Big Week Ahead - Unqualified Opinions

looking forward + reviewing hot takes.

Your daily snapshot from our OnChainFX markets dashboard.

You Asked. We Listened. Less Words.

Testing out a new format for Unqualified Opinions: shorter and sweeter. I’ll save my windpipe for our new live podcasts. (Episode 1 Replay)

So Many Theses

Lots of new year’s posts coming out. Only some worth reading. 

  1. Lucky bastards. I dropped 96 theses for 2019 as a two-part subscribers post last week, but enough paying people asked me for a one-part shareable post, that I’ve posted it to Medium in full. My favorite bit: 

    "The two greatest American lies: a) “Rising debt isn’t a big deal because the dollar is a reserve” (we’ll lose reserve status by 2030); b) “If you don’t like things, vote!” (voting for big gov’t right (R) and big gov’t left (D) isn’t a choice if you’re in the small gov’t party. “Exit” is a choice.)" 

  2. Andrew Keys new year’s posts are always fun, and are always uber-bullish and Ethereum maximalist, which is a nice balance given our more skeptical internal take. Favorite moon fume:

    “FOAM’s proof-of-location will begin to challenge GPS. [It’s] a utility taken for granted by most, despite being ubiquitous in everything from Google Maps to military operations. A centralized surveillance tool owned by the U.S. government, the GPS apparatus is fraught with problems, many of which blockchain can solve."

  3. Joey Krug from Pantera pens a really good vision statement for the future of the ecosystem. Favorite YASSS lines:

    “Crypto will start as the long tail of finance [a la Amazon]."
    "Supplying liquidity and market-making, or taking a risk on as a trader — will always be rewarded by someone willing to pay a price for the liquidity. There may be competition, but people are still willing to pay for instant liquidity."

It’s a big week this week. Here’s what to watch for...


+ Veil, the peer-to-peer prediction market and derivatives platform built on top of Augur and 0x and backed by Paradigm, 1confirmation, and Sequoia, goes live. Lots of people, including yours truly, are getting more excited about Augur and its ecosystem. (Profile in tomorrow’s subscribers-only UO.) 

+ Grin goes live, the “fair-launch” implementation of bitcoin privacy tech, MimbleWimble. (Wtf did you just call me? No worries, I’ll break down the jargon in Wednesday’s subscribers-only UO where we’ll recap its first day of action.)


+ CBOE’s monthly bitcoin futures settle.

+ Ethereum hard forks. “Constantinople” reduces block rewards by 33% (“the thirdening”) in exchange for postponing the "difficulty bomb” that had been previously added to propel the network’s switch from proof-of-work to proof-of stake. Ether’s annual inflation rate will drop from 7.7% to 4.8% as a result. The fork will also include upgrades that improve smart contract verification speeds, make on-chain contracts more gas and storage efficient (less costly), and improve State Channel execution (off-chain instant transactions a la Bitcoin Lightning).  

+ The North American Bitcoin Conference kicks off. Probably less shitshow-y this year than last. (Not unlike the falloff between NABTC 2014 and 2015, which is when BTC hit it’s previous cycle low.) 


+ Justin Sun and Kobe Bryant talk blockchains in San Francisco. This is real life. But wait, some of these supporting orgs look…legit? 

I'll assume it’s because they want to meet Black Mamba or ensure BitTorrent doesn’t get held for ransom by TRON. 


+ Your next free Unqualified Opinions if you aren’t already subscribed. (Do it.)


P.S. Share. Subscribe. Spread the (rational) crypto love. Tweet at me or Messari for requests, feedback, comments, or questions.

Best of the Rest - What We Missed Last Week

Every weekend, we dig through the past week’s posts from crypto’s other great sources of content to see what we missed in our own weekend reads.

Here’s us curating the curators:

Two sides of the coin: the bifurcated near-future of money - Arthur Hayes
(h/t Token Economy)

As Bitcoin heads into its second decade of existence Arthur Hayes provides a look at the changes in modern money. According to Hayes, the next evolution we will see is the increased reliance on centralized digital money, a simple update to fiat currencies that removes the need for physical cash. Some products, like WeChat Pay, have become immensely popular, despite obvious privacy, censorship, and centralization concerns. As these systems replace cash, which has stronger privacy attributes, alternatives for private digital money will become increasingly important. This is where citizens will start to truly appreciate Bitcoin as a global decentralized money.

Goodbye, enterprise blockchains - Imran Khan
(h/t Token Daily)

Imran Khan takes a deep dive into the architecture of traditional databases, and why they have served enterprises well. Understanding the aspects of existing technologies, and emerging ones, can help us understand if the idea of enterprise blockchains really live up to the hype they have received. Khan looks at relational databases, non-relational databases, permissioned chains, and ledger databases in his analysis. The key takeaway is that the complexities of permissioned blockchains, and need to rethink workflows, makes blockchains an unnecessary solution for enterprises today. Khan believes that the real solution is in new technologies like QLDB and MongoDB 4.0, which could allow enterprises to take advantage of ledger like technology without the complexities of a blockchain.

Bitcoin: Winner takes most or winner takes all? - Misir Mahmudov and Yassine Elmandjra (h/t NLW)

In part one of this three part series, Mahmudov and Elmandjra give an overview of the evolution of monetary systems and their historical limitations. As regions became more interconnected throughout time the barter system was replaced with intermediate goods, like glass beads or cattle. The authors lay out the rise of commodity backed currencies, like gold and silver, and how they met the store of value and medium of exchange functionalities needed in money.

While these were useful for trade, the lack of portability and high frictions in use saw them quickly replaced by the gold standard and eventually the fiat currencies we see today. Today there are 180 currencies across 195 countries, but multiple government controls limit a free market. With the introduction of cryptocurrencies the authors believe we may see a new competitive private market for a global currency, without barriers to entry limiting new competitors. 

Did I miss something?

Send me the link, your twitter handle and your best imitation compression algorithm write up. If I like it, I’ll include your bit next issue (with attribution).

Podcast Recap

🎧 ICYMI last week Ryan (TBI) and Arjun Balaji sat down for over an hour to discuss what they see happening in the industry during 2019. If you are a subscriber, make sure you have caught up on our two part series and check out Arjun’s theses for 2019.

You can view the full video here and as always you can listen and subscribe to all of our podcasts— on Apple Podcasts here, Spotify here, and Google play here.

Shameless Plugs

We want your feedback!

We know Messari can feel like a couple different products right now, and we're working to unify our features into one overarching whole. Head over to our new feedback tool and let us know what you think! 🛠

We're Hiring:

  • We need data engineers who want to bring transparency to crypto!

  • Join a fast growing team in NYC; work with crypto OGs, and former Bloomberg/Palantir engineers; & access a network that sets you up for the rest of your career. Apply here!

Join Our Community: