Blogs

MediumLessons from the uneven distribution of capital (Feb. 2020)
Why capital markets thrive in some places and not others.

MediumAn Introduction to the Efficient Market Hypothesis for Bitcoiners (Jan. 2020)
What the EMH actually means, and why the upcoming issuance reduction is not inherently bullish for Bitcoin.

MediumThe cat is out of the bag (for the Bitcoin Times, Dec. 2019)
Why Bitcoin matters, who it matters for, and why it can’t be neutered or muzzled.

Critics often ask who, exactly, Bitcoin is for. This perhaps a misspecified question. Bitcoin does not serve a “who,” or a subset of whos. It just serves, indifferent its end users.

MediumIn support of the proof of work [un]fair launch (Dec. 2019)
Why Proof of Work is elegant, why Bitcoin’s launch isn’t replicable, and a proposal for an alternative launch model.

MediumA most peaceful revolution (Sep. 2019)
Why Bitcoin matters, how it is fundamentally a value-driven movement, and why Bitcoin is so enduring.

Because of the extremely high stakes, reinventing a monetary system is a profoundly unpleasant task. It takes irrational zeal and an unwavering commitment to a firm vision of the future. Given the immensity of this task, and the existential threat it poses to the state, only the most committed could possibly take up the cause.The great sin of altcoiners is not that they backed the wrong horse, but that they did so with insufficient conviction. They sold a dream that they themselves did not truly believe.

MediumIt’s the settlement assurances, stupid (July 2019)
A model to promote consistent comparisons of the transactional quality of public blockchains.

MediumBitcoin bites the bullet (June 2019)
How Bitcoin exists in a tradeoff space, and why its features – which might appear puzzling in isolation – make sense in context.

MediumA modest proposal regarding Bitcoin mining (May 2019)
Why calls to institutionalize mining to support custodians are short-sighted.

MediumHow to scale Bitcoin (without changing a thing) (Apr. 2019)
Why the development of Finneyan-style banking on Bitcoin is both inevitable and desirable, from a scaling perspective.

[Bitcoin’s] very structure facilitates the creation of an alternative financial system which is far more transparent and open about risk than the present one. This is the Finneyan view of Bitcoin: Bitcoin as a virtual commodity sitting in provable reserves in financial institutions. No one’s liability, a provable virtual commodity which a bank can rely on to attest to its viability.

MediumUnpacking Bitcoin’s Assurances (Jan. 2019)
I consider the entire lifecycle of transacting with Bitcoin, considering Bitcoin’s attributes, beyond simply censorship resistance.

Coin MetricsEvaluating Bitcoin forks with network data (Jan 2019)
I explain how competing forks can be compared with on-chain data, and introduce the notion of ‘fork uptake’ – the number of coins moved post-fork.

Coin MetricsGranular mining pool mapping with Bitcoin’s coinbase outputs (Jan 2019)
By parsing all of the coinbase outputs for each of Bitcoin’s 600k+ blocks, I identify at the most granular level the prevalence of various miners, and precisely depict their hashrate dominance over time.

MediumFifteen dead cryptocurrency predictions, twelve months on (Jan. 2019)
In January 2018, I made a hashed prediction about the fate of 15 coins I thought might perish over the following year. In January 2019, I unveiled my predictions, and detailed my reasoning.

Coin MetricsDon’t trust, verify: A Bitcoin Private case study (with Antoine Le Calvez) (Dec. 2018)
We uncover an instance of covert supply inflation in the altcoin Bitcoin Private and explain how we discovered the exploit and what it means for investors.

Coin MetricsIntroducing Realized Capitalization (with Antoine Le Calvez) (Dec. 2018)
In this post we describe and formalize our landmark metric, which prices each unit of Bitcoin at the time of its last movement, giving an effective measure of the average holder’s cost basis.

Medium, Digesting ‘Quantification of energy and carbon costs for mining cryptocurrencies’ (Nov. 2018)
Why certain academic estimates of Bitcoin’s energy footprint need refinement – but should be paid attention to by Bitcoiners regardless.

Coin MetricsWhat should we expect from Bitcoin’s block size in the coming years? (Nov. 2018)
The Segwit soft fork introduced an effective block size increase, but the likely average block size is not clear. In this article I model out the likely block size in a post-Segwit world and explain how it increases Bitcoin’s capacity.

MediumTransaction count is an inferior measure (Nov. 2018)
Why measuring public blockchains according to their transaction count per second is a recipe for disaster – and what really deserves to be measured.

What a low bandwidth-in-bytes but high bandwidth-in-value system like Bitcoin works for is large, inter-jurisdictional, money-for-enemies transactions where mutual trust is lacking and rapid settlement is desired. If mutual trust is present, or deferred settlement is acceptable, or the payment size is very small, base-layer-bitcoin is not the system for you!

Medium, Bitcoin’s Existential Crisis (Originally titled: What is it like to be a Bitcoin?) (Oct. 2018)
Bitcoin lacks a single leader to make choices for the system. This leads to gridlock and a glacial pace of development. It also may be Bitcoin’s greatest strength.

But, here, the disease is also the cure. Bitcoin’s lack of governance is what makes it interesting. It’s a set of rules for moving money around that is very difficult to influence in any way whatsoever. Other open-source projects have benevolent dictators, but in a high-stakes game where the developers can serve as kingmakers for how resources are allocated in society, it’s wise, in my view, to make interfering with the protocol as difficult as possible.

MediumBlockchain is a Semantic Wasteland (Oct. 2018)
A discussion of the poverty of the term ‘blockchain’ and its disutility as a concept.

I can’t tell you exactly what the essence of bitcoin is, but to limit it to a chain of blocks is reductionist in the extreme. The soul of bitcoin is not the blockchain. But if you pull the blockchain out of bitcoin, you get something rather empty.

MediumHow to critique Bitcoin: a guide (Sep. 2018)
A sardonic response to the most common critiques of Bitcoin

MediumThe Dark Underbelly of Cryptocurrency Markets (Sep. 2018)
How incentives linking exchanges, token issuers, and reference data providers combine to create a perilous enviroment for retail investors in crypto.

MediumMedia Coverage of Bitcoin is Still a Total Disaster (Aug. 2018)
A pointed rebuttal to a particularly misinformed piece about Bitcoin in the Washington Post.

MediumVisions of Bitcoin (with Hasu) (July 2018)
Chronicling the changing narratives in the Bitcoin community over time.

Conflicts within Bitcoin thus arise from entities who hold visions of the protocol that are mutually exclusive — and this leads to friction when these visions cannot be reconciled.Visions of Bitcoin are not static.Technological developments, practical realities and real-world events have shaped collective views.

Coin MetricsIntroducing our adjusted transaction volume estimates (June 2018)
I explain our novel methodology for adjusting transaction value for on-chain Bitcoin transactions.

Coin MetricsAn analysis of batching in Bitcoin (with Hasu) (May 2018)
We explain how batching (one to many transactions) in Bitcoin can lead to a cost saving, and analyze how popular batched transactions are in Bitcoin.

Coin MetricsOn the difficulty of estimating on-chain transaction volume (Jan. 2018)
I explain how on-chain BTC transaction volume is a complex measure to derive and why adjustments need to be made.

MediumWhat does an ideal Bitcoin dividend look like (Oct. 2017)
Concluding the discussion of airdrops and forks from the two prior posts.

MediumBitcoin as a productive asset (Oct. 2017)
A discussion of how airdrops and forks might constitute cash flows for Bitcoin holders, and rebutting the point that staking returns can be understood as yields.

MediumCrypto-Dividends: Analyzing Airdrops and Yield on Bitcoin (Oct. 2017)
Evaluating the performance of various airdrops of Bitcoin when understood as a form of yield.

MediumAre webminers the micro-transaction dream realized? (Sep. 2017)
Contemplating whether the growth of in-browser miners might power an alternative content monetization model.

MediumPower laws and Network Effects: Why BitcoinCash is not a free lunch (July 2017)
Positing that the looming Bitcoin Cash fork might not be value accretive, since it would necessarily fragment the Bitcoin community .

MediumIs Bitcoin Antifragile? (July 2017)
A discussion of the Lindy effect in the context of Bitcoin.

MediumWhat will it take for institutional investors to enter the cryptoasset market? (July 2017)
I consider what remains to be solved before crypto is taken seriously as an asset class by serious allocators.

Coin MetricsOur guide to the cryptoasset research universe: Indices (July 2017)
I evaluate new indexes that cover the cryptocurrency market and explain why a proper indexing methodology is necessary to evaluate the performance of the market.