market, because people expect the value of tokens would go up, the stake reward received will also worth more in future.

For this to be a good strategy, we need to determine in general (Pls see if this makes sense):

Annual probability of messing up validation (thus losing the stake) < Annual returns on staking x (1 + annual token price increase/decrease %)

Other factors to consider above calculation (Pls brainstorm too):

  • needs to account for locking periods, amount of deposits
  • Different PoS returns and rewards depend on specific coins - https://www.poslist.org/
  • Need to discount time value of money (by staking you are locking up tokens which you forgo opportunity cost of investing it into something else)

(2) Not without risk

Most tokens nowadays might not survive long-term as the tech is still not ready for wide adoption. Staking tokens require trust that they will make it through the bear market and still be operational on the other side, and trust that they will consistently payout earnings and rewards in the long run.

What legit projects and tokens right now are using PoS?


#61

Claim: Vitalik Buterin Holds Crypto Outside of the Ethereum Ecosystem

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/arw075/ama_about_ethereum_leadership_and_accountability/egq4wk0/

Category: Markets

My Stake: 100 Cred (Back)

Evidence/Analysis:

From reddit AMA, vbuterin posted that he holds only 4 non-Ethereum-ecosystem tokens including Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin (BTC), Dogecoin (DOGE) and Zcash (ZEC).

Also, he has significant corporate shareholdings in 2 blockchain companies: Clearmatics, Starkware. (https://www.starkware.co/ Naval and Vitalik as investors stated on website.)


#62

Claim: BitcoinHEX is the first high interest savings account on the Blockchain.

Category: Projects

Source: https://bitcoinhex.com/

My Stake: Back with 50 TruStake

My Argument/Evidence:

Background
BitcoinHEX, created by Richard Heart (@RichardHeartWin) is designed as a blockchain based version of a CD (certificate of deposit) where users lock up coins for pre-determined periods and earn interest. A snapshot will be taken of Bitcoin holdings in March 2019 and anyone can claim free BitcoinHEX based on the snapshot. Despite the name, BitcoinHEX will run on Ethereum. More details on the token-economics and game-theory can be found here.

Some possible predecessors:

LedgerX looks like they may predate BitcoinHEX since it is currently up and running while BitcoinHEX has yet to launch. They offer a savings accounts with a holding duration of three, six, or twelve-months periods, with an expected annual returns as high as 16%.

However, the key here is the “on the blockchain” part.

LedgerX is:

“registered with the CFTC as a swap execution facility and derivatives clearing organization. All USD funds are held in custody by a U.S. bank and bitcoin is held by LedgerX. Our institutional focus allows same day movement of BTC collateral and USD.”

So LedgerX’s product is not blockchain based, but a derivative.

A company named Compound offers a product that does run on the blockchain, but it more of lending/borrowing platform than a high-yield savings account.
The same goes for other companies such as Uphold, and Cesium.

Another possible forerunner of BitcoinHEX is Open Savings Initiative.

OSI lets a user:

" set aside cryptocurrency that can only be spent after a certain date. It’s like a certificate of deposit that you can add more money to anytime, but doesn’t require a bank. If you intend to give cryptocurrency to someone else, you can use Open Savings Initiative to create the crypto equivalent of writing a cheque for a future date. Unlike traditional cheques, the crypto cheque can’t bounce, can’t be cancelled, and is guaranteed to have the funds."

Although they bill this as a CD, I don’t see any indication that interest is earned; only that coins are locked up for a set amount of time.

As of now, it looks like BitcoinHEX may be the first high-interest savings account on the blockchain without lending/borrowing element.


#63

ha! did you find this based on my claim in the alpha app?


#64

Agree. however, I think people staking will convert (some portion of) their stake rewards into profits immediately to avoid this risk.


#65

very interesting. I am curious to see if this gets adoption. it actually makes a lot of sense to do this.