Ethereum: Why All Eyes Are Watching

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1 year ago

The crypto market rose above $2 trillion again. Bitcoin’s back over $44,000, but eyes are on Ethereum. The blockchain saw a total of $21 million inflows in the week ending February 11, ending a nine-week trend in the opposite direction. Not only that, but the fees are dropping. Meanwhile, the number of Ethereum wallet addresses holding .1 ETH has hit an all-time high. Traders are now asking if Ethereum could be headed back to $4,000, and could it be a trillion-dollar cryptocurrency by 2025?

Olympians spent over $300,000 a day in digital yuan at the Olympics. That’s not exactly an Olympic moment. Based on that lackluster performance, does America really need a digital dollar?”

XRP rose more than 3 percent in 24 hours. Of course, the crypto market as a whole is trading higher this week, but XRP shares sold out ahead of key events in its lawsuit with the SEC.

A $500 Walmart gift card was a crucial clue in solving the Bitfinex money laundering scam.

The smart contracts sector is outperforming bitcoin. But they have huge limitations in the metaverse, which is why fat contracts could be the perfect complement. The New Stack wants to know if JavaScript is the future of smart contract programming.

Coinbase is going on a hiring spree this year. And, the crypto exchange is going to allow customers in Mexico to cash out in their local currency.

Exactly how many cryptocurrencies are there? Coinbase tracks nearly 10,000. CoinMarketCap claims there are more than 17,000. TokenSniffer smells more than 1.2 million. How many do you think there are? Let me know in the comments.

The Cosmos blockchain is building bridges to other blockchains. Some of the newer ones coming online include Gravity Bridge to Ethereum and Nomic to bitcoin. Learn more about Cosmos bridges from the Cosmonaut.

Cardano increases incentives for white hat hackers.

What is the Bitcoin Loophole?

America must embrace cryptocurrencies to remain an economic powerhouse.

Fraudsters are using bots to gain access to crypto accounts.

In Canada, the prime minister is going after truckers’ cryptocurrencies using emergency powers.

Has Centralization Failed Us?

Centralization is nothing new. In a sense, some form of centralization has been with us for most of human history. Ancient Sumeria, at least six thousand years ago, had organized itself into city-states with functioning infrastructure and a code of laws. It’s likely there were earlier civilizations with similar centralized structures.

In many ways, centralization is good. Who can argue that roads and bridges are a bad thing, particularly when so much of modern commerce relies on them for the transport of goods so that consumers can purchase them and put them to use? When a crime is committed, police officers can respond to the event and arrest those responsible. On the other hand, what can be used for good can also be abused.

The U.S. Declaration of Independence was written in response to perceived abuses of the King of England upon the colonists in North America. In 1953, the U.S. Army ran biological and chemical weapons tests on personnel who were not informed of the tests and did not volunteer. In 2004, the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal involved U.S. military and civilian contractors who had humiliated enemy prisoners of war at the detention camp. These are just a few examples.

Throughout human history, governments have overstepped their authority and, at times, become downright abusive. The 20th century is full of tales of authoritarian regimes that have been brutal, from the Red Terror to the Nazi concentration camps. 

Abuse doesn’t always come from the hands of government either. Corporations and private individuals have been known to get aggressive or become negligent. In March 1989, oil tanker Exxon Valdez spilled more than 10 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound doing damage to marine life. Michael Milken is a noted financier known for selling junk bonds and violating U.S. securities laws during the 1980s.

Earlier this year, stock investing app Robinhood halted trading on GameStop stock when a group of Reddit users collaborated on buying up shares to drive up prices. It infuriated some users, including popular YouTuber Philip DeFranco, who pulled his money out of Robinhood and stopped showing Robinhood ads to his audience. DeFranco, a long-time supporter of bitcoin, is now a supporter of a cryptocurrency that competes with YouTube.

Libertarians of various stripes, the cypherpunks, radicals on the left and right, and blockchain enthusiasts will often point to these abuses as evidence that centralization is bad, evil, or untrustworthy. They have a point. Human nature has a dark side.

The question is whether decentralization can or will solve any of these issues. Die-hard blockchain enthusiasts swear by the technology, claiming it will solve the issues and make trust between humans unnecessary and obsolete. But the conundrum is that all technology comes from the mind of man, which means it bears his mark—untrustworthy, imperfect, and fallible. This is where a healthy skepticism can save the day.

Nevertheless, there’s something to be said for decentralization. When centralized hedge fund billionaires shorted Gamestop stock 150 percent, it was a decentralized group of smaller investors who combined their power to fight back, driving the stock price up again. The reason the Robinhood incident is so irksome is because it’s another example of centralization beating down the little guy. That’s why crypto enthusiasts are willing to cede control to the code.

The "trustlessness" of the technology is a feature that means everyone on the network is treated the same no matter who they are, how much wealth they have, or what their name is. Whether that can be achieved or not is what the fuss is about.

An excerpt from my forthcoming book Cryptosocial: How Cryptocurrencies Are Changing Social Media, to be published by Business Expert Press in March 2022. Want to read it? Join my launch team for more information.

Cryptocracy is a decentralized newsletter published 4 times a week. I curate the latest news and crypto analysis from some of the brightest minds in crypto, and sometimes offer a little insightful and snarky commentary. Always fresh, always interesting, and always crypto.

First published at Cryptocracy. None of this is financial advice. Do your own research and consult a financial advisor before investing in any crypto.

Image credits: Hands on bridge from Cryptowriter; Smart contracts from The New Stack.

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