News & Commentary

re: P2P Defi

Lex Sokolin writes an insightful opinion piece titled How DeFi Can Avoid the Irrelevance of P2P Lending and Crowdfunding, reflecting on past examples of peer-to-peer technology that inspired Libertarian visions of peer-to-peer economies and the stark reality that more centralized solutions have succeeded in those markets. Sokolin gives an example of the music industry and filesharing as well as LendingClub in finance.  Will it end up that traditional finance monopolies continue to reign, new centralized tech monopolies emerge or will peer-to-peer decentralized finance (DeFi) technologies finally move mainstream?

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Fidelity: Can BTC Surpass $1.3 Trillion?

Oct 16, 2020

The Fidelity Digital Asset research team issued a report titled ‘Bitcoin’s Investment Thesis: Bitcoin’s Role As An Alternative Investment’. We summarize their findings.  Will this trigger a cascade of institutional interest and investment in Bitcoin?

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Oct 4, 2020

Peter Van Valkenburg has written an op-ed titled “There’s no such thing as a decentralized exchange” that suggests the term “decentralized exchange (DEX)” is overused as a noun and recommends that people instead rephrase the term as a verb.  Valkenburg hopes to make the focus less on an entity, but more about the software tool that enables exchanges to occur.  Valkenburg suggests that using DEX as a noun indicates there is still an entity involved in the exchange process and that may attract some scrutiny from regulators.  He then goes on to discuss a DEX with respect to the following three categories of regulation and law: 1) financial surveillance  2) securities law and 3) the constitution.  It’s true that smart contract software can enable peer-to-peer exchanges, but what about the decentralized companies or organizations that are often behind the business or software? 

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Oct 3, 2020

Last Wednesday Judge Hellerstein in the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the SEC against Kik for violating US securities laws for raising $100 million in a token sale in 2017.   The Kik CEO Ted Livingston is considering options including an appeal.  This is one of the first cases that have evaluated a token sale under the Howey Test.  We’ll break down the judge’s ruling and see if there is potential that the judge erred and discuss how the Kin token sale could have been designed differently. 

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Oct 2, 2020

The Commodities and Futures Exchange Commission (CFTC) announced it has filed enforcement actions against BitMex, related companies and individual officers including Arthur Hayes for illegally operating a derivatives exchange.  The NY Attorney General (NYAG) in the Southern District also formally indicted the same individual officers criminally.  Could there be constitutional challenges to some of the charges?

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