🍂Crypto Q3 - Summer may be over but the heat is still on 🍎
Grab your pumpkin spiced latte or hot apple cider and get comfortable, we’ve got the top journalism crypto hits lined up and ready to read by the fire.
Photo by Conny Schneider
Even against the backdrop of the Ethereum Merge, one of the most significant technical achievements of the industry and a major milestone for the Ethereum network, regulatory stories dominated September’s headlines. The shadow of Terra’s collapse continues to loom, bringing increased scrutiny from lawmakers around the world, and industry-wide, projects and companies continue to respond to OFAC’s sanctions against Tornado Cash.
Despite the bear market getting colder as winter approaches, the industry continues churning out new whitepapers, research, features,and projects. Hiding somewhere in this builder’s market is the main character of the next big cycle — will it be Layer 2 scaling? Zero knowledge protocols? Cross-chain DApps? Real yield? 🤷
Off the Record returned — how to get the scoop
The ACJR’s Off the Record season 5 has returned, with even more sessions that help journalists and researchers understand how to cover often confusing or complex crypto topics.
The first OTR session was on September 20 and featured a conversation moderated by Blockworks’ David Canellis with Coindesk’s Danny Nelson on how to get the big scoop in crypto, what tools you can use to investigate stories and how to edit pieces to foster audience engagement.
Join us on Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. ET when Dan Roberts, editor-in-chief of Decrypt, will talk about major stories of 2022 related to SEC regulation and crypto bailouts.
Keep an eye on Twitter and Telegram for the date of this next Off the Record!
Are you an ACJR member yet?
Have you joined the ACJR yet? Yes, you may be a member of our Telegram group, and you’re definitely getting this newsletter — but are you a dues-paying member with access to our members’ only chat, discounts, events, in-person meet-ups and more?
If you want to become an official member of the ACJR, please apply here. You can reach out with any questions to Joyce Pavia Hanson on Telegram: @JPHanson.
Got an opinion?
Our newsletter needs you! What is some crypto journalism and research without a saucy opinion piece to complement it all? We have been op-ed-less for too long!
Reach out to Molly Jane or Anthony on Telegram if you have some ideas for our next op-ed.
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Top crypto journalism in September
Crypto Developer Brothers Leave VC Firm After CoinDesk Exposé by Danny Nelson, CoinDesk
Hopefully you didn’t forget about the two brothers behind the Saber protocol shenanigans reported on last month — because September began with part two of their story. Some time after the truth behind their account manipulation came out, the Macalinao brothers left the venture capital firm they founded.
Corporate Media Covers The Merge by Trustnodes
This article in Trustnodes looks at the mainstream attention that Ethereum’s upgrade to Proof-of-Stake pulled in as the Merge approached, calling it possibly the first technical event the world pays attention to since the Bitcoin Cash fork. Interesting perspective on how mainstream media views the crypto industry.
Inside the World's First No-Coiner Conference by Ben Munster, Decrypt
Ben attended the Crypto Policy Symposium in London, the world’s “first conference for crypto skeptics” — though based on their reaction to his presence, it might come as a surprise they let him attend at all. His description of the atmosphere depicts a community more interested in reveling in their collective disdain for the crypto industry than furthering any real agenda. You can almost imagine yourself in the room when Ben describes Rep. Brad Sherman’s anti-crypto speech.
Gary Gensler Wants to Regulate Crypto by Matt Levine, Bloomberg
Matt waxes regulatory about Gary Gensler’s speech on September 8 where the SEC Chair said he believed the majority of crypto tokens were securities. While agreeing with Gensler that many projects are likely securities under U.S. law, Matt points out that asking crypto companies to comply with existing regulatory frameworks is an overestimation of the flexibility of current statutes.
Schwab, Citadel Securities, Fidelity, Other Wall Street Firms Start Crypto Exchange EDX Markets by Parikshit Mishra, CoinDesk
Three massive tradifi institutions (Charles Schwab, Citadel Securities, and Fidelity Digital Assets) announced that they have jointly started a cryptocurrency exchange called EDX Markets. The new exchange will have Jamil Nazarali from Citadel as CEO and includes Sequoia Capital and Paradigm as investors.
A Peculiar Flavor of NFTs Is Thriving in China – One Regulators Can Abide by Eliza Gkritsi, Eli Tan, Camomile Shumba, CoinDesk
This piece examines the regulatory gray area where “digital collectibles” (the acceptable alternative name for NFTs) are thriving in China. Even though they can’t be bought with crypto and can’t be used to speculate like in other markets, these permissioned-blockchain-based collectibles remain popular.
How BlockFi Went From Tech Unicorn to Crypto Burnout by David Canellis, Blockworks
David chronicles the rise and fall of BlockFi, the crypto lender that went from raising hundreds of millions of dollars to receiving nearly as much in a bailout from Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX.
Crypto Darling Helium Promised A ‘People’s Network.’ Instead, Its Executives Got Rich by Sarah Emerson, David Jeans, & Phoebe Liu, Forbes
The Helium Network (the very same network mentioned in Matt Levine’s post) was a crypto industry shining star earlier this year: lauded as one of the first “real” use cases for blockchain technology. But with revenue coming overwhelmingly from new user onboarding fees and declining crypto markets, this exposé claims that many of the users who bought into the Helium vision are left out of their money while project insiders and early members have made disproportionate gains.
Contributors Need To Be More Accountable to the DAOs They Serve by John Morrow, COO of Gauntlet (op-ed)
John Morrow, the COO of battle-testing firm Gauntlet, introduces a new payment process Gauntlet will be following for all of its DAO contributions going forward: if you are wrong, you don’t get paid. Morrow believes in more initiatives that connect the success of protocols with their service providers, better aligning incentives and ideally the quality of work for all involved.
New Cosmos White Paper Revamps Cosmos Hub, ATOM Token by Sam Kessler, CoinDesk
Released at the Cosmosverse conference in Columbia, the Cosmos Hub 2.0 whitepaper expands the role of the Hub in providing interchain security at the heart of the Cosmos ecosystem. The white paper also proposes changes to the utility and issuance schedule of ATOM.
Autodidacts Welcome! By Jeff Wilser, CoinDesk
As part of CoinDesk’s Education Week series, Jeff Wilser talks to some of the most recognizable names in crypto about why the industry is so friendly towards people who are self-taught, their experiences, and the benefits of self-directed learning.
Winklevoss Offers MakerDAO Deal But Christensen May Be Underwhelmed By Samuel Haig, The Defiant
The Gemini founders offering MakerDAO a deal to use GUSD (the exchange’s stablecoin) as part of its collateral mix would be beneficial for the adoption of the stablecoin and for MakerDAO, which has been looking for additional sources of revenue. It remains to be seen how founder Rune Christensen will approach the deal as he’s been urging the community away from centralized organizations like Gemini and Coinbase.
Bitcoin to YFI: the Myth of the Fair Launch By Brady Dale, AXIOS
Brady breaks down what makes up a fair launch, why Bitcoin had one, and why no project since has truly come close (though not for lack of trying).
And now — on to some research!
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Top crypto research in September
Base Layer Neutrality by Rodrigo Seira, Amy Aixi Zhang, Dan Robinson, Paradigm
The team of authors from Paradigm produced this paper in response to the OFAC sanctions against Tornado Cash. The paper makes a compelling technical case for why, “the public recording of the order of data blocks at the infrastructure layer is no more “facilitating” a transaction, or dealing with, or contributing or providing services to sanctioned parties than the existing communications infrastructure that routes financial messages daily around the world.”
What Kind of Layer 3s Make Sense? by Vitalik Buterin
In this post, Vitalik talks about what might make sense for a Layer 3 solution, hypothetical projects that often come up in L2 scaling discussions. Referencing a post on L3’s by Starkware, Vitalik examines how a three layer architecture, with the third layer used for application-specific scaling or feature solutions, could make sense compared to Ethereum’s current two layers.
Exploring the Cosmos by Kirill Naumov, Galaxy Research
This whitepaper from Galaxy Research offers a comprehensive overview of the Cosmos ecosystem from its inception until now and detailing the unique features that attract developers to build as part of the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol. It’s a detailed and exhaustive report great to get someone new to Cosmos up to speed.
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Top crypto unhinged tweet(s) in September
Zapper are you okay?
Razzlekahn “We’re hiring!” Morgan
Ad Age’s buzzword salad
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