Weekly Rundown - May 12, 2024

If you read this newsletter, you're "retail"

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Geeze, can you believe retail hasn’t even shown up yet?

Neither can I. Retail showed up a long time ago.

We are retail.

At least, I am. Odds are, so’s your favorite influencer, too. Crypto is a retail market.

In the US, Trump made waves with his endorsement of crypto as a campaign issue. Now, the cryptosphere’s abuzz about single-issue voters and a newly-anointed savior for the US crypto industry.

Methinks some big US crypto advocates are eager for Trump to make money with crypto and appoint people to build the bureaucratic infrastructure necessary to steer crypto policy to special interest groups. They prefer regulatory capture by Wall Street, VCs, and other interest groups that want to use your affinity for crypto to make money, often at your expense.

At least Biden has the courtesy to force talent, money, and innovation to other countries where laws make sense, regulators support our work, and crypto technology can offer benefits that local financial entities can’t or won’t provide. He seems content to let the US lose so others may win. He’ll even let his regulators make fools of themselves to help move things along!

What does this have to do with the price of our imaginary digital tokens?


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If you’ve heard me talk about “regulated DeFi,” or “RegFi,” you may wonder what I mean.

Since this is one of the three big narratives that will emerge in the coming months and years, it's probably a good time to get familiar with the concept.

In short, I’m talking about new protocols and platforms that fit within conventional regulatory frameworks and receive a “blessing” from governments.

For an alternative approach, read Karen Shidlo’s short article, DeFi Must be Regulated in a DeFi Way.

She brings up the idea of onchain IDs and technological add-ons to protect privacy and security, rather than creating new platforms and protocols.

Time will tell which approach works best. Maybe both of them do, or some combination.

Bottom line: US authorities will plead their case against Tornado Cash, a mixing service that laundered money for enemies of the US. The court’s decision may set a precedent for holding developers liable for what people do with their smart contracts.

My take: Legal technicalities are more boring than old white men hollering about crypto, but court decisions often matter a lot for your welfare and the fate of technology. If the US wins outright, nobody will build anything within any jurisdiction that US authorities can reach.

Who would ever write a smart contract if the US can hold them liable for everything people do with it? Unlike a defective product or criminal enterprise, you can’t shut down or phase out a smart contract. You can’t issue a recall or put the computer code in jail. Once created, smart contracts last forever. Strangers can always use them to do horrible things. The uncertainties are too great and the financial compensation too small.

Why you should care: You want to know whether US courts will acknowledge the difference between the technology itself and the actions of its users.

Relax and enjoy the ride!

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