A U.S. federal court in Massachusetts, like the Lord naming the beasts of the virgin Earth, has declared cryptocurrencies to be “commodities” on Twitter. And the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, a federal body that prosecutes commodities fraud, has pronounced this good. Sayeth James McDonald, the CFTC's director of enforcement: “This is an important ruling that confirms the authority of the CFTC to investigate and combat fraud in the virtual currency markets."
The authority of that agency to investigate commodities fraud, that is. The SEC continues to do its thing in regard to securities fraud; FINCEN still handles crypto-related money laundering and terrorism; even the DEA and ATF has gotten involved in crypto-related crimes where guns and drugs were involved (see Silk Road.) The point? Cryptoland continues to be as volatile, chaotic and lawless as the Old West. But the question of which law-enforcement agencies have jurisdiction over what is sill being sorted out. There might be a new sheriff in town. Or ten of them.
There's only one sheriff in Venezuela—President Nicolas Maduro —but the crypto scene is still as chaotic as ever. Yesterday he announced, for seemingly the 12 billionth time, the launch of the quite-possibly-non-existent cryptocurrency “petro.” In an announcement on state channel Telesur TV (which nearly half the country apparently switches off whenever the dictator goes on air), Maduro exalted the petro as “a national currency and platform for strengthening our financial sovereignty.”
Next, he bragged that the token was already “present in the world’s six topmost international exchange houses,” though gave no indication what those were. Recently Maduro had a whitepaper published on the virtual currency, which—though again, there is scant evidence this thing exists—supposedly uses Dash’s “proof-of-work” protocol and is backed by the country’s oil and metal reserves. Wait!? It's a commodity? If only the CFTC could help police it. Or even prove its existence.
Elsewhere under the shady spotlight, Coindesk has published a pretty substantive report on supposed “vote buying” on the EOS network. The story goes thus: massive Chinese crypto exchange Huobi has been alleged—by way of a Twitter leak—to have taken kickbacks in exchange for buttering up 16 of the 21 “block producers” that govern the EOS network.
If true, that’s vote buying, fair and square, as well as a wholesale compromise of EOS’s underlying democratic structure, an algorithm merrily dubbed BFT-DPOS. Most embarrassing is that it roundly confirms a prediction made earlier this year by Vitalik Buterin, EOS’s de facto rival. Nevertheless, EOS and Huobi denied all charges of wrongdoing. So we’ll see.
You know what? Maybe, just maybe we should abandon all this BFT-DPOS-consensus-protocol nonsense and trustless-distributed-ledger balderdash and climb back into the arms of that oldest, most scalable of peer-to-peer consensus mechanisms: friendship. Yes! Can't we all just be friends?
Proof-of-frolicking. PHOTO CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons
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