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A stretch goal to get HelloGold from recycling

I just read that HelloGold secured funding from 500 Startups. Undisclosed sum, which seems odd. They ran an ICO before and raised funds too, and this wasn’t the first round they’ve gotten in Series A – they were valued at USD$12 million, post-money back in September 2017.

Anyway, social media was abuzz a few weeks back about how you could convert your recycled plastics and cans into gold. HelloGold deals with fractional gold, and when all is meant to be done, should expose this all on the blockchain (after all, that’s more fractions there for you!).

But maybe no one read beyond the headline? I haven’t seen a KLEAN recycler anywhere yet, but maybe the kicker is: 0.00059g of investment-grade gold for each recycled plastic bottle and each aluminium can.

The price of a 1 gram gold bar today is USD$43.49. Investment gold, i.e. paper gold you can buy at the bank (Maybank, is selling at RM5,569 for one ounce. That’s 28.3495 grams. So RM196.44 (if you convert USD$43.49 to Ringgit today, it should only be RM184.44, alas…).

So if we work with the RM196.44/gram amount, do you know how many cans or plastic bottles you’ll need before you get 1 gram of gold on the HelloGold platform? 332,949 items

If it takes approximately 31 empty aluminium cans to equal a pound (source), you need approximately 68 aluminium cans to get a kilogram, and the rate in mid–2017 was RM4–4.20 per kg (source). So in reality, to make RM196 in cold hard cash, you would just need 49kg worth of aluminium cans (or a mere 3,332 items).

It is clear you’re much better off recycling for cash at your local recycler, rather than getting fractional gold.

Tab Sweep – 18 April 2018

A whole month without writing here. It turns out, writing a blog is probably a lot harder than making a weekly newsletter. Readers, and the like, because RSS while not dead, is just not mainstream. But I’m really meant to be collecting resources here for myself, right? Write like no one’s reading? I digress.

YouTube and Facebook Are Losing Creators to Blockchain-Powered Rivals – I just learned of DTube. In fact, in countries like China and South Korea, people are getting paid for the videos/livestreams they make, probably a lot more than YouTube, as it turns out people are used to paying/tipping for content. No blockchain required. How long can DTube run without constraints? YouTube started that way, and regulation eventually piles on. Interesting that DTube is powered by Steem (I like the idea behind Steem/Steemit).

Coinfirm – helps you confirm blockchain transactions, to manage risk & streamline compliance. Comes with an API, with AML/CTF risk reportage.

Man charged after robbing two victims of S$365,000 over fake bitcoin transaction – this Singaporean story has it all: Malaysian man, Singaporean Uber driver, fake bitcoin transaction, and a spending spree. The arrest of the Malaysian happened at the Shangri-La Sentosa. The offences happened at a Hotel 81 at Middle Road (why not the luxury InterContinental?). “Both the victims were bitcoin brokers looking to buy bitcoins.” – why would you carry so much cash is beyond me. Shady on both sides.

Blockchain and the Law: The Rule of Code – I’d watch the livestream, and read the book.

Goodbye ICOs, hello ILPs? – Initial Loan Procurements (ILPs) for fundraising, you get loans rather than coins, and you get into a loan agreement with legally binding smart contracts.

Coinbase on an acquisition spree

Coinbase is on a tear: they just acquired Cipher Browser (undisclosed sum, but its apparently good enough to mint the founder), so that Pete Kim can lead Toshi. When he released it, there was a good tweet:

They also picked up Earn.com for like $100 million (formerly they were called 21.co). The Hacker News thread is worth reading. More good tweets:

Read more at: Coinbase buys Earn.com and makes CEO Balaji Srinivasan its first CTO.

Tab Sweep – 14 March 2018

ICOs and Economics of Lemon Markets and Economics of Initial Coin Offerings, plus a good paper: Economics​ ​of​ ​Initial​ ​Coin​ ​Offerings.

From The Information, Crackdown Fails to Stop China’s Crypto Gold Rush (paywall), quotable: “We don’t want to build a startup that’s bought by Goldman Sachs—we want to be the Goldman Sachs of the crypto world,” says Tony He.

Malaysian firm adds Islamic certification to cryptocurrency in what reads like a press release.

No, You Probably Don’t Need a Blockchain.

Bill Gates says bitcoin has been a ‘fairly direct’ cause of deaths – is he still thinking the only utility is Silk Road style applications? Also, from his Reddit AMA.

WSJ reports: Cryptocurrency Investors Wade Into Dark Pools.

Republic Protocol, a Singapore-based company, raised 35,000 ether ($33.8 million) this month from some of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency hedge funds to finance a dark pool for digital currencies, designed to allow big investors to trade bitcoin and ethereum in large volumes without moving the market.

Bitcoin is becoming a “nightmare” for divorce lawyers – you bet. Valued at $1.4m even. Are cryptoassets the cause of the divorces?

ING says cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has an account with it

Course from the Linux Foundation, Blockchain for Business – An Introduction to Hyperledger Technologies – self-paced learning, and $99 if you want a certificate.

Tab Sweep – 6 March 2018

Bitcoin Blackmail by Snail Mail Preys on Those with Guilty Conscience – extortion for extramarital affairs, with ransom to be paid in Bitcoin. In the USA this is mail fraud.

Bitcoin Is the New Gold – Noah Smith writes an interesting piece, because he thinks it isn’t going to replace fiat money (lots of businesses have stop accepting it as a payment method), and neither is it going to zero.

Technological limitations:

Technologically, Bitcoin tends to be slow and laborious to use because it verifies transactions in small blocks. That problem isn’t particularly hard to overcome – just use bigger blocks, or use a form of temporary credit to ease the burden on the network. More ominously, Bitcoin relies on people known as miners to verify all transactions, and compensates them by creating new Bitcoins. But soon, this will stop, since the total number of Bitcoins is capped at 21 million – at that point, transaction fees will be needed to pay miners.

Economic limitation:

Things that are good financial investments don’t make good currencies, and vice versa.

if you got your paycheck in stock, or real estate, or Bitcoin, you wouldn’t even know at the beginning of each month if you’d be able to afford your rent, food and other necessities at the end of the month.

Cogent arguments, read the whole thing.

Prediction #4 — Bitcoin stays crazy until traders learn it is not a currency – Robert X. Cringely says, “It means Bitcoin isn’t a currency at all but traders are pretending that it is. 2018 will see investors finally figure this out.” And has some advice:

If you notice Bitcoin is down, buy it. When you’ve made as much profit as you need, sell it, then wait for Bitcoin to inevitably go back down again. Those who have a very high risk tolerance or think they can time the market will hold on longer and be more likely to lose their shirts. It’s a much better Bitcoin trading strategy to not be greedy, living instead on the crumbs of oligarchs and conmen.

Decentralized Blockchain-Based Electronic Marketplaces

NYT reports Bitcoin Thieves Threaten Real Violence for Virtual Currencies.

In the beach resort of Phuket, Thailand, last month, the assailants pushed their victim, a young Russian man, into his apartment and kept him there, blindfolded, until he logged onto his computer and transferred about $100,000 worth of Bitcoin to an online wallet they controlled.

“This is now becoming more pervasive and touching more law enforcement divisions that deal with organized crime and violent crime on a local level,” said Jonathan Levin, the founder of Chainalysis, which has worked with several law enforcement agencies on virtual currency crimes.

From a more personal view, this part made me a little sad:

The Thai police tracked the victim’s laptop, which was also stolen, to Kuala Lumpur. That’s where the trail went cold.

Michael Arrington writes, THE REAL HISTORY OF TECHCRUNCH. The interesting part here is about Keith Teare, whom:

But more recently Keith has gotten into the cryptocurrency world, and he has been wholesale selling out to advise, from what I can tell, over a dozen companies during their token sales. Sometimes they list him as the founder of TechCrunch (as above), sometimes as the cofounder.

He is neither founder nor co-founder.

From Malaysia: Cryptocurrency a tax headache for regulators.

In Malaysia, cryptocurrency transactions are currently tax-free as digital currencies are yet to be recognised for tax purposes. Nevertheless, there have been several cases of businesses and individuals using digital currencies as payment.

These include the recently suspended Proton dealership in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, which went viral on social media after it announced that it would be accepting bitcoin and ethereum as a form of payment for car purchases, to the chagrin of national carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd.

Just remember that there is no capital gains tax in Malaysia, with the exception for property. The article talks about how the USA and Australia handle crypto taxes, touches a bit on Luno’s bank account freeze, but the reality is there’s no such treatment for taxation (yet? forever? will there be a GST? Only time will tell).