In China, a contract is legally binding, even if the promises made in the contract are illegal. Apparently.
Take a look at this story. A plaintiff sought arbitration from a Chinese court over an acquaintance’s failure to return around $500,000 worth of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Diamond by an agreed deadline. Though all crypto trading in China has been strictly prohibited since 2017, the defendant, the court concluded, had breached an agreement. Crypto ownership, regardless of its legality, is protected under Chinese contract law.
It’s like if someone borrowed the stash of dynamite you keep in your basement, then failed to give it back when promised. In a Chinese court, the original crime of owning the dynamite would have no bearing on the parallel crime of not returning the dynamite to its, er, wrongful owner.
Law is weird.
Fake News (Actually, this time)
This one further blurs the old legal boundaries: An investigation published Thursday by BREAKER found that some 58 percent of crypto news outlets write fawning content for cash, without marking it as sponsored.
Corin Faife, a former reporter for CoinDesk, sent out emails to 24 major crypto outlets asking how much it would cost to get a glowing press release write-up free from the “sponsored” tag. (Decrypt wasn’t included in the investigation. Shame). Fourteen of the targets happily named their prices, with some—*cough,* NewsBTC—offering as much as $4,500 for the honor.
Yeesh. There’s already something inherently awful about co-opting a news outlet for advertising. Yet this seems dodgier. Sponsored content unmarked as such could lull naive investors into splashing out on dodgy ICOs.
Maybe Dr. Doom has a point.
Bitfury, Europe’s largest mining hardware, is considering going public, and is soliciting investment banks for advice, reports Bloomberg. If true, it’ll be the second high-profile mining giant IPO since Bitmain, a Beijing-based mining firm, filed earlier this year.
The broader story here is: mining giants are going public, in the most mainstream, institutionally-approved way possible. And they’re getting the big bucks, too. Think Ethereum’s $18.3 million token sale was a big deal? Estimates of Bitfury’s valuation range between $3 and $5 billion. And Bitfury’s one of the smaller mining giants.
So the mining giants, increasingly, are the real power brokers in cryptoland. And who the hell wants that?
Get your act together and sort out proof-of-stake, Vitalik.
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