Opinion In 1960, Theodore H Maiman made the first laser.

Famously described at birth as a solution in search of a problem, it delivered a Nobel prize four years later, was in barcode scanners in shops 10 years after that, and in 1979 gave birth to the compact disc.

Not content with enabling digital audio, revolutionising many sciences and much else besides, it has since become the glowing heart of the global internet. Yay lasers.

In 2009, Bitcoin was invented – another solution in search of a problem. We don’t know its inventor. To date, this bastard technology has yet to solve any problem that needed solving, but boy, has it created a few. Let’s put it on trial for its life.

The underlying technology of Bitcoin, the distributed ledger of the blockchain, is undeniably cool and dangerously seductive to intellectual types. A tamper-proof public database that needs no central control and is both transparent and anonymous, it entranced mathematicians and computer scientists. It seemed then and still seems now that something that clever must be useful for something.

Now we know what that is. Cybercurrency, by dint of eschewing central control, is terribly useful for transferring value outside the banking system. Early boosters said that this would reduce costs and increase flexibility so that you could and would be using it to buy things in corner shops, foreshadowing a future where it, like the laser, was a ubiquitous component of the retail experience.

That hasn’t happened. Instead, it is at the heart of a $20bn a year world-wide extortion racket. Ransomware, that insanely profitable mega-heist, uses many techniques and is constantly developing, but it is utterly reliant on cryptocurrency to be worthwhile.

Cybercurrency does have a role in specialist retail too, the sort where drugs, weaponry, fake ID, hacking data stashes and dubious services are traded by the internet’s demimonde: There is certainly an argument for an open trade in recreational drugs, but not like this.

Another early promise was efficiency. Freed of the need for financial edifices such as banks, regulators and financial rulebooks, cybercurrency would have an inevitable Darwinian advantage. But baby, Bitcoin don’t scale. With insane market swings, glacial transaction speeds and the miners’ gluttonous appetite for energy, this stuff is an environmental and practical disaster.

Sweden wants to ban it for its power consumption, not because it creates so much carbon dioxide but because it sucks so hard at the teat of renewable energy there’s not enough for everyone else.

At this point in time, based on a dozen years of practical experience, no experiment in cybercurrency – or anything blockchain – is fixing real problems. Smart contracts? Not so smart [PDF]. NFTs? Ffffft.

If you want a mildly entertaining few minutes, go and search for “successful blockchain projects.” You’ll find lots of lists of the top 13, or 30, or 56, “most disruptive” or “most promising” or “must-watch” projects, some with big names attached. Most profitable? Most effective? Most indispensable? You must be joking.

Try running a search for “top crypto scams”, though, and you’ll find a much healthier market. By some estimates, the total amount of cash abstracted from marks worldwide dwarfs the ransomware haul by a factor of five to one. Even if you discount the headline figures of $100bn because crypto hype is the hypiest hype, the ratio of harm to good is off the scale.

Blockchain is bunkum. It hasn’t done anyone any good, excepting boosters, crims and enablers. When the best you can say about a technology is that it has roughly the same role in crime online as stolen art does in the physical world – a useful token of value that is harder to track than bank transfers – you’re not making the world a better place.

Fortunately, we have ways to handle technologies that tend to disgrace themselves. From distillation to driving, nunchucks to nukes, society weighs reward versus risk, harm versus benefit, and sets the rules accordingly. Cryptocurrency has had its chance; it deserves to be so tightly controlled it can barely breathe.

Where cryptocurrencies touch the rest of the world and cause problems, shut those paths down. We close down cannabis farms by tracking energy usage and heat production, that’ll do it for miners. We catch criminals when they make transactions they can’t explain, so ramp up the reporting requirements on the exchanges. It takes the will to say this is a failed experiment: it is, and it’s robbing people of many billions.

As for the non-cryptocurrency blockchain projects: the market will take care of them. You want to convert your supply chain management to blockchain? Go ahead, and see how well you do compared to your competitors just using databases. NFTs – in a well-regulated environment, they may even do some good as robust tokens of ownership. Or not, we kinda know how to do that too. Caveat emptor. Like a feared pandemic that mutates to a mild autumn cold, if the cost of closing them down is greater than the cost of leaving them alone, then let them be. But they can and should be fiercely unfashionable.

We can’t kill blockchain: it’s an invention, an idea, and may we never live in a society that can erase ideas. It may yet be useful, though you’d be better off betting on Freddie Mercury being beatified by the Vatican. In a world where even lasers are regulated, the need to ruthlessly police the harm blockchain can do can no longer be moderated by the what-ofs that never could be.

It’s had its chance. Bust blockchain back to the lab. ®



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Hello friends, and welcome back to Week in Review!

Last week, we took a break from contextualization for some guides to consumption. This week, we’re looking at what’s happening in the mind of one Jack Dorsey.

You can get this in your inbox from the newsletter page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny.


(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

the big thing

While Elon Musk has shitposted his way to crypto sainthood, Jack Dorsey has been spreading the blockchain gospel far more earnestly than most.

As CEO of Twitter — which he was until Monday when he unexpectedly resigned — the bulk of his most impassioned official communications have not focused on the power of the Twitter platform or even the deep opportunities for his other company — fintech giant Square. The former double-CEO has spent the past year spreading the gospel of bitcoin, and using his multibillion-dollar enterprises to share that same message by pushing crypto-embracing features more aggressively than his peers.

He hasn’t minced words. “#Bitcoin will unite a deeply divided country. (and eventually: world),” he tweeted in August.

At a bitcoin-centric conference in Miami this year, he was even more lavish with his praise: “For me Bitcoin changes absolutely everything. What I’m drawn to the most about it is the ethos, is what it represents, are the conditions that created it, which are so rare and so special and so precious. I don’t think there’s anything more important in my lifetime to work on and I don’t think there’s anything more enabling for people around the world.”

His executive fervor led both Twitter and Square toward embracing bitcoin and blockchain-centric features that sit deep inside platforms relied on by millions. In July, Dorsey said that would be a “big part” of the company’s future. Recent initiatives at Square have included a hardware wallet to store bitcoin and the exploration of building a dedicated bitcoin mining system.

For platforms with a multitude of unsolved and often pressing issues, Dorsey’s seemingly unilateral public focus on the revolutionary power of bitcoin hasn’t always sat well with onlookers, who already worried whether his status as a dual-CEO meant he was less in-tune with the needs of his individual companies. Early last year, activist-investor hedge fund Elliott Management issued a list of demands to Twitter — chief of which was that Dorsey would step down — after quietly bulking up a sizable stake in the company.

Dorsey’s announcement that he was resigning as CEO of Twitter sent the company’s stock soaring Monday. While some rejoiced that Twitter may meet its full potential under a full-time CEO, others speculated on what Dorsey was doing and whether he might be leaving Twitter to start a “web3” company focused solely on bitcoin and blockchain-based technologies. It seems that rather than spin up a new company from scratch, Dorsey has aimed to rethink the existing stack of opportunities inside his other company, Square. On Wednesday, he announced a sweeping rebrand, renaming the fintech company initially known for its little plastic credit card dongles, as Block, a not-so-subtle nod to CEO/founder Dorsey’s deepening infatuation with the blockchain.

Unlike the public companies of yesteryear, which could juice their stock price by adding “Blockchain” to their company name, Square is no penny stock — it’s worth nearly $90 billion already. At this point, it’s worth noting that Square has explicitly indicated that there will not be a wide reorganization accompanying rebrand, though Square Crypto is getting its own brand — Spiral. That said, it’s difficult not to read between the lines, given Dorsey’s bitcoin boosterism and the recent Square initiatives, like hardware wallets and mining rigs, which could re-position the company as crypto-first.

In many ways, Block’s hodgepodge of properties, including music streaming app Tidal and the Cash App, seems like a potential full-stack web3 empire, or it could just mean the opportunity to piss off an awful lot of different stakeholders by haphazardly weaving crypto technologies into products that don’t need them.


Image Credits: GIPHY

other things

Here are a few stories this week I think you should take a closer look at:

UK antitrust watchdog orders Meta to sell off Giphy
Facebook, now Meta, has found itself in a regulatory environment that may leave it struggling to carry out M&A business as usual. The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority has ordered Meta to reverse its acquisition of gif giant Giphy and sell off the startup. “The tie-up between Facebook and Giphy has already removed a potential challenger in the display advertising market. Without action, it will also allow Facebook to increase its significant market power in social media even further, through controlling competitors’ access to Giphy GIFs,” one of the group’s leaders said in a statement.

Facebook may have changed its name to disguise consumer distaste for their corporate brand, but its regulatory problems aren’t going anywhere.

Facebook’s top crypto exec leaves company
Facebook’s top cryptocurrency expert is leaving the company after years of plotting an ambitious entrance for the company into the crypto world. David Marcus, a long-time crypto supporter, previously led the company’s Messenger app team. His departure marks another major exit by a long-time Facebook executive — in September, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer announced he was stepping down from his role after 13 years at the company.

Despite being one of the most influential execs in the crypto space, Marcus was unable to get too much out the door at Facebook due to regulatory pressure. He indicated in his announcement that he is looking toward entrepreneurial pursuits next.

Twitter revamps safety policy 
Twitter’s new CEO found himself in hot water just a day into his tenure as user backlash mounted against the company’s new safety policies. The policies, which were framed as a way to prevent harassment and abuse, outlaw sharing images or videos of private individuals without their consent. “When we are notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorized representative, that they did not consent to having their private image or video shared, we will remove it,” Twitter said in its update. “This policy is not applicable to media featuring public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

It’s a very broad rule that’s certain to lead to further controversy. Twitter clearly received more backlash than expected; whether this leads to unexpected consequences in implementation is the broader question.


Image Credits: TechCrunch

added things

Some of my favorite reads from our newly renamed TechCrunch+ subscription service this week:

Let’s talk about the SaaS selloff
“…We are not only seeing software stocks flirt with bear-market territory in technical terms, but also a pretty notable pullback in the value of even the fastest-growing technology companies. This means that public valuation multiples — key indicators for yet-private unicorns and younger startups — are shrinking. Have valuations shifted enough to slow the current venture capital bonanza? Probably not. But we could be closer to that tipping point than you’d think…”

Steps to survive and thrive while fundraising
“…So how do you prepare for this important stage in your company’s growth, navigate the challenges of a fundraise, and not let the process overwhelm the responsibility of still running your business? While not every fundraise is the same, founders can tap the experience of others who have been down this path to ensure their fundraising efforts are efficient and, most importantly, successful…

3 ways to recruit engineers that fly below LinkedIn’s radar
“…Companies can’t let how they’ve hired in the past influence their approach today — doing so means missing not just the quantity of developers, but the quality and diversity of them. The remote revolution didn’t just broaden where we can recruit, it’s expanded who we can bring on board. With that in mind, these are the best ways to tap into the hidden developer gems…”


Thanks for reading! Again, you can get this in your inbox from the newsletter page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny.





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Bybit

From established play-to-earn games like Alien Worlds to newer additions like Star Atlas, the world of gaming has truly been reimagined with blockchain technology. DeFi components and NFTs have cemented gaming as the biggest fish in the ocean of creative DeFi opportunities. Within a number of these games you can see micro-communities surface; competing, building and establishing new virtual norms.

Play-to-earn has opened voting for the Blockchain Game Awards 2021. With over 700 crypto and NFT Blockchain Games listed, PlayToEarn.net is the world’s largest Blockchain Games data aggregator.

Users with a web3 wallet can now vote for their favorite Blockchain Games & Content Creators. The awards will be fully determined by public voting. The voting period runs from December 1st to December 22nd. The winners will be announced 2 weeks later.

Games featured in the long list include some of our favorites

Alien Worlds for example has taken trading cards to a whole new level. Alien Worlds recorded over 760k active users in October making it one of the most popular play-to-earn games in the world. Using their in-game token, Trillium, users can now lease spacecrafts, explore the metaverse and vote in planetary elections.

With 150,000 registered players, Farmers World is another game that exploded into the crypto space. It uses the WAX NFT platform to allow players to buy land, develop farms, and become a farmer in a virtual world. Fun, educational and you can earn money. What’s not to love?

Also making the list is CryptoKitties, this is a game that has taken NFTs to a whole new level. Centered around collectible little creatures called CryptoKitties, this game allows users to breed and adopt kitties of all shapes and sizes — a virtual cat lover’s dream one might say.

Award categories in the Play2Earn Blockchain Game Awards include:

  • Best Blockchain Game 2021
  • Most anticipated Blockchain Game 2022
  • Best Content Creator 2021
  • Best Content Creator National 2021
  • A trophy to the Top 10 blockchain games
  • A list of the top 50 blockchain games

The top three blockchain games chosen by the public will receive cash prizes.

As players spend more time in the games and buy more in-game assets the environments are increasing in value. Just last week unique NFT land sales reached an incredible $86 million in The Sandbox gaming world.

Now backed by major investment firms and accessible to players from many emerging economies, the popularity of play-to-earn gaming is here to stay. Best of luck to all of the games, a nice little Christmas present for the winners.

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Crypto debit card is now becoming a thing since various digital coin brands appear in the blockchain market.

Crypto Debit Card: Blockchain Expert Explains Why Consumers Need to be Careful When Opening an Account

(Photo : Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)
A bitcoin symbol is pictured at a cryptocurrency exchange branch near the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul on October 20, 2021, a day after Bitcoin took another step closer to mainstream investing with the launch of a new security on Wall Street tied to futures of the cryptocurrency.

Despite these cryptocurrencies’ up and down trends, new investors are still arriving since they believe that Bitcoin and other digital coins could financially benefit them in the long run. 

If you are one of those individuals who already own cryptocurrencies, you might already have your own crypto debit card or you are thinking of having one. 

However, Merav Ozair, a blockchain expert at Rutgers Business School, explained that you and other interested consumers need to be careful when opening a crypto debit card account. 

Crypto Debit Card: Why You Need to be Careful With It

Ozair claimed that cryptocurrency debit card providers usually advertise exciting reward programs to attract consumers. He added that they might also claim that their crypto debit cards have low charges. 

Crypto Debit Card: Blockchain Expert Explains Why Consumers Need to be Careful When Opening an Account

(Photo : Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
A woman uses a bank ATM next to a Bitcoin ATM machine at a shopping mall on April 16, 2021 in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkey’s Central Bank announced a ban on the use of cryptocurrencies and crypto assets for purchases, directly or indirectly to pay for goods or services. The announcement comes as Turkey’s crypto market has boomed over the past few years.

Also Read: Most Recommended Cryptocurrency Portfolio Tracker Apps For Investors and Traders [2021]

However, the fintech professor clarified that these digital coin cards hide the fees automatically deducted from your crypto. Ozair further explained that crypto debit cards don’t include penalties in their advertisements. 

This is why Merav urged new consumers to read all the fine print before opening their own accounts. Aside from fees, The Wolf Group International Tax Director, Mishkin Santa, said that blockchain consumers might also be taxed if they open a crypto debit card account. 

“I would advise people to really be careful and educate themselves about the tax implications when it comes to these credit and debit cards,” explained the tax expert via US News

Is Crypto Debit Card the Same With Conventional Debit Card? 

NDTV explained that crypto debit cards actually work just like the traditional ones. 

The only difference they have is that you can actually use these blockchain cards to purchase items using your digital currencies, such as Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin, and other brands. 

You can view this link to see more details. In other news, blockchain experts confirmed that the USDT supply is now higher compared to USDC. On the other hand, cryptocurrency CEOs plan to discuss the national competitiveness of blockchain coins in the United States. 

For more news updates about cryptocurrencies and other related topics, always keep your tabs open here at TechTimes.  

Related Article: Crypto Watch Sunday: Top Crypto Drops to $41,000 With $2.5 Billion Liquidated | Bearish Market?

This article is owned by TechTimes

Written by: Griffin Davis

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.





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Rao, who is retiring in December, joined Infosys in 1986. He has held a number of senior leadership roles including Interim Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Head of Infrastructure Management Services, Delivery Head for Europe, and Head of Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods, Logistics and Life Sciences..


Exclusive | Infosys does away with COO role after UB Pravin Rao, appoints co heads of delivery, CTO





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