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[Editor's note: Young Ben Munster, the unsung hero/writer of Debrief, was at this writing, flying over the frozen Atlantic, bound for the United States of America, or "the Colonies," as he calls it. He will be on assignment in California, Colorado and New York for the next few weeks. In his stead, we have entrusted the writing of this screed to a decentralized team of 100 monkeys, who, though typing randomly, will attempt to match the level of insight and "wit" he brings to his popular Decrypt column (which is available by email!) Thank you for your patience.]
A nice spanking. Ameen Soleimani, swashbuckling CEO of hot-blockchain-based-webcam-sex-site Spankchain, has some tough love for the Ethereum platform. Why should anyone care? Soleimani is one of the most respected OGs in the Ethereum firmament and Spankchain is, thus far, the decentralized network's most successful endeavor. Among other things, he says that Ethereum 2.0 is taking too long and suffers for want of a leader. This is apostasy to many people who've embraced the trustless-network, leaderless ethos of the decentralized world. Our Adriana H has the story, plus reaction, right here.
A home for the blockchain. Also by the prolific Ms. H: She interviews the CEO of Propy, which today sold its first home in California, via the Ethereum platform. Propy is one of many crypto-based real-estate startups that believe smart contracts ought to replace the usual bureaucratic tangle that comes with home buying. Read all about it here.
Wallet insecurity. Munster's nemesis and mentor, Tim C says that those USB-like hardware wallets aren't as unhackable as most people think. We hear from a Bitcoin security expert, who details a number of fascinating though nefarious techniques that Wily E. Hacker might use to thaw one's cold storage device. Read it here, or lose sleep tonight.
Trade Secret. Guillermo J has an interesting angle on Abra, the crypto-investing company, which yesterday announced a product that allows people to invest cryptocurrency in the stock market. It turns out, says Guillermo, that investors can do this completely anonymously. Which is... interesting. Read his exclusive report right here.
Rigor mortis de rigueur. The Indian hospital where QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten reportedly died gave a statement confirming his death to CoinDesk. According to the report, Cotten arrived on the evening of Dec. 8 at Fortis Escorts hospital in the city of Jaipur, suffering from septic shock related to "pre-existing Crohn's disease." He subsequently suffered two heart attacks, and was declared dead nearly 24 hours later. That statement is in line with similar attestations from a local funeral home, and a death certificate issued by the municipality. Of course, it'll do nothing to offset the conspiracy theories that suggest the whole thing was staged to cheat 115,000 people who used the Canadian exchange out of $147 million.
Bakkt befalls buyers. Bakkt, the futures trading platform that will save us from our grasping, HODLing selves, has a crappy doppelganger trying to fleece people of bitcoin. Earlier this week, journalists were sent an email from a Gmail address telling recipients that Bakkt was set to launch on March 12, amid a $50 million financing round. All would-be scamees need do is head on over to [website address deleted] to dump a load of bitcoin into a wallet... And, please provide your own address to receive the sweet "profits" from the investment. Some sleuthing revealed that the domain was registered in Panama a week ago and our trusty Ethereum Phishing Detector lists it as a fake.
Litecoin hides its modesty - Litecoin, the cute kid brother of bitcoin, lead by lovable crypto rogue Charlie Lee, is embracing privacy.
Fungibility is the only property of sound money that is missing from Bitcoin & Litecoin. Now that the scaling debate is behind us, the next battleground will be on fungibility and privacy.
I am now focused on making Litecoin more fungible by adding Confidential Transactions. 🚀
— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) January 28, 2019
Those "Confidential Transactions" Mr. Lee is talking about was an idea created by early bitcoin developer Gregory Maxwell, and was designed to hide the details of users when performing transactions. This technique is used by Monero, but Lee reckons the Mimblewimble privacy protocol--named after something stupid related to Harry Potter--is the way forward for Litecoin. Lee believes that implementing the privacy layer could be done using a soft fork, which allows those who don't upgrade their software to carry on as if nothing has happened. Ethereum should take a leaf out of Litecoin's book, and then burn theirs.