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🎉 Out with the old, in with the new 🎉
The best crypto and blockchain coverage in December 2021
Happy December from the Association of Cryptocurrency Journalists and Researchers! 👋
It’s the end of the year, and that means the holidays are here 🎅🏻. The end of the year also always brings change, and that’s no different with the ACJR.
In 2022, we will be introducing our new set of board members — chosen by you, our member voters. We will also be switching up our newsletter, saying goodbye to Leigh Cuen as co-author — this newsletter is now coming to you from Anthony Mandelli and still co-written by Molly Jane for now, some things never change!
Anthony and Molly Jane, ready for a new year of newsletters.
We have a lot on our plate to cover today — New board members! Great journalism! — so let’s dive right in.
As always, we are accepting membership applications to the ACJR — if you’re a crypto journalist, researcher or someone interested in the field, please fill out the application right here.
The year’s final session of Off the Record covered all things metaverse — how does it work? Is it fun? Is putting on a VR headset the new commute? The panel included Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Bloomberg News; Leah Callon-Butler, producer of the “Play to Earn” documentary; Zack Seward, deputy global news editor at CoinDesk and outgoing co-secretary of the ACJR; and Joon Ian Wong, columnist at Business of Business and outgoing co-president of the ACJR.
As you all know (if you’ve been following our newsletter/reading our membership Telegram channel, of course), last month was the first ever ACJR elections. We’re proud to present the new ACJR board — you’ll see some new faces, some old faces, but most of all, some eager faces!
Here is the list of the new ACJR board members:
We would like to again thank everyone who ran for board positions, and remind you that there are tons of other ways to get involved in the ACJR.
Please message any board members on Telegram (or throw your ideas into the group!) if you have ideas to get involved — propose a working group, request funds to host a crypto happy hour in your city, start a crypto book club!
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Before we step into our favorite news stories (and some are much funnier than usual, maybe winter puts crypto journos in a sillier mood), we’ll take a moment to highlight some great research pieces.
First off, we would be remiss not to begin with the now-highly anticipated annual Messari report. Even though it’s much longer reading than most reports in the space, it’s a must for your end of the year reflections. The report includes themes Messari believes will shape investment theses, an overview of the regulatory landscape, current market infrastructure and deep dives on crypto verticals like Metaverse assets and NFTs.
Not quite research, not quite news — Crypto Briefing’s list of the biggest crypto villains in 2021 also deserves a mention. The piece goes in-depth to some of the people they believe had a negative effect on crypto this year, from the Nate Chastain NFT insider trading fiasco to Elizabeth Warren and her fears of environmental mining crises.
Professors Igor Makarov (London School of Economics) and Antoinette Schoar (MIT Sloan) published a paper in October after analyzing the Bitcoin network’s entire transaction history looking at volume, regional composition of bitcoin miners, and ownership concentration. But this still makes our December newsletter, as it was recently covered by the Wall Street Journal, kicking off a new wave of discussion within the Bitcoin and wider crypto communities around what decentralization means and how much is enough.
We also liked a piece by Mitch Klee of Compass Mining, who covered how Bitcoin’s hash rate has changed since China banned bitcoing mining over the summer, and a contributor piece from Connor Speliscy (a DAO researcher and co-founder of the political action group Blockchain Association) in TechCrunch about stablecoins. Speliscy’s makes a strong case for why U.S. regulators should be looking at stablecoins more favorably, arguing that they increase global demand for USD. The article highlights many of the regulatory challenges facing the crypto industry in the US along with what other countries are doing too.
And now — on to some journalism!
“Olympus DAO Might Be the Future of Money (or It Might Be a Ponzi)” by Andrew Thurman, Coindesk
This piece manages to be touching, hilarious and intelligent all at the same time. Andrew explains the new Olympus DAO mechanisms of making money — borrowing principles from algorithmic stablecoins and adding the theory of protocol controlled value. It doesn’t matter if you don’t fully understand OHM’s mechanics, what matters is that you end the piece knowing a little bit more about monetary theory, history and internet weirdos. As Andrew writes, “Money is simply a collectively shared delusion enabling economic exchange, the OHMies argue” — and who are we to disagree with them? (And if you liked Andrew’s work, you can also see his piece on the Rari x Fei merger here).
Ben dives into the world of incredibly rich Crypto Twitter anonymous cartoon-inspired investors, and why people are starting to be okay with trusting an angel investor who “identified online as a depressed-looking blue duck thing swaddled in toilet paper.” Even in a humorous column, Ben masterfully covers the birth of the anonymous eGirl VC fund and how they manage to operate, using their shitcoin trading gains for real collective investments.
“We All Need to Stop Only Seeing the Dark Side of Crypto” by Boaz Sobrado, Wired
In many ways, Boaz wrote the article the crypto community has been waiting for, surfacing many of the positive effects blockchain-based technology has around the world. Specifically, Boaz looks at examples from Cuba, El Salvador, Venezuela and Sub-Saharan Africa. The perfect article to share with the crypto-skeptic in your life!
“The New Get-Rich-Faster Job in Silicon Valley: Crypto Start-Ups” by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Mike Isaac, The New York Times
Daisuke and Mike take a closer look at the increasingly popular trend of engineers and executives leaving FAANG companies to “chase what they see as a once-in-a-generation opportunity” – i.e., crypto. In this piece, the authors show a slew of examples of high-profile talent leaving companies like Lyft and Meta to pursue careers in the blockchain industry.
“Bitcoin’s Biggest Upgrade in Four Years Just Happened – Here’s What Changes” by MacKenzie Sigalos, CNBC
For the first time in four years, the Bitcoin network underwent an upgrade called Taproot. MacKenzie breaks down the technical improvements that come along with Taproot, introducing additional transaction privacy and the capacity for smart contracts, and details the rollout procedure.
“Wall Street Is No Fun Anymore” by Matt Levine, Bloomberg
Where to start? Delightful to read, measured and logical, in this edition of Money Stuff, Matt covers a string of recent events and topics ranging from stablecoins to Turkey’s new monetary policy.
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Happiest of holidays from the ACJR to you!
Meme courtesy of Elon Musk
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