Blockchain Bites: Coinbase’s Untraditional Investor Day and the Ethereum-EOS Arms Race in Latin America

Coinbase will host its first investor day, New York State prosecutors won a jurisdictional dispute involving Bitfinex and a protocol arms race is unfolding in Latin America. Here’s the story:

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Top shelf

Not Your Traditional Investor Day
On the same day Reuters reported Coinbase is looking to go public, the exchange scheduled its first-ever investor day, for Aug. 14. Investor days can often signal a planned direct listing, Jamie McGurk, a former operating partner at Andreessen Horowitz, has said. “This will not be a traditional investor day, but rather an opportunity to hear our perspective on the cryptoeconomy and learn about Coinbase’s role in the ecosystem,” said Coinbase spokesperson Daniel Harrison.

Employment Kerfuffle
Former Tron Foundation employees are challenging a court order allowing the  foundation to settle a lawsuit through arbitration, rather than in court. The initial complaint centers around allegations of wrongful termination and hostile work practices at BitTorrent, a file-sharing service acquired by the Tron Foundation.

Appeal Denied
Bitfinex will have to face allegations from New York State prosecutors that it lost $850 million in client and corporate funds and tried to cover this hole with funds from the affiliated tether stablecoin, according to a ruling by the State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division on Thursday. The exchange’s parent iFinex initially claimed the prosecutors didn’t have jurisdiction over the Hong Kong-headquartered firm, which the appeals court rejected. The court also dismissed the argument that tether was neither a commodity nor a security.

Canaan Shakeup
Three Canaan Creative directors were dropped from the company’s business registry, prompting speculation of a power grab. For months an internal power struggle between co-founders Micree Zhan and Jihan Wu has wracked the Nasdaq-listed firm, which has been suffering growing competition and reduced profits following the Bitcoin network’s programmatic halving. 

Ethereum v. EOS
Ethereum and EOSIO are battling it out over enterprise blockchain business across Latin America. The square up pits ConsenSys in one corner and LatamLink in the other, a project backed by the Inter-American Development Bank, over which decentralized protocol will win the arms race.

Quick bites

The big picture

Venezuela’s Real Use Case
After airdropping cryptocurrency to 60,000 users in Venezuela, an AirTM survey gives a snapshot of how crypto is actually used in the economically troubled nation.

Venezuela is often a proving ground for do-gooding crypto companies and protocols. Payments network Dash, for one, famously made headway in the nation beset by hyperinflation. 

AirTM distributed approximately $300,000 worth of crypto to Venezuelans, and while only 57% of recipients engaged with the funds, many were able to successfully use the donations to buy food and medicines. Others began treating the AirTM platform as a personal bank. 

The bigger picture is coming into focus: Crypto only becomes a viable alternative to traditional financial systems if there is robust infrastructure to support it. “If Venezuela offers an example of bitcoin usage, then it appears there is user demand for bitcoin-friendly services provided by a regular fintech company,” CoinDesk’s Leigh Cuen reports.

Market intel

Balance Sheet Contractions. Bullish for Bitcoin?
As the U.S. Federal Reserve begins to unwind its balance sheet, contracting $88 billion to $6.97 trillion (-1.5%) in the week ending July 8, some crypto observers are saying this could have negative consequences for bitcoin’s price. That’s because in recent months bitcoin has been positively correlated with traditional assets, which have rallied on the back of the Fed’s balance sheet expansion. But that’s far from the consensus view. “Zooming into the details of the Fed’s balance sheet reveals the reduction has been primarily driven by a drop in demand for emergency liquidity measures, a sign the coronavirus-induced stress in the financial system has eased,” CoinDesk’s Omkar Godbole writes. 

Opinion

Blockchain Credentials, Not Credentialism
Blockchain certification can verify expertise and experience, making transferring schools and changing jobs easier. But certificate proliferation may be a bigger problem, argues Stephanie Hurder, a CoinDesk columnist and founding economist at Prysm Group. “Non-degree credentials, such as badges and certificates, in particular are rapidly multiplying because they can now be digitally transmitted and verified at a minimal cost,” she writes.

Podcast corner

Inequality, Social Chaos, Bankruptcy Rallies
From the “Robinhood Rally” to the most profit-disconnected stock market in history, these are the most interesting ideas from FinTwit last month.

Who won #CryptoTwitter?

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