Who knew? The Man likes to HODL too. Institutional investors, reports Bloomberg, have bought up anywhere between $250 million and $30 billion dollars-worth (it’s, er, a very rough estimate) of cryptocurrencies in private “over-the-counter” sales. These private vendors, unlike exchanges, can offer investors fixed prices amid turbulent markets.  

But who are said private vendors, and how come they're so flush with tokens to flog? Some buy from firms like Cumberland, the crypto-trading arm of principal trading company DRW Holdings LLC. Others, meanwhile, buy from miners, who are professionalizing the sale of their vast holdings with their own private trading desks. Their grip tightens.

Questions about decentralization abound. Economist and noted bitcoin-hater Nouriel Roubini, who says he predicted the 2008 financial crisis told cryptonomist that cryptocurrencies were “more centralized than North Korea.” He then took the metaphor further, calling cryptocurrency developers “dictators” and Vitalik Buterin, the inventor of Ethereum, a “dictator for life.”

Buterin, responding on twitter, delivered his equivalent of a verbal full-body slam. Top two excerpts below. The set up: 


And the smackdown:

It’s the classic Buterin scorched-earth line of attack, really: politely beg to differ, concede half the interlocutor’s points, then fry their self-confidence with a barrage of semi-incomprehensible technical details. Roubini’s response? Sitting and crying in a cold shower, most likely.

If Roubini’s right, though, the United Arab Emirates is now the biggest sucker in town. The country’s Securities and Commodities Authority, according to Reuters, is planning on introducing initial coin offerings as a means of investment, with a full suite of regulations set to become law in early 2019. That’s an official sanction of ICOs from a typically conservative state. Who knows, the U.S. may follow. Or a bunch of new desert-themed exit scams. Watch. This. Space.

Speaking of, well, unsavory things, crypto exchange Binance has delisted four altcoins: Bytecoin, ChatCoin, Triggers, and Iconomi. The company, in a press release, explained to its “fellow Binancians” that the coins had failed to meet certain requirements.  


Though most conceded that the coins were, well, shit, some cried foul play: according to Redditor “newphonewhodizz,” Bytecoin was a “known scam” prior to being listed. Nevertheless, Binance listed it—for a hefty $3 million fee. “And now,” concludes WhoDizz, “after a ton of idiots bought it they 'learn' that it's a scam project and delist it.” But let’s not rush to conclusions, Dizzy my son. Maybe Binance just wanted to give the “known scam” a chance to atone. It is, after all, very charitable.

Or maybe its clearing away the shitcoin debris to make way for some of those juicy institutional investors everyone’s been banging on about. 

Read next: Inside the sausage factory 

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