Money 2.0 Stuff: Saving face with MimbleWimble

Litecoin explores MimbleWimble:

Litecoin — you know, that digital asset that does that thing that definitely warrants a multi-billion dollar market cap — is up 40% this week following news that the Foundation has approached Beam about “possible cooperation” to implement Mimblewimble via Extension Blocks:


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“With Extension Blocks implemented on Litecoin, users can theoretically convert their standard litecoin to MimbleWimble variants of litecoin, leveraging the privacy features provided by MimbleWimble.”

On a circulating supply basis, Litecoin has now surpassed EOS as the fourth most valuable cryptocurrency, which should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the state of today’s cryptocurrency market.

Listen, I can understand why the market is reacting the way it is: MimbleWimble’s privacy features will save several billion dollars worthof face, finally allowing Litecoin investors to plausibly deny any association with Charlie Lee’s pet project.      

Or perhaps I am mistaken, and the market is simply signalling its appreciation for a rare act of collaboration between two crypto projects: one need only look at Tron to see how much value can be created when projects are willing to take a leaf out of their competitor’s whitepapers, sorry, I mean books.

Either way, the announcement raises some interesting questions.

If Litecoin can, and does, successfully implement MimbleWimble, what remains for Beam, which has yet to develop its own network effects, let alone have its logo featured in the UFC? Is this one small step for mankind towards recognition that privacy should be approached as feature rather than a distinct coin?

While cooperation is undoubtedly beneficial for users, in the context of a ‘winner-take-all-or-at-least-most’ money market it’s probably detrimental for Beam investors. So does Beam’s developer team have a responsibility to its investors to turn down cooperation in favour of value optimization? Or should the team be open to collaboration, forgoing self-interest in order to create the best possible currency for the world at large? I’d like to believe in the latter, but would also probably understand arguments for the former. Indeed, you don’t see Pepsi and Coke teaming up to create the best possible fizzy drink.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a legitimate ‘Money 2.0 Stuff’ without some discussion of trading principles, so on that note – when you consider that $800 million in value has been created since the announcement, what is the most ethical way to disclose these memoranda of understandings?

This isn’t straightforward by any means and I really can’t fault the Litecoin Foundation for making the decision they did. There’s clearly merit in being as transparent as possible — if the Foundation had instead announced the upgrade post-implementation there would likely have been a wave of ‘centralization’ accusations and some, perhaps undeserved, erosion of trust in Litecoin’s core developer team. By announcing the possibility of cooperation in advance, the Foundation provides its community – Litecoin does have its own community, right? – an opportunity to weigh in and come to some sort of ‘rough consensus’ as to whether implementing MimbleWimble via Extension Blocks is a good idea.  

At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the fact that these announcements of ‘possible cooperation’ can move markets 40% and it’s difficult to imagine that the Foundation wasn’t aware of this prior to publishing – indeed, Charlie Lee has already proven himself to be a bit of a market whisperer, having timed 2017’s market to the nanosecond.

If cooperation breaks down, or, in the wake of Zcash’s counterfeit vulnerability, Litecoin’s developers simply decide that implementing privacy features at the base protocol layer is unsuitable, what responsibility lies with the Foundation? Would this be the crypto equivalent of Elon Musk’s ‘private at $420’ debacle? 

Legally speaking, the Foundation should be resting easy — even if members had purchased coins prior to publishing the announcement, and to be clear, there is no evidence to suggest that they did, Litecoin is not currently regulated as a security and, as such, is not subject to insider trading rules.

Ethically speaking, regardless of whether insider trading took place, I think cryptocurrency communities would do well to encourage core developers to regularly disclose their holdings, permitting coin owners to assess a project’s merits based on the ‘skin in the game’ of key participants. I realize this is pretty sensitive information, so perhaps holdings could be disclosed as percentage (e.g. “this month I added 5% to my holdings” or “today I sold all my coins”) rather than a dollar value. I also realize that ‘skin in the game’ is not the be-all-end-all fundamental valuation metric — there are plenty of delusional project members in this industry holding their entire life savings in a proprietary, illiquid, micro-cap token.  

But disclosures would nevertheless be net positive, tempering the ‘pump and dump’ dynamics that somehow, unfortunately, still accompany relatively meaningless announcements of potential cooperation.     

Innovative meat distribution:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by the U.S. Congress in 1950 to do all the things that you would reasonably expect a national science foundation to do. As of 2017, their annual budget is $7.5 billion.

With blockchain technology set to solve the world’s problems, it should come as no surprise that NSF would seek to catalyze its proliferation, meting out funds to the most serious researchers and developers the U.S. has to offer.

Enter Blocky McChainerson LLC, the recipient of a $224,989 grant to build tools for “innovative meat distribution businesses in Bozeman, MT.”

Now look — if there’s anyone in favour of innovating the meat distribution business in Bozeman, Montana, it’s me. And there’s little doubt in my mind that Blocky McChainerson is anything but an upstanding character. But even I’m having a tough time justifying this one.

With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching, I expect readers of this column are frantically ideating on the most romantic way to express their love: a weekend getaway to Paris, a rose-covered bed, a home-cooked five-course meal?

Ideate no further, friends, for, a website that sells – you guessed it — panties, has you covered, with their 15% discount for customers paying in Bitcoin.

Panties and Bitcoin, a match made in some obscure subreddit’s heaven. And for you naysayers out there thinking that the intersection between Bitcoin owners and people who have good reason to be purchasing lingerie is…non-existent — don’t get it/them twisted, for is no stranger to sound money: founder Lila Williams already processes ‘a handful’ of Bitcoin payments every month.

The post Money 2.0 Stuff: Saving face with MimbleWimble appeared first on The Block.

Money 2.0 Stuff: Saving face with MimbleWimble written by Matteo Leibowitz @ February 11, 2019 Matteo Leibowitz

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