Blockchain Bites: BlockFi’s Revenue, DEX Volume and a Wallet Bug


New research shows certain wallets are vulnerable to a quasi double-spending attack, a federal appeals court effectively said blockchain data is not protected under the Fourth Amendment and more. Here’s the story:

You’re reading Blockchain Bites, the daily roundup of the most pivotal stories in blockchain and crypto news, and why they’re significant. You can subscribe to this and all of CoinDesk’s newsletters here. 

Law of the Land
The Senate Banking Committee plans to introduce legislation this week to study virtual currency’s role in illicit online activity. “Although the use and trading of virtual currencies are legal practices, some terrorists and criminals, including international criminal organizations, seek to exploit vulnerabilities” through them, the amendment read. Meanwhile, a federal appeals court on Tuesday effectively said searches of a suspect criminal’s blockchain activity does not violate the Constitutional Fourth Amendment’s protection against warrantless search and seizure in denying defendant Richard Gratkowski’s claims his blockchain and Coinbase-held bitcoin transaction records could not be used as evidence against him.

Shut Down?
The U.K. High Court of Justice has ordered crypto exchange GPay to be “wound up in the public interest.” In a statement Tuesday, the U.K. government said 108 clients had lost a total of just under £1.5 million ($1.9 million) using GPay, which also sold clients insurance to protect them against trading losses, but the exchange did not always pay out.

Bugs
Researchers at ZenGo have discovered a vulnerability in how certain wallets display Bitcoin’s replace-by-fee transactions, possibly enabling malicious actors to swindle funds from unsuspecting victims. The affected wallets ZenGo studied, Ledger Live, Breadwallet and Edge have fixed or are fixing the issue, though other wallets may be vulnerable. Meanwhile, cybersecurity firm Group-IB has identified a scam that uses victim’s personal information and celebrity deep-fakes to lure people to a website that details an investment scheme, which requires a 0.03 bitcoin ($276) fee to enter. (Decrypt)

Incumbents  
BlockFi says its monthly revenue has doubled as it sees a surge in new users for its crypto lending service and interest accounts. The revenue increase has been driven by bitcoin’s recent halving event in May, the company said, as well as the launch of a mobile app. Elsewhere, CNET founder Halsey Minor launched Public Mint, a “fiat native” blockchain that makes transactions efficient and accessible. Funds are held in insured banks, enabling users to create their own “digital money systems,” enabling companies using the platform to accept dollars via credit card, wire transfers and more whether or not they have a bank account. Finally, Coinbase Custody will secure assets used in 21Shares’ Bitcoin ETP in an offline storage solution, taking over from South Dakota-regulated Kingdom Trust.

Market intel

Double Digits
June trading volume on decentralized exchanges set a record high of $1.52 billion, up 70% from May, according to data from Dune Analytics. This double-digit percentage growth is simply “the continuation of a trend dating back to the end of [2019],” Messari’s Jack Purdy said. Curve and Uniswap control the largest amount of traded volume, recording $350 million and $446 million, respectively, in June.

Tight Range
Wednesday evening, bitcoin broke above $9,250 for the first time since Friday as the leading cryptocurrency continues to trade in a tight range just above $9,000 for several weeks. Despite trading above $9,250, bitcoin is still stuck within a tight range of a few hundred dollars above $9,000. As a result, 30-day volatility continues to decline reaching its lowest mark since Feb. 23, according to Coin Metrics.

Retail Buyers
New research suggests that as the Bitcoin network continues to halve every four years, the daily supply of mined bitcoin will not be able to meet retail demand. The researchers propose that in 2024 when the daily supply will drop to 450 BTC, retail buyers could account for 50% of the need, and extrapolate out from there. (Decrypt

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Valuing Bitcoin
Nearly half of investors in a recent survey said a lack of fundamentals keeps them from participating. In a 30-minute webinar July 7, CoinDesk Research will explore one of the first and oldest unique data points to be developed by crypto asset analysts: Bitcoin Days Destroyed. 

We’ll be joined by Lucas Nuzzi, a veteran analyst and a network data expert at Coin Metrics. Lucas and CoinDesk Research will walk you through the structure of this unique financial metric and demonstrate some of its many applications. Sign up for the July 7 webinar “How to Value Bitcoin: Bitcoin Days Destroyed.” 

Interview

Scott Alexander on the Value of Pseudonymity
Last week, Scott Alexander, the author of the influential rationalist blog Slate Star Codex (SSC), abruptly shut down (perhaps temporarily) his blog in advance of a New York Times (NYT) story on him and SSC that would include his real name. He tells of his decision in an interview with CoinDesk’s Ben Powers, abbreviated here.  

Are there circumstances under which you believe it would be appropriate to unmask an online persona?

This is a tough question, but I place it in the same realm as other tough questions like, “Are there times when violence is appropriate?” or “Are there times when the government should suppress speech?” There might be, but it needs a higher burden of proof than just “I don’t like this person.”

How do you respond to the people who say, “Your real name is already out there”? I know the blog post addresses it but it’d be helpful for you to lay out for our audience.

There are a lot of people who have had naked pictures of them leaked online who would still be entirely justified not wanting those pictures in the New York Times. I admit my security has been bad. But so far most people who google my real name don’t find my blog. People who do the opposite can find my real name with a little Internet savviness and a minute or two, and maybe the extra difficulty just makes me feel more secure without really keeping me any safer. But that extra feeling of security is still important to me.

Did you see an opportunity here to “Streisand Effect” your blog? I believe you have said in the past that traffic is down but that you’d also like to pivot out from your day job and do SSC-style work full time. So is there any fairness to a cynical view of your blog takedown as a way to relight the spark in the SSC community?

No, I didn’t do this, and would lose respect for anyone who did. I’m not sure what kind of evidence you want me to give. But if you want, you can confirm with Cade [Metz, the Times reporter] that I begged him, at great length, many times, over the course of days, not to use my real name in the article. I gave him a warning that I would delete the blog if he used my real name, in order to pressure him to reconsider, and I only deleted the blog after he refused.

“We do not comment on what we may or may not publish in the future,” responded Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of Communications at the New York Times, in a statement sent to CoinDesk. “But when we report on newsworthy or influential figures, our goal is always to give readers all the accurate and relevant information we can.”

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