Twitter criticizes Ethereum for having established a “Hard Fork Coordinator”

This week, an e-mail from James Hancock, Hard Fork Coordinator at the Ethereum Foundation was leaked on Twitter and haters had a heyday. Criticism comes from the idea that decentralized networks shouldn’t operate like a corporation that has established roles. Hancock said that he had never had an e-mail leaked before and he doesn’t know how to feel about it.

“Never had an email ive sent leaked before. Not sure how I feel about this. – People mad I when they don’t know because no one reached out. – People mad when I reach out to let people know. Dang. I admit I could have worded it better. I went for brevity.” – Hancock

The timing of this leak occurred shortly after some Ethereum community members were upset about a non-urgent hard fork taking place on the “universal holiday” that is January 1st.

People who keep up with Ethereum’s governance wouldn’t be surprised that there is a coordinator for hard fork. There is even an organization called “Ethereum Cat Herders,” who aim to “bring the minimum amount of order that chaos needs to move Ethereum forward” by working with the Ethereum foundation, and ether nodes / miners to push updates out smoothly.”

That being said, Ethereum governance is not very democratic, like many other coins. There is a huge amount of participation in the Ethereum ecosystem required to have a voice in the process. General holders of ether are not able to vote for who takes these positions in the Ethereum Foundation and while people know about Hancock and the foundation, there is nowhere other than that e-mail officially stating that he is the “Hard Fork Coordinator.”

If governance was operated completely by ether holders and miners, then there would be a risk of forming a plutocracy, or government controlled by the wealthy. Ethereum core devs seem to prefer a system where heavy participants talk to each other and decide things, leaving improvements in capable hands and allowing holders to not worry about anything.

Lebanon protests spark conversations about Bitcoin and financial independence

Soona Amhaz, Cofounder at Token Daily Capital tweeted a video last night of a “mainstream” Arabic news outlet talking about using Bitcoin as a way to get around capital control after protests in Lebanon. This week, thousands were protesting against the new Prime Minister who is backed by a militant group and its allies.

I am unable to translate the video, but Ahmaz did Twitter that favor.

“She’s says ‘okay to start, using digital money is illegal right – the bank of Lebanon will not allow it correct?” Amhaz continued, “He responds it’s not illegal btw and talks about bitcoin and dapps being the future. admittedly i did not expect them to know about dapps.”

Ahmaz posted a tweet shortly after of another clip where the newscaster said that people were buying Bitcoin with cash, not debit cards.

Coindesk Journalist, Leigh Cuen responded with a video on Instagram where an Arabic speaking influencer was promoting crypto, citing a person being unable to get their money from a bank. Again, we are not able to translate exactly what was happening at this Lebanese bank, but the original poster commented this.

“bank refused to give a poor man his money, so he came back with his friends to try and get it”

Leigh, an expert on Bitcoin’s use cases as a currency then elaborated on what she thought about the situation.

They are actually using bitcoin for what it was designed to do but the adoption process is painful to watch. (& honestly idk how long the btc honeymoon period will last…)”

 

Why might YouTube have flagged / banned crypto content?

In the span of a day, YouTube flagged content from crypto channels like Chico Crypto, Chris Dunn and Boxmining and some were even temporarily banned. The YouTube strike system is automated by their own algorithms and allots three strikes before a channel is taken down, so even getting one can feel very threatening to channels. Not everyone has released exact details of their strikes, but Chico Crypto had a video pulled for “harmful and dangerous content.”

Mainstream YouTubers like iDubbbz have had their content pulled recently because of growing censorship policies. There was a long phase on YouTube where creators thrived from creating drama which often resulted in trash talking others or random people on the internet. YouTube was originally fine with the genre and even pushed that content to recommended feeds, but when iDubbbz was struck this month, it was obvious that things were changing.

It’s hard to say what exactly what type of crypto content YouTube is striking. For instance, BlockTV is a fairly classic style broadcast news outlet for topics about blockchain tech and they have not reported being flagged.

Chris Dunn was flagged for the “sale of regulated goods,” which according to Google includes “Counterfeit documents or currency,” and “Linking to an online gambling casino in the video description.” In the US, derivative exchanges like Binance, BitMEX, Deribit, ByBit, FTX and many others do not comply with regulations. Theoretically, having an old referral link to one of these exchanges could be considered linking to an online gambling casino. Some of those exchanges were originally available in the US and having not changed a description since they became unavailable might violate policies.

Same goes for “Counterfeit documents or currency,” as many ICO projects were not sold in legal accordance to US regulations. Maybe if these YouTube channels had even spoken positively about those projects it could have been flagged.

The bottom line is, YouTube’s censorship algorithms have always been imperfect, and they usually deal with issues after the matter. If Chico Crypto’s videos come back up in the future, then they probably can improve the algorithm with the successfully disputed information. Unfortunately, this process takes a while and even when huge channels like H3H3 were struck down, it took some time for their problems to become solved.

 

Man gets under-collateralized DeFi loan by proving income through Sablier

A few days ago, Paul Razvan Berg, Founder of Sablier tweeted that he was one of the first people to ever receive an under-collateralized DeFi loan. Because of identity being difficult to prove within a mostly anonymous blockchain network, it has been too risky to borrow tokens without an over-collateralized position. Sablier allows users to prove their income stream, bringing DeFi one step closer to the ability to be under-collateralized.

Berg didn’t get his loan from a protocol or organization, instead, he asked people that he knew on Twitter. Essentially, Berg took a picture of his face next to his income stream on Sablier and was able to convince Peter Yuan Pan of Meta Cartel to give him a $200 loan that would be paid back by March 11th.

He enquired simply,

@AlexMasmej @pet3rpan_ now that you can see the money being streamed to me and you know that @SablierHQ is a reputable org that doesn’t fire its founders, would you lend me 10% of the stream’s worth? I’ll pay it back when I get all of the locked up money, that is, on March 11.”

This wasn’t one of Sablier’s intended use cases, according to their introduction blog post. They mostly are aiming to allow continuous income streams in a decentralized manner. Basically, an employer creates a contract with their employee that says “pay Bob $1000 by December 31st,” then the money will continuously be deposited into the Bob’s Sablier contract.

Determining credit scores through income or bank account balance isn’t a new idea though. As countries discusses creating a centrally backed digital currency, a talking point has been to use information that new digital information to create more immersive credit rating.

With Sablier, people can prove that they are getting paid, but there is still (to my knowledge) no mass under-collateralized lending protocol linked to a zero-proof knowledge credit core system. The only incentive that Berg really has to pay his under-collateralized DeFi loan back is that it is public, and bailing would affect his reputation.

Blockchain Association Exec highlights how Brad Sherman can hurt pro-crypto legislation

In a recent interview with The Scoop, Kristen Smith, Executive Director at the Blockchain Association touched on Brad Sherman’s new Subcommittee role and how it will effect pro-crypto legislation in the future. Sherman is a notorious anti-crypto democrat, having called for a complete ban on buying crypto and comparing the technology to 9-11, but worse.

The previous chair of the Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets was Carolyn Maloney who is replacing Elijah Cummings spot in the House Oversight Committee. Maloney also intended to crack down on crypto, but not to the extent that Sherman would like to.

Sherman’s Subcommittee char has jurisdiction over security laws and the SEC, according to Smith, and she says that his influence is simply, “not good” for crypto. As an executive in the Blockchain Association, Smith has been lobbying for the Token Taxonomy Act since 2018.

“To get something of this nature through the house, the full house would have to vote on it. Before that, you have to get it through the house financial services committee. The committees are divided into sub committees, and so any type of bill of this nature would go through that sub-committee and Brad Sherman is chairing the sub-committee,” Smith told Frank Chaparro on the podcast.

After mentioning the increasing difficulties of introducing pro-crypto legislation, Smith said that there are a number of republican senators that are keen on introducing legislation that would be helpful to the industry. She went on to say that new legislation would be similar to the Token Taxonomy Act, but a bit more simplified.

“If there is any hope, it’s that the full committee chair, Maxine Waters, has say over what the subcommittees do and do not do. So he doesn’t have a total blank slate to do whatever he wants but he definitely has a lot of sway and a lot of influence.”

Sherman is only one player in a big field, and his position shouldn’t overshadow crypto positive influences. The former CEO of Bakkt, Kelly Loeffler, was recently appointed to the U.S. senate as a representative for the state of Georgia. Loeffler, being extremely close to the crypto industry will likely be able to make some sort of an impact in the rhetoric in Washington D.C.