After YouTube struck down crypto accounts this month, it rekindled interest in decentralized media platforms and freedom from censorship. Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance was discussing how to monetize decentralized videos on Twitter and Chico Crypto moved their entire video library to a decentralized file system. The general rhetoric of the crypto space was that YouTube messed with the wrong group of people.
Shortly before Christmas, a video went viral of Mark Cuban comparing Bitcoin to bananas and saying that is is too complicated for 99.99 percent of people. The video came from a Wired interview in September after a fan asked him, “why the hate for crypto?”
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.
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.
Aaaand it's happened!
I'm one of the first people ever to receive an under-collateralised loan on Etheruem.
— Paul, Streamer of Money (@PaulRBerg) December 17, 2019
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,
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.
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.