May 28, 2021 / Unchained Daily / Laura Shin
Daily Bits ✍️✍️✍️
Carl Icahn said he is considering a significant investment in crypto of up to “a billion dollars, billion-and-a-half” and that crypto assets are “here to stay in one form or another.”
Talos, a crypto trading firm, raised $40 million, led by PayPal and a16z.
Chainalysis reports that large Bitcoin holders scooped up 77,000 BTC ($3 billion) during last week’s market correction.
Government officials in Sichuan sent a meeting summons to discuss how banning BTC mining might impact the hydroelectricity excess this year.
Billionaire Bill Ackman will not be investing in Bitcoin, saying, “It is only worth what someone else will buy it from you for.” Ackman did express interest in Helium and its native token, HNT.
Bitcoin sees net outflow from exchanges for the first time since April 22 (on a seven-day average basis).
- WisdomTree became the second firm to file for an Ethereum ETF.
What Do You Meme?
Welcome to 2021, where Meme.com just raised $5 million from a group of blockchain VC funds to create a new marketplace for, well, memes.
The marketplace will allow users to mint “mimetic tokens” tied to the perceived value of the meme they represent — i.e., if Meme.com had been around back in 2015 and you had invested in Rare Pepes tokens, you would be an incredibly wealthy memer (meme-vestor?) by now.
The idea is rather interesting. Meme.com is attempting to marry the liquidity of memecoins, like DOGE, with the trendiness and meme-ability of an NFT, like Rare Pepes, into a single financial instrument — creating value out of laughter.
Employees at Meme.com chose memes rather than a formal title. For example, Mattias Tyrberg’s title is simply “Stonks at Meme.com” on LinkedIn.
According to Decrypt, Meme.com intends to become the CoinMarketCap of memes, offering charts, graphs, and data on how different memes and trends are valued by the community.
Bitcoin mining had itself a week and I believe that it deserves a full-ish recap.
Introducing the Bitcoin Mining Council
The narrative surrounding Bitcoin mining has been decidedly shaped by Tesla and its wild-card CEO Elon Musk, who, on May 12th, announced that the electric vehicle company was suspending purchases using Bitcoin due to the “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels” being used for Bitcoin mining.
On Monday, Elon Musk took to Twitter once again, this time with some good news for the Bitcoin community, tweeting:
On Tuesday, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor offered further context to Musk’s potentially promising conversation, saying that he [Saylor] had, in fact, hosted the meeting between Elon and a few high-profile North American miners. In addition to Musk and Saylor, execs from eight different mining companies, including Riot, Galaxy Digital, Hut 8, and Marathon, joined in on the conversation, forming what Saylor named the Bitcoin Mining Council.
According to Saylor’s tweet, the group was created with the goal “to establish an organization to standardize energy reporting, pursue industry ESG goals, & educate+grow the marketplace” within the Bitcoin mining community. In a conversation at CoinDesk’s annual conference Consensus on Tuesday, Saylor also added that Musk’s “first-order ask” was to bring transparency to Bitcoin mining energy usage.
Not everyone took the announcement in stride, which is not surprising given the open-source foundation of Bitcoin and the closed-door nature of the Bitcoin Mining Council’s first meeting. Marty Bent, who writes a Bitcoin-themed newsletter, responded with distaste over bringing ESG to Bitcoin, tweeting:
In related news, One River filed for a carbon-neutral bitcoin ETF with the SEC, which would buy and dispose of carbon credits to offset the emissions associate with the Bitcoin in the fund.
China Is Cracking Down on Bitcoin Mining
Last Friday, a Chinese government website posted a statement summarizing a top-level meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Committee of the State Council that read, “We should crack down on bitcoin mining and trading activities and prevent individual risks from being passed to the whole society.” The State Council is the country’s central government body. According to The Block, this is the first time bitcoin mining was specifically mentioned as a high-level signal by the State Council.
Mustafa Yilham, VP of Global Business Development at Bixin, tweeted on Sunday that Chinese miners were accelerating their departure from China to other countries in response to the crackdown. As a result, Yilham believes there will be large quantities of mining equipment for sale. While he called the situation a “crisis,” he also speculates this could be a “massive opportunity” to redistribute the BTC mining network worldwide, rather than being focused in China.
Perhaps in response to the State Council’s words, on Tuesday, China’s Inner Mongolia region put forward eight new measures to phase out crypto mining in the area. The eight proposals target crypto-mining facilities, individuals providing energy without prior approval, and, oddly, internet cafes that are involved in crypto mining activities, amongst other things.
Additionally, four days after the State Council’s announcement, government officials in Sichuan sent a meeting summons to discuss how banning BTC mining might impact the hydroelectricity excess this year. The meeting is set to occur on June 2.
This week also saw Huobi, the world’s second-largest crypto exchange by daily volume, suspend some of its services and products in certain countries, along with completely stopping its miner hosting services in China. The exchange justified its action in a statement, saying “Huobi always strives to abide by the evolving policies and regulations of each jurisdiction to adhere to risk and preserve the well-being of our users and their assets.”
- GlassNode on how last week’s market correction affected DeFi:
- The Harvard Law, Blockchain, and FinTech Initiative, a student-run organization, offered up a new Uniswap governance proposal:
- Flashback Friday, featuring an old article I wrote on the Bitcoin block size war back in 2017:
On The Pod…
June 14th is the 5-year anniversary of Unchained. 🎉
On Tuesday, June 15th, we’ll publish a 5-year anniversary episode with questions or messages from you listeners to me.
- record a video or audio message of 60 seconds or less stating your name, where you’re from and your question or message.
- email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with “anniversary” in the subject line (or just respond to this email)!
The deadline to get your submissions in is Thursday, June 10 by 5 pm ET/2 pm PT.
Thanks so much for supporting Unchained all these years! 🙏
Check out the latest episode of Unchained:
what book made Tom fall down the crypto rabbit hole
why Tom believes the Financial Accounting Standards Board needs to set clear accounting standards for cryptocurrencies
why the current way of accounting for Bitcoin on balance sheets may be a detriment to companies in the future
how he feels about the acting head of the OCC putting together a “sprint team” of federal regulators to establish overarching crypto standards
why he is fighting to change tax rules for forked coins
what problems the Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act might solve
why he is so passionate about the Securities Clarity Act, which would explicitly separate digital tokens from securities
how DeFi should be regulated and why he is not a fan of FATF’s recently proposed guidance
Tom’s prediction for when these bills may actually become law
My book, The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze, is now available for pre-order now.
The book, which is all about Ethereum and the 2017 ICO mania, comes out Nov. 2nd. Pre-order it today!
You can purchase it here: http://bit.ly/cryptopians