Best TruStories of the Week - #7


#44

Claim: BitTorrent is launching its own crypto token BTT on the Tron blockchain.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/bittorrent-is-launching-its-own-cryptocurrency-on-the-tron-network

Evidence:

  1. Tron had bought BitTorrent 6 months ago (Shows Tron and BitTorrent relationship)
    https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/18/bittorrent-tron/

  2. BitTorrent is planning on launching its token. (Proof that a token is planned)
    https://www.bittorrent.com/btt/btt-docs/BitTorrent_Token_Whitepaper.pdf

  3. ICO on Binance LaunchPad (Proof the token is being launched through an ICO)
    https://www.binance.com/en/blog/287512671268392960

Status: Confirmed


#46

Claim: National Bank of Kuwait Goes Ripple

Source:

  1. https://cryptonews.com/news/national-bank-of-kuwait-goes-ripple-3128.htm
  2. https://www.ccn.com/kuwait-central-bank-taps-ripple-for-blockchain-remittance-service/
  3. https://ethereumworldnews.com/national-bank-of-kuwait-to-use-ripple-for-a-new-service/
  4. https://www.coindesk.com/national-bank-of-kuwait-taps-ripple-for-new-remittance-service

Evidence:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps4rCCZKCbQ - The video shows links and talks about the engagement

Dimitrios Kokosioulis, the deputy CEO of group operations and technology talks about the engagement

Status: Confirmed


#47

Thank you @asusarla. To be honest, when I first read the headline, I was skeptical.

Thailand hasn’t had any general elections for quite some time (we’re under military regime, that enjoys being in power and has postponed elections over the past 18 months - we’re supposed to have an upcoming election this February, we’ll see). So when I read about a technology agency, under the purview of the government, developing blockchain technology for transparent/fair elections - it seemed too good to be true.

So my sense was the English article was leaving out a lot of details. When I consulted the Thai article, it showed more details related to why this project is still quite far from reality. And as I laid out in the analysis, it seems we should temper our expectations.

That said, I will be extremely happy the day our national elections are actually facilitated by blockchain technology :slight_smile:


#48

Claim: Advanced country governments don’t need the seignorage. The U.S. government doesn’t rely on printing money to pay its bills, so they’d be more or less indifferent

Category: Markets

Source: Starts at 29:54 - "Debating Crypto: Katie Haun vs. Paul Krugman" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOXYbmKRTsQ

Transcript:

Question from audience: "What is your take on the positions that governments will take? Will they promote the existence of this new way of trading to make the old style more efficient or will they try to protect the establishment and hinder the use of these new technologies?"

Paul Krugman’s response: “I’m having trouble with the premise that the old style was inefficient. For people who are unbanked and so on this is an interesting question. For middle class individuals, for corporations, the system in fact works as it is. They don’t need a new means of payment. What governments need to do is crack down on fraud and if, I don’t know, if I am all wrong and crypto really proves to be a better way to do transactions, I suspect the advanced country governments won’t have a problem with it - the financial institutions will find ways to thrive in that environment and advanced country governments don’t need the seignorage. The U.S. government doesn’t rely on printing money to pay its bills, so they’d be more or less indifferent. I don’t actually believe we are at the dawn of a new age. I believe that 15 years from now it will look a lot like pets.com.”

Evidence/Argument: I put the rest of his response above, but this argument focuses on the bold and underlined portion - that “advanced country governments don’t need seignorage and don’t rely on printing money to pay its bills.” It would be interesting to see data on other governments, but this focuses on the U.S. There’s a bunch of quotes below that provide the counterargument - but it’s long, so I’ve underlined/bolded the important parts.

Source A: St. Louis Fed: https://files.stlouisfed.org/files/htdocs/publications/review/92/03/Seigniorage_Mar_Apr1992.pdf

"seigniorage increases as inflation rises until the inflation rate reaches about 7 percent; thereafter, inflation and seigniorage are inversely related…Monetary seigniorage (sc) is defined as the net change in base money outstanding (AB), deflated by the consumer price level"

"Figure 1 shows the magnitudes of the extended monetary seigniorage (s,) and the monetary authorities’ operating costs (se) as measured in 1982/84 dollars, from 1951 to 1990. During the past four decades, the annual real value of extended monetary seigniorage has generally risen, while ranging over that period from —$6 billion in 1954 to $31 billion in 1986.

As figure 1 indicates, a comparatively small portion of this amount—only about 7 percent on average—was used to cover the costs of producing the monetary base by the monetary authorities. Consequently, the government’s production of base money has resulted in sizable and rising net profits, which are equal to the difference between the two curves in figure 1. "

" The government’s monopoly in issuing base money yields profits that facilitate its fiscal finance… "

"While the continuous flow of fiscal seigniorage helps to finance the federal budget, it is a fairly small source of funds. On average, it contributed about 2 percent to the finance of federal expenditures over the past 40 years. "

"In the monetary economics literature, seigniorage is often discussed and analyzed in terms of an “inflation tax,” a term that was coined by Milton Friedman (1953) . This association reflects the fact that, other things the same, a nation’s monetary authorities can increase monetary seigniorage by increasing the supply of base money relative to its demand. Because the resulting rising price level reduces the real value of the public’s base money holdings, the public will demand more nominal base money balances to make up for the price-level-induced decline in its real cash balances. As a result, the price rise produces an increase in monetary seigniorage."

Source B: Dallas Fed: https://www.dallasfed.org/~/media/documents/research/er/1998/er9803b.pdf

"First, how much do countries rely on money creation as a source of revenue? The answer to this question gives some idea of the size of the seigniorage revenue “problem.” For most of the countries, money creation accounts for less than 2 percent of real GDP. The evidence indicates that seigniorage revenue is not the primary source of revenue for a government, but neither is it quantitatively insignificant. "

"Overall, the evidence suggests that there is a systematic, positive relationship between a country’s monetary policy settings and its reliance on seigniorage revenue. Thus, countries with higher monetary policy settings tend to rely more heavily on seigniorage. But compared with less financially sophisticated countries, the more financially sophisticated countries tend to rely on seigniorage revenue at an increasing rate. "

"The main finding in this article is that there is a systematic, positive relationship between a country’s monetary policy settings and its reliance on seigniorage revenue. Thus, countries that rely most heavily on seigniorage revenue tend to have the highest values of the monetary policy measure. There is some additional evidence that the relationship between the monetary policy variable and the seigniorage rate is nonlinear for OECD countries. Here, OECD membership is used as a proxy for financial sophistication. The evidence suggests that OECD countries rely on seigniorage revenue at an increasing rate for given changes in the monetary policy variable. "

Source C: https://www.econlib.org/archives/2013/10/the_relative_un.html


Source D: https://economics.stackexchange.com/questions/16075/usa-seigniorage-revenue

Odd note: Wiki’s reference that US Gov makes 25B / year through seignorage has a link to Congress’s website that’s been taken down

Some quick math:
Federal revenue (2017): $3,440 billion
Estimated annual seignorage: ~$25 billion (at a minimum, depends on calculation methodology)
% of budget from seignorage: ~0.72%

Status: Rejected (partially)

Clearly advanced countries can make ~1-2% of their TOTAL REVENUE through seignorage. In times of distress (post-WWII), this was higher. I think advanced country governments would care if 1-2% of their total revenue annually was taken away.


#49

Claim: Overstock intends to pay part of its state taxes in Bitcoin.

Category: Use cases/Governance

Source: https://www.livebitcoinnews.com/signs-of-adoption-overstock-to-pay-taxes-with-bitcoin/; http://investors.overstock.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=131091&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2382030; https://www.livebitcoinnews.com/ohio-to-allow-businesses-to-pay-taxes-with-bitcoin/

Evidence: Yesterday, in a press release, Overstock announced that it would pay part of its Ohio state business taxes in Bitcoin. From the release:
" Overstock plans to pay its commercial activity taxes (CAT) in Ohio this February using the [recently-launched OhioCrypto.com platform, which allows taxpayers to pay state business taxes with bitcoin. Ohio is the first U.S. state to offer a cryptocurrency payment system for state business taxes."

Status: Confirmed


#50

Claim: Security researchers break into Ledger wallets with a simple radio antennae

Category: Privacy & Security

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/security-researchers-break-ledger-wallets-with-simple-antennae

Evidence/Argument:
Security researches presented the harware crypto wallet hack at Chaos Computer Club Conference in Germany.

All the security hack details are in their website below.

The claim as presented in most of the posts related to this news says Ledger Nano hardware crypto wallets can be hacked with a simple radio antennae. But this is not simple as you think and need multiple things to work hand-in-hand prior to make a successful hack which in real world is not that practical.

In order to hack a Ledger Nano S with a radio antennae there are three things to happen beforehand.

  • physical access to the device to add a harware implant inside the device
  • Install a malware on the supposed computer going to be connected by the Ledger device
  • Physically wait in a near by room (30 or more feet depending on the power of the antennae) for the victim to enter the PIN and open a Ledger app

Ledger has made a blog post to explain what they think about each of the hacking scenarios mentioned in the claim.

Ledger devices has a built in hardware integrity check which checks the full microcontroller (MCU) and if it is modified you will get a warning. Ledger claims that the security researchers team could not demonstrate the exploit which could bypass the device built-in MCU check.

Ledger team also claims that security researchers did not follow the standard responsible disclosure procedure where a vulnerability is disclosed only after a reasonable period of time which will allow the vulnerability to be patched and mitigate risks for product consumers. Hence the security researchers do not qualify for their bounty program promoted to challenge Ledger products to security hacks.

Also Ledger mentioned in their statement “We equally feel that the findings did not provide practical vulnerabilities.”

Status: Rejected


#51

This is great find! I was wondering how they could pay state taxes in Bitcoin. Ohio State is way ahead! :slight_smile:


#52

Claim : Ultimately ERC721, the standard governing the implementation of NFTs, is so broad that it can encompass an unlimited range of different applications. During our panel, we touched upon numerous different use cases, from using NFTs to represent real estate, IP rights, licensing and even to represent living things such as endangered species or perhaps humans themselves.

Category : Use case

Source : https://medium.com/point-nine-news/non-fungible-tokens-future-applications-and-challenges-a73117efc67

Argument/Evidence : I agree with the author. I know a startup that might start using NFTs for IP transactions. CryptoKitties are doing a promo where if you sign up, they will choose one person and create a CryptoKitty inspired by that person. If that happens, their image will live on a blockchain forever. Let’s put skin in the game. https://medium.com/cryptosuss/what-are-non-fungible-tokens-unique-digital-assets-on-the-blockchain-e68cc9efce5

Status : Confirmed


#53

ive never heard of jordan peterson or BitTube … thanks for introducing me!


#57

i was pointed to some great articles and introduced to some games! looking fwd to checking it out… :slight_smile:


#58

It’s my pleasure. DM me if you have any questions : )


#59

I am so glad to hear that. Please let me know how you enjoy it!


#60

Let me know when you sign up with CryptoKitties. I will send you a CryptoKitty : )


#61

I recently was informed of BitTube also; here’s the link if you’re interested:https://bittube.me/


#62

Claim : There is a strong correlation between the price of Bitcoin, and the market movement of the S&P 500, and/or the price of gold.

Category : Markets

Source :

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-07/big-investors-may-be-dragging-bitcoin-toward-market-correlation

Argument / Evidence:

  • “Looking at the overall trend,” the analysts wrote, “it is clear that (Bitcoin’s) correlation with the broad equity market has not been fully established.”

  • Looking back 14 months, the cryptocurrency’s 30-day interaction with the S&P 500 Index has oscillated but stayed below an absolute level of 0.4. A reading of 1 indicates they’re moving in lockstep.

  • A simple glance at this correlation graph (above) shows that the relationship between Bitcoin and S&P 500 is at a weak positive relationship. But, the correlation between VIX and Bitcoin -0.31 making it a [moderate negative relationship] (http://www.cboe.com/blogs/options-hub/2017/11/14/bitcoin-vs.-vix---what-has-been-more-volatile-in-2017).

  • They cannot truly be plotted on a graph against one another, and have often deviated at key moments. For example, In August last year, the global economy took a major hit in the face of rising tensions between the US and North Korea, but the Bitcoin market remained unfazed.

  • But what could be concluded from this recent pattern across the markets is that investor sentiment can carry over from the stock market to the Bitcoin market. Because of a mainstream adoption wave that has seen Bitcoin accepted as an investable asset, there is the beginnings of a crossover.

  • While the movements of the assets might not be highly correlated in-time, there are chartists that have noted that BTC movements and Gold’s movements over the lifespan of the two assets have both demonstrated similar price action, with similar bouts of exponential increases and subsequent ‘cooldowns’, leading some to ask if BTC is following in the footsteps of gold in some manner. See below.

Status: Rejected. Correlation values between 0.7 and 1.0 (-0.7 and -1.0) indicate a strong positive (negative) linear relationship. While there are short periods of time where the Bitcoin price appears to be demonstrating a weak-to-moderate relationship with the price movements of either gold or the S&P 500, the correlation over longer periods of time has been very weak.


#63

Fascinating find @DanielKoff.

Although, I would have expected stronger correlation between BTC and other cryptocurrencies. I’m kinda surprised because it felt like the price of BTC and other crypto assets moved in lockstep.

Is there anyway we can cross reference this data and see whether the correlation between BTC and other crypto assets is in fact pretty weak?


#64

Hi @preethi thanks! I was a bit surprised too! Here’s a follow up submission taking a look at the cryptoasset correlations in more depth:

Claim: Cryptoassets have been highly correlated over time.

Category: Markets

Source:

Argument/Evidence:

  • The thing that stands out here is the correlation between BTC/LTC .

  • We also see a fairly positive correlation between XRP/STR . This is expected with these coins because Bitcoin and Litecoin are part of the same family, just like Ripple and Stellar.

  • This correlation heat map shows us the relationships in 2017. Now this is interesting as we are seeing the majority of coin pairs starting to align in positive correlation .

  • Finally the 2018 correlation heat map. All the coins here are even more positively correlated with each other . We can see the Pearson correlation coefficient over 0.5 for nearly all the coin pairs.

  • What is extremely interesting here, is that every year the different cryptos in the market are becoming more positively correlated with each other. And it isn’t just pairs of cryptocurrencies from the same family but all cryptoassets across the market.

Status: Partially confirmed. There have been dramatic changes in the level of correlation among cryptoassets over a short period of time. In 2016, the price movements of the various assets were quite independent, with stronger correlations among similar ‘families’ of cryptoassets (e.g. BTC and LTC) relative to others. Over a short period of time this has changed, and in 2018 we can see a very strong positive correlation between all cryptoassets.


#65

Huh? That’s fascinating actually. I’d think they’d be LESS correlated over time, not more. I wonder what a reasonable explanation for this is.

Perhaps in the early days, people had more faith in all the different Cryptoassets. But now in the down market, people are sticking to Bitcoin/Ethereum and so other Cryptoassets are moving in lockstep with Bitcoin/Ethereum.

Maybe.


#66

Cool! Thanks for sharing.


#68

Claim: Coinbase closes a user account due to censorship

Category : Governance (is this correct?)

Source : https://ethereumworldnews.com/crypto-giant-coinbase-bans-bitcoin-gab-founder/

Argument/Evidence : In the article, Coinbase supposedly shut down the account of Andrew Torba, founder of Gab (censorship free social network).

The evidence here: https://twitter.com/getongab/status/1081255271429681153

Status : Confirmed

Here’s what I don’t understand: Coinbase shut down Gab’s business account in June 2018 and again now because some of Gab’s user violated their terms of service (abuse of others) by posting criminal activity on Gab’s platform.

Example: Robert Bowers posting about wanting to kill people and then ended up shooting a synagogue in Philadelphia https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/10/28/how-gab-became-white-supremacist-sanctuary-before-it-was-linked-pittsburgh-suspect/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e23ad41023f8

It’s seems like a stretch to hold one platform user, who may or may not have a Coinbase account, as the basis to ban a business account? Let alone the CEO of the company’s personal account? Seems odd. Defeats the purpose of crypto being decentralized if an entity can shut your account because they don’t like what you are posting.