China Blockchain Madness

a busy week for news from our eastern neighbors

Your daily snapshot from our OnChainFX markets dashboard.

So. Much. News. Excitement. Drama.

Coming out of China this past week. The Chinese government even found its way into our long-form research on the Evolution of Stablecoins. In Ryan Watkins first research brief, he recapped the three economic models of stablecoins and outlined how China and Facebook were emerging as the two preeminent issuers of new digital currencies.

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It wasn’t just us picking up on the China narrative.

Things definitely got a little weird following the blockchain hype out of Beijing late last week.

Days after President Xi Jinping spoke about the need to “seize the opportunity” in crypto, we learned that one of the first orders of business would be to run a centralized purity test…on a blockchain? The new “Original Intentions Onchain” dapp would let party members pledge immutable (maybe?) allegiance to the CCP.

Weird flex, but ok.

Perhaps it’s no surprise there’s been a positive reaction from Chinese entrepreneurs hoping to capitalize on the immediate surge in interest. (Xi’s comments led the country’s state run news to devote prime time and front page coverage to blockchain on Friday, leading to a massive jump in search traffic for bitcoin and blockchain.) It’s also no surprise that the western celebration of Xi’s comments drew consternation from the libertarian strand of the bitcoin community with some decrying the warm reception given his party’s history of surveillance and crackdowns on speech.

This may seem like the simple continuation of a six year hot and cold mixed-messages cycle of feedback from the Chinese authorities. But this time (don’t say it, don’t say it), it does feel different.

Things have to be feeling different at mining giant Bitmain, too.

Bloomberg reports co-founder, Jihan Wu, who had stepped down from the CEO position earlier this year following a tumultuous aborted IPO process, announced the “resignation” of his co-founder Micree Zhan Ketuan. The rift appears contentious as Wu allegedly warned employees in an internal memo that “taking further instructions from Zhan or attending any meetings he convenes” would lead to dismissal or criminal charges.

This one is interesting because it could become a high profile case in China of two of the country’s top crypto entrepreneurs slugging it out in public. Zhan is the largest shareholder in the company, as Bitmain’s earlier IPO prospectus showed Zhan held a 37% stake in the company to Wu’s 21%. That means investors must have endorsed something Dovey Wan equates to a Godfather-like hit. During the “coup” Zhan’s “email was deleted and he was promptly banned from the home office by security."

Apparently this all kicked into motion while Micree was out of town at a conference.

(In other news, I’m not traveling any time soon.)

This is the tip of the iceberg on crypto in China. But never fear!

NLW breaks down the full narrative on China’s competitive positioning in crypto in this week’s Narrative Watch.

How do you like these newsletters? What would you like to see more of?

-TBI

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Messari Compression Algorithm

Content and thoughts from around the web as summarized by the Messari team.

☕️ Bakkt's Chief Product Officer, Mike Blandina published a blog post outlining the company's focus on digital asset payments. The plan includes a merchant portal that will provide enterprise-grade infrastructure to enable lower cost, faster settlement acceptance as well as a consumer application to transact and track one's digital assets.

Why it matters

  • Bakkt is quickly becoming one of the most influential companies in crypto after raising almost $200 million and launching the first physically delivered futures platform this year.

  • Consumer payments have sorely lacked in crypto, but with their consumer app and partnerships with companies such as Starbucks, Bakkt could provide a viable means to spend crypto for everyday items.

📊 Mining manufacturer Canaan Creative has officially filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S. According to the paperwork Canaan lost $45.8 million on net revenues of $42.1 million for the six-month period ended June 30, 2019. The company plans to list on NASDAQ under the ticker CAN.

Why it matters:

  • Canaan and its larger competitor Bitmain had both attempted to go public in the past, but falling bitcoin prices created market uncertainty and the filings eventually expired. This current attempt marks Canaan's third attempt, and a potential chance to beat Bitmain to the public markets.

  • At a rumored valuation of $2 billion - $3 billion Canaan could be the first crypto unicorn to go public.

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