Four Days Trapped at Sea With Crypto’s Nouveau Riche

bitcoin | blockchain | cryptocurrencies | governance | issues/conflicts | justice | politics | Research Notes

All of this is a sign of a micro-economy in trouble, as Muhammad Salman Anjum, an investor who eats dinner alone by himself in the buffet hall each night, explains. He has a pragmatic take on all these beautiful young women having blockchain exhaustively explained to them by schlubby-looking guys who can’t believe their luck. ”One of the elements in blockchain is about fundraising the ICOs. So you can guess why they are here—to pamper the investors. Because it’s tough now.”In 2017, Salman says, it was relatively easy to raise funds for a nine-figure ICO. Now that crypto prices have crashed, demand on “the supply side of the ICOs is booming, and the demand for the investors is shrinking.” Since the actual mood at this moment is conservative-going-on-terrified, these glamorous models seem to have been hired to give the ship—and the passengers’ selfies—the glitzy appearance of the boom times of 2017.One of the ways men bond is by demonstrating collective power over women. This is why business deals are still done in strip clubs, even in Silicon Valley, and why tech conferences are famous for their “booth babes.” It creates an atmosphere of complicity and privilege. It makes rich men partners in crime. This is useful if you plan to get ethically imaginative with your investments. Hence the half-naked models, who are all working a lot harder than any of the guys in shirtsleeves.The cruise’s panelists all tout decentralization’s promises of shared responsibility, community, and freedom, but the version I see here means that nobody knows precisely who is responsible for all of this. It’s nobody’s specific fault that we’re trapped on a floating live-action walkthrough of how un-trammelled free-market capitalism can be bad for women, given that money and power are things women tend to have less of.

Source: Four Days Trapped at Sea With Crypto’s Nouveau Riche

The perfect storm: building a crypto-utopia in Puerto Rico – video | US news | The Guardian

applications | bitcoin | critique | issues/conflicts | Research Notes

In a time of vulnerability, crypto investors are moving to Puerto Rico, attracted by lucrative tax incentives. They plan to regenerate the island using blockchain technology. But not all of the locals support their bold plans

Source: The perfect storm: building a crypto-utopia in Puerto Rico – video | US news | The Guardian

Brock Pierce: The Hippie King of Cryptocurrency – Rolling Stone

bitcoin | blockchain | discourse | identity | issues/conflicts | nonsense | people | politics | Research Notes

Pierce, meanwhile, was about to try to repeat his success in e-sports when people began mentioning cryptocurrency to him roughly a year after the first Bitcoins were mined. Pierce was shocked that he’d never heard of it. “There were no storytellers who knew how to convey the information in simple insights, so it required a lot of real heavy lifting to figure out,” he says. “I didn’t have the time to appreciate the power of decentralization at first. The day I got it, I knew that was it.”Bannon recently took a leap into cryptocurrency as well, not just because of its financial implications, but because of its political ones. “This whole populist revolt is going to come down to this concept of currency,” he says. “You can see the forces that are aligned to take advantage of it. Every smart person that I admire in the world, and those I semi-fear, is focused on this concept of crypto for a reason. They understand that this is the driving force of the fourth industrial revolution: steam engine, electricity, then the microchip – blockchain and crypto is the fourth. There’s going to be a war for control for this.”Once Pierce caught on to the potential of this new digital cash, he became an evangelist, giving away Bitcoins to everyone he could, whether to an influencer or to the audience at one of his talks. He eventually stopped giving the money away because “no one appreciated it, then they lost it, and it was a waste of my fucking time. I get messages all the time from people saying, ‘I think of how much I lost because I didn’t take it seriously.’ ”

Source: Brock Pierce: The Hippie King of Cryptocurrency – Rolling Stone

On-Chain Vote Buying and the Rise of Dark DAOs

blockchain | cybercrime | hardware | identity | issues/conflicts | papers | Research Notes | trust

Dark DAO operators can further muddy the waters by launching attacks on choices the vote buyers actually oppose as potential false flag operations or smear campaigns; for example, Bob could run a Dark DAO working in Alice’s favor to delegitimize the outcome of an election Bob believes he is likely to lose.  The activation threshold, payout schedule, full attack strategy, number of users in the system, total amount of money pledged to the system, and more can be kept private or revealed either selectively or globally, making such DAOs ultimately tunable for structured incentive changes.Because the organization exists off-chain, no cartel of block producers or other system participants can detect, censor, or stop the attack.

Source: On-Chain Vote Buying and the Rise of Dark DAOs

Cloud Communities: The Dawn of Global Citizenship? – Globalcit

applications | certificate | critique | data protection | decentralization | EU policy | identity | issues/conflicts | law | opinion | papers | related_projects | Research Notes

Contents:
Cloud Communities: The Dawn of Global Citizenship?, kickoff contribution by Liav Orgad
Citizenship in Cloud Cuckoo Land?, by Rainer Bauböck
Citizenship in the Era of Blockchain-Based Virtual Nations, by Primavera De Filippi
Global Citizenship for the Stay-at-Homes, by Francesca Strumia
A World Without Law; A World Without Politics, by Robert Post
Virtual Politics, Real Guns: On Cloud Community, Violence, and Human Rights, by Michael Blake
A World Wide Web of Citizenship, by Peter J. Spiro
Citizenship Forecast: Partly Cloudy with Chances of Algorithms, by Costica Dumbrava
The Separation of Territory and State: a Digital French Revolution?, by Yussef Al Tamimi
A Brave New Dawn? Digital Cakes, Cloudy Governance and Citizenship á la carte, by Jelena Dzankic
Old Divides, New Devices: Global Citizenship for Only Half of the World, by Lea Ypi
Escapist technology in the service of neo-feudalism, by Dimitry Kochenov
Cloud communities and the materiality of the digital, by Stefania Milan
Cloud Agoras: When Blockchain Technology Meets Arendt’s Virtual Public Spaces, by Dora Kostakopoulou
Global Cryptodemocracy is Possible and Desirable, by Ehud Shapiro
The Future of Citizenship: Global and Digital. A Rejoinder, by Liav Orgad

A Call for a Temporary Moratorium on The DAO

blockchain | governance | issues/conflicts | Research Notes

We just released the first draft of a research paper that analyzed The DAO and its voting mechanism. This paper identifies problems with The DAO’s mechanism design that incentivize investors to behave strategically; that is, at odds with truthful voting on their preferences. We then outline potential attacks against The DAO made possible by these behaviors.In particular, we have identified seven causes for concern that can cause DAO participants to engage in strategic behaviors. Some of these behaviors can cause honest DAO investors to have their investments hijacked or committed to proposals against their interest and intent.

Source: A Call for a Temporary Moratorium on The DAO

Bitmain Nears 51% of Bitcoin’s Network Hashrate

bitcoin | critique | decentralization | ecosystem | issues/conflicts | quantitative analysis | Research Notes

Bitcoin’s mining hardware (hashrate) has tripled since December, as can be seen above, even while price has fallen by 3x since December.It is now therefore a lot more expensive to mine a bitcoin than in December, while at the same time one mined bitcoin is worth a lot less.At some point miners are unable to afford energy costs or to keep up with adding more and more hardware as their old one becomes useless due to the constant increase of hashrate difficulty. So they close shop.Some miners, however, like Bitman, have lower costs, presumably because they manufacture themselves the mining hardware.So as other miners struggle, like Bitfury which has now dropped to 2%, Bitmain starts gaining more and more hashrate to the point they are now nearing 51%.The above bitcoin hashrate chart, however, even in a common sense way, looks quite unusual because it rarely goes down, if ever.Rather than responding to the price action, the hashrate appears completely detached. A situation that can not go for much longer because that increased new hardware itself puts pressure on price as the new barely profitable miners need to sell everything to cover costs.

Source: Bitmain Nears 51% of Bitcoin’s Network Hashrate

The Blockchain: Free-Riding for the Commons From Potential Tragedy to Real Comedy

blockchain | commons | critique | issues/conflicts | politics | Research Notes

Is the blockchain an instance of commoning in cyberspace or is it enhancing capitalism to automate labour? Louis Volont and Walter van Andel argue that the blockchain is particularly well-suited to explore ideology and counter-ideology in the realm of the commons, for the blockchain constitutes a contested kind of commons: a market common, a monetary common, a kind of common that facilitates the accumulation of exchange value for, indeed, self-interested individuals. Could common ownership of that which is automated prevent the blockchain from a relapse into corporate tragedy?

Source: open! | Platform for Art, Culture and the Public Domain