A Bored Ape Lawsuit Won’t Set the NFT Precedent Seth Green Wants

The first thing you should probably do if you find yourself in Seth Green’s position is not tweet about how much you’re “looking forward to precedent setting debates on IP ownership & exploitation.”

Green, an actor best known for his pouty portrayal of archvillain Dr. Evil’s disappointing son in the Austin Powers franchise, has become the butt of crypto’s latest bad joke. Earlier this month, Green lost his prized Bored Ape when he fell for a scam and made himself vulnerable to thieves by interacting with a clone of another NFT project’s website. Clone sites can be virtually indistinguishable from the originals, often with only a letter or two missing from their domain names. Green is not the first to lose an NFT this way, and he won’t be the last. Hacking and good old-fashioned con artistry are endemic in the magical world of Gutter Cats and Happy Hippos.

What makes Green unique is that he had a lot more riding on his Ape than most members [...]  read more

Welcome to the Zombie Cryptocalypse

People have forgotten what unregulated markets are like. We’ve had 90 years of the SEC and reasonably regulated, well-behaved stock markets. And it turned out really well. People can trade in some sort of confidence that there are rules and so on. And people talk about crypto and Bitcoin and so forth as if this is a well-behaved, high-volume market where someone checking that nobody is just lying about everything. And none of that’s the case.

A pile of crypto is not a pile of capital that you can develop or invest or whatever. It’s just some stuff you can buy, sell, or hold. And early investors can only pay with money from later investors. There is no way “we’re all gonna make it” because it’s a game of winners and losers, and the winners are the big guys, and the losers are the moms and dads and grandmothers and the young people who are desperate in their economic situation and looking for “one weird trick” they can have to win.

This [...]  read more

US Courts Are Coming After Crypto Exchanges That Skirt Sanctions

Cryptocurrencies have long been seen as the Wild West of money transfers, but few online payment and money transfer platforms have been as blatant in appealing for illicit cash as this one. The platform, highlighted but not named in a memorandum opinion unsealed on May 13 in the US District Court in Washington, DC, was based in a “comprehensively sanctioned country”—likely North Korea, according to those within the crypto law space—and advertised its services as evading US financial sanctions. It was built using a US front company that facilitated the purchase of domain names, according to court records.

The platform, which was designed to sidestep financial bans designed to cripple pariah countries, handled more than $10 million worth of bitcoin that was transferred between the United States and the sanctioned country using a US-based crypto exchange, which, the opinion implies, was not aware that it was helping avoid sanctions.

 [...]  read more

The Web3 Decentralization Debate Is Focused on the Wrong Question

Web3 advocates promise decentralization on an unprecedented scale. Excessive centralization can stymie coordination and erode freedom, democracy, and economic dynamism—decentralization is supposed to be the remedy. But the term on its own is too vague to be a coherent end goal. Getting the job done takes the right kind of decentralization, and we worry that Web3 is thus far heading down the wrong track.

In particular, we worry about the focus on degree, rather than type, of decentralization. Focusing on degree—whether we want more or less decentralization—can lead Web3 advocates to mischaracterize both the reality of existing centralization, as well as the possibility of pure decentralization. On the one hand, existing “centralized” systems are not nearly as centralized as Web3 advocates commonly describe. “Legacy” banks delegate many activities to local branches, and even central banks are often consortia. Architecturally, “centralized” clouds are rarely [...]  read more

Terra’s Crypto Meltdown Was Inevitable

At a Mexican restaurant in North London a few weeks ago, a handful of small-time but remarkably discerning retail cryptocurrency investors predicted that terra and luna would crash. Several of them were scoffing at terra, or UST, a stablecoin whose price equivalence to the dollar is underpinned by algorithms and game theory rather than cash or collaterals, and at the notion that it would maintain its peg in the long run.

The “Ponzinomics” of the project, they informed me, were just too risky. Only one of the investors seemed optimistic, out of nihilism rather than trust in terra’s solidity: He said that at some point UST’s price would grow well above one dollar per unit, and the coin’s promoters would decide to just keep it there and rebrand the stablecoin as an “inflation-resistant cryptocurrency dollar.” Another shrugged but conceded that all bets were off. “So far,” he said, “this story has always followed the most humorous timeline.”

You can bet [...]  read more

Miami’s Bitcoin Conference Left a Trail of Harassment

Now, even though there are a number of women-focused crypto spaces, Odeniran says women are still underrepresented. “I’ve been in spaces where I’m the only Black person, or the only woman, or the only Black woman,” she says. Odeniran says women need these spaces to get involved, but also for solidarity. Spaces where women are outnumbered can feel exclusive, or worse: unsafe.

After Siegel discovered that a conference organizer had engaged with the harassing tweets, she got a friend to raise the issue once again with an acquaintance who worked for the conference. This time, she got a response. “I apologize that this occurred at our event,” wrote Justin Doochin, the head of events for BTC Inc., “but without this person’s name or email, we have no way of identifying them and preventing them from attending future events.” Siegel wrote back to say that @bitcoin_fuckboi had posted a number of selfies to his account, [...]  read more

The Web3 Movement’s Quest to Build a ‘Can’t Be Evil’ Internet

Owocki was something of a rock star at the conference. He is credited with coining the term BUIDL in 2017. Admirers approached him nonstop to talk, express their support, or ask for a copy of his book, GreenPilled: How Crypto Can Regenerate the World, which was the talk of the conference and quickly sold out of the 400 copies he had ordered. Owocki is about as far from a casino person as you’ll find in the crypto world. In one of several presentations he gave, Owocki told the crowd that since research shows money stops increasing happiness after about $100,000 in annual income, Web3 founders should maximize their happiness by giving their excess money to public goods that everyone gets to enjoy. “There’s cypherpunk, which is all about privacy, decentralization: hardcore libertarian shit,” he told me. “I’m more of a leftist. I’m more solarpunk, which is, how do we solve our contemporary problems around sustainability and equitable economic systems? [...]  read more

Data Brokers Track Abortion Clinic Visits for Anyone to Buy

If the war in Ukraine and Russia’s still-unfolding atrocities there didn’t offer enough fodder for doomscrolling, this week supplied a new dose of domestic crisis: A leaked Supreme Court draft decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade, demolishing a ruling that has served as a cornerstone of reproductive rights for nearly five decades. And this crisis, too, will play out in the digital realm as much as the physical and legal ones.

WIRED’s Lily Hay Newman responded to the news with a guide to protecting your privacy if you’re seeking an abortion in a near-future world in which Roe has in fact been overturned. As right-wing pundits demand the Supreme Court leaker’s prosecution, meanwhile, we analyzed the laws concerning leaks of unclassified government information like a draft court ruling and found that there’s [...]  read more

MiamiCoin Is Crashing, but It Won’t Go Away

On a sweltering Tuesday last August, a new cryptocurrency was born. Called MiamiCoin, it was styled as a way for the crypto-savvy to support the Magic City, and maybe earn some cryptocurrency in the process. A tongue-twisting press release said that MiamiCoins were “programmable city-based tokens that unlock a new community-driven revenue stream for local governments while bringing collaborative technology to its citizens and ecosystem of stakeholders.”

In reality, you can do two things with MiamiCoin: mine it and stack it. The cryptocurrency, created by the Delaware-registered business CityCoins, has a circular life cycle. To get some, you need to buy another cryptocurrency token called Stacks—currently priced at about  [...]  read more

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